President Nelson Completes Africa Tour in Zimbabwe

Prophet makes fourth stop on global ministry tour

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“This is a sight that I shall always remember,” said President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a visit to Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. More than 4,000 people gathered to hear President Nelson speak, including hundreds of children who sang a verse of “I Am a Child of God,” a popular Primary song, at the beginning of his address.

 

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“These precious children, how I love them,” said President Nelson. “Help them to understand about the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, … to know how to pray to Heavenly Father, … to understand why we partake of this sacrament on the Sabbath day. … Help them to understand about prophets. … I would like to suggest that you read the scriptures to your children. … I hope you'll teach these children to be good citizens of this wonderful country."

His remarks were given at a devotional that was broadcast to congregations throughout Zimbabwe. This is his second stop in Africa and fourth destination on his global ministry tour. On Monday, President Nelson was in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.

President Nelson is joined on the worldwide tour by his wife, Wendy, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia.

Attendees began arriving at 8:00 a.m. before the scheduled 5:00 p.m. devotional. “That shows that everyone is ready and doesn't want to miss this historic event,” said Gibson Guzha of Harare.

Pretty Mukweya said, “I can't even express it, I'm just super excited. I couldn't even sleep. I couldn't wait.”

Lovemore Tenganani added, “I'm really excited because when a prophet visits a nation, better things start happening. Most of us haven't had the opportunity to have a prophet grace our great nation.”

The senior leaders, who stand as witnesses of the Savior, are traveling to eight cities on three continents in 11 days. The tour began last week with meetings in London and Jerusalem.

Elder Holland acknowledged the rapid growth of the Church in Zimbabwe. “What a wonderful, wonderful growing, dramatic, significant component you are of this Church, the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Your history has only begun, and really the Church's history has only begun in terms of what it will yet be. But I'm thrilled to be with you, observing history.”

“I have had an experience to see how you worship,” said Sam Phiri, who works for the Times of Zambia newspaper in the country of Zambia, 250 miles away from Harare. “It's quite exciting and it clears all the myth and misunderstanding which was also in my mind.”

Phiri was impressed with the prophet’s message for parents to guard their children. “Today we have seen a lot of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and we've also seen a lot of substance abuse, including [offensive] language among the youthful people. … That to me was a very important and kind message because the future lies in the hands of the youth.”

Global Ministry Tour

This is the new president’s first official trip outside of the United States since he was named the Church’s 17th prophet in January.

The global ministry tour runs April 10–23, 2018. The senior Church leaders are visiting eight cities in 11 days in Europe, Africa and Asia. They have visited London, England; Jerusalem, Israel; Nairobi, Kenya; and Harare, Zimbabwe. The next stop on the tour is Bengaluru, India, where President Nelson will meet with members and missionaries. Other destinations include Bangkok, Thailand; Hong Kong, China; and Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Global Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has more than 16 million members around the world. Church membership is growing in Africa, where there are about 540,000 Latter-day Saints.

Nearly 32,000 Latter-day Saints in 79 congregations reside in Zimbabwe, one of the most Christian countries on the African continent. Missionary work began in what was then Southern Rhodesia in the early 1930s.

The Church has 159 temples worldwide with 30 others announced or under construction. President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build a temple in Harare, Zimbabwe, in the April 2016 general conference.

“I don't know when it will be completed.” remarked President Nelson. “You deserve a temple here in Harare because that's where we get the highest of all the blessings that God can give to His faithful children. I want to be here to see that happen.”

Lovemore Tenganani is one of the many Latter-day Saints looking forward to the new temple. “We're really excited and we're really optimistic that things are going to change for the better in Zimbabwe, especially as we are about to have a temple in this nation.”

There are three operating temples in Africa (Aba, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Johannesburg, South Africa), two under construction (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Durban, South Africa) and two more announced, in addition to Harare (Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Nairobi, Kenya), for a total of eight temples in Africa.

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