Elder Holland opens Cameroon, Rwanda for preaching of the gospel   Leave a comment

During a historic 16-day tour of Africa on Aug. 16-31, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated Cameroon and Rwanda for the preaching of the gospel. In so doing, he became the first known apostle to ever set foot in either nation.

Photo courtesy Africa Southeast Area
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, left, Elder Paul Koelliker, center, greet Mayor Masini of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

“A dedicatory experience for a country is always spiritual,” Elder Holland said during an interview with the Church News upon his return to Salt Lake City. “These two were particularly spiritual. Maybe it was because it was Africa. Maybe it was because of ‘the last shall be first and the first shall be last,’ with some who are getting the gospel later in our dispensation responding with such acceptance and delight. Maybe this is all part of ‘an African moment.’ “
His trip took him to seven countries in all, with the other stops on his itinerary being Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Elder Paul E. Koelliker of the Seventy and Africa Southeast Area president accompanied Elder Holland during his travels.

Photo courtesy Africa Southeast Area
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, second from left, and Elder Paul E. Koelliker stand with the Haile family in Ethiopia. Fikodu Haile earned his Duty to God award. 


Elder Holland gathered local Church leaders on a green hillside overlooking Cameroon’s capital city of Yaounde and dedicated the country for the preaching of the gospel and the establishment of the Church. Standing on a large stone overlooking the city, he referenced the second chapter of Daniel regarding a stone being cut out of the mountain without hands and filling the earth, even the far reaches of the earth like Cameroon.
Later in the day, approximately 600 people gathered to hear Elder Holland speak at Yaounde’s City Center. The building has a large rock atop its roof; the apostle elicited smiles from the congregation by commenting about how quickly the rock had moved from the side of the hill to the middle of the city following the dedicatory prayer.
Elder Holland dedicated Rwanda on Aug. 27 during a sacred moment on the top of a mountain overlooking the capital city, Kigali. Eric K. Hyde, president of the Kigali Branch, openly wept during the proceedings.

Photo courtesy Africa Southeast Area
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland greets young members of the Church in Uganda during his Africa tour.

“We are doing all we can, Father in Heaven, to reach to heaven,” Elder Holland said during the dedicatory prayer. “We ask Thee with great affection, loyalty and love that Thou would bring heaven down to us. We ask that Thou would receive us here, as we stand tip-toe to enter Thy presence, feel Thy Spirit and build Thy kingdom.”
The African journey began when Elder Holland left Utah Aug. 16 and landed in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Aug. 18. While in Ethiopia, he spoke to missionaries, held a large fireside, and visited the home of Brother and Sister Yonas Haile. Their son, Fikodu, a 17-year-old priest, humbly showed Elder Holland his signed and completed Duty to God booklet. Fikodu is the first young man in Ethiopia to earn the award.
During a stake conference Aug. 22-23 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Elder Holland divided the Kinshasa DR Congo Masini Stake to create the Kinshasa DR Congo Kimbanseke Stake — DR Congo’s eighth stake. Nearly 2,700 members gathered in two meetinghouses with the conference being broadcast from one location to the other over a local cable channel.

Photos courtesy Africa Southeast Area
George Kijjambu, 9, conducts an 80-voice children’s choir during a meeting that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addressed while in Kampala, Uganda.

Not wanting to disappoint the members gathered in the auxiliary chapel, Elders Holland and Koelliker asked members seated there to remain for a few minutes following the conclusion of the meeting so they could come and personally greet those members. The second building was filled to capacity. Members in both meetinghouses expressed gratitude at the chance to see and hear an apostle of the Lord.
“They had 56 men sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood in just that one stake conference,” Elder Holland said. “The Church in Africa is definitely growing.”
Elder Holland took advantage of a five-hour plane layover in Nairobi, Kenya, to disembark and speak to the zone leaders of the Kenya Nairobi Mission.

Photo courtesy Africa Southeast Area
Church members gather with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve to witness the dedication of the African nation of Rwanda for the preaching of the gospel. The dedication was part of Elder Holland’s seven-nation tour. 

In Uganda, 9-year-old George Kijjambu impressed Elder Holland by leading an 80-voice choir of Primary children through a rendition of this year’s new Primary hymn, “My Eternal Family,” in front of 1,500 people. Elder Holland brought laughter to the audience when he said he was taking George’s name back to Mack Wilberg of the Tabernacle Choir “just in case Brother Wilberg is thinking of retiring.”
Also in Uganda, Elder Holland paid a visit to the New Hope for Africa school and orphanage. Nearly 150 orphans ages 4 to 17 live at New Hope for Africa, where the Church is providing new living quarters and other supplies for learning.
“I thought ‘New Hope for Africa’ was a wonderful metaphor for everything the gospel is doing,” he said in the Church News interview. “But we still have a lot of work, a lot of challenges, a lot of Africa we’re still not in.”

Photo courtesy Africa Southeast Area
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, left, and Elder Paul E. Koelliker greet the mayor of the Masini district of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Elder Holland’s travels wound down with a district conference Aug. 29-30 for the Mutare Zimbabwe District. He subsequently returned to Salt Lake City Aug. 31 after more than two weeks in the field.
“I want the Saints to know that Africa is one of the bright, beautiful emerging frontiers of the Church,” he said. “It sounds ominous sometimes just to hear the word ‘Africa’ because we think of dangers. Like any other place there can be dangers, but for the Church and the members it is one highlight after another, one bright spot after another.
“These people are so given to faith. I’ve often thought that perhaps the Lord in His justice, mercy and outreach made up for what they don’t have in material blessings by giving them an extra measure of spiritual blessing and insight.”

Photo courtesy Africa Southeast Area
Church members gather around Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, at the site where he dedicated the African nation for the preaching of the gospel during his tour of Africa. 

Elder Holland referred to some literary references of Africa being “the dark continent.”
He said he doesn’t agree with that description. What is his description of Africa? “With the gospel of Jesus Christ it’s a beautiful bright light to the world.”

— Elder Eric Jackson of the Africa Southeast Area, and Jamshid Askar and Gerry Avant of Church News


Posted September 8, 2009 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in Uncategorized

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