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Anxiously Engaged with African Saints

Elder David A. Bednar visiting church members in Africa

Elder David. A Bednar of the Quorum of The Twelve Apostles has just concluded a tour of three African countries in the Africa Southeast Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

His tour began in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and took him to South Africa before concluding in Nairobi, Kenya. Wherever he went, Elder Bednar boldly taught and encouraged members and Church leaders about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder David A. Bednar teaching members in Africa

Elder Bednar, who was accompanied by his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, hosted devotionals for missionaries and young single adults. He also addressed special multi-stake conferences in both Kinshasa and Nairobi.

Elder Bednar also took the opportunity to visit some of the Church's humanitarian projects. 

Also accompanying Elder Bednar, were Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. Elder Bednar also visited the construction site of the Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple and an undisclosed location that might be the home of the Nairobi Temple.

Highlights from his visit to Kenya include the following:

October 21, 2017, at Upper Hill Chapel in Nairobi, Kenya, Elder David A. Bednar of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his tour group began with a Priesthood Meeting featuring Stake presidents, District Presidents, Branch Presidents, Mission President and Bishops. He taught them with questions and answers in his effective and signature way.

Members in Africa attending sessions by Elder Bednar

Some pertinent topics he discussed were: the office and the keys the presidencies each hold. Knowing this can answer many questions or problem leaders might have, he taught.

The Priesthood is God’s authority not men’s. It is conferred upon worthy men – not perfect men. And the purpose is to help every member to receive ordinances. A leader’s goal should be to have every member worthy to hold a temple recommend.

The tour group loaded into a bus and traveled to the temple site—not yet disclosed – and to St. Mary’s Mission Hospital. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated funds for necessary equipment to the Eye Clinic in 2005 and in 2016 to the Physiotherapy Unit.

The group was also shown how the machines were used to improve the health of many patients.

Elder Bednar visiting St. Mary's mission hospital

Nancy Klanjiru Kamaru who runs the Eye Clinic, said: “We are so grateful for the help the Latter-day Saints have given us. We have grown immensely over the past ten years and the hospital has become something we are proud of.”

Dennis Murithi, in charge of the therapy gym pointed out the hospital’s contributions along with the funds from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were used to reconstruct the outside wall with windows and grates and purchased machines and apparatus.

Both Murithi in the therapy gym and Kamaru in the eye clinic at the Catholic hospital have become notably busier and have a more efficiently run organization that is open to patients of all faiths. The hospital has been able to start and operate a successful nursing program for students and more recently a program for clinical officers with rotations and internships.

October 22, 2017. On this day Elder Bednar presided over the Nairobi East Stake Conference conducted by Stake President Jadmire Ndivo. The talks delivered at the conference focused on the following:

Members attending sessions by Elder David A. Bednar

1.    The Church today is organized exactly as Christ’s church in ancient times, with the same doctrine, authority and ordinances.

2.    The temple announced here in Nairobi will bless the nation, city, and people. We must be prepared for it. He mentioned that at first, just as in other areas with new temples, they will be excited with the open-house, dedication and to have the ordinances. But Elder Bednar cautioned the members that the temple will become easy and they will be tempted to become lazy about temple worship. They must remain steadfast in worthiness and attendance.

3.    Elder Bednar also cautioned members not to just go through the motions of serving, mechanically doing their duty without joy. When we serve with our whole souls we serve God with joy and happiness.

4.    Give your will to Heavenly Father - more than just the natural man-enemy to God. Sin is selfish, like the cookie monster on a popular American children’s program, Sesame street -- with an attitude of “I want, I want it now.” We will be tempted as Jesus was. We must ask ourselves: “What do I offer and what do I give?” Jesus gave his life and atoned for our sins.

Elder David A. Bednar addressing members in the Africa Southeast Area

A Young Single Adult Devotional was held in the afternoon following the special Stake Meeting. Elder Bednar began by introducing his classic question and answer session by setting the limits, saying: All questions are good, some are better than others, and the best are inspired. No speeches and no stories--just questions, he cautioned.

The questions included topics such as, dating non-members, how does one know when it is time to get married, who can repent and when do we know we have repented.

The answers were given by Elder and Sister Bednar, Elder Joni L. Koch, 2nd Conselor in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, Bishop Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, and Elder Tasara Makasi, an Area 70, and Area President Elder Kevin S. Hamilton and Elder Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy. Their explanations were personal and provocative. The spirit was strong and the youth were attentive.

Members in the Africa Southeast Area