News Release

A Beautiful Connection at the Kinshasa Temple

How the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund Blesses Lives

On 14 March 2024 a beautiful thing happened at the Kinshasa Temple in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Lord’s hand was in this beautiful event.

“To God be the glory!” exclaimed Sister Harlaine Odia with tears of joy when Sister Janeen Redd showed her a picture and told the story of what happened earlier that day and its connection with their work in the Church’s Africa Central Area office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Sister Harlaine is the Area Planning Manager.  Sister Redd is a senior missionary who is working with Sister Harlaine and a team of two other senior sister missionaries in the Area Office.  These sisters are working to provide the benefits of the Church’s General Temple Patron Assistance Fund (GTPAF) to members of the Church in the Africa Central Area.  The Fund provides financial assistance for travel, food, and lodging to members so they can receive their temple blessings in temples located far from their homes.  Currently, the only operating temple within the Africa Central Area is in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.    

Additional temples are under construction in Lubumbashi, DRC, and in Nairobi, Kenya.  Others have been announced to be built in Kananga, DRC; Mbuji-Mayi, DRC; and Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

Newlyweds Nicole Bukasa and Ezi Kalenda were standing outside the Kinshasa Temple joyfully awaiting their sealing in the temple on 14 March when they met Sister Redd and her party.  Nicole and Ezi had traveled to the Temple with their newlywed friends Tresor Tshilombo and his wife Naomie Mukadi from the remote town of Luputa, DRC -- a distance of 1470 kilometers (915 miles) from the Temple – which they had traveled by a four-hour bus ride to the airport in Mbuji-Mayi and then a flight from Mbuji-Mayi to Kinshasa. 

Sister Redd had traveled to Kinshasa from Nairobi with her husband, Elder Jeffrey Redd (who serves as Associate Area Legal Counsel in the Office of General Counsel for the Africa Central Area) along with David Stanford (Area Legal Counsel) and his wife Marie-Laure for some meetings.  While in Kinshasa they planned to worship in the Temple.  As the Redds and Stanfords arrived at the Temple, a simple exchange of “bonjour” (good day) greetings turned into a conversation in which the Redds and the Stanfords were invited to act as witnesses for the sealings of these two newlywed couples.

Ezi, Tresor, and Naomie had served as missionaries in the Kinshasa DRC West Mission under the leadership of Mission President Francois M. Mukubu.  President Mukubu is now the President of the Kinshasa Temple, and he performed the sealing ordinance for the two couples. 

After asking a few questions, Sister Redd discovered that it was her team in Nairobi that had processed these two couples’ applications to participate in the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund just a few weeks before she unexpectedly met them in person half a continent away at the Temple in Kinshasa.  No one who knows this story believes that it is just “a coincidence” that the Redds and the Stanfords walked onto the temple grounds at the exact moment necessary to make the connection with the two previously unknown newlywed couples, a connection that resulted from simple “bonjour” greetings exchanged outside the Temple.  

The hand of the Lord is guiding His work.  Many more members of the Church will be blessed to receive temple blessings and to make covenants with God in His Holy House as beneficiaries of the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund.

And… Nicole and Ezi’s son, who is expected to be born in May, will be born in the covenant.

As Sister Harlaine exclaimed, when she saw the photograph, “To God be the glory!”

Members who are interested in learning more about the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund can contact their Bishop or Branch President. 

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