News Release

Elder Ronald A. Rasband Meets with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi

The Maputo meeting was the first ever held between a Church leader and a Mozambican head of state

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, an Apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, bowed his head in prayer with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

At the invitation of His Excellency, Elder Rasband prayed for the country, for the Lord’s guidance to come to all leaders of the nation, and for the peace of Jesus Christ to be brought to existing conflicts in the land.

This prayer opened the first-ever meeting between a senior Church leader and a head of state in Mozambique.

Elder Rasband thanked the president for allowing religious freedom in the country.

“It’s no small thing to us that you and your government have created such a wonderful spirit of freedom of religion,” the Apostle said.

Thanks to that freedom, the Church has grown from 50 members since it first opened in 1991 to more than 15,000 members today. Those members recently welcomed the news that a temple will be built in Beira, a city halfway up the eastern border of the country. 

‘Values of solidarity, peace, forgiveness, and work’

With only five temples currently operating on the continent of Africa, Elder Rasband explained to the president the significance of that announcement. He explained that members receive family sealings and the “highest ordinances and endowments” within temples.

“It’s a great tribute to your country that our prophet would locate one of our most sacred buildings in Mozambique,” he told the president.

President Nyusi responded that they awaited the temple with curiosity. “It will add physical beauty, but above all, it will be a place of peace and humility and coexistence between cultures, between people, and between generations,” he said.

The temple announcement stands as a beacon of hope to people in Mozambique, who over the past few years have endured political unrest, devastation from tropical storms, unemployment and the challenges inherent to COVID-19.

Elder Rasband indicated the commitment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help alleviate suffering in the country. The Church has spent $17 million (1.1 billion meticais) on humanitarian projects in the country over the past 10 years. Its efforts have included disaster relief in response to the tropical storms and unrest, the building of classrooms and schools to support education, and a training programme to support and train 3,000 farmers in rural areas, among other things.

President Nyusi remarked that the Church could add particular value in that arena. “Giving people skills, providing moral values and instilling these values within the Mozambican context, and also in the context of your Church and educating the man — this is the foundation,” he said. “[This] allows us to empower the individual.”

But also significant, said President Nyusi, was what the Church can add to the fabric of society. In its humanitarian endeavours, the Church can contribute “values of solidarity, values of peace, tolerance, forgiveness, and values of work,” he explained.

Apostle visit ‘a great blessing to the country as a whole’

Samo Paulo Gonçalves, who works as a technical advisor to President Nyusi and serves as a counsellor in the Mozambique Maputo Mission, said after the meeting, “There are a lot of leaders in Mozambique, and the president doesn’t meet all of them, but he decided to meet us. This is a great honour for our Church. It’s a historic moment for us.”

His wife, Sister Albertina Gonçalves, agreed. “We are going to work hard as Church members to make sure that the commitments that Elder Rasband made to the president will all take place as he promised,” she said.

Also present at the meeting were Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Edward Dube of the Africa South Area Presidency, Sister Melanie Rasband and Sister Jacqui Palmer, and other local Church representatives.

In a separate event, the leaders also met with almost 3,000 members in person and virtually from around the country, and held a meet and greet with dignitaries and opinion leaders.

Elder Palmer remarked, “Apostle[s] are called to go out in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the First Presidency, and to build up the church, and also to preach the gospel as special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. To have Elder Rasband come to Mozambique in that capacity … is a great blessing to this country, not only for our members but for the country as a whole.”

Elder Dube said the visit marked several historic occasions: ones in which the Spirit was powerfully felt. “It has been confirmed to me over and over during this trip that we are led by prophets, seers and revelators,” he said.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.