News Release

Elder Stevenson Makes Fourth Visit by An Apostle to Tanzania

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles Visits Saints and Humanitarian Project in Tanzania

The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tanzania recently had the wonderful opportunity of being taught by an Apostle.   Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, accompanied by his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, landed in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, February 15, 2024 as part of their nine-day journey to three African countries. His visit was the fourth by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ since the Church was legally registered in 1992.  Elder Stevenson had previously visited Dar es Salaam in February 2018 and spoke then with joyous Tanzanian saints.  Prior Apostolic visits were the dedication of Tanzania for the preaching of the restored gospel on 18 November 2003 by Elder Russel M. Nelson. Following that dedicatory prayer, which was done at a hilly point in Oyster Bay Beach, Elder Richard G. Scott of The Quorum of Twelve Apostles made a brief apostolic visit to Dar es salaam in November 2005.

Upon their February 15 arrival, Elder Stevenson, along with Elder Ian S. Arden, President of the Africa Central Area of The Church, visited Makuburi Health Center. Church Humanitarian Services provided several infrastructure works including the construction of shaded walkways, ash pits, soakway pits, elevated water tank tower and a modern medical incinerator to help on health care waste management. Makuburi Health Center which started in 2000 as a dispensary, now serves a neighborhood of nearly 93,000 people, and is located next to the Church’s Ubungo Chapel.

“We are so grateful to be just a small part of big things you are doing here to take care of children and their mothers. We can’t do everything but we can do a smaller part as we try to specialize in things that are important to the communities like water supply, food security, education and health,” Elder Stevenson told medical leaders, municipal authorities and local media following a tour. 

“Our Ubungo Municipality has enjoyed a substantial support where the Church has built and renovated several classrooms, toilets and other facilities that benefits a bigger community. We are proud of you and your generosity that comes from your member’s Church offerings,” said the Ubungo Municipality Mayor Honourable Jafary Juma Nyaijesha. “I wish one day I would come and worship with you good people during your Church services.”  

Thursday afternoon included a meeting with the full-time missionaries of the Tanzania Dar es Salaam Mission followed by about 1,000 saints and their friends filling the Mlimani City hall eagerly waiting to learn from an Apostle of the Lord. Elder Lauriano Balilemwa, Area Seventy for Tanzania conducted the meeting.  He had an opportunity to bear his testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how that testimony has changed his life.

Elder Arden commented that though early members of the Church in Tanzania are considered as unsung pioneers, in reality they are pioneers of the Church in Tanzania in the same capacity as the earlier pioneers of the Church were in the American frontier. He challenged the saints in Dar es Salaam to do what the earlier pioneers did that include attending Church weekly to partake of the sacrament for renewal of baptismal covenants, be worthy of the temple recommend, be students of scriptures and words of the living prophets, and apply the principles of love, share and invite as taught by the prophets. Elder Ardern counseled, “Like the early pioneers who served one another, we invite you to do the same through our ministering program.”

Elder Stevenson greeted the saints by conveying greetings from the Prophet and shared that President Nelson loves all the people in the world and especially Latter Day Saints. “President Nelson knows where I am now and next week as we sit in our weekly meetings I am going to give a report of wonderful things happening here in Tanzania,” said Elder Stevenson as part of his introductory remarks.

He emphasized that things being taught today by our living prophets are the same things that were taught in the ancient Apostle Paul’s day. Elder Stevenson made a beautiful invitation for members to “Come to Christ” which is a similar invitation made by Jesus himself as recorded in the book of Mathew 11:28. “No problem is too large or too small for the Lord,” Elder Stevenson promised.

Elder Stevenson taught the saints many valuable gospel principles and closed by leaving an Apostolic blessing on the Tanzanian saints and his testimony.  “This is my testimony tonight that Heavenly Father knows you and loves you. His love is manifested by the mission of His son Jesus Christ. He loves His Children wherever they are. I bear my testimony that the gospel will bring joy into your life, that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of Israel and our advocate to the Father; that He lives and this is His Church.”  He affirmed the divine manifestation that led to the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ saying, “I bear my testimony that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith.” 

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