News Release

Elder Stevenson Testifies of Jesus Christ in Kinshasa, DR Congo

“We are all faced with challenges, but we have the Gospel to keep us close to Jesus Christ”

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on February 10 and 11, 2024, to minister to Church leaders, members and missionaries. This was the first stop in his three-country central African ministry.

On Saturday, February 10, from morning until early afternoon, Elder Stevenson, along with Elder Ian S. Ardern, President of the Africa Central Area, and Elder Thierry K. Mutombo, First Counselor in the Area Presidency, instructed and counseled with more than 250 local Church leaders gathered in the N’djili Stake Center.

Saturday afternoon, Elder Stevenson led a special devotional for young single adults in the N’djili Stake Center, which was broadcast to young adults gathered in the other 10 stake centers throughout Kinshasa. Departing from his prepared remarks, Elder Stevenson recounted how he met his future wife, Lesa, in a university institute class. He also shared a story from his youth when promptings his father received from the Holy Ghost protected him from a rattlesnake.

Elder Stevenson taught the three missions of the Holy Ghost: to comfort, to warn and to bear witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He testified to the young adults that as Latter-day Saints, they have the privilege of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. He urged them to find quiet time and then listen closely to the whisperings of the Spirit. He testified that the Lord loves them and will help them deal with their challenges in life.

Sister Lesa Stevenson, Elder Ardern, and Sister Paula Ardern also bore their testimonies and shared inspired counsel with the young single adults.

Sister Chimene Lokutshu of the Mikonga 1 Ward, Mpasa Stake, said, "I felt that the Spirit of the Lord was present in this meeting. Everyone there felt it was unlike any other meeting. It was a very spiritual meeting."

Brother Jilva Doto of the N'djili 2 Ward, N'djil Stake, said, “I was grateful to hear the testimony of a special witness of Jesus Christ. His testimony of the living Christ and the living prophet strengthened my testimony."

In the morning of Sunday, February 11, Elder Stevenson led a special stake conference at the Masina Stake Center, which was attended by more than 1,000 Latter-day Saints and friends. This was the first visit of an Apostle to the Masina Stake since Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came in 2008.

Elder Stevenson proclaimed, “The remarkable elements of the restoration of the Gospel are true. I invite you to get to know the missionaries in your ward. You can answer their prayers and those of their parents by introducing your friends to the missionaries.”

“We are all faced with challenges in this chaotic world,” Elder Stevenson said. “But we have the gospel to keep us close to Jesus Christ. The gospel is strength. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are given power through prayer, faith, priesthood blessings, companionship of the Holy Ghost and patriarchal blessings.”

He added, “I testify that heavenly powers will bless you as you strive to keep the commandments and stay on the covenant path.”

Elder Stevenson concluded by bearing solemn testimony of the Savior.

“I testify that Jesus Christ lives and is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I bless you and especially your beautiful children that they will come to know Jesus Christ.”

Sister Kamwanya Kalombo Rosette of the Masina 1 Ward, Masina Stake, said, “We are very happy to welcome an Apostle of the Lord among us. The Lord has answered our prayers. His presence, his teaching and his testimony has strengthened our faith in Jesus Christ. It is a miracle from heaven!”

Brother Clément Shamashanga Minga of the Sans-fil Ward, Masina Stake, added, “During the special conference, I felt the spirit of the Lord through the remarks and testimonies of the speakers. The apostle reinforced my faith in the miracles by our Heavenly Father and His ability to answer our prayers.”

Sunday afternoon in the Limete Ward building, Elders Stevenson, Ardern and Mutombo and their wives, along with Kinshasa East Mission leaders, President and Sister Tshilombo, and Kinshasa MTC leaders, President and Sister Mbaya, met with 241 missionaries serving in the Kinshasa East Mission and 56 missionaries from the Kinshasa Missionary Training Center. Before the meeting, Elder Stevenson warmly greeted each missionary individually by name, including virtually with those who attended remotely from Kisangani, a two-hour plane ride from Kinshasa.

Elder Stevenson extended to the missionaries the greetings of Church President Russell M. Nelson.

“He loves the missionaries. I will report to him in two weeks. I will tell that this is Zion, where the pure in heart reside," he said.

Elder Stevenson taught the missionaries to rely on the fundamental tools in the missionary tool kit: the scriptures, Preach My Gospel manual, Missionary Standards booklet and their mission president.

“The scriptures are a heavenly gift! One of the great blessings of a mission is having scheduled time to study them every day. Take advantage of this opportunity!” he said.

Quoting Preach My Gospel, he said, “The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource. It is the keystone of your testimony. Read it as much as possible.”

Continuing, he said, “Obeying the commandments is an expression of love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.” He promised that “obedience to God brings blessings and happiness.”

Elder Stevenson committed the missionaries to study purposely every day.

“I promise if you do this, you will be a more effective missionary.”

He also testified that the missionaries were called by inspiration and revelation given to a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, including himself. “The Lord assigns you through us,” he said.

Elder Stevenson concluded by testifying of Jesus Christ, His atonement and resurrection, and His love for each one of us. 

“I bear special witness that Jesus Christ lives and that He is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," he said.

Sunday evening, Elder Stevenson visited the Kinshasa Temple, which is the first house of the Lord in DR Congo and in the Africa Central Area. It serves more than 100,000 Latter-day Saints living in the western region of central Africa. Other temples are under construction in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lubumbashi, DR Congo, with three more in planning stages in Kananga and Mbuji-Mayi, DR Congo, and Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

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