News Release

General Church Leaders Continue Teaching and Inspiring as African Journey Takes Them to Uganda

Young Men General President, Steven J. Lund, and Second Counselor of the General Sunday School Presidency, Jan E. Newman Travel from Kenya to Uganda to Continue Africa Ministry

Steven J. Lund, Young Men General President and Jan T. Newman, Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued their ministry to African Saints May 21, 22 and 23 in Uganda.  President Lund and his wife Sister Kalleen Lund and President Newman and his daughter Cami Moody traveled from Kenya to Uganda with Africa Central Area President, Ian S. Ardern, and Sister Paula Ardern.   Over the three days, the Church leaders met with, listened to, and taught multiple groups in Kampala and in Jinja, Uganda.

The first and last days were in Uganda’s Capitol city, Kampala, at both the Kampala North and Kampala South Stake Centers.  On the 22nd the leaders were 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Kampala in the Lake Victoria lakeside city of Jinja at the Jinja Stake Center.  The first event was a meeting with the 182 full time missionaries of the Uganda Kampala Mission at the Kampala North Stake Center.  62 of the missionaries joined by zoom.  When the 3 general leaders arrived, the missionaries were ready for a group photo with their special guests.  There is a spiritual energy that is unique and wonderful when full time missionaries gather.  The Elders and Sisters are far away from their earthly homes in time and distance, but, not far from their heavenly home in spirit as they labor each day to bring others to Jesus Christ.

A general leadership meeting was held in a packed Kololo Chapel (Kampala North Stake Center) that evening.  Early Wednesday, May 22nd, Elder and Sister Ardern, President and Sister Lund and President Newman and his daughter, drove for nearly 3 hours to cover the 80 kilometers (50 miles) to Jinja.  The road to Jinja is two lane and full of commercial trucks, cars, van taxis, and boda boda’s.  It is a beautiful drive through hill country with vistas of sugar cane fields, maize (corn) fields, banana orchards, and tea plantations.  Uganda has a near perfect climate with abundant rainfall and fertile soil that enables robust agricultural activity.  Roadside fruit and vegetable stands frequent the 80 kilometer drive.  Uganda is particularly known for its multiple varieties of bananas.  Jinja is on the northern shore of Lake Victoria – the largest lake in Africa, and the second largest fresh water lake in the world with a surface area of over 59,000 square kilometers (23,146 square miles).   Lake Victoria is the source of the Nile River which flows north from near Jinja through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and then Egypt before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea 6600 kilometers (4100 miles) from its source.

In Jinja the three General Church leaders and their companions met with youth and families followed by an evening leadership session in a filled to capacity Jinja Stake Center Chapel.  Their instruction was enthusiastically received by stake and ward leaders.  Thursday morning, May 23rd, the leaders returned to Kampala where Elder and Sister Ardern and President and Sister Lund held a discussion at the Kampala South Stake Center with a youth group.  The subject was the 2024 Youth Theme, I Am a Disciple of Jesus Christ, followed by a devotional with the youth from both Kampala Stakes.  At the same time, across town at the Kampala North Stake Center, President Newman and his daughter Cami Moody, along with Kampala North Stake President Charles Palaasi and his wife, and Uganda Kampala Mission Leaders, President and Sister Mathemara, met with a full chapel of Young Single Adults.  The YSA’s received instructions and then were invited to ask questions of their speakers.  The searching questions stopped only because time had expired.

Very early the morning of May 24, President and Sister Lund and President Newman and his daughter left Uganda by air to continue their African ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Their time in Uganda with Elder and Sister Ardern was time of rich gospel instruction and testimony.  Excerpts of what they taught in the various sessions follows.

Uganda Kampala Mission Devotional.

Sister Kallen Lund, reminded the missionaries of Nephi’s response to his father’s request of him to go and get the brass plates.  “I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded…” (1 Nephi 3:7) and she stated, “the Lord will help you find a way to accomplish what you are here to do.”  She then testified, “the gospel really is true.  It gets truer every day that I live it.”

President Lund promised the missionaries regarding the impact their service will have saying that “the influence that you will have on the people that you teach will change the course of lives and will change the course of generations.”  As he concluded he said, “the world will be changed  because of your footprints and your fingerprints in the work of salvation.”

President Newman affirmed that valiant service saves the Lord’s missionaries, “know that while you are saving others, you will save yourselves.”  He closed his remarks to the missionaries by saying, “you will look back at this time, and when you look back on all the wonderful things that have happened in your life you will connect all of them, in some way, to your full time mission.”

Sister Paula Ardern cited a comment made by a missionary at a Zone Conference.  “The chosen of God are those who have chosen God.”

Elder Ian S. Ardern speaking of service and sacrifice said, “you cannot put a crust on the altar of God without receiving a loaf in return.  That is how it works.”  And then encouraging more concerted scripture study by the full time missionaries, “we need to spend more time unpacking what the Lord has packed in the scriptures.” 

Leadership Meetings in Kampala and Jinja.

To the leaders of the Kampala North and South Stake Leaders, President Lund spoke of Patriarchal Blessings.  “Go get your Patriarchal Blessing.  In that blessing Heavenly Father actually speaks to you and tells you who you are.” And then he asked the Bishops to give regular emphasis to the youth.  “I would hope that every time a Bishop sits down with a youth, he talks about a Patriarchal Blessing and a Temple Recommend.”

President Newman shared that shortly after being sustained at General Conference in 2019, the new Sunday School General Presidency met with President Russell M. Nelson.  President Nelson asked them to focus on two things; 1 – Get the scriptures deep into the hearts and minds of the Saints.  2 – Help improve teaching the Gospel at home and at Church.

President Lund speaking to Jinja Stake leaders said, “research done by the church shows that one of the most important things we can do in order to create life long disciples is Seminary.  Young people who complete four years of Seminary almost never leave the Church.”

At Jinja Leadership meeting, President Newman encouraged using the guide book Teaching in the Savior’s Way. It defines Christlike leadership principles, including

               Love those you lead

               Lead with the spirit

               Teach the doctrine to those you lead

               Invite those you lead to be diligent learners.

Elder Ian S. Ardern added his emphasis to the importance of leaders being teachers.  “The very essence of leadership in the church, before anything else, is, leaders are teachers.”   

Youth, Young Single Adult, and Family meetings:

Sister Lund said to youth in Jinja, “All the things we know, we know better because we know the Church is true.”

President Lund shared with the youth of Kampala that an FSY conference will be held in Uganda this year.  FSY conferences are so beneficial that “you should walk through fire to get to FSY.  It’s that valuable.”

President Newman, in a session with families about gospel learning, said,  “Bringing the scriptures into your home will help protect your home.”

At the closing event in Kampala, a YSA devotional, President Newman encouraged the participants saying, “Can I give you a little advice.  Fear not.  God is not a God of fear, but of hope.  With hope find forward momentum in your life.”  And then speaking of the doubts in our life, doubts about who to marry, doubts about faith, he simply said, “never let doubt overcome your faith. 

Cami Moody is President Newman’s daughter and she accompanied him to Africa.  She shared her story including the story of her courtship and marriage with the Young Single Adults in Kampala.  She said, “It’s a good thing to get married.”

It was a wonderful 3 days in Kampala and Jinja as doctrines were taught, encouragement was given, and love was expressed by Church General Leaders to Ugandan saints.

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