News Release

Hundreds of Latter-day Saint Youth Gather in Lubumbashi, DR Congo to Strengthen Their Testimonies of Christ and Make New Friends

“FSY is love, joy, peace, friendship, and happiness!”

Nearly 1200 youth of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints from eight stakes and districts across southeastern DR Congo attended a For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conference in Lubumbashi, DR Congo during mid-July 2023. The youth heard inspiring messages from senior priesthood leaders, including Elder Ian S. Ardern, General Authority Seventy and Second Counselor in the Africa Central Area presidency; Elder Pungwe Kongolo, Area Authority Seventy; and many local leaders, teachers, and counselors.

Due to the large number of attendees, comprising 50% of youth between 14 and 18 in the Church’s eight units invited to participate, FSY in Lubumbashi was divided into two five-day sessions. The first took place during July 10-15 for the Lubumbashi, Katuba, and Ruashi Stakes and the Kasumbalesa District. The second session took place during July 17-21 July for the Kisanga, Likasi, Kolwezi, and Kikula Stakes. Both sessions were held in the Lycée Tshondo in Lubumbashi.

The schedule included faith-promoting presentations, discussions, and workshops on a wide range of Gospel topics: faith, repentance, resisting temptation, developing Christlike attributes, seminary, sharing the Gospel, preparing for a full-time mission, family history, temple work, and self-reliance. Toward the end of the conference the youth performed a service project cleaning up the school grounds.

Elder Ardern praised the hundreds of “enthusiastic, thoughtful, truth seeking and faithful young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While I was with them, they radiated their love of the Lord and His restored Church, and it was contagious.”

“FSY conferences,” he continued, “are designed to help youth strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and to grow spiritually and socially in a safe environment where youth have similar beliefs. New friends are made, and some discover for the first time that their best friend is their Saviour, Jesus Christ. It was Him who said, 'I will call you friends, for you are my friends' (D&C 93:45).”

Elder Ardern concluded, “thank you to the youth of the Africa Central Area. I count you as my friends, friends who are being true and faithful in a world where Satan's temptations are ever present. Thank you for being on the covenant path, thank you for your faith, your smiles, your simple and sincere prayers, your willingness to learn and apply the Saviour's teachings, your plans to serve as honorable full-time missionaries, and for simply being you.”

Elder Kongolo expressed his “great joy” to be among the young men and women who came to FSY. Brother Mwinkeu, the conference director, taught the importance of remaining confident and poised as disciples of the Lord. Brother Kalinda, seminary and institute coordinator for the area, urged the youth to be peacemakers and to carry their feelings of peace from this conference throughout their entire lives.

Many of the youth expressed similar sentiments. One young man said, “the leaders did a lot to welcome us and make us feel at ease.” Another young man said, “it’s a great joy to be here and meet members from so many different wards.” A young woman said, “I learned a lot and my faith has been strengthened.” Another remarked, “my roommates have become like a second family to me. I’m really going to miss them!”

A group of FSY attendees summed it up: “FSY is love, joy, peace, friendship, and happiness!”

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