News Release

Patriarch Jacob Baende, Church Pioneer in DR Congo, Comes Home

“Rien à moitié”

Patriarch Jacob Baende, a pioneer member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and his beloved wife Véronique returned home to Kinshasa in 2023 after spending three years in Utah with family members.

Brother Baende, age 91, joined the Church in DR Congo in 1988, less than three years after it was officially recognized in this large central African country. He and his wife were married in 1954. Together they raised 15 children, of whom 13 are still living.

During his lifetime he has witnessed colonization, independence, and civic unrest. Before retiring, he rose to the rank of Director of the Directorate générale des impôts, or National Department of Taxation. His motto in life is “rien à moitié” (do nothing halfway).

His years of dedicated Church service began soon after his baptism in 1988. His first calling was counselor in a branch presidency. He has served in many Church callings since then, including the first bishop of the Binza Ward and a member of the Binza Stake high council.

In 1997, while attending a Church leadership meeting, a visiting General Authority said he had come to ordain a new stake patriarch (a spiritually mature priesthood holder who proclaims inspired blessings on church members). After looking around the room and pausing for a moment, the visitor said that Brother Baende would be the new stake patriarch.

This new ordination came as a complete surprise to Brother Baende, but he willingly accepted and served faithfully in this position, giving inspired patriarchal blessing to hundreds of Church members over the course of two decades.

He has simple advice for new patriarchs. They need to master the gospel, read the scriptures daily, and keep a journal (he calls his an “encyclopedia of ideas”). Above all you need to pray to be worthy to receive inspiration from God. Sometimes he was surprised by what God revealed to Church members through him.

One such member is Elie Twikala, who in 1997 received his own patriarchal blessing at age 17 from Brother Baende. This blessing has provided a foundation and guiding light for Elie throughout his life. Elie has served a mission, was married in the temple, has three children, is currently serving as a bishop, and is the full-time deputy director of the Church Communication Department in the Africa Central Area.

On May 5, 2023 Elie Twikala and several friends joined Brother and Sister Baende for sacred services in the Kinshasa Temple, marking the first time the aged patriarch and his wife had attended the temple in several years. (Attendance at temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is limited to faithful Church members; visitors are welcome at weekly Sunday worship services in chapels.)

The Baende couple was greeted by Temple President Mingotyi François Mukubu, who received his own patriarchal blessing from Brother Baende in Kinshasa in 1997. He said, “It was for me a very great pleasure and surprise to see Patriarch Baende and his wife at the temple. His visit reminded me of many things, not only that he gave me my patriarchal blessing in 1997 but also of my service as a full-time missionary in his ward and the opportunity to visit them at their home. They have developed many Christian virtues and are good role models for the rising generation.”

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