News Release

The First Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ is Created in Baraka, South Kivu, DR Congo

Christian Mavinga, president of the Kigali-Rwanda Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, undertook an arduous 8-hour journey on a hazardous road from Bujumbura, Burundi, to Baraka, South Kivu in DR Congo, to create a new branch of the Church on Sunday January 14, 2024. He was accompanied by Nuru Mirungo Salomon, the Bujumbura District presidency first councilor, Lokwa Hoga, president of the Kalundu Branch, and Désiré Mpawenayo, communications director in Burundi.

Before becoming a branch on January 14, Church members in Baraka were organized as a group (a small congregation subordinate to a branch) for 10 years. A branch is a fully functioning congregation of the Church with Melchizedek priesthood holders who are presided over by a stake president or, in the case of the Baraka Branch, the mission president. The first members of the Church in Baraka were converted in 2009 and since then the number of faithful has grown steadily.

According to the Church members in Baraka, this was an unforgettable day because the new branch was an answer to their prayers. “We say thank you to our Heavenly Father for this wonderful blessing that has been bestowed upon us after many years of perseverance,” said one member.

During the meeting, President Mavinga sustained the new leaders of the Baraka Branch. Trésor Amani Amani was called as branch president, Isaya Timothée M'mumbeleca as first counselor, Onda Joseph Asende as second advisor, and Venas Ben Rosen Byaombe as branch clerk.

President Mavinga said: “When we were on our way here, I asked myself the question, why organize a branch today after more than 10 years of the group's existence here in Baraka? I know that it is not by my strength but rather by your perseverance and your prayers as well as the missionary work that you have accomplished, the Lord has answered your prayers.”

He continued, “The Church here was not going to continue operating under the leadership of the Kalundu Branch. This branch comes as an answer to your prayers and the efforts you have made in the work of the Lord. I bear you witness that the Priesthood is the power of God. Our Heavenly Father has given this power here to Baraka so that you can act in his name, is this not a proof of His love? Through the Priesthood, you will lead your new branch well moving forward. We bless the members, we heal the sick and it is through the latter that we prepare its children to enter the celestial kingdom. I urge you to continue to persevere in keeping the commandments, standing firm, and always strengthening your faith in Jesus Christ to receive the greatest blessing which is eternal life.”

Trésor Amani Amani, the new branch president, expressed his satisfaction at seeing the organization of this branch. He told the members that they have fought a great battle of perseverance for 13 years, "I urge you to tithe honestly and completely, to love one another, to remain united, and to share the Gospel finally to spread this restored gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he testified, “I know if we serve our fellow men, we will progress until we have a second branch, and a third. If we continue to share joy with others in unity through faith in Jesus Christ, through repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and persevering to the end, we will have eternal life. I know that the priesthood is the authority and power of God, our dear President Russell M. Nelson is called of God, all Church leaders as well as our dear mission president, I pray that when Jesus Christ returns and that he will find the members of Baraka rejoicing. I also know that if we read the Book of Mormon we will be greatly blessed.”

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