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Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presided at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Abidjan Cȏte d’Ivoire Temple on Thursday.

Elder Andersen was in the company of his wife Sister Kathy Andersen, Elder Marcus B. Nash, Africa West Area President and his wife, Shelley, and Elder Edward Dube, first counselor in the Africa West Area and his wife, Naume.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held amidst singing of hymns by a combined choir with members drawn from Stakes in Cȏte d’Ivoire.

Elder Andersen expressed his gratitude to the members of the Church in Cȏte d’Ivoire for their selfless service towards the building of the Lord’s kingdom in the country. “This house will be a blessing for the country and the members. This temple is an answer to the prayers of the Saints in Cȏte d’Ivoire” he said.

President Thomas S. Monson announced the new temple during the Sunday morning session of general conference on April 5, 2015.

The Abidjan Cȏte d’Ivoire Temple will be the Church’s 10th temple announced or operating in Africa, joining those in Johannesburg, Durban, South Africa; Harare, Zimbabwe; Nairobi, Kenya; Kinshasa, DRC; Aba, Lagos, Nigeria, Accra, Ghana and Praia, Cape Verde. The Church currently has 160 operating temples worldwide.

The Church’s temple differs from the meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. A temple is considered a “house of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man.