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On a beautiful Sunday, under the glorious African sky, hundreds of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered to witness a historic moment, the dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple.
Temples are the most sacred places of worship, where members of the Church can feel peace, learn and participate in sacred ordinances.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles led the dedication and performed the cornerstone ceremony, which symbolizes the completion of the temple and its readiness to be dedicated for sacred use. Elder Renlund was accompanied by his wife Sister Ruth Renlund, members of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency and their wives, and other leaders.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Renlund offered a blessing upon the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that they may be provided for in their needs and that there may be continued peace in the country.
He also gave a blessing upon the members of the Church that they may be made strong amidst their challenges.
The dedication of the Kinshasa Temple marks an important milestone for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the DRC, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa by area. The history of the Church in the DRC dates to the 1970s, when the first Congolese converts were baptized in Europe.
Today there are more than 60,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the DRC, where the Church is experiencing phenomenal growth.
In his remarks at the dedication ceremony, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, a member of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, highlighted the significant growth in the number of temples of the Church worldwide, and the blessings that these holy edifices bring to the lives of the members of the church and the countries in which they are located.
The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple was announced in October 2011 by Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church at the time. On February 12, 2016 the Church held a formal groundbreaking ceremony, an event that was attended by some 800 people.
The Kinshasa Temple is the 163rd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide, and the fourth operating temple on the African continent.
It will serve seven countries in the surrounding area, including Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon.