Elder Rasband invites members in southern Africa to know Jesus Christ better

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Written by Thalia Holmes, George Humbert and Beatriz Salucombo

An invitation to cast aside our fears. A reminder that the Saviour is always there for us. An exhortation to be peacemakers. And a promise that we will come to love Jesus Christ more deeply as we study about Him in the scriptures.

These were some messages shared by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Carlos A. Godoy, of the presidency of the Seventy, in a ministry trip to southern Africa.

Elder Rasband, one of 15 leaders overseeing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder Godoy collectively visited three countries in April – Angola, Mozambique and South Africa. Their engagements ranged from a visit with the Deputy President of South Africa, to devotionals and special stake conferences with members, to a special training session with priesthood leaders from all over the area.

This marks the first time that a Church leader has met with a government official of this seniority in South Africa. His Excellency Mashatile stands second in command to the President of South Africa.
This marks the first time that a Church leader has met with a government official of this seniority in South Africa. His Excellency Mashatile stands second in command to the President of South Africa.

This marks the first time that a Church leader has met with a government official of this seniority in South Africa. His Excellency Mashatile stands second in command to the President of South Africa.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

At a special stake conference in Soweto, South Africa, Elder Rasband referred to the South African former president, Nelson Mandela, whose home was in Soweto. Mandela was the first democratic president of South Africa and is often credited for helping to avoid a civil war as the country transitioned into democracy. Elder Rasband honoured both Nelson Mandela and President Russell M. Nelson for being peacemakers.

Kamogelo Sebolai from Pimville ward in Soweto, South Africa commented afterwards, “What touched me most is when he spoke about being a peacemaker. I think that is something a lot of us struggle with.”

Ephraim Mchiza from Soweto said that before the conference, he had wondered why it was being held. During the meeting, he received an answer that the “Lord was trying to bring peace to all the members of the Church. We should not lose focus of it, because we are promised peace,” he said.

In Luanda, the capital of Angola, Elder Godoy and his wife Monica held a devotional with young adults. Elder Godoy exhorted young adults to ‘fear not’.

 

Elder-Carlos-Godoy-and-Sister-Monica-Godoy
Elder-Carlos-Godoy-and-Sister-Monica-Godoy

Elder Carlos Godoy and Sister Monica Godoy© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Although we constantly experience uncertainties in life, “we need not fear, because we have a Redeemer; we have a Saviour; we have a Comforter,” said Elder Godoy. He continued: “If we are built on His Gospel, if we do our best, move forward, falling and rising — and the most important thing is to always rise — we can be sure that we have someone by our side who has already paid for our mistakes, has already put at our disposal a Power to help us, to comfort us, to give us peace, not to fear.”

The theme of reliance on Christ carried over to a live youth devotional for young people aged 11 to 18, which was broadcast to 13 countries in southern Africa. In the devotional, Elder Rasband invited youth to ask questions, and they were answered by a panel of leaders including the Rasbands, Godoys and the Africa South area presidency members and their wives.

Several young people expressed feelings of loneliness, isolation and discouragement. In response to this, Sister Melanie Rasband said, “I feel very strongly about the blessing of the Holy Ghost in our lives. That when we feel abandoned or when we feel alone, or we feel like we can’t do something anymore … I know that the Holy Ghost can comfort us and help us to ease those pains and those burdens. There is always help. There is always hope.”

Afterwards, Tshiamo Mkhumbuza, from Springs, South Africa, said, “I feel I’m never alone, and the Saviour is always with me.”

That feeling of being supported and loved by Jesus Christ resonated for Amukelani Nkuna from Ruimsig, South Africa. He said, “The question that I had – that I’ve had for a while actually, is: does the Lord love me, and does He care for me? And that’s what I heard every time [in the answers] – that the Lord does love you, and He does care for you; that He will be there for you all the time.”

Bridgette Aramugam from Sandton, South Africa, described afterwards a question she posed from the audience: “I asked how people who struggle with mental illness like depression, anxiety can … wake up in the mornings to attend church, or even make it at all. [Elder Rasband] shared a scripture with me from The Book of Mormon. It [said that] we can turn to the Lord and that He will help us. I felt the Spirit and I felt like I wasn’t alone.” 

As a result of this experience, Bridgette says she is going to “depend on the Young Women more, and people in the church to help me build my testimony further. I know that they’re there for me.”

Elder Rasband concluded the session by sharing an invitation for everyone to deepen their knowledge of the Saviour through scripture study.

“Wherever you are in your life, this little formula will help you,” he said. “If you want to know your Saviour better, and you want to love Him more … study Him in the scriptures. The more you know Him, I promise you, the more you will love Him”.

He ended with a special prayer and apostolic blessing for all the young people across the area. “Our young friends … I pray that Heavenly Father will bless every one of you,” said the Apostle.

“We love you, we thank you, and we need you.”





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