Many members of the Church have to travel long distances to attend a temple. Therefore, the announcement of a new temple blesses everyone: those who live in the new temple district, and those who might only dream of ever attending it.
Such was the case of Brother Kuteka Kamulete, who lived in the nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) with his wife, Nambwa-Mbo, and their two sons, Kabamba and Kamulete. Their third son, Vumbi, passed away in 1996.
His home in the city of Kinsuka was far from South Africa, the location of the nearest temple in Johannesburg. Brother Kamulete recalls wondering, “Why should I bother getting a temple recommend? I can’t afford to go.”
However, in 1994 President Howard W. Hunter advised all worthy Latter-day Saints to get a temple recommend, even if they lived far from a temple. Brother Kinsuka remembers, “His words touched my heart, and I asked my branch president for an interview.”
Because Brother Kinsuka worked for a man who served in the parliament of Zaire, he was sometimes considered for international travel. Late in 1995 his boss received an invitation to go to North Korea and filled out all the necessary papers to have this official assignment approved. He included Brother Kinsuka’s name on the list of those who were to travel with him.
Brother Kinsuka was dismayed when the Zaire government did not approve the plans, saying, “This refusal began a lengthy period of negotiations as my supervisor continued to try to get approval. I asked my priesthood leaders to pray with me that the plans would be approved and that my name would remain on the list. Four months later, approval was given. Only two names remained on the list—my supervisor’s and mine.”
When he received the news that the trip had been approved, he was elated, though he knew there was no temple in North Korea. He remembers hearing the following words whispered quietly in his heart: “Do not delay! Make sure Switzerland is included on your travel route.” He was beginning to hope that perhaps he would be able to go to the Swiss Temple in Bern.
He immediately went to his supervisor and suggested that they fly to and from North Korea through Switzerland. Surprisingly, his boss had no objection, so he arranged for the tickets and visas for all the countries they were to travel through. Incredibly, when the visas arrived, he discovered that all of the countries had sent them only short-term transit visas—except Switzerland, which had sent them tourist visas good for a month.
At last, it looked like things were beginning to fall into place. Brother Kinsuka reports, “At the conclusion of our assignment in North Korea, we flew to China and then on to Switzerland, landing in Geneva. My Church leader in Zaire had suggested that I contact a member of the Church named Brother Rimli as soon as I arrived in Geneva. I planned to meet Brother Rimli the following day in Bern and go to the Swiss Temple with him.
“However, my supervisor told me he wanted me to accompany him to Lausanne, another city in Switzerland. I explained that I had a very important appointment the next day and would not be able to accompany him, but he insisted that I go to Lausanne with him instead.”
Dismayed and dejected, Brother Kinsuka knew that his supervisor was the boss and could terminate his employment if he persisted. Frustrated and disappointed, he didn’t know where to turn, so he turned to the Lord.
He says, “I retired to my room and offered a prayer. Not long after, my supervisor knocked on my door and told me he had changed his mind—I didn’t need to go to Lausanne with him after all!”
He was a very humble and grateful man as he travelled to the city of Bern and met Brother Rimli at the Swiss Temple the next day. He says, “I was impressed by the beauty and stateliness of the building. The temple workers were expecting me and made me feel welcome. I felt at home there. I received my endowment that day, and it has been the greatest gift in my life”
Excerpted by Midge Nielsen from 'From Zaire to the Lord’s House,” Kuteka Kamulete, Ensign, July 1998