“Whenever a temple of God is constructed, it stands as another symbol of truth, righteousness, and peace as we seek to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ,” said Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, Africa Central Area President during his opening remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lubumbashi Temple.
Elder Carpenter presided over the groundbreaking of the second temple to be built in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was joined by counsellors in the Area Presidency, including Elder Thierry K. Mutombo and Elder Ian S. Ardern and other area Church leaders. The Area Presidency stressed repeatedly the importance for members to hold a current recommend from this time forward, thus allowing them access to all the Temple blessings.
Dozens of governments, community and interfaith leaders also attended, many of whom participated in the soil turning ceremony.
“I know that the temple is truly the House of the Lord and that in all the history of humanity there is no other way for people to get closer to God other than by following what is taught in the temple. It will be a huge blessing, not only to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints but also to all the people of the Congo,” Commented Honorable Jean Louis Kalamba Ndingu from the office of the Prime Minister who spoke on behalf of the government.
Elder Carpenter said in his dedicatory prayer that people of Lubumbashi had waited “with great anticipation for a temple to grace this land.”
'Many of thy children here, along with their posterity and their ancestors are anxious to receive the blessings of sacred ordinances and covenants available in the temple,” he said.
A visiting government leader, Excellence Immaculee Bagabe Betete, from the Ministry of Culture, Art and Intercommunity Relations stated,” the temple that will be built here is very symbolic, it is a symbol of unity, symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit and by consequence the presence of God. My invitation is to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are Christians, is to work tirelessly to complete the temple and to make it a reality in their lives,”, she said.
Lily Ilunga, mother of five children and married to a Church local leader, said with joy and passion,” It is a very memorable day. I said to my husband that it was as if I was in a dream, a dream that I never wanted to end. What I feel today I cannot find words to express, when the temple was announced for Lubumbashi, I said to myself ‘wow', God has heard the humble prayer of his children, he has heard my prayer.”
The Lubumbashi Temple was announced in April 2020 by Church President Russell M. Nelson. The first temple in the country was built in the country’s capital of Kinshasa and dedicated in 2019. Lubumbashi is just over 1000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from Kinshasa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to nearly 90,000 Latter-day Saints in 250 congregations.
Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Seventy and member of the Africa Central Area Presidency summed up the day when he pronounced joyfully, “ I am lost for words because it was such a magnificent experience to have all these people come in anticipation of a Temple rising up from the ground towards God, and for them to one day have the privilege to enter in and perform the ordinances necessary for them and their ancestors to return to live with God once more.”
The Lubumbashi Temple will be built on a 2.57-acre site and will be 19,300 square feet (1800 square meters) in size and will includes two endowment rooms of 30 seats each. The temple site will also include ancillary buildings of 31,000 square feet (2800 square meters) to provide space for patron and missionary housing and a distribution center.
Elder Carpenter said that he was “particularly pleased” to see young men and young women and children attending the groundbreaking. “This temple will be a beacon of hope and spiritual guidance as you prepare to receive your own temple blessings here,” he told the young people.
Elder Thierry Mutombo of the Seventy, first counsellor in the Africa Central Area Presidency said,” Lubumbashi is a great place for us to be today, Sister Mutombo and I are so grateful to be here, this is our homeland, we are so grateful to witness God’s love for the people. This Temple will bless lives on both sides of the veil, this place will be a place of joy, a place of peace, and a place of learning.”
Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ from meetinghouses or chapels, where members meet for Sunday worship services. Each temple is considered a “house of the Lord,” where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and to serve others.