This week we were privileged to listen to Elder Bednar twice. The first was a YSA “FHE” where he answered questions and taught. The second was the dedicatory service for the new MTC. He and Sr. Bednar were at the end of a two week tour of Africa and he commented on the temples in Africa - Kinshasa to be completed early next year, Durbin under construction, Nairobi announced, and Abidjan waiting the start of construction. 8 total ( see map here http://ldschurchtemples.org/maps/ )
The YSA meeting was classic apostolic instruction - taking questions and then teaching, and including the other general authorities and wives in answering those questions. One of his themes came through again: objects are acted upon; children of God are called to act. I think my favorite comment was about time and space: The Sabbath is God’s time, not ours. We are to remember and prepare for keeping covenants. The temple is God’s space, for the same purpose. We should make the Sabbath and the temple different than any other time and space. We bring the Lord’s time and space back into our home to elevate it, because it is the most sacred space. We were greatly complimented when two of our students from Sunday school and Institute came to us after and told us that we had taught them everything that Elder Bednar and the Area Presidency had taught that evening.
There was much about the dedication that was truly inspiring: the quiet and peace in the room as we waited in our seats for most of an hour before the meeting started, the choir director [a missionary] who had been in the MTC a total of 4 days, the prayers given in French and English by an elder and sister after only 4 weeks of language study, the power of 11 mission presidents and wives, 200 young missionaries from 21 countries, all the Area presidency, with 20 adult missionary couples, and the Temple President with his five full-time missionaries plus several Area Seventies. All of this was a prelude to the arrival of Elder Bednar, an apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and his wife Susan.
Sister Bednar shared her experiences with her 3 missionary sons: one who needed affirmation that God would be with him [D&C 84:87,88], one who needed the gift of tongues with his call to Finland - her definition of the gift of tongues was not limited to learning another language but emphasized teaching the gospel with clarity, and another son who returned to his mission in Bolivia with his dad to find that some of his converts were bishops and their children were missionaries. Her emphasis to him was that we are called not for 2 years but to honor God for the rest of our lives.
Elder Bednar explained to the mayor of Accra, the Police Chaplain, and other visitors the name of the church in the context of the original church, the apostasy and the restoration of that same church in simple concise phrases. He referred to the statement made by Joseph Smith in 1834 to all who held the priesthood in Kirtland Ohio. "..You know no more concerning the destinies of this church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it. It is only a little handful of priesthood you see here tonight, but this church will fill North and South America - it will fill the world.” Then he referred to Daniel and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, saying that stone was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We living in Africa see this happening right before our eyes, as new stakes are being created almost weekly in West Africa.
The dedicatory prayer was beautiful, profound, and moving. One excerpt: He likened the MTC to the school of the prophets: a house of learning, of faith, of prayer, a house of glory. We were grateful to be part of this historical event.
|Dr.Kissi, an early Ghanaian pioneer|