Friday, October 22, 2010

A Day of Dedication to Remember

That little white spot is finally and officially filled. The Church has both presence and the land is dedicated.  Those of you following this adventure have read of the gradual unfolding of the Church here in Burundi. Now as of Oct 19th the land is officially dedicated to the preaching of the gospel. Elder Jeffery R. Holland and Elder Steven Snow, in a whirlwind visit stood with a small handful of missionaries and the local group leader and his wife at the site of the Burundian monument to unity on a prominent hill overlooking the city of Bujumbura nestled on the shores of the beautiful Lake Tanganyika. There in the shadow of the prominent University of the Saint Esprit on the hill above the monument, they united in a dedicatory prayer to implore the Lord's influence and power upon this little war-torn country that currently enjoys a season of peace. 

Prior to the dedicatory prayer Elder Snow spoke to us, especially the missionaries about the role and importance of an apostle of God. He bore a powerful testimony of Elder Holland's call from The Savior. Elder Holland then spoke to especially to the missionaries about the purpose of dedications. 
He explained to us that only apostles can dedicate a country; that It is by this that the destiny of the people is turned over to the Lord; That anymore than Joseph Smith could have understood the Lord's intentions and purposes as he walked from the grove of trees, neither can we understand what the Lord will do here; That it is difficult to imagine an entire country of priesthood holders with faithful families but that is what is going to happen. He emphasized that were it left up to us it wouldn't happen, we are not that good. He helped us see that  when we officially ask the Lord as in a dedication, when we turn our lives over to Him and ask to be used as His instruments then the miracles occur.  He underlined that it is an incredible responsibility, we have to do this right.  And then along with the responsibility come the immense personal privileges!
The prayer will be published in the Church News and Liahona/Ensign soon. This writing and the news, however can never capture the power of the Spirit that we felt. After the dedication there was a wonderful meeting for members and investigators. President Packer, Elder Snow, and then Elder Holland spoke. We only had a handful of members, even rare for the dedication of a new country but the room was full of investigators, some coming from as far as 90 miles away... (and none have cars).
Waiting for the meeting to begin... investigators filled the room.

Elder Holland with investigators from miles away

He explained to them that they will have to spend the rest of their life, just as he and Elder Snow, learning about the church.
He clarified that the journey isn’t over when you are baptized. It is just beginning.
He admonished them to read and study their scriptures.  That they would need to learn all they can.
He directed them to listen and learn and study with the missionaries.
He explained that  baptism is a covenant and asked them if they knew what a covenant is?  He answered his own question by explaining that a covenant is a promise;  in this case, it is promise to God.  He helped them see when they are baptized, they promise to keep His commandments, that baptism is the start of a life time of keeping commandments. 

Elder Holland with Pastors Methode and Moise

Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.      DC 64:33


  1. So amazingly wonderful. Mama you look beautiful! I miss you both and love you SO much! I am so proud of what you are doing in the service of the Lord! <3

  2. So incredibly wonderful!!! So happy for you and your opportunity to be there at such an amazing moment. How truly blessed the people there are (and not just to have you there!). =)

    Love you!!

  3. What a special and wonderful occasion. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Amazing. I felt the spirit of the work by just reading your words and seeing the photos. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I finally had the chance to go back and read (and view) all the posts on your blog. Each posting was very touching and shows what remarkable people you are working with. It is very humbling to see how dedicated the people are to the gospel--even without baptism and the full blessings of the gospel yet in their lives. I had the strong impression that our Heavenly Father is truly watching over them. How great it is for you to be such a part of His great work! I am going to be more diligent in my own life to get prepared to serve as a missionary couple...

  6. Wow! I don't have the words to describe what an amazing opportunity and blessing you've shared here. Thank you! Seeing you both in the thick of such a wonderful time in history. I'm so happy for you and the people of Burundi that are a part of the Lord's gathering at this time. :-) Some of the Lord's choicest blessings...