Maputo Stake Is Created
Sunday, 15 February was an historic day. It marked the creation of the first stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the African country of Mozambique. Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, presided over the stake creation, accompanied by Elder Khumbulani D. Mdletshe, Area Seventy. Joao Carlos da Costa Castanheira is the new Stake President, with Jaime Ernesto Massango as First Counselor and Justino Mendes Anselmo as Second Counselor.
The Maputo Mozambique Stake was created from the Maputo Mozambique District. President Paulo B. Kretly, the Mozambique Maputo Mission President, said, “This has not been the work of any one person, but the work of many people: leaders, members, and missionaries, all working together.” In fact, a common expression in Mozambique is, “Estamos juntos”—Portuguese for “We are together.”
President and Sister Kretly reminisced that when they first attended a district conference in Maputo at the beginning of their mission in 2012, there were 400 people in attendance. In this joyous stake conference there were 1,028 attending. What an amazing example of the Lord Jesus Christ hastening His work!
One of the highlights was the testimony shared by President Salmo Paulo Gonçalves, a pioneer saint in the area, currently serving as a counselor in the mission presidency. He joined the Church 23 years ago and served in many callings over the years, including being a former district president. “God prepares people for the roles He needs them to fill,” Gonçalves said. “I have witnessed the Lord’s hand in preparing President Castanheira to be this first stake president.”
Special music was provided by a choir of young single adult members.
Another long-time member, Sister Nilsa, remembered being present in 1999 when Elder Richard G. Scott dedicated the country of Mozambique for the preaching of the Gospel. “The formation of this stake is a fulfillment of a prophecy from Elder Scott’s dedicatory prayer,” she said.
The Lord added a significant tender mercy to this weekend with regards to the weather. Saturday, 14 February was sweltering hot—39˚C (102˚F), with a forecast for rain on Sunday morning. However, as we prayed for the Lord’s help, the rain poured down Saturday night, and Sunday dawned bright, breezy, and much cooler—28˚C (82˚F).