As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quickly grows in Angola, the members are looking forward to the dedication of the African country’s first meetinghouse soon.
“We waited for more than 20 years. It’s very important for us. We are excited about it,” said Luanda Angola Stake President Nuno A. Campos.
Members of the Church in Angola have been meeting in borrowed or rented buildings. Ground was broken last July for the stake center in Luanda, and the building is almost finished.
Members and missionaries plan to invite people from the community and from other faiths to come and see the building.
President Campos — who has been serving as stake president for just over a year — also believes the stake will be split soon because of all the growth in the country.
As of December 31, 2021, the Church had 4,160 members – a 298% increase in membership over the previous 10 years.
The latest information on ChurchofJesusChrist.org lists 4,760 members in Angola, with eight wards and 11 branches organized into the Luanda stake and the Angola Luanda District.
Angola is bordered by Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo along the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the Church’s Africa South Area, the country is predominantly Christian and Portuguese-speaking.
Many people are recognizing that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ makes all the difference in their lives, President Campos said.
“Angola is a country that loves the gospel. … Something we would like to pass on to the world is that the Church has great potential here,” he said.
The Church members work hard and are humble in their Church service.
“We know it is voluntary work, but there is a deep love. People do the best they can, but we noticed that they really want to do what is their best,” said President Campos.
Missionary Work in Angola
The Angola Luanda Mission leaders, President Scott O. Sykes and Sister Jennifer Sykes, began their service in July 2022.
They say wherever they go, almost everyone has questions about their name tags and wants to learn more about the Church.
Sister Sykes will leave the grocery store with several names of people wanting to meet with the missionaries. Teenagers and young adults follow the full-time missionaries and ask how they can be like them.
Then, as young adults join the Church, they work to be ready to serve a mission of their own. The Sykes said there are missionaries serving right now in their mission from Angola who are serving alongside the missionaries who baptized them a year ago.
“They are a people ripe and ready to receive the gospel and they want to share it with everyone else,” Sister Sykes said.
Many people talk about meeting the missionaries, praying and then having a dream or a vision, which has happened in other African nations as well. President Sykes said he does not know why it is more common in Africa, but he feels it is in the people’s nature that they are willing to receive inspiration in that form. He called their faith “incredible.”
“It’s really marvelous. Many miracles and wonderful things are happening,” he said.
Angola Church Members Spread the Gospel
Besides the work of the full-time teaching missionaries, the Church is growing quickly through the efforts of individual members.
President Sykes explained that members who move to a new city without a ward or a branch will worship in their homes and invite their neighbors. Soon, 20 people may be meeting together. Then the missionaries will be sent to that city, and they baptize the group. After six months, even more people are meeting together. Soon a new branch is formed in that city.
“The members have brought 50, 60, 70 people to their house. The whole concept of ‘love, share, invite’ is in their DNA. It’s just amazing how they are thrilled to spread the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ,” President Sykes said.
Sister Sykes agreed with President Campos that the Church has so much potential in Angola.
“The people are elect and flocking to the Church. It’s amazing,” she said.
Blessings of the Temple
President Campos said local leaders are helping the members prepare to go to the temple. They have to fly to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, so for now, most members save their money to go once, where they receive their endowment and are sealed to their families.
They then share their spiritual experiences with the others when they return.
“The attendance for the temple is growing, we have great potential for that. Comparing to the past, it is better now. We think we will increase more,” President Campos said.
President Sykes said a huge group of members are completing the necessary steps and awaiting their passports right now.
“That will be such an incredible strength when they return having been endowed with power on high,” he said.
President Campos said over the last year of his service as stake president and through all the rapid growth of the Church, he has learned more about the Lord’s love and intent for the country.
“God has a plan for Angola,” he said. “Many things have changed in one year until now. We don’t have doubts. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church — we don’t have doubts about that.”
Source: The Chruch of Jesus Christ