“I have always marveled that in October 1831, when there would have been only a few hundred members of the Church, the Lord made this powerful declaration through the Prophet Joseph Smith: "The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth" (D&C 65:2).
One of the quiet confirmations of the restored gospel is the miraculous way this promise is being fulfilled.
On Wednesday, February 17, at 11 a.m., while traveling from Zimbabwe to Botswana, Kathy and I, along with Elder and Sister Carl B. Cook of the Seventy and Area President in the Africa Southeast Area, met with the branch members in Kasane, Botswana. Kasane, a small town with only a few thousand inhabitants, is far from the Botswana capital of Gaborone, where we have a stake. Isolated from other large population centers, the branch is not part of a district or a stake but is watched over by the mission president.
It was a blessing for Kathy and me to hear the histories and testimonies of the branch members. The branch president, Brother Tebogo Khombane, joined the Church as a student in Durban, South Africa. Sister Cornelia Rautenbach came to Kasane for work from Zimbabwe and was introduced to the Church by friends in Harare. Brother Meshack Keimetswe and Sister Nametsegang Keimetswe were family friends as children. Both eventually joined the Church and moved to Kasane shortly after getting married. The Lopez family is from Mexico and have a daughter, Aurora, serving a mission on Temple Square. Zambia and Kenya were also represented. Several had joined the Church in Kasane since the branch had been organized. A sister who had just recently been baptized this past December spoke of her desire to be an example to the six in attendance who were not yet baptized. I exclaimed to the branch, "And you did all this without missionaries?" They quickly and kindly corrected my declaration. "We are the missionaries," they responded!
The Spirit of the Lord filled our meeting together. We were sad to leave but left as friends and fellow disciples of Christ. I was deeply moved by their conviction of the Savior and the restored gospel. They reconfirmed what I already knew: the gospel is moving across all the world, and righteous people in every nation, among an amazing array of cultures, languages, and economic situations will greet the Savior when He returns. And while it is not easy to be apart from a large body of Church members, every disciple of Christ has access to his or her Father in Heaven through prayer; every baptized member has the right to the gift of the Holy Ghost; every committed Latter-day Saint can keep the commandments and study the scriptures; and to have the guidance of the prophet and the ability to have the strength of the sacrament and the other ordinances, we are deeply blessed.
Kathy and I were pleased to meet with Sister Cornelia Rautenbach who has been instrumental in the Growth of the branch in kasane.”
‘Early Days’ of their ‘Group’ in Kasane, Botswana…
First Sacrament meeting was held in a Members Home on 9 May, 2010
Meeting in a Member’s Home…
With President & Sister Poulsen, their Mission President Couple
Cornelia was Baptized in Harare, Zimbabwe…
For her first 5 years of membership in the Church while living in Kasane, Botswana, 3-4 times a year Cornelia drove and crossed the border from Kasane, Botswana to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and then caught an hours flight to be able to partake of the Sacrament. She FASTED & PRAYED for a ‘Branch’ to be started in Kasane, Botswana!
She is now living in Maun, Botswana (600km from Kasane) where her non-member Parents live.Over the past few months she has been BLESSED to find 17 other Members of the Church who live in Maun…
Her Prayer once again is to be able to start a Branch in Maun and to be able to partake of the Sacrament!!