News Release

Ground Breaking Event for New Chapel in Ezakheni

On Saturday, 9 June 2013, members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as The Mormons) gathered in Ezakheni Township, South Africa, to pick up a shovel and turn over the soil to officially announce the lot where their new chapel will be built.

The group met in a make-shift tent where plans for the new chapel were on display.  Construction was due to start immediately after the ceremony.  Newcastle District President Thamsanqa Ngubane presided, with other leaders in attendance:  Newcastle District 1st  Counselor, Mthenjwa S. Gamede; Newcastle District 2nd Counselor, Samuel Mbhele; Former Ezakheni Branch President, Amos Moloi;  Current Ezakheni Branch President, Titus Egwuatu, Elder Craig Miller and Elder Scott Wilding, full-time Senior Missionaries for the Church.   

Amos Moloi, the first Branch President of the Ezakheni Branch, spoke about the history of the Branch that originally met in Ladysmith.  Members of the congregation had to hire transport from Ezakheni  to Ladysmith each Sunday for services.  They longed for a place of their own to meet in Ezakheni and were eventually able to rent another church’s facility until officials of that church told them they could no longer meet in the building.  They had nowhere else to meet, so they were faced with having to hire transport to Ladysmith again for their services.  The members prayed that they would be able to stay in Ezakheni and eventually a former butcher shop became available.   Although the building was not ideal, they gave thanks for a place to call their own.

As the Ezakheni Branch members continued to be faithful and grew in numbers, they were finally granted their own building, to be built by the Church, as a place for them to not only worship, but for children’s activities, youth seminary, institute and activities, as well as women’s group meetings and other member activities. 

Ezakheni Branch President Egwuatu spoke about this being a long journey, and that Heavenly Father takes us step by step until we reach a level where He wants us to be.  The members were congratulated on taking those steps and remaining strong in their faith. 

When Elder Craig Miller, Priesthood Leader of the Newcastle District, spoke, he said that as they sang the song about “The Spirit of God” he hoped they felt the Spirit of God in their souls and would reach out to the community and serve them.  He pointed out how it would not be long before the youth of the Church would be on missions, or teachers to other youth, women leaders, and Priesthood leaders.  Elder Miller asked the members to think of this building as a beacon to all the people who live in Ezakheni and to continue to do things that will help the Church grow, like strengthening families (as families are the center of the Church), doing service for the community, and inviting others in Ezakheni to come to Church services.  He said that with blessings come responsibility, and members have a responsibility to be good examples by studying the scriptures, praying often, and performing service for others.

Elder and Sister Wilding, along with Elder and Sister Miller, were instrumental in hurrying this new building along.  Both Sister Wilding and Sister Miller expressed a deep love for the people they work with.  They are serving an 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as unpaid volunteers who donate their time to serve the people of South Africa.

The mood was one of appreciation and excitement.  Everyone wanted to have part in breaking ground with shovels.  All ages and groups participated in the groundbreaking.

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