When Brother Moody and his family picked me up Sunday morning, I learned that I would be attending the only congregation of the church in Gabon. I learned that the church had only existed in Gabon for about a year, and that Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had dedicated Gabon in November 2013 for the preaching of the gospel. The Moody's showed me where the dedication took place, in a beautiful arboretum by a tall tree over 200 years old - article about the dedication here:
|Front side of the church|
|The scene as I entered the Primary room. The little boy is on the back row, second from the right.|
The newness of the gospel here gave me goosebumps and I was so excited to attend church. As I walked into the nice building that the Libreville Gabon branch used, I walked past a room of several children who were sitting so peacefully and quietly that you could hear a pin drop. I had not planned to sit in class with the children - in fact, as I am a Primary teacher of 6 year olds in my ward in N. Virginia, this would have been an opportunity to "get a break from the kids." However, as I looked upon these sweet, reverent spirits, I felt drawn to them. I quietly took my place at the back of the classroom. There was one little boy, the smallest boy in the class, that I was particularly drawn to. He walked, but was probably less than 2 years old. I beckoned to him and he came and sat in my lap. That was a sweet experience. Sister Moody soon arrived to lead the meeting. She is a mother of 5 and a great gal. Having learned French on her own, she beautifully led the children through their study of the Articles of Faith and through song practice for next week's primary program. Though it was pretty hot and humid, it was great to be with these children who are so reverent and Christlike. They surely have little in terms of possessions, but they possess the light of Christ.
I was honored to pass the Sacrament during the branch's Sacrament Meeting (the little boy wanted to take many pieces of bread, not just one (-: ). Following a nice meeting, I got to visit with several of the Gabonese Saints. They were very friendly and welcoming. How grateful I was that I could speak their French language! What a blessing that has been in my life. I learned that very few of them have been able to go to the temple, and very few have been baptized. Their branch is currently searching their city of Libreville (means "Free City") for a suitable pool to conduct baptisms. They could baptize folks in the Atlantic Ocean, but there is some pollution in the water. I feel spoiled to have easily had the spiritual opportunities that they have not had. But the church is growing rapidly in Africa, and there is a great power and spirit accompanying that growth. And today was the 1-year anniversary of this first Gabonese Branch!
|1-year anniversary picture of the Libreville, Gabon branch|
|Little ones picking little mushrooms after church.|
|From left to right: Brother and Sister Michael Moody, Jr., Yours Truly, Elder and Sister Michael Moody.|
|The Gabon Atlantic Ocean coastline|