His trip took him to seven countries in all, with the other stops on his itinerary being Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Elder Paul E. Koelliker of the Seventy and Africa Southeast Area president accompanied Elder Holland during his travels.
Elder Holland gathered local Church leaders on a green hillside overlooking Cameroon's capital city of Yaounde and dedicated the country for the preaching of the gospel and the establishment of the Church. Standing on a large stone overlooking the city, he referenced the second chapter of Daniel regarding a stone being cut out of the mountain without hands and filling the earth, even the far reaches of the earth like Cameroon.
Later in the day, approximately 600 people gathered to hear Elder Holland speak at Yaounde's City Center. The building has a large rock atop its roof; the apostle elicited smiles from the congregation by commenting about how quickly the rock had moved from the side of the hill to the middle of the city following the dedicatory prayer.
Elder Holland dedicated Rwanda on Aug. 27 during a sacred moment on the top of a mountain overlooking the capital city, Kigali. Eric K. Hyde, president of the Kigali Branch, openly wept during the proceedings.
The African journey began when Elder Holland left Utah Aug. 16 and landed in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, on Aug. 18. While in Ethiopia, he spoke to missionaries, held a large fireside, and visited the home of Brother and Sister Yonas Haile. Their son, Fikodu, a 17-year-old priest, humbly showed Elder Holland his signed and completed Duty to God booklet. Fikodu is the first young man in Ethiopia to earn the award.
During a stake conference Aug. 22-23 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Elder Holland divided the Kinshasa DR Congo Masini Stake to create the Kinshasa DR Congo Kimbanseke Stake — DR Congo's eighth stake. Nearly 2,700 members gathered in two meetinghouses with the conference being broadcast from one location to the other over a local cable channel.
"They had 56 men sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood in just that one stake conference," Elder Holland said. "The Church in Africa is definitely growing."
Elder Holland took advantage of a five-hour plane layover in Nairobi, Kenya, to disembark and speak to the zone leaders of the Kenya Nairobi Mission.
Also in Uganda, Elder Holland paid a visit to the New Hope for Africa school and orphanage. Nearly 150 orphans ages 4 to 17 live at New Hope for Africa, where the Church is providing new living quarters and other supplies for learning.
"I thought 'New Hope for Africa' was a wonderful metaphor for everything the gospel is doing," he said in the Church News interview. "But we still have a lot of work, a lot of challenges, a lot of Africa we're still not in."
"I want the Saints to know that Africa is one of the bright, beautiful emerging frontiers of the Church," he said. "It sounds ominous sometimes just to hear the word 'Africa' because we think of dangers. Like any other place there can be dangers, but for the Church and the members it is one highlight after another, one bright spot after another.
"These people are so given to faith. I've often thought that perhaps the Lord in His justice, mercy and outreach made up for what they don't have in material blessings by giving them an extra measure of spiritual blessing and insight."
He said he doesn't agree with that description. What is his description of Africa? "With the gospel of Jesus Christ it's a beautiful bright light to the world."
— Elder Eric Jackson of the Africa Southeast Area, and Jamshid Askar and Gerry Avant of Church News