“To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood,” was the theme of recent firesides (inspirational meetings) held at eight stakes and six districts in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. A stake is a church unit comprising of 8-10 congregational units, and a district usually has 5-7 units. The fireside was based on a talk given by Elder David. A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, given at Brigham Young University at Education Week in August of 2014. Brigham Young University is a private church-owned university located in Provo, Utah. The education week draws members and friends from a wide geographical area and is typically attended by nearly 8,000 people. As Elder Bednar taught about the benefits of the internet and the use of Social Media, he encouraged members to build testimony of God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, to testify of the Plan of Salvation or God’s Great Plan of Happiness, and to proclaim the Restoration of Christ’s Gospel in this final dispensation.
Elder and Sister Davis, volunteer missionaries serving in public affairs who live in Harare, Zimbabwe, presented the firesides and taught that if used for good, all types of social media can help to accomplish the Lord’s work on earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sponsors a Facebook page in each of these countries: Zimbabwe Mormon Newsroom, Zambia Mormon Newsroom, and Malawi Mormon Newsroom. Members were encouraged to set up their own Facebook page and use it to reach out to their friends with their testimony of various Gospel principles. In these African countries, many community members surround their homes with high concrete or brick walls with a guarded gate for entry. It is difficult for missionaries to reach those people with a message of God's love and His plan of salvation. However, members can utilize the tools of social media to reach their friends and followers with the good news of the Gospel, as well as building bridges within the larger community encouraging them to know, trust, and foster friendship with members and leadership within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Firesides are yet to take place in Harare Stake, Gweru Stake, Nkulumane Stake, and Malawi districts.