Sunday, July 10, 2011

Religious changes for us in Nigeria: Part 1

moroni_and_joseph[1] My family and I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are sometimes known as Mormons. We have both been members of the church all of our lives and lived in areas where the church is well established and there have been many other members with whom to attend church. That being said we have both received our own witness that Jesus is the Christ and is the head of this church for ourselves in the manner discribed in Moroni 10:3-5 of the Book of Mormon below. (Moroni is the reserected being in white to the right, telling Joseph about how God wants his church restored)
3Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in yourchearts.
4And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with acsincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he willfmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruthof all things.
nigeria-map[1]There are no other members of the church that we know of in Yola, Nigeria (shown east of Abuja near the border of Cameroon). However, there are many members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Nigeria and there is a temple in the Port Harcourt area in Aba. There are many stakes or groups of the church in the south, but in the North which is where Yola resides there is a large mission and we believe no stakes.

We will belong to that mission, Enugu, as far as church leadership is concerned. The mission president, Pres. Buah, will be meeting us when we arrive in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on our way to Yola and we are really excited that he will take the time to do so. We are also planning on attending church that same weekend to meet other members of the church that meet in Abuja (an hour flight from Yola). The Abuja group will be the closest congregation that is safe for us to meet with. We look forward to meeting the people in Abuja. 

We have relied heavily on the social structure of the church throughout our lives. We have done much more than just attend services with the members of our church. They are our best friends outside of our families. We serve with them, love them, let them serve us and they have become our family where ever we live, because our families have lived far away from us while we have been in Ithaca. We plan to get to know and love the people that we meet in Nigeria as well, to serve them and become friends with them. We are excited to meet them! It will take more efforts on our part to get to know people that we do not meet regularly with and pray that we will be determined to make the effort, so that we do not feel isolated. I, myself, am a very social person, but will hesitate to get out much before our princess is 6 months old.

Some of our family has been concerned for our welfare, not just because we will be in Nigeria, but because the strength of the church organization will not be there for us with that welcoming social structure. But through the process we have gone through in making our own decision to go to Nigeria, the family members that were very concerned have received answers to their prayers, helping them know that it is Heavenly Father’s will that we go to Nigeria. Derrill and I also feel this way and know that Heavenly Father will be with us in this adventure and that we will learn what He wants us to through this adventure :).