Sunday, February 26, 2012

LDS in Nigeria's neighbors today

Here is the story of a young Ghanaian man who used the Perpetual Education Fund (what is it?) to finish a degree in accounting.
For me, the PEF program bears witness of a living prophet who reveals the will of a living Father who knows and is mindful of the needs of His children. This program has been a blessing that has helped me fulfill my dream of getting a higher education.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visited Liberia, Ghana, and Sierra Leone in the last two weeks. He has been overseeing the African areas of the Church for the last five years, if I read the article right. He was most impressed by the spiritual and operational maturity of the members. Nearly all are first-generation members (converts rather than children of converts), and yet in the 30 years the Church has been active in west Africa he has seen how far these members have come in assimilating the patterns of Church governance and spiritual growth. He also talked about his hope for their future:

"I came home so moved by them and their faith," said Elder Holland. "Africans have such a remarkable quality and depth of faith and spirituality. They are believing, instinctively spiritual people. They believe in miracles. They have them, and they had them while we were there" ...
"I spent half of the trip in tears just observing everyone's faith, everyone's willingness to serve, everyone's desire to do the right thing and grow the Church," Elder Holland said. "They want the gospel; they want the Spirit of the Lord in their lives. They want it for their children. And all of this has happened in a matter of just a few short years. That's the Church we are seeing in West Africa." ...
As I concluded the last session of the last conference to a standing-room only congregation, I had the impression to invite two children — a brother and sister — to come up," he said. "He had on a white shirt and tie. She wore a beautiful, colorful dress." He said that as he stood there with his arms around the children, he saw a future of hope for the children, and the entire Church in Africa.
"Their future — and the future of the Church — is bright, filled with possibility," he said. "I don't know what their lives might have promised 200 years ago, or 500 years ago, or 2,000 years ago, but in this day, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church established in this land, I can promise and see in great detail what their future will be. What hope, and faith and possibility they have.
"Against the sometimes dark tapestry of African history, it is dramatic what light the gospel has brought — the hope it gives to the people," he said. "In addition to blessing the members ... I was to able to pray for and bless the land, the people at large, government officials and for peace among warring factions that might put an end to such horrific history.