Sunday, May 20, 2012

LDS in Nigeria 1992: Being the Light

A February 1992 Ensign article describes four people in different parts of the world and how they serve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of them is David Eka of Nigeria. Even before joining the Church, he prayed regularly and felt God's protecting hand:
With the assurance that the Lord was protecting him, he prayed every night in the bush, promising to serve God if he arrived home safely. He was forewarned once, he says, by “a still small voice in me” to leave a bunker that was bombed seconds later. The Lord protected him, and he safely returned home. ...
He was asked to assist Church representatives in the translation and proofreading of selections from the Book of Mormon. “That gave me a chance to know what was in the Book of Mormon. At the end of it, I knew it was all true.”
He wrote to tell his wife of his baptism, but it was not until she rejoined him in Nigeria that she saw for herself the changes wrought by the gospel in his life. She began her own secret study of his books. After gaining a testimony, she told him that she, too, wanted to be baptized. ...
He served as the first black stake president in Africa and now serves as a regional representative for the Aba Nigeria Region. ...

“We carry temple recommends even though we don’t have a temple.” He dreams of the day when there will be a temple in Nigeria. He and his wife are among a handful of endowed members in their country; most cannot afford to travel to the temple in London, and even if they could afford the fare to Johannesburg, they could not go to South Africa for political reasons. ...
He sees great potential for growth in membership there. “Proselyting in Africa is very easy. Everyone is excited about something new.” Those who have studied outside their country are particularly open to new ideas, he says.
Many Christians in his country are accustomed to studying and quoting the Bible regularly, Brother Eka says, even though it may not provide all the answers they are seeking. They are usually interested in the gospel when they find “that the Book of Mormon provides nearly all the missing links.”
Mary Ellen Edmunds, who was previously mentioned here, also wrote an article about pioneering women she had met around the world, including in Nigeria:
 Many of the pioneer faces in my mind are the faces of friends in Nigeria, West Africa. When I first arrived there in January 1984, I met Cecilia and learned of her creative pioneering in what seemed to me the overwhelming task of day-to-day living. I said, “You are my teacher.”
She responded, “I will be your teacher.”
I told her that I didn’t know if I could learn very fast, because she had so much to teach me. She smiled gently and said, “I will teach slowly.”...
One of the most important lessons I learned in Africa was to examine my priorities and values. In one of our Relief Society lessons there, the manual recommended that children should be helped to keep their drawers clean and neat. One of the sisters asked, “What is a drawer?” ..
It still amuses me that my companion Ann and I were sent to teach Cecilia and others about self-reliance. While I hope we were able to share some information about health and sanitation that made a difference for them, I know that I personally learned the greatest lessons. Most of those lessons I learned from them had to do with self-reliance. I’m convinced that Cecilia and her sisters can handle any emergency. Forging onward, ever onward, they are indeed blessed, honored pioneers.
In the January 1993 New Era (for youth), the question was asked how someone with little money can help the poor or disabled. One of the answers was:
Feeling guilty is not the solution. My branch Relief Society wanted to help the disabled, but they had no money. They helped in cleaning up an area. This project fetched them some money which they used to help the disabled. Try to do something which can help.
Ngozi Okoro, 15 Lagos, Nigeria
For more posts on LDS in Nigeria, see here.