The Church in Africa: The dawning of a brighter day

Work moves forward

Local leaders inspired- Couples needed

The work of the Lord moves steadily forward in Africa, said Elder James O. Mason of the Seventy.

Speaking Saturday afternoon, Elder Mason, who is second counselor in the Africa Area Presidency, spoke of the growth of the Church on the African continent. He told of a recent stake conference in Benin City, Nigeria, only a year after the stake was created from a mission district.

"The stake had grown by 262 members, mostly families, during that period. The percentage of member families receiving home teaching visits in this large, sprawling city is well within the range of established stakes in developed countries even though few families in Benin City own cars or telephones.

"Attendance at sacrament meeting in the new stake is high in spite of ongoing political turmoil and frequent public transportation disruptions," Elder Mason explained. "Africa is truly seeing the dawning of a brighter day.

"The first stake on the continent was created in South Africa in 1970," he noted. "The Johannesburg Temple was dedicated in 1985. Five additional stakes have more recently been organized in Nigeria and Ghana, the first a mere decade after the 1978 revelation on the priesthood. Over 50 districts of the Church are growing in Africa under inspired local leadership. The Church is authorized to do missionary work in 26 of the 44 countries included in the Africa Area."

Elder Mason said growth of the Church in Africa "moves forward deliberately and steadily according to inspired designs." Altogether, he continued, there are 80,000 members, 12 missions, 10 stakes and 425 wards and branches. "The Church proceeds," he explained, "in an orderly and planned fashion. Efforts are focused to create centers of strength. The goal is to establish deep pools of leadership that will become the foundation for future Church expansion." He said missionary work is concentrated geographically around existing chapels.

"Nearly half of the 960 full-time missionaries serving in Africa are African, and the number is growing. Retired couples play a significant role in the growth of the Church in Africa. Rich and eternal are the rewards as these couples `nourish and carry in their arms and upon their shoulders' the truth-seeking people they are called to bless. (See 1 Nephi 22.)

"Many more couples are urgently needed in Africa and elsewhere," Elder Mason said. "My Brothers and Sisters who are retired or approaching retirement, please prayerfully consider the rich blessings that flow from missionary service."

In closing remarks, Elder Mason expressed gratitude for his opportunity to serve. "I love the people of Africa," he added.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed