First stake in Kenya created

The first stake in Kenya was created Sept. 9, 2001, by Elder Robert C. Oaks and Elder Steven E. Snow of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. The Nairobi Kenya Stake was organized from the Kenya Nairobi District in the Kenya Nairobi Mission. The new stake includes the Nairobi 1st, Nairobi 2nd, Upper-Hill, Kasarani and Riruta wards and the Westlands and Langata branches.

The meeting to establish the new stake was held in the Harambee cultural center in Nairobi with 750 in attendance. Joseph W. Sitati was called to be the first stake president of the newly formed Nairobi Kenya Stake, with Daniel Muthiani as his first counselor, and Hesborn O. Usi as second counselor. They were all serving in the Kenya Nairobi District Presidency prior to their new callings.

President Sitati, 49, was converted in 1985. He is married to Gladys Sitati and is a management consultant for Total Oil Kenya LTD. President Sitati and his wife and children were the first Kenyans to go to the temple. President Muthiani, 46, is married to Nancy Muthiani and is a businessman. President Usi, 36, is married to Consolata Usi and works as a Church facilities supervisor.

Speaking during the meeting to create the stake, Elder Oaks said: "This is a special day that the saints have come together to create the first stake in Kenya, East Africa. This is only the beginning."

He urged the members to rededicate themselves in the service of the Master. He emphasized the importance of the truths that have been restored in this the latter-day dispensation — baptism, proper understanding of the Godhead, knowing why we are here and where we came from, and the unique and sacred work that goes on in the temples of the Lord. He admonished all present to read and study the scriptures daily, to be obedient to the commandments and to strive to increase faith in Jesus Christ. He encouraged members to work for unity in their families and to listen to and follow the counsel from President Gordon B. Hinckley.

The Church was introduced into Kenya by American USAID employees and their families in the 1970s. The first African converts in Kenya were Elizaphan Osaka and his wife, Ebisiba, and their two oldest children.

They were baptized Oct. 21, 1979. Brother Osaka was a former minister. The Kenya District with two branches was created May 10, 1981. The Church received official recognition in Kenya on Feb. 25, 1991. The Kenya District reported 1,760 members on Dec. 31, 2000.