Following ‘discipline of love’ neighbors befriend new father

ENUGU, Nigeria — I live in a spacious compound containing 16 flats. We hold tenant association meetings, and I am the association secretary.

On Dec. 16, 2002, we held the end-of-year meeting during which we were informed that the wife of a tenant gave birth to a baby girl. I observed that there was not the usual excitement among the members. This could be because the man had not attended any meetings for three years; neither has he paid his financial dues or participated in any activities.

He failed to notify the association that he was married and his wife had a baby. These notifications are required according to our compound constitution. Some members expressed their feelings in this way: "He does not care to be part of us, let's forget him." "I feel we should send some delegates to him to collect all his outstanding financial dues." "I will not go with you people to visit him."

At this juncture I recalled the words of our prophet and said: "A prophet of God, President Gordon B. Hinckley, said, 'There is no discipline in all the world like the discipline of love, it has a magic of its own.' I suggest we follow the counsel of the prophet and visit the family with a Christmas card and rejoice with him for his wife and new baby."

There was a brief silence in the room. "I feel this suggestion is fine," said the man who had wanted to forget them.

The visit to the family was made and we were warmly received. We had a prayer with the family. The father assured us he would be attending meetings and meet up his financial obligations.

The peace and joy of the tiding season filled our hearts as we left the family's apartment.

Stephen C. Ejielo is president of the Enugu Nigeria District.