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2 days in a month, 2 cities in Nigeria results in 110 people baptized

73 were baptized on June 24 in Makurdi and another 37 in Jos in the West African nation

Months of work from a new Makurdi Nigeria District presidency, full-time missionaries and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this West African nation resulted in an unprecedented baptismal service on June 24.

Seventy-three people were baptized that day, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.

“Great miracles were recorded although the adversary fought back,” said Iniembe Hembadoon Linda of the Makurdi district. “We overcame all our challenges by the power of the Holy Ghost, who actually led this great work.”

And the combined efforts of missionaries, local leaders and members in the Jos Nigeria District has led to new baptisms there, including 37 people being baptized on July 23, less than a month after the multiple Makurdi baptisms.

The Jos District has seen huge growth — the Church News reported in May that a total of 104 people were baptized in three baptismal services over the course of the previous two months.

Much of it began with Simon Panan Mwanchi, who desired to share the gospel with his family, friends and neighbors in Mangu. 

At the first baptismal service in March, President Joseph Samson Garba, second counselor in the Jos District presidency, said, “This service was more than just baptismal services. It was a day for rekindling faith, a day to remember covenants, and a day to rejoice as family in the Lord’s kingdom. God truly sees and blesses all of His children.”

Efforts in Makurdi, Nigeria

The Church was established in Makurdi in 2001 and has five branches in the district, which operates under the direction of the Nigeria Enugu Mission. Makurdi is the capital of the Benue State in central Nigeria.

In April, a district conference was held where a new district presidency was called. More than a thousand people attended — many of them were not members of the Church. The full-time missionaries assigned to the district were overwhelmed with the number of people interested in learning more.

Missionaries from the Nigeria Enugu Mission.
Missionaries from the Nigeria Enugu Mission serving in the Makurdi Nigeria District, June 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The new presidency immediately called for a leadership council to be held the following week to discuss missionary work. The leadership council drew five members from each of the five branches and formed the “Makurdi District Member Missionaries.” A new district mission leader worked with the branches to report to District President Toryila C. Kpochi.

The district leadership also collaborated closely with Nigeria Enugu Mission President Hesbon Usi to coordinate efforts. Member missionaries met regularly with the full-time teaching missionaries to see how they could support each other. For example, as the full-time missionaries taught people, members translated the lessons into local dialects for easier understanding.

The district Relief Society president was also a big part of the work, never missing an opportunity to teach and fellowship with the missionaries. And the district mission leader, Dondoan Rhodes, encouraged members to go out daily and made himself available to translate as well.

Dondoan Rhodes (center), Makurdi Nigeria District mission leader, with full-time teaching missionaries from the Nigeria Enugu Mission in June 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Huge growth of the Church in Nigeria

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen considerable growth in the Africa West Area. Currently there are over 450,000 members and 1,617 congregations in the area, reported Africa Newsroom.

Late last year the Church announced the creation of three new missions for West Africa — and two are in Nigeria. On July 1, the Nigeria Aba Mission and the Nigeria Abuja Mission officially opened, making nine missions total in Nigeria.

The Africa West Area now has 20 missions covering Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Gambia.

Missionaries in the Nigeria Lagos Mission.
Missionaries in the Nigeria Lagos Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the Jos District in early 2023. Jos is now part of the new Nigeria Abuja Mission as of July 1, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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