Sunday, February 24, 2008
The 112th good thing about Lagos: Mission Presidents: Past, Present and Future
Last Sunday after our Stake Conference meeting, the US expatriates were invited to dinner by the Dyrengs, our Lagos mission president and his wife. There are 2 LDS missions in Lagos and both of the mission presidents will be going home this summer. Mission presidents here have 2-year terms instead of the typical 3-year service period, due to the hard duty of this posting. We had an especially interesting discussion, as we were joined by the Harpers, who were the Dyreng's predecessors in this mission, though at that time it was headquartered in another city. During the Dyreng's tenure, the mission headquarters was moved to Lagos. The Harpers had been home for only a year when they were called to be the President and Matron of the Aba Nigeria temple. Sister Harper told about how she wrote up her post-mission report and said she loved Nigerians and loved serving here, but she never wanted to go back to Nigeria again in her life. Big mistake! They didn't get much time away from here, but were very faithful and willing to come back here for two years to serve in the temple. She said they loved serving there, but I know it has to be difficult in many ways because the temple is in an area where white people are a particular target, so they are very limited in their activities outside the temple compound. Along with the Dyrengs and Harpers in this picture are the Neuders. They are in our ward and were recently called to serve as mission presidents. Though last week when we took this picture we didn't know where they would serve, there was a strong suspicion that they would be returning to Lagos to serve. They are currently in their second stint here working for an oil company and have lived in Lagos for a total of 11 years, so they have a lot of experience with life here. Today, on their last Sunday before retirement and leaving town, they announced that they received their call to the Nigeria, Lagos West mission. This is not the mission that we are currently in, but I'm sure our paths will cross after they return to Lagos in July. Heading up a mission in Nigeria is not an easy task. These leaders have special challenges that are not typical in other missions of the church. I'm thankful that these couples are willing to sacrifice two years of their lives to serve the people of Nigeria.