Saturday, May 21, 2011

The 271st good thing about Lagos: A new LDS Stake in Lagos

My regular blog readers know that I am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  My church has many members here in Lagos and it must be growing.   The church has been organized into two Stakes here in Lagos, and last Sunday members of both Stakes gathered for a conference where a third Stake was organized.  (An LDS Stake is like a Catholic diocese -- an administrative unit that consists of a number of congregations which are organized geographically.)

Because the Stake building is full when there is just one stake gathering, we knew it would be stretched to the limit with both stakes in attendance.  The meeting was scheduled to begin at 10, and I heard that people were arriving at 7 AM.  We got there just before 8:30 and the main building was full.
They had set up tents out all over the parking lot with video projections from the podium.  They actually had a good sound system and the video worked.  There were strong fans outside, so actually we ended up being more comfortable outside under the tent than inside the building.  There's no AC in this building, so, with it as packed as it was, it got pretty warm in there.  I don't know why this picture of Brent came out looking so strange -- it's a normal picture, but when I put it into blogger it got all distorted.

We are now members of the new Stake, the Lagos South Stake. 

There were lots of missionaries on hand to hand out pamphlets and answer questions.  When we go to Stake Conference, which is on the mainland, our company requires us to go in the bullet-proof vehicle and with policeman and security detail.  We think this is exercising much more caution than is necessary on a Sunday morning, as the troublemakers are usually sleeping off their Saturday night by then.  But one of our company security guys has come with us before to Stake Conference and, instead of napping in the car with the driver and policemen, he attended the meeting.  He's said before how much he enjoyed our church and after this meeting he had lots of questions and said it was all very interesting.  We told him about how all these new Stake leaders that were put in place had regular jobs and their church responsibilities were taken on as volunteer/lay positions.  They would not receive a salary for their church work.  He thought that was amazing.  There was talk in the meeting about LDS temples and the hope expressed that someday a temple would be built in Lagos.  The security guy asked questions about the temple and said that he thought he would like to join our church so someday he could go to the temple.  So we got his contact information to pass on to the missionaries so he could learn more about it.

We love associating with these Nigerian members of the church.  They have a wonderful spirit and excitement about the gospel.  My American LDS friends may be interested to know that I could almost count on my fingers the number of white people in this gathering of thousands. The reorganization was assisted by two black church authorities, one from Kenya and one from Nigeria.  All the members of Stake presidencies of the three Stakes are black Nigerians.  Though the church may seem awfully white in much of the United States, here it is entirely a different color -- and that's a very great thing!  It was exciting to be here for this evidence of the growth of the LDS Church in Nigeria.


Anonymous said...

I'm catching up on your blog. (= Thanks for sharing. Love the pics!

Moriarty said...

Hey Carolie,
We just had the first Stake ever organized here in Indonesia. It was pretty neat. Elder Bednar came and did it. It was interesting having nearly every Branch Presidency released and new Bishoprics called for the units.

Jojo said...

I just love reading about the growth of the church in Nigeria! The very first lds baptism in Nigeria was on my 11th birthday, the 21st of November 1978 - to realise that the church has grown to over 84.000 there in the last 30 years is mindboggling!Especially since I live in a country where church membership has remained at a stable 4000 during the same time period... (Norway)Thank you so much for sharing! I sincerely hope I can visit the countru of my birth one day in the future, and witnes this amazing growth for myself!

Melissa F said...

I may have already mentioned this to you, but here in our ward are several Nigerians - all men. Also from Ghauna and a few other African countries. We're in the international ward so they are always the converts, but it seems like every weekend we have a West African getting baptized. We love it! It's nice to feel a connection with Nigeria still.