About the Cote d’ Ivoire Abidjan East Mission

Map of West AfricaAbidjan MapMap Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan East Mission

Cote d’ Ivoire Abidijan East Mission

Sabwe and Lilly Binene

Sabwe Binene, 47, and Lilly Kabumba Binene, four children, Kabusanga Ward, Luputa Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake: Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan Mission, succeeding President Marc Sahy and Sister Akassiba M. Sahy.

Brother Binene serves as a stake president and is a former district president, seminary supervisor, and ward mission leader. Owner, private school. Born in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Benjamin Sabwe Katete and Mulaji Kabamba.

Sister Binene is a former branch Relief Society president and ward Relief Society teacher. Born in Likasi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Fortunat Binene Tshibembe and Justine Muadi Kabongo.

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President and Sister Binene with Sekou

Snapshot of the Ivory Coast – Ivory Coast’s official language is French, but many indigenous languages such as Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, and Anyin are used throughout the country. The country has a wide mix of religious groups thanks to previously being part of Islamic empires and then being ruled by France. A little less than 40% of the population is Muslim while Christianity and local indigenous religions make up about 30% each. The capital city of Yamoussoukro has the world’s largest church building, the Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro. Many of the diverse ethnic groups in the Ivory Coast have their own unique types of music, many of which focus on the use of vocals and “talking drums,” but the musical styles zoblazo and zouglou are also popular. Soccer is the most popular sport in the Ivory Coast, but rugby is also popular and the national basketball team has won the African Basketball Championship in the past. Cassava, plantains, and peanuts are used in many Ivorian meals. Chicken and fish are the most commonly eaten types of meat, with the most popular seafoods being tuna, sardines and shrimp. Stews are also common staples in meals.

THE CHURCH

In the early 1980s, two families from the Ivory Coast returned from Europe as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1987 there were 16 members in the entire country. Now, the membership of the church in the Ivory Coast is over 18,600.

There are 7 family history centers, 53 congregations, and 1 mission in the Ivory Coast. The first church building here was dedicated in 1997, with two more dedicated in 1998.

FOOD

Cassava and plantains are significant parts of Ivorian cuisine. A type of corn paste called “Aitiu” is used to prepare corn balls, and peanuts are widely used in many dishes.

attiekeAttiéké is a popular side dish in Ivory Coast made with grated cassava and is a vegetable-based couscous.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Intercity travel in the Ivory Coast consists mostly of the national railway, which connects the major cities.

SAFETY

The US Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid crowds and demonstrations, be aware of their surroundings, and use common sense to avoid situations and locations that could be dangerous.*

*from travel.state.gov, a service from the Bureau of Consular Affairs

CUSTOMS

Sports are a big part of the culture. The Ivory Coast national football (soccer) team has competed in the World Cup twice. The nation will also host the 2013 African Basketball Championship.

As there is a large population of Muslims, there are several holidays the Ivory Coast adheres to. The major Christian holidays are also celebrated.

ADDITIONAL INFO

Contacting your missionary:

The US Postal Service does send mail to the Ivory Coast, though mail takes quite a while to travel to Africa.

Flag of Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan Mission

PROFILE

COUNTRY: Côte D’ivoire
MISSION PRESIDENT: President Binene
MISSION ADDRESS:06 BP 1077
Abidjan
Cote d’Ivoire
LANGUAGES: French
POPULATION: 19.84 Million
DOMINANT RELIGIONS: Islam, Christianity (primarily Roman Catholic), and various indigenous religions.
CLIMATE: Warm and humid, ranging from equatorial in the southern coasts to tropical in the middle and semiarid in the far north. Temperature averages from 77 to 89 degrees F, and varies from 50 to 104 degrees F.
MAJOR CITIES: Abidjan, Abobo, Bouake, and Daloa.

 

From Wikipedia August 2019:

History

Mormon missionaries first preached in Ivory Coast in 1988. Earlier the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been established by Philippe and Annelies Assard and Lucien and Agathe Affoue. The Affoue family joined the church while studying in France. Philippe Assard joined the Church while studying in Germany, where he married Annelies who was a native of Germany. After they returned to Ivroy Coast in the mid 1980s they got in contact with each other and began holding Church meetings.

The first LDS stake was organized in the late 1990s. During the civil war in the 2000s the number of missionaries in the country was reduced and some areas saw missionaries withdrawn. As of 2018 most full-time LDS missionaries in the country were from either the Congo or countries in West Africa, but there were a very few from other areas.

Plans to build a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Abijan were announced in 2015. As of 2018 the country had three LDS missions, although two of them also covered Church operations in Senegal and Mali.

On Nov. 8, 2018 Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the 12 of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presided at the ground breaking for the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple. Andersen both spoke and gave the dedicatory prayer in French. During his remarks Anderson shared testimonies of the restored gospel from the Assard family.[4]

Membership History

Year Membership[5]
1989 200b
1995 2,800b
1999 5,402c
2004 9,345c
2009 13,245a
2012 16,248a
2017 43,895c
  • a Actual Membership for January 1 of the respective year
  • b Estimated membership for Dec 31 of the respective year
  • c Actual Membership for Dec 31 of the respective year

Stakes and Districts

  • Abidjan Ivory Coast Central State
  • Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire Niangon North Stake
  • Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire Niangon South Stake
  • Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire Toit Rouge Stake
  • Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire Yopougon Attie Stake
  • Abobo Côte d’Ivoire East Stake
  • Abobo Côte d’Ivoire West Stake
  • Anonkoua Cote d’Ivoire Stake
  • Cocody Côte d’Ivoire Stake
  • Daloa Ivory Coast State
  • Dokui Cote d’Ivoire Stake
  • Grand-Bassam Côte d’Ivoire Stake
  • Port-Bouët Côte d’Ivoire Stake
  • Yamoussoukro Côte d’Ivoire Stake
  • Abengourou Ivory Coast District
  • Aboisso Côte d’Ivoire District
  • Adzope Côte d’Ivoire District
  • Agboville Ivory Coast District
  • Akoupé Cote d’Ivoire District
  • Alepe Ivory Coast District
  • Bouafle Cote d’Ivoire District
  • Bouake Côte d’Ivoire District
  • Divo Côte d’Ivoire District
  • Gagnoa Côte d’Ivoire District
  • San Pedro Côte d’Ivoire District
  • Soubre Côte d’Ivoire District

 

Three New Missions to be Created in Africa in July 2018: Analysis

The Church announced on February 1st plans to organize three new missions in Sub-Saharan Africa. These missions include:
  • Cote d’Ivoire Yamoussoukro
  • Nigeria Ibadan
  • Zimbabwe Bulawayo

Once these missions are organized, there will be a total of 33 missions in Africa (17 in the Africa West Area, 16 in the Africa Southeast Area).

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Elder Bednar Dedicates Senegal for the Preaching of the Gospel — May 2017

Here’s a piece of our Malian Church History as recorded in the Church Newsroom in June 2017:

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News editor

  • 26 JUNE 2017

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles poses with two members during a visit to the West Africa Area May 19–28.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Elder Bednar met with members in Senegal, Guinea, and Mali—countries not previously visited by an Apostle—as well as Nigeria and Ghana.

“I am always grateful for the things I learn from the faithful Saints in Africa. Their faith strengthens me.” —Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Just before dawn at the base of the “Phare des Mamelles” lighthouse on a hill overlooking Senegal, Elder David A. Bednar offered a dedicatory prayer on May 22 on the people and land of the West African nation.

Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other leaders began the prayer in the dark, “with only the lighthouse still lit and showing the way,” said Elder Terence M. Vinson, Africa West Area President.

But as he completed the prayer, “the ocean, shoreline, and city were bathed in the clear, morning light of the risen sun,” said Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Africa West Area Presidency.

The experience, said Elder Vinson, reflected the “symbolism of the gospel bringing Senegal out of darkness into the dawning of a new day.”

Just before dawn at the base of the “Phare des Mamelles” lighthouse on a hill overlooking Senegal, Elder David A. Bednar offered a dedicatory prayer on May 22 on the people and land of the West African nation.

A young girl attends a meeting where Elder David A. Bednar spoke during a visit to West Africa May 19–28.

The visit was a new beginning for the nation, said Elder Gary M. Parke, who serves in Senegal as a missionary with his wife, Sister Helen Parke.

When Elder Bednar opened his eyes following the prayer and saw light—not darkness—he thought, “The morning breaks, the shadows flee; Lo, Zion’s standard is unfurled!” (see “The Morning Breaks,” Hymns, no. 1).

Elder Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, traveled to West Africa May 19–28, visiting Latter-day Saints in Senegal, Guinea, and Mali—nations not previously visited by an Apostle of the Lord—as well as Nigeria and Ghana. Elder Bednar, accompanied by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Jan Robbins, also conducted a review of the Church’s Africa West Area.

Elder Bednar said the trip was an opportunity to see the gospel “in its ultimate simplicity.”

“They don’t have much of what the world offers, therefore the gospel is everything to them,” Elder Bednar said of members in West Africa. “They have the gift of the Holy Ghost, which helps them learn—enlightens their minds. … I am always grateful for the things I learn from the faithful Saints in Africa. Their faith strengthens me.”

Growth is the area’s great blessing and great challenge. Elder Robbins said during the trip he could see how the Lord had prepared both the land and the people for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Because of the significant and rapid growth of the Church in West Africa, there is a constant need to train leaders and to teach doctrine,” said Elder Vinson. “But the marvelous thing is that there is a hunger on behalf of leaders and members alike to learn.”

The members in West Africa are a people of faith and who have many spiritual experiences, added Elder Vinson. “They love God and are a church-going people. They recognize the truth, and many are led to the gospel by the examples and faith of relatives and friends. Their prayers and testimonies are pure and centered on God and His great love and the many blessings they acknowledge. They are not distracted by the things of the world, as are many in western countries. They are family-centered and generous, even when they have very little.”

The members in West Africa are full of faith, added Elder Nash. “They are intelligent people of faith. They hunger for doctrine, and their souls resonate to the truth and doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The average sacrament meeting attendance of the Church in West Africa may be the highest percentage of any area of the Church, he said. “Our people love the Lord. They face misunderstanding, ignorance about the Church, and outright persecution in some places—and yet remain faithful to the Lord and His Church. A testimony meeting in West Africa is an hour of spiritual feasting: testimony is borne of divine truths, of the strength of doctrine and gospel principles applied in daily living. The testimonies are usually brief; simple; direct; focused on the basic, core doctrine of the Church; and rich with the Spirit.”

Elder Nash said Latter-day Saints in Africa have a strong “belief in family.” In Senegal, for example, Church leaders could see a huge monument depicting a family from where they stood on May 22 at the base of the lighthouse—constructed in 1864.

“It was a sacred experience to listen to an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ pray for the people of Senegal, to turn the keys and open the door to the kingdom of God,” said Elder Nash. “The light that bathed the city and land upon the conclusion of the prayer is symbolic of what is to come spiritually to the people of Senegal.”

The experience was “one of anticipation, peace, joy, faith, light, the hope and expectation of good things to come, confidence in the future, gratitude for the faith of the pioneering Saints currently in Senegal.”

Elder and Sister Bednar met with the members of the branch in the city.

Elder Parke said Elder Bednar’s kindness and love toward the branch in Senegal was so very evident, as he walked and talked to everyone that beautiful morning. “It was manifest to me once again of his divine calling and the sacred responsibility that rests upon his shoulders as he ministers to the children of men throughout the world. He truly ministered to each one as he personally greeted and spoke with each of them, including us.”

In addition to meeting with members in Senegal, Elder and Sister Bednar met with members in Guinea and Mali—also countries not previously visited by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“This journey was a most generous gift from an Apostle of God,” said Elder Vinson. “For Elder and Sister Bednar to visit the faithful members and earnest seekers of truth in these distant lands, not previously visited by an Apostle in modern times, was a manifestation of the Savior’s love for these wonderful people.”

In Conakry, Guinea, Sister Bednar gathered the children after the meeting and sang “I Am a Child of God” with them, said Elder Vinson.

In Bamako, Mali, hundreds of children lined both sides of the streets to greet Elder and Sister Bednar and welcome them to their land. They chanted, “Mali! Mali!”

In Bamako, Mali, hundreds of children lined both sides of the streets to greet Elder and Sister Bednar and welcome them to their land. They chanted, “Mali! Mali!”

Elder Robbins, who was visiting West Africa for the first time, looked at the scene of the children in Mali and thought of the growth of the Church in the area during the last four decades.

“This is a land of miracles, a place where the Lord’s hand in preparing the way hasn’t been subtle,” said Elder Robbins. “This is a place where the hand of the Lord has clearly been manifest.”

In near 100-degree weather, the leaders gathered in an unused chicken coop with a congregation of approximately 260, only 13 of which were members of the Church, and Elder Bednar invited the Holy Ghost to be appointed as the teacher, Elder Nash recalled.

“Their reverence is overwhelming for the priesthood keys that have been restored to the earth in these latter days,” said Elder Bednar. It is an honor “to spend time in these small congregations, to visit and get to know their circumstances and challenges. These are the real pioneers in these nations.”

In near 100-degree weather in Bamako, Mali, Elder David A. Bednar and other leaders gather in an unused chicken coop with a congregation of approximately 260, only 13 of which were members of the Church.

A woman participates in a meeting in Bamako, Mali, with Elder David A. Bednar. Held in near 100-degree weather in an unused chicken coop, the meeting included a congregation of approximately 260, only 13 of which were members of the Church.

Young women and girls participate in a meeting in Bamako, Mali, with Elder David A. Bednar. Held in near 100-degree weather in an unused chicken coop, the meeting included a congregation of approximately 260, only 13 of which were members of the Church.

Men participate in a meeting in Bamako, Mali, with Elder David A. Bednar. Held in near 100-degree weather in an unused chicken coop, the meeting included a congregation of approximately 260, only 13 of which were members of the Church.

Young women in West Africa pose for a photograph.

Sister Susan A. Bednar poses with two women in West Africa during a visit to the area with Elder David A. Bednar May 19–28.

Boys in West Africa pause for a photograph.

Members attend a meeting where Elder David A. Bednar spoke during his visit to West Africa May 19–28.

The Very First Ever Missionaries Have Arrived in Mali!

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This was an historic week in Mali!  Pres and Sister Binene brought the first 4 Missionaries to the land of Mali!  They’ve come from our Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan East Mission, and have been assigned to serve in Mali.  We have waited so many years for this moment.

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A first meal in Mali:2019-8-7 received from Mali (4)

The good members in Bamako and at the chicken farm are preparing for a Branch  Conference this weekend with Pres Binene and his wife at the UNICEF center in Bamako.

These new Elders were greeted by 22 good souls preparing for baptism on Saturday.  2019-8-8 received from Mali (2)

It is the dawning of a new day in Mali.  In just 10 weeks we will join these friends.  I get so excited I can hardly sleep at night!

Here’s a look at the Elders’ new living quarters:2019-8-7 received from Mali (7)

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And here is the brand new baptismal font in the church compound.  Miracles will happen here.2019-8-7 received from Mali (11)

Here’s the font we’ve been using up until now:2018-11-17 Mali (61)Je suis reconnaissant pour l’évangile de Jésus Christ!

Meeting Ann Belk from Garland, Utah

2019-8-7 with Matt Heiss, Ann Belk, Norbert Onleu CHL (17)We returned to the Church History Library in Salt Lake today to meet again with Matt Heiss and Norbert Onleu.  This time we were joined by Ann Belk from northern Utah.  Ann has been a friend of our Malian friends for many years, teaching them, encouraging them and strengthening their testimonies of Jesus Christ long distance.  Today Matt interviewed her and we listened to her fascinating stories.

I was struck by her open heart and ability to receive promptings, which led to her involvement with the early Saints in Mali.  I would say that Ann Belk has a spiritual gift of simply making herself available. Available to help, to cheer, to receive promptings and to act.  She has been very instrumental in many miracles in Mali.  It was an honor to meet her.2019-8-7 with Matt Heiss, Ann Belk, Norbert Onleu CHL (1)As she told her story (another oral interview) I was impressed by the thought that Heavenly Father found (as she describes herself) “a white middle-aged mom living out in the middle of nowhere in a small town near the Idaho border” to participate in the unfolding of the church in far away Mali.  It’s unlikely, but also miraculous.   She listened and acted when she was prompted to get involved, from this side of the ocean.  Her words and prayers and help caused great things to happen.

I wonder if we will hear such promptings when we’ll be right there in the thick of things.  I sure hope so!  I’m grateful to all who live lives of participation, stepping outside the tidy boxes we live in where we tend to associate only with those we know well and those with whom we are comfortable.  For many years Ann Belk has been a long-distance pioneer.  I’m so happy to finally meet her and hear her stories of Africa.

2019-8-7 with Matt Heiss, Ann Belk, Norbert Onleu CHL (3)