This afternoon we had a very special meeting at the Cocody Stake Center here in Abidjan. We had several visiting authorities and missionaries in all 3 Ivory Coast Missions who lived close by got to attend. Our 3 Area Seventies were here, and special guests, Elder Patrick Kearon and his wife, Jennifer.
It was a happy afternoon, filled with missionaries reunited. I can imagine many of these missionaries from the different missions were at the MTC in Ghana together and many probably haven’t seen each other since.
Here are our African West Area Presidency and the Area Seventies:
Sadly, Elder Nash wasn’t able to come (we had heard he might). Elder Hugo Martinez and his wife were here, along with Elder Marcel Guei, Elder Z. Dominique Dekaye and Elder John A. Koranteng.
Elder Tenney led a wonderful choir from our Abidjan West Mission. They sang for 30-40 minutes while everyone reverently came to the front to greet our visitors.
Elder and Sister Kearon warmly greeted every single missionary, including the ones watching by video from Dakar, Senegal. It was easy to feel their love for each of us here.
In the picture above, notice the beautiful Sister sitting next to Elder Lewis (in the orange dress). Elder Todd Christofferson told her story in General Conference last month. She completed her mission here this week.
The meeting was excellent. We heard testimonies from each of the Area Authorities and Elder and Sister Martinez shared their conversion story. Then Elder and Sister Kearon spoke to us. They are warm and kind and cheered us on, helping us to feel the joy of being a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He described the aurora of light and goodness that surrounded the Sister missionaries who taught him when he was a young adult. That same light is with us and others see it. It’s such a great thing to be serving here. Elder Kearon encouraged us to feel joy in our work, even when it’s hot and we’re tired and their are trials and challenges. It’s all good! And it’s all FOR our good! And it really is so fun and such a blessing to be a part of this great work!
I loved how Sister Kearon opened an African fan and compared it to the scriptures and how the mysteries of God can be unfolded to our view (Mosiah 2:9). Sometimes we search for those insights and sometimes they are given to us, like a gift.
It is a delight to be here, to be a part of this. I wonder why there aren’t more couples coming to places like this–what could be better?? These Mission Presidents could use about 50 more couples here right now!
What a treat it was for us to visit with the Kearons again. We met and really enjoyed learning from them during our last mission.
I also visited with Elder Bennett, who is good friends with Bailey Chazen, the daughter of a couple I taught on my mission in South Africa many years ago. What a beautifully small world!
We could have visited with these good missionaries all afternoon. It’s so so good to be among them. We miss our missionaries at home so much!
Tomorrow these area leaders will have more meetings and a special tour of the temple construction behind this stake center.
The heavens smiled on us as we returned home!
We enjoyed dinner this evening with Elder and Sister Thompson (Bill and Chantal as we know them). We lived in the same Orem ward years ago. They are in the Abidjan West Mission, serving in Dakar, Senegal with the 6 Elders there. We will be doing similar work in Mali, so we had lots to talk about. Chantal helped with the translating today. It was wonderful to spend some time with them here. It’s just plain wonderful to be here!