Thousands of African Youth Participate in Church Programs for First Time

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LDS Youth Conference
Image via DeseretNews.com

West African youth, ages 12-18, who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in various “For the Strength of Youth” (FSY) conferences for the first time ever. Nearly 2,400 youth from the countries of Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast gathered together during a vacation break from school in August. 

Deseret News reports that the five-day long conferences revolved around the 2014 mutual theme, “Come Unto Christ.” The youth were placed into groups of 10-12, with each group receiving a counselor.

In Ghana, more than 600 youth participated from three different stakes and two districts. Each group, or company, picked a group theme and were encouraged to commit themselves to individual mental, physical, and spiritual goals.

On the last day of the conference, Elder LeGrand R. Curtis of the Seventy and the Africa West Area president addressed the youth and urged them all to create a stronger relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ and gave the following challenge:

Read every word of the Book of Mormon. After every chapter, ask yourself these three questions: ‘Is this the word of God? Is this the work of man? Could any man have written this book?

In Nigeria, more than 500 youth participated in the FSY conference, which kicked off August 11. Activities for the youth focused on teamwork and unity.

A session director, Bridget Ojaide, addressed the youth in morning devotionals. Ojaide taught the youth the importance of being able to stand on their own, have self-discipline and to be self-reliant. Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy echoed Ojaide’s message when he taught the youth:

We learn and think, but unless we act we can never experience true happiness. Changing habits is hard work, but rewarding. The time to make a difference is now. Establish good habits that will help shape your character.

About 1,200 youth, according to the Deseret News, attended the Ivory Coast FSY conference. The conference was split into back-to-back week-long sessions in order to accommodate the large number of youth wanting to attend.

At the conclusion of both of these sessions, Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Seventy and first counselor in the Africa West Area presidency, spoke to the youth. He encouraged those in attendance to align their will with God’s will and to follow the promptings they receive from the Holy Spirit. He continued that by following these promptings, they can be sure that their will is aligned with the Lord’s.

Read more information on the West African FSY conferences at DeseretNews.com

Kylie is a writer at LDS.net and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.