Newsmaker: A Prince in Deed
During a business trip to Salt Lake City in November 1990, Ejikeme Egwuatu Enyii-Ineh of Chad took some time out to tour Temple Square.
When he returned to his home in Chad, Ejikeme thought often about what he heard on that tour.
In late August 1991, Ejikeme, a major supplier of building materials, spare parts, and computer components to the government of Chad, returned to Salt Lake City on business. “This time in Salt Lake City, I came across one of the most important and unforgettable experiences I have ever encountered in my life,” Ejikeme said.
Ejikeme, whose father is the king of Imo, one of the twenty-seven states in Nigeria, stayed with a cousin who introduced him to a man from the Ivory Coast. While they were chatting, the man said he was a member of the Mormon church.
This was a pleasant surprise; Ejikeme mentioned that he had been searching for this church but had been unable to locate it. So the man invited Ejikeme to church the next day.
The next morning, Ejikeme arrived just in time to join the man and his family as they were walking to the Liberty Second Ward.
After attending the meetings, Ejikeme was introduced to S. Duane Smith, then bishop of the ward, and other members of the ward. “The type of reception I received convinced me it was really the true church of God,” he said.
Ejikeme told the bishop’s wife, Connie, that he would like to learn more about the Church, and the Smiths arranged for the missionaries to teach Ejikeme.
During the next week, Ejikeme listened to all the discussions. “God bless whoever gave him a tour of Temple Square a year ago,” Sister Smith said. “He accepted the gospel long before he received the lessons.”
Ejikeme was baptized on 7 September 1991, and in the week before he left, he received the priesthood, blessed the sacrament, and went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. “This must be what it’s like to be in heaven,” he said upon entering the temple.
Ejikeme said he wanted to be able to take the gospel back home so his family could benefit. Now that Ejikeme has returned to Africa, his wife, Uchenna, and four of his seven sons—Nnanna, Umunna, Chukwudi, and Ezindu—have been baptized, and Ejikeme is now teaching his extended family—father, mother, and nine brothers and sisters.
Wherever he travels in Africa, he talks of the gospel. As he teaches others about the Church, Ejikeme hopes to share the joy he has found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.—, Mesa, Arizona
Perhaps raising eleven children helped Nonie and Maynard Sorensen of the Ivins Second Ward, Santa Clara Utah Stake, learn how to magnify their talents and manage big projects. One thing is certain—the talented Sorensens are as busy now as they were when all their children were young.
Nonie, a pianist, excels at writing biographical musicals, and Maynard, retired from the furniture business and a wilderness enthusiast, has found a second career as a wildlife sculptor. Since 1988, they have spent their springs and summers serving an unusual full-time mission at the LDS visitors’ center in Nauvoo, Illinois. There Nonie produces two original musicals, “Nauvoo Adventure” and “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo,” for hundreds of tourists. Maynard demonstrates his woodworking, talking about his sculptures as he works.
The Sorensens explain their creativity in terms of hard work and sacrifice. “You have to focus on as few things as possible,” says Nonie, “and stretch yourself.” Maynard agrees but adds, “Our first priorities have always been the gospel and our family. Our children have always been our best friends.”
Nonie discovered her talent for writing musicals when she was asked to write music for her ward road show. Since then, she has composed and directed thirteen musical productions based on the lives of LDS leaders and pioneers, including Joseph F. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball, and some lesser-known heroes.
Maynard, inspired by a visit to a waterfowl-carving competition, researched the art, set up a basement workshop, and committed himself to long days of working with carving tools and reference works on birds. A year later, he entered his first world competition with a striking life-size sculpture of a black swan. He won first place in the novice category. Since then he has created more than two hundred pieces. More than a dozen have won blue ribbons.
Are they slowing down? No. The Sorensens love their busy lifestyle, as they balance music, sculpture, and family matters. And many others—from the Sorensen children and grandchildren to the tourists at Nauvoo—benefit from the efforts of this talented duo.—, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mission after Mission
Roses border the driveway leading to the home of Pauline Ligon in the Penn Valley Ward, Auburn California Stake. Pauline enjoys preserving the fruits and vegetables she grows in her garden, and all year violets bloom in her window box.
Pauline’s love of people is no less evident than her love of nature. In November 1984, she accepted a mission call to proselyte for twelve months in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission. During her mission she turned seventy-one but managed to keep pace with her young companions.
Strengthened by her full-time mission, Pauline began a stake mission within three months of her release. She and her companion worked with less-active single members and part-member families. “We gained many enduring friendships,” she says of the three-year experience, “and helped many find their way back to the fold and into the temple.”
Pauline recently served a second stake mission and is a single adult representative in her ward.—, Grass Valley, California
When James W. Hansen, president of the Evansville Indiana Stake, recently received his local Scouting district’s highest recognition for volunteer service, it was apparent that he was genuinely surprised. But as Martin Rowland, Buffalo Trace Council program director, puts it: “Dr. Hansen is one of the finest volunteer Scouters I have ever known. He is an excellent role model for young people as well as adults.”
Minimizing his own accomplishments is characteristic of this friendly, multitalented physician and scientist who, in addition to being a father of nine children and a director of research for a major pharmaceutical company, is the stake president for 2,300 Saints living in parts of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.
His wife, Karen, says, “Can’t is simply not in his vocabulary.” He recently wrote a computer program, saving the Church considerable expense in development costs. The program processes records kept by the stake physical facilities clerk, reducing a task that once took eight hours a month to a mere thirty minutes. James is a master at assembling audiovisual material to create special media presentations and has made use of this talent in both Church and community situations.
Important also is his quiet but substantial impact on the spiritual affairs of the Evansville Indiana Stake, especially its youth.
“I had strong feelings about how the temple can enrich the lives and testimonies of youth,” he remembers. So he provided the moving force for organizing youth temple trips to the nearest temple.
He likewise promotes youth activities and early-morning seminary. His approach has always been personal, and he never expects others to do what he would not. Once when a summer camp seemed doomed for want of a waterfront director, he quietly enrolled in a twelve-week Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course to qualify himself to fill that critical role.
“The Lord’s influence in our lives is such a joy that it’s a privilege to help build his kingdom,” says President Hansen.—, Evansville, Indiana