One day while my wife and I were serving in the Nigeria Aba Mission, my wife was giving organ lessons at our home to some branch members, when Elder Uwaifo and Elder Akagha brought an exuberant man to meet us. “You’re all angels!” he exclaimed. Tears were running down his face. “My joy is too much! God is too good!” We invited the man, Dr. Pius C. Ozoemena, to tell us his story.
In August of 1988, Dr. Ozoemena, a senior lecturer in physics at Anambra State University of Technology in Enugu, Nigeria, had received an invitation to attend professional meetings in Italy. During the course of these workshops, he often visited rooms set aside for meditation, where he would pray and read.
“On one of those occasions,” he recalled in an interview, “I scanned through the holy books on the reserved shelf and found, among others, two curious books: a triple combination of the scriptures and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, by Elder LeGrand Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. … Of all the books there, those two made the greatest impact on me. For the first time I read about religious truths that opened to my understanding certain ill-understood passages of scripture from the Bible.
“My excitement was so great that I paid to have both volumes photocopied and professionally bound. Because of the revelations contained in these books, I guarded them jealously upon my return to Nigeria.
“For almost a year I read them faithfully and compared their messages with other scriptural texts. Intuitively I knew that the messages were inspired.
“On 28 December 1989 I returned to my village to celebrate Christmastime, as is the custom among my people. There I met my cousin O. C. Ekufu, from Lagos, who had also returned to our village for Christmas.”
Dr. Ozoemena noticed his cousin no longer smoked or drank beer. When asked about it, his cousin told him he had joined a new church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Instantly my heart throbbed with joy,” said Dr. Ozoemena. “We hugged each other, and I related my own experiences to him and showed him my treasured volumes. He showed me many Church books he had brought with him from Lagos, including those that I had photocopied in Italy. I expressed my desire to join the Church, and he promised to help me get in touch with missionaries serving in Enugu, where I worked. I was overjoyed, for I did not know that the Church could be found outside of the United States.”
True to his promise, Brother Ekufu sent his cousin’s name and address to the Nigeria Aba Mission office. However, Dr. Ozoemena did not want to wait for someone to contact him and set off to search for the missionaries on his own. Despite the lack of a local address for them, he finally located the missionaries, who invited him to go with them to meet my wife and me. Our excitement was overwhelming.
Elder Uwaifo and Elder Akagha began visiting the Ozoemena family and taught them the gospel. Because his wife had recently given birth, Pius Ozoemena was baptized alone on 4 February 1990.
“This turned out to be a distinct blessing,” said Brother Ozoemena, “because later I was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood and permitted to baptize my own wife into the Church!”
Due to some unusual circumstances, on the day of his baptism Brother Ozoemena was asked if he would substitute in the Gospel Doctrine class the following Sunday. Since he was not only a lecturer by profession but had also been studying the gospel in great depth for almost a year, he agreed, and soon after was called as the teacher.
“I have found in the revealed books of the Church a great and consistent design for salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ,” explains Brother Ozoemena. “Indeed, the path is narrow, and few are they who find it [see Matt. 7:14]. I am thankful to Heavenly Father that I have found the gospel! It is so true, and God is so good!”