Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles traveled to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), in February 2013. During the visit he presided at a priesthood leadership conference, held a special meeting with members and investigators, and visited key government officials.
Elder Cook was accompanied on the trip by Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder John B. Dickson of the Seventy, President of the Africa West Area; and Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency.
Total attendance at the priesthood leadership conference and the member and investigator meeting was 9,693, which included 619 investigators. Many members sacrificed greatly to attend. Virginie Oulai Tongo of the Meagui Branch, Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan Mission, said her family saved their money to come and see an Apostle. “We traveled for 12 hours, but I am happy,” she said.
Many who attended the conference reported on the remarkable richness of the Spirit they enjoyed. Bishop Leon Kouadio of the Dokui Ward, Cocody Stake, said, “I know that we had the presence of a distinguished servant of our Savior among us.”
Church membership in Cote d’Ivoire has grown from one family in 1984 to five stakes and one district today.
In recent years the Ivorian Saints’ faithfulness has been particularly manifest in their family history and temple work. Three of the five Cote d’Ivoire stakes are among the top 25 in the Church in the percentage of adults who submitted family names for temple ordinances during 2012. Of all the stakes in the Church, the Cocody Stake has the highest percentage of adults who have, at one time or another, submitted names for temple work.
The youth are doing their part too. The percentage of Ivorian young people doing indexing work is more than twice as high as the Church average, in spite of the fact that virtually none of them has personal access to a computer and the Internet but must go to a stake family history center to do the work.
Members have been taught that family history work is an essential part of living the gospel. They work hard to have family names ready before they board the bus for the long ride to the Accra Ghana Temple—and typically take not just a few names, but many.
Elder Cook and Elder Clayton encouraged the Saints to move forward in four main areas: increasing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, strengthening their families, actively sharing the gospel with others, and continuing their incredible family history and temple work efforts.