For the first time, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has visited the West African country of the Republic of The Gambia.
On Thursday morning, February 24, Elder D. Todd Christofferson dedicated the country for the preaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This event, along with a visit with government leaders, allows the Church to be organized in The Gambia and receive official status.
The Gambia stretches along the Gambia River and is surrounded by Senegal, except for a section of 60 kilometers (37 miles) of Atlantic Ocean front.
Elder Christofferson’s visit to The Gambia was historic because the Apostle offered a prayer at sunrise at an overlook near the ocean on Thursday, February 24, officially dedicating the country.
Included among those who witnessed the dedication of The Gambia were some of the first members of the Church in West Africa.
“I’m so happy to be here today because this is a long-awaited opportunity for the people of The Gambia to have this blessing. We are good people. We have members who are here, have dedicated their lives so much, waiting for this day when the land will be dedicated to start the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Emelia Ahadjie, a West African Latter-day Saint pioneer from Ghana who attended the historic event. “It tells us how the Church is growing fast.”
Elder Christofferson and a delegation of senior Church leaders attended a baptism for 11 people on the day they arrived, which nearly doubled the membership of the Church of Jesus Christ in The Gambia. Only a dozen Latter-day Saints had been living in the country of about 2.5 million people. Now, the membership is 23 members.
Missions in Africa
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is creating a new mission in Africa. The Rwanda Kigali Mission will open in July 2022. It will be created from three existing missions: the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East, Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi and Uganda Kampala Missions.
Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda and has the largest population of any city in the country. The Church currently has three branches in Rwanda.
This will be the 39th mission in Africa and the 409th worldwide.