BETA

Missionary moments: Center of strength

Hesbon Otieno Usi, who is the facilities management supervisor for the Church's area office in Nairobi, Kenya, used to sit in a park and read a newspaper while his family went to local church services. He had no interest in attending any church.

In late 1992, while he was away on business, his wife, Atieno, met the missionaries. "She was impressed and told them that I was away and she would consult with me first," he wrote in an e-mail to the Church News. "In the meantime they kept on visiting our house each time they were proselyting in the area. One evening they came in when I was around and introduced the Church to me for the first time. I told them I would like to visit their church before commencing on the discussions. We made an appointment on the following Sunday, and they came and took us to the branch closer to where we lived. We got baptized one month later."

That was Jan. 10, 1993. He, his wife, and two children of baptismal age joined the Church. Two younger sons and a daughter were baptized when they turned 8.

He recalled: "The mission president got a lot of interest in my family and started visiting us with the missionaries. Three months after our baptism I was ordained and called as the branch president. I served in that position for seven years and later [was] called as a second counselor in the then-district presidency which I served for two and a half years. On Sept. 8, 2002, I was sustained as the new [Nairobi Kenya] stake president."

President Usi spoke of the creation of that stake in 2001, which "confirmed to the members that it's through obedience and observance of the Lord's commandments that accelerate the growth of the Church. It's a blessing to have the first stake in East Africa which has become a center of strength in the region.

"The priesthood has brought great blessings to the Church membership, especially to families where the father has been given the authority to administer to members of his family in bestowing blessings. This is a unique doctrine which is not in other churches, and as the Church grows it gives an assurance that Church family members will be instrumental in changing the community behavior by leading a good example in honesty, integrity and righteousness."