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Some common things one will hear when you are called to serve in West Africa are comments like,

Some common things one will hear when you are called to serve in West Africa are comments like, "Aren't you scared? Or, "Oh, no, not Africa."

Well, the fact is, Africa is the best kept secret in the Church. It takes a faithful Latter-day Saint to accept a call to serve in any place that might take you out of your comfort zone, but the rewards are well worth the trials you experience.

In Africa, the need is great, but the people are kind and loving. There are hardships and situations to handle but you see the Lord's hand in everything that happens, and living by the Spirit becomes not only a necessity but a reality. You get really close to the Spirit and learn to listen to the promptings. You often come to realize that the promises made in the scriptures are real. You do have the protection of the Lord and He speaks to you clearly and directly about all things.

The Church has become, in a short time, a respected institution in West Africa. African members of the Church have worked hard along with the missionaries to build and protect the Church's image. The members are truly pioneers. They are humble and teachable and love the service of the missionary couples. There are three couples in Ghana who are serving their second mission to Africa, and one couple is finishing their third.

The typical day for a missionary couple is tremendously rewarding. It seems like everyone is interested in learning about the Savior. Instead of tracting on paved streets, you walk up jungle paths that are well worn through centuries of use. The children who may rarely see a white person are especially enthusiastic.

There is a great need in Africa in all things and the couples who come here are rewarded with blessings and opportunities that are unlimited. The help that is given is always received with love and much gratitude. Having the gospel here and the temples in both Accra, Ghana, and Aba, Nigeria, has strengthened the saints, and the blessings to the faithful are apparent. The missionaries who serve here are truly some of the greatest in the Church. They willingly put their trust in the Lord and show their love for Him who suffered so much for us all.

Some of the service senior couples render are proselyting, helping place new wells for fresh water, distribution of wheel chairs, teaching leadership, helping organize branches and wards, serving the young missionaries, being medical advisers, building schools, teaching piano, doing secretarial work, serving in orphanages, and many other rewarding opportunities.

They serve the poorest of the poor and experience heart-rendering events that grip and inspire the human soul. Taking the gospel to a people steeped in tradition and superstition, then seeing their lives changed so dramatically is an experience that is unparalleled. There is simply nothing like the experience of Africa.

Mrs. Mary Imelda Amadu, Ghana's director of social welfare who attended the BYU family symposium this summer, said this about the senior couples: "I have the deepest respect for these marvelous couples that leave everything and come to virtually nothing and serve our people. Having the privilege to go to Utah and visit the Church firsthand was a marvelous experience. God bless these beautiful missionaries."

This is Africa's day. The gospel is here, and the people are accepting it by the thousands every year. The faithful couples who come here to serve are part of the valiant of the Church, and the Lord watches over them and loves them. The needs are great and the hours are long, but the rewards are rich. God bless Africa and her sons and daughters.

  • Elder and Sister Hales returned home to Utah this month from their mission as Africa West Area public affairs missionaries.