News Release

The Church of Jesus Christ Celebrates ‘Light the World’ with Food Donations in Ten West African Countries

Government, Inter-faith, and Traditional leaders work with Church leaders to identify families in need

In December 2023, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in West Africa celebrated the ‘Light the World’ initiative by providing food donations to needy families from ten countries. Events were held in each of the countries to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to share His light and love through gifts of much needed foodstuffs.

The gift of food at the 'Light the World' donation event in Abuja, Nigeria. 9 December 20232023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In Senegal, District President Niambe Essan Jacques and local members presented the gift of life to the fishing community of the Penc Bada Lô district, a suburb of Dakar.  The Church provided rice, oil, sugar, and other consumer products to local residents.

“We are disciples of Jesus Christ and every year during December we are encouraged to show our love for our brothers and sisters and the communities where we live,” said President Niambe. “We have gathered food for you to demonstrate our solidarity.  We chose fisherman because we love them and what they do.”  

“We are fishermen, it is all we know and today we face many problems because of the scarcity of fish,” said Mamadou Niang, head of the Penc Bada Lo district. “Our seas no longer have enough resource, and we face competitions from foreigners. Today, people of goodwill come to support us with food, and it goes straight to our hearts.”

In Sierra Leone the Light the World initiative was launched in Bo City. The Church provided food items such as oil, rice, bouillon, and onions to over 400 individuals with physical disabilities and albinism, and their families. The Wellington Stake expressed their love by donating crutches to individuals with physical Disabilities.

They coordinated with local non-profits, Royal Albinism, Sudi, and Slapwa, to identify those individuals and families that were in the most need.  They also took the opportunity to sensitize the community on albinism and help dispel some of the myths surrounding this condition.

In Mali the Church worked with Muslim and traditional leaders to find individuals most in need of assistance.  Over 100 displaced families were identified and provided rice, oil, and sugar.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one branch and 60 members in this predominantly Muslim country.

In Ghana, the Church had two major launch events.  The first was in Tamale, and the other in Kasoa.  In Kasoa the local Church leaders worked with Government, traditional, and inter-faith leaders to find 800 families in need.  The missionaries in the Accra Missionary Training Center packaged the much-needed food items and the food was distributed at a donation ceremony.

“We recognize the goodness of your Church and your willingness to aid those in need,” stated Nana Awushie Tetteh II, the Overlord of the Odupong, Odupong Ofankor, who acted as chairperson for the event. “We are happy that you are here among us, and that you choose to bless this community.”

Representing the Church in Kasoa was President Mark O. Lords of the Accra MTC. “We are thankful for the opportunity to light the world with you today.  We hope that you feel the light of Christ today and recognize His love for you,” said President Lords. “Please accept our offerings today and know of the love with which they were given.”  

'Light the World' food donations in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. 8 December 20232023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In Abuja Nigeria, the Church was honored to have Adama Baba Yunusa, the Ona of Abaji and Chairman of the FTC Council of Chiefs, attend and bless the Light the World event.  Over 300 families received foodstuff’s, including a live chicken during the celebration.

“The Savior Jesus Christ came into this world to bring relief, peace, and joy,” said Ifeanyi Agiriga, President of the Kubwa Stake of the Church. “Because we want to emulate Him, we are encouraged to do all we can to lighten the burdens of others, so that they may have His peace.”

The Honorable Dakpe Sossou, Formal Vice President of the Benin Republic National Assembly was the honored guest at the Light the World event in Cotonou, Benin. Representing the Church at the ceremony was President Kelly Lundeen and Sister Tina Lundeen, Mission Leaders of the Benin Cotonou Mission.  The Church provided food packages for 123 needy families in the Cotonou area.  Several missionaries were able to attend the event and assist in providing the gifts of food.  

The Banjul Branch in the Gambia hosted many key opinion leaders at their Light the World event.  Honorable Tunko Jammeh of Banjul, representing the Lord Mayor of Banjul, delivered a message on behalf of the Lord Mayor to highlight the donation ceremony.  Also attending was The Deputy Lord Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, Alhagie Janneh and Naomi Williams, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Welfare.

 The beneficiaries of the donations were identified by key opinion leaders from the Banjul and the Kanifing Communities. 85 families received food donations at the Light the World event.

In Liberia 150 children from the Liberian Childrens Transit Home were blessed with gifts of food from the Church. The donation ceremony was held in Paynesville at the Childrens   Home.  The Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zakariah, represented the Government of Liberia.  President Togar W. Okai of the Paynesville Liberia Stake was in attendance and assisted with the donations.

Church leaders in Togo chose the community of Notse for the food donations. Notse is known for his historical significance in Togo. It is the cradle of the Ewe people and still has a King who is recognized as such by the Ewe people and their diasporas in the south of three countries: Benin, Togo, and Ghana. The current King is Togbe Agokoli IV who accepted the Church’s donation on behalf of his people. During the donation celebration the King was presented with a copy of the Book of Mormon.  

Through his spokesman the King said that he appreciated the initiative and thanked the church for bringing the light of Christ to the widows and orphans of Notse.  He invited the church to be established in Notse as soon as possible and asked for the church leaders to start looking for land for a church building.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the food donation was made with the assistance of the Ministry of Woman, Family and Children. Three municipalities in Abidjan; Attécoubé, Yopougon and Treichville received food donations for 1000 families. Other donations were given to primary school cantines in both Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, benefitting over 8000 school children. 

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