When I was about four years old, a close family friend the whole family calls ‘uncle’ got baptized and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As it is with many members, he was so excited about his new-found faith that he began spreading the good news to his friends. One particular friend showed some interest in the Church but she did not join immediately. She was waiting to hear the message from a particular messenger the Lord would prepare to meet her after 20 years!
While I was waiting for my mission call at the age of twenty-four, I was impressed upon by the Spirit to embark on a detailed study of the Old and New Testaments. One day my ‘uncle’ paid a visit to the family and requested a copy of the Book of Mormon for his old time friend. I went to the nearby Distribution Center to acquire a copy for him. My ‘uncle’ was very pleased as he became convinced that his friend would soon receive the restored scripture and discover the truth for herself. It was not long thereafter that I was called to serve in Sierra Leone which fell under the Accra Ghana Mission.
In Sierra Leone, my companion and I were assigned to a ward that met in the afternoon. For some reason, we woke up one Sunday morning and felt an urge to attend sacrament meeting at the ward that met in the morning. While waiting outside, the missionaries assigned to the morning ward walked up to us and introduced a Nigerian lady who was interested in investigating the Church. They asked if we would agree to teach her the lessons. They thought that since I was Nigerian, we would communicate well. We gladly accepted and quickly set up appointments and began to offer her the lessons. During our first meeting she asked whether I knew an old friend of hers. When she mentioned the name and described him, I immediately knew that it was my ‘uncle’ she was talking about. To further prove it, she called him on phone and I spoke with him. It was then that my ‘uncle’ revealed that our investigator was the same lady to whom he had handed the copy of the Book of Mormon just a few months before.
Throughout our discussions Sister Bunmi Adeyemi asked many questions, most of which were from the Old and New Testaments. I then understood why I earlier had the prompting to dig deep into those Biblical books. With the guidance of the spirit, my companion and I were able to answer many of the questions she put to us. When we asked if she was ready to be baptized, Sister Adeyemi quickly responded in the affirmative. On the day of baptism she told us why she had accepted the gospel from us. She revealed that she had prayed to the Lord that if the Church was true as she had been told, the Lord should send her people with familiar looks who would have the patience to answer her many questions. She added that when she first saw me she thought she thought I closely resembled her favorite nephew in Nigeria and also, when my companion and I patiently helped clarify certain questions and doubts in her mind she knew that it was the Lord’s answer to her prayer.
The day of baptism did not pass without incident. The agreed date somehow happened to fall within the week that Sister Adeyemi had to attend a work-related conference in the capital which was a 5-hour drive away! That was a serious concern. I told her she had to make a choice and she assured us she would pray about it and make up her mind. We read Alma 32 and Ether 12 with her and taught her that if she exercised faith she would go through baptism and yet retain her job even if she did not attend the conference. It was an interesting twist when she called us on the planned day of travel and informed us that she was down with malaria and that her boss had asked her to rest and cancel the trip - clearly, the hand of the Lord was at work. Two days before baptism, the illness had not abated. Sister Adeyemi called us to give her a blessing to which we gladly obliged. We assured her that the Lord was with her and that she would soon recover from her illness.
On the baptism day, we were unable to reach her on phone but we headed toward the meetinghouse anyway, early enough to get the room ready for baptism. To our surprise, someone had managed to get to the room earlier to clean up and arrange the chairs! While we wondered who had rendered such impressive service, we saw Sister Bunmi Adeyemi herself smiling and tucking away the broom she had used in cleaning up the room! She had fully recovered and was very eager to be immersed into the waters of baptism!
Sister Bunmi Adeyemi and all her children are now active members of the Church. She visited the Accra Ghana Temple for her endowment and has served as the District Relief Society President in Bo, Sierra Leone. She is currently a Lecturer at the Njala University.