Tubo-Oreriba Joseph Elisha was 10 years old when his elder brother burst into the house excitedly one Sunday morning and exclaimed, “I have found the true church!” He then invited him, their mother Ethel, and their niece, Obubelebra, to go to church with him. The family hurriedly got ready and followed him. That Sunday, the family attended Sacrament Meeting for the first time in Borokiri Ward, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and they never looked back.
On the 10th of May 1998, a close neighbor had invited Adokiye Levi-Akinda to the Borikiri Ward Conference. He was interested. Immediately after the conference session, Adokiye was contacted by two young sister missionaries, Sister Ekong and Sister Oke, and two weeks later, was baptized. However, all this was done without his family. Having partaken of the sweet fruit of the gospel, he also desired that his family should partake. At the time they were going through a rather dark period. Elisha’s senior sister, Salome, recently died unexpectedly, and her death was taking its toll on the family. The family was in a sad state. They had not even attended their church for weeks, and their church members hadn’t come to seek them out to find out the reason for their absence, which troubled Elisha’s mum, Ethel Joshua Carrie.
As they later met with the missionaries, they learned about the Plan of Salvation, which made a huge impression on the family. The missionaries, knowing of their situation, shared several scriptures on the Plan of Salvation. This piqued the interest of Ethel in the restored gospel. They were overjoyed to hear that they could be reunited with their deceased loved ones in Heavenly Father’s presence. Though their Christian background had taught them about life after death, they had no knowledge of scriptural references that would teach and explain the doctrine that not only would they be resurrected, but they could be together as a family, as well. Of that experience, Elisha says: “When that part of the lesson was explained, I think my mum felt so excited that she could see her daughter again and be with her again and they will live eternally… and so it didn’t take us long, we were baptized.” On June 28, 1998, Elisha, his mother Ethel, Salome’s daughter Obubelebra A. Awowari, joined the church, and Adokiye performed the baptisms that day. A short while later, their sister Darling George Igah, her daughter Cynthia, and Esther Levi-Akinda, a cousin, were also baptized.
Blessings of the Gospel
As a little boy, Elisha had already inculcated the habit of reading, so when he had the opportunity to possess his own copy of the Book of Mormon, he read and marked every page of the book within the first year after his baptism. Through that, and constantly studying every piece of Church literature he came across, he deepened his testimony of the restored gospel and his love for the Savior. Sister Ethel takes family history seriously, she travels, visits, and collect names, while Elisha spends hours preparing the names for temple work.
The Carrie Family learned how to be spiritually self-reliant, especially when they were challenged by the missionaries to pray to know the truth for themselves. “I remember my mum praying for a very long time asking the Lord on the right way to go before we all decided to be baptized…it was a decision each of us made and it has been a wonderful journey so far,” Elisha recalls.
The environment they lived in at the time was very dangerous with a lot of ugly things happening, a community where people practiced a whole lot of vices like murder and theft. It was a place where Elisha’s age mates would later begin to engage in such acts. However, the family stayed there and not one member of the family participated in such things. As a result, the family was well respected and well known in their community for their uprightness. This is something that makes Elisha proud. “The Gospel was what protected my integrity, and helped protect me from the bad influence of the outside world.
“I have no iota of doubt that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ restored In these last days, the true and only church established once again on this earth to prepare us for the Second Coming of our Savior and ultimately for us living with our Father in Heaven.”