On 12 November 2023 a special devotional for Young Single Adults (YSA) was held in the Africa West Area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Emily Belle Freeman, General Young Women’s President, and Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the presidency of the Relief Society addressed over 400 YSA’s at the Lagos Nigeria Ikeja Stake Center and thousands more watching at their Stake Center’s and ward buildings throughout West Africa. Sister Freeman and Sister Dennis are on a ten-day tour of the Africa West Area with visits planned in Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.
Accompanying the Church leaders were their husbands Gregory G. Freeman and Jorge Dennis. Also, in attendance at the devotional was Elder Jörg Klebingat, General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the Africa West Area, Elder Christian C. Chigbundu, Area Seventy over the Lagos Nigeria area, and Sister Felicia Chigbundu.
Sister Dennis and Sister Freeman addressed questions that had been raised by the YSA’s. Sister Dennis, while addressing a question about wavering testimonies, used the story of Peter walking on the water. “When his eyes were on the Savior he could walk on water,” she said. “When his focus was the storm, he sank. Then he called to the Savior and was led back to safety.”
“If your focus is on your fears and uncertainties, you will feel lost. Focus on the Savior and He will walk with you, strengthen you, and lead you to safety,” she said. “Faith will always be a choice. There will never be enough proof to give you faith. You must choose to move forward with faith. If you are struggling with your testimony, choose to put your focus on Christ.”
Sister Freeman addressed the question of finding worthy mates. She told the story of Rebekah, who through her actions and kindness proved to be a worthy wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. “She was asked, whose daughter are you? It is a question you should ask yourself. Can you say that ‘I am a beloved daughter of Heavenly parents’,” she said. “Take the time to discover whose daughter you really are.”
“The Lord will show up and stand by you, and He will bless you where you are standing. He will meet you where you are, but He won’t leave you there. He will bring you to a better place, a place of happiness and joy.”
She also noted that “Satan desires to have you, he has a plan for you also.” It will be a constant struggle she said,” but God has promised that He will be with you and that He will not leave you. He will bring you home.”
Elder Klebingat noted the incredible growth of the Church in Nigeria and told the YSA’s that they would be a major part of that growth. “Everything is just beginning in Nigeria. With the addition of missions and the announcements of temples you may already see this. But this is just the start.”
He added that the Church will need strong leadership in Nigeria, and that it would come from this group. “The Church is only as strong as its members and leaders. That is why the Area Presidency has put such a high priority on the Young Single Adults in West Africa. We will provide the resources, it’s up to you to take advantage of them.”
The devotional was broadcast live over Zoom to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Togo, and other areas of Nigeria.
Sister Dennis and Sister Freeman arrived in Lagos on 10 November. During their time in Nigeria, they have held a devotional with missionaries from the Nigeria Lagos Mission, conducted breakout sessions with the Young Women, Relief Society, and Priesthood leaders in Lagos, made ministering visits with Elder Klebingat, and attended Sacrament meetings at the Egbeda and Opebi wards in Lagos.