On Thursday, August 3, 2017, at 6 AM, 125 young people selected from the eleven stakes in Côte d'Ivoire, accompanied by some 20 youth leaders, undertook the trip from Abidjan to Accra. With the help of their leaders they had spent more than two months preparing for the great opportunity to be a part of the Face-to-Face event with Elder and Sister Renlund to be held at Accra in Ghana on Saturday, 5 August 2017. Although the preparations included hours of rehearsal, as well as travel as a long and difficult journey by bus to reach Accra, one could read on their faces, joy, love of the Lord and faith.
During the journey they sang, danced and were very enthusiastic to go to meet the Lord's servant and learn from him. Nevertheless, they were very disciplined and obedient to their leaders. When the three buses that transported them arrived in Accra that evening, everyone was exhausted by the long distance they had traveled, but they were happy and grateful. Throughout the stay they observed the recommendations of their leaders and continued to do their morning prayers, and study of the Scriptures, and attend the rehearsals. Finally, when the day came, both the members of the choir and the two young people chosen to present the program in French performed beautifully. Everyone was impressed by their performance, which earned them the congratulations of everyone including Elder and Sister Renlund.
As the next day was a Sabbath, before returning to Abidjan, they first attended Sacrament meeting in a local chapel. When it was time to get back on the different buses to return to Abidjan, the young people and their leaders expressed to each other their love and appreciation. They had grown to know each other so well that the separation was difficult. They all converged in front of the temple at the request of their leaders and took a group photo to immortalize this moment full of joy and teachings. Then they all returned to their respective buses to resume their way back. After leaving Accra at 10 AM, they finally arrived in Abidjan around 10 pm, where many parents were waiting. At the end of this noteworthy experience, here are the impressions of two of them:
TEKO AGBO TEKO JULES (Youth): 'My testimony has increased since the arrival of the apostle Renlund and his wife this Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Accra Ghana MTC. During his talk I learned enormous things from life, I had answers to questions that I had been asking myself for a long time and I understood the meaning of the gospel. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to shake hands with an apostle of God. There are some really important moments that you can never forget like this, I felt the Spirit very much at this meeting.
At the end of his speech, the Apostle made me feel something I had never felt before by pronouncing enormous blessings on our families, and us saying,
'If there are problems in your family consider them resolved.' This passage has really marked me. In addition, one of the most important and wonderful things is to know that an apostle speaks my mother tongue and it edifies me a lot.
I know that prophets and apostles are called of God and that His Church is truly restored to the earth in these last days and that through the prophets we will be able to choose one day to inherit eternal life and be with our Father and His son Jesus Christ. '
LAGO MARIE-LOUISE LOBABIE (Youth Leader): 'When we learned a Face-to-Face meeting with an apostle of the Lord, I thanked my Heavenly Father for this historic event that was going to take place for young people in West Africa and that this was going to be a great blessing for the young people of our country in Côte d'Ivoire. I thought that if I had the opportunity to participate, it would be a great blessing for my family and me. I knew I would have an answer to some of my concerns.After some time, I had the blessing to participate in coordination meetings with other locals. Finally, we made the trip from Côte d'Ivoire in Accra in Ghana alongside our young people in good condition by bus. After nine to ten hours' drive, we arrived at the end of the Temple of Accra. In addition to supervising the youth group, I also wanted to meet the apostle of God, Elder Renlund. So, at bedtime, I prayed to my Heavenly Father. The day finally arrived and sooner than expected this time, we accompanied our young people to the room where the show was supposed to be and we were asked to go out and only the young people could take part. But shortly afterward the youth leaders were finally allowed to take part as well. Then my prayer had just been answered. How great was my joy at the very moment of seeing and hearing the apostle of the Lord with my youth. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for this great blessing that He has granted me to see His messenger and to know that He answers our sincere prayers. I know that God lives, loves us and truly listens to us. '