News Release

Elder D. Todd Christofferson Visits Africa West Area

2019 Africa West Area Review

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held meetings, devotionals, conferences and special stake conferences as part of the 2019 Africa West Area review from May 23, 2019 to June 2, 2019.

Elder Christofferson and his spouse Kathy was accompanied on the visit by Elder Terence M. Vinson of thePresidency of the Seventy, Bishop Gérald Caussé, the Presiding Bishop of the Church and their spouses with Elder Marcus B. Nash, Africa West Area President and his counselors as hosts.


The visits will include meetings in Ghana, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire with broadcasts and participation via the internet to other countries in the Area.

The meetings began on the 24th in Accra, Ghana with the launch of the new Area Temporal Affairs organization for Church employees and service missionaries in the Africa West Area. At the launch, Bishop Caussé explained that the new structure is designed to simplify and help the Church to be more efficient in carrying out its activities. He stated that the Africa West Area was the second to the last area to implement the new structure Church-wide.

At the priesthood leadership conference which drew participants from the coordinating councils in Ghana and the Benin Cotonou Coordinating Council, Elder Christofferson expressed the love that the president of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson, has for members in the Africa West Area. He reminded members of the emphasis President Nelson has placed on the use of the proper name of the Church. He encouraged members to use the proper name of the Church at all times. ''The name of the Church is not just a name, but a testimony,'' he said.

Other speakers at the conference were Elder Vinson, Elder Nash and Bishop Gérald Caussé.

Elder Christofferson concluded the conference by requesting members to teach their families the Plan of Salvation. He also asked leaders to prepare and write a one-page summary of the Plan of Salvation.

During the special conference of the Accra Ghana Kaneshie Stake, Sister Kathy Christofferson pointed members towards the benefits of reading The Book of Mormon. According to her, "reading The Book of Mormon will eliminate contention and quarrel in our homes." Quoting President Nelson, she said, "The Book of Mormon will bring power to us and we can be immunized against the evils of the day."

On May 30th Elder Christofferson, accompanied by Elder Nash, Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy and other church members, paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency, President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. While welcoming the visitors, the president said, "I was very excited when I got the message that you were visiting. We share in your teachings about the family as the fundamental unit of society and the connection to nation building."

Elder Christofferson spoke about the Church and its activities in Ghana including missionary work and building of temples of the Lord. "Some of the projects the Church has embarked on in Ghana and continue to do is the provision of clean water, wheelchairs, vision care, maternal and newborn care, and other community projects." He also spoke about the Church’s interest in sanitation and education in Ghana.

Responding, President Akufo-Addo stated, "We appreciate the great things your Church is doing in Ghana and of course, very enthused to discuss further your interest in sanitation and education in Ghana."

In Cotonou, Benin Republic, Bishop Gérald Caussé accompanied by Elder Hugo Martinez, second counselor in Africa West Area Presidency, V. Modeste Kpadonou, Cotonou Benin stake president, and Martin Goury, Benin Cotonou mission president visited with government officials. They were received by Mr. Ouorou Baro Mora, cabinet minister in the Ministry of Interior and Public Security.

Bishop Caussé gave a brief introduction of the Church and the activities of the Church in Benin Republic. Responding, Mr. Mora stated, "Thank you for letting me know about the Church and what you do for our people. What you have said shows love. Love for the people is the main driving force of what our government does. You are in perfect harmony with the objectives of our government.’’

President Goury thanked the minister for giving the Church the opportunity to preach the gospel in Benin. He also thanked the government for extending missionaries’ visas from three months to one year before they are renewed.

On May 31st Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, the vice president of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, welcomed Elder Christofferson and his team to the presidential palace in Abidjan. Elder Christofferson was accompanied to the visit by Elder Terence M. Vinson, Elder Dube, Elder Dominique Dékayé, an Area Seventy and Bishop Gerald Caussé.

Welcoming the delegation, Vice President Duncan stated that he was aware of the Church’s humanitarian activities in Côte d'Ivoire and was therefore, happy to finally meet with the leaders of the Church. The country of Côte d'Ivoire, he said, is tolerant of religious activities; the population is approximately 40 percent Christian. ''We therefore welcome all religious bodies who proclaim and practice peace." He solicited the Church’s help with the country’s post-election violence reconciliation efforts.

Responding, Elder Christofferson thanked the vice president for receiving the Church’s delegation. He stated that even though the Church is relatively young in Côte d'Ivoire, it is very active in the provision of humanitarian services to the people of Côte d'Ivoire. He also talked about missionary work, the importance the Church places on the family as the basic unit of the society and the blessings the temple under construction in Abidjan would bring to the nation.

The vice president thanked the Church once more and expressed the hope that the temple on completion would help consolidate on the prevailing peace in the country.

The visit to Côte d'Ivoire also included meetings with full time missionaries, the youth and with priesthood and Relief Society leaders in conferences and devotionals.

Africa West Area

The Africa West Area includes 17 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Western Sahara.

The Church has established units in the countries of Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea and Togo, which are organized into stakes, wards, districts, branches and missions. Members in the remaining countries are served through the Africa West Area Mission and the area president serves as the mission president.

The Church officially commenced meetings in the area in 1978. As of the end of January 2019, there are 355,227 members organized in 105 stakes, 46 districts, 782 wards and 582 branches. There are also 17 Missions, two operating temples in Ghana and Nigeria, one temple under construction in Côte d'Ivoire and one temple announced for Lagos, Nigeria.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.