“Anthony’s Dream,” Friend, March 2020
Anthony was surprised when he woke up. This was his third time having the same dream! In the dream, a tall man showed him a beautiful building. What could it possibly mean?
As a schoolteacher, Anthony had visited many places outside his village in Nigeria. The building from his dream didn’t look like anything he had seen before. Maybe it didn’t actually exist. But there was just something special about it.
As years passed, Anthony still thought about his dream, but he was worried about other things. A war started in Nigeria. It wasn’t safe for Anthony and his wife and children to leave their house. It was hard being inside all day. Anthony missed seeing his friends and students.
One day Anthony found an old magazine in his house. When he opened it, he saw something that looked familiar. It was the beautiful building from his dream! It was real.
The building belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve never heard of that church before, Anthony thought. He wanted to learn more about it, but because of the war, he still couldn’t leave his house. He would have to wait.
When the war finally ended, Anthony sent a letter to the Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City. He asked if they would send missionaries to teach him and his family. “Can you build your church in my town?” Anthony wrote. “Please send me scriptures so I can teach the other villagers.”
Anthony was sad when he received a letter from Church headquarters: “Right now we don’t have any missionaries in your country.” Back then, black men couldn’t hold the priesthood. And the Church wasn’t organized in much of Africa.
But Anthony was good at being patient. Even though he couldn’t get baptized yet, he kept his faith strong.
The Church sent Anthony and his family the Book of Mormon and other Church books. Anthony studied the books and taught what he learned to his neighbors.
So many people were interested in the gospel that Anthony needed a place for everyone to meet.
On a road lined with banana trees, Anthony built a little chapel with a blue door and shutters. A sign on the building read, “Nigerian Latter-Day Saints.”
Years went by. Then one day Anthony heard wonderful news. God told the prophet that all worthy men could have the priesthood. The Church was sending missionaries to Anthony’s village!
The missionaries were surprised to find a church building and so many people ready to be baptized. They were amazed at the faith of Anthony and the other villagers.
“It has been a long, difficult wait,” Anthony told the missionaries, “but that doesn’t matter now. You have come at last.”
Anthony was the first person baptized in the Ekeonumiri River in Nigeria. When the new branch was organized, he was called to be the branch president. His wife, Fidelia, was the Relief Society president. They were sealed together in the temple years later. After dreaming about a temple, he finally got to go there!
Anthony continued sharing his faith with others. He often told people that the seed of the gospel planted in Nigeria would grow into a great tree. The world would be surprised by its growth.
Anthony was right. Today there are more than 170,000 members of the Church in Nigeria—and a beautiful temple! The gospel seed Anthony helped plant continues to grow around the world today.