Géoffroy Koussemou
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“Géoffroy Koussemou,” Friend, January 2021

Pioneers in Every Land

Géoffroy Koussemou

First Missionary from Benin

Géoffroy knew that God was willing to help him if he did his part.

A african-american missionary holding scriptures

Géoffroy walked out of class with his friend Théodore. Both boys were 16, and they lived in Benin, a country in Africa. They were going to a new school to learn about farming. It was their first time living away from their families. They had to study and work for long hours every day.

Géoffroy pulled his backpack up on his shoulder. “I think I might drop out. These classes are so hard.”

“No!” Théodore said. “Don’t drop out. You need to rely on God. If you do, you will succeed.”

Théodore’s words stayed with Géoffroy for the rest of the day. Géoffroy had been raised as a Christian, but he had never tried to rely on God. He knelt on the floor but didn’t start to pray yet. He was nervous. But if he didn’t get help from somewhere, he would never be able to pass his classes. Slowly Géoffroy bowed his head.

“Father in Heaven,” he said, “please show me how to rely on you. Will you please help me pass my classes? I promise to serve you the best I can for the rest of my life.”

From that time on, Géoffroy felt braver and more determined. Classes were still difficult, but he knew that God was willing to help him if he did his part. Géoffroy put aside his fears and worked hard.

He did well in school. Eighteen months later, he was finally ready to graduate. He had done it!

After he left school, Géoffroy kept working hard. Soon he had a farm of his own.

Then one day he saw a friend who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His friend gave him a Book of Mormon. Géoffroy read the Book of Mormon and prayed. He felt warm and peaceful inside and knew for sure that the Church is true.

He already knew what to do next. He worked, prayed, and relied on God. First he got baptized. Then he shared his testimony with those around him. Some of his friends got baptized too. What started as a small group of members soon grew into a branch. He was helping the Church grow in Benin!

Géoffroy wanted to go on a mission. He didn’t have enough money, so he sold his farm. A few months later, he received a mission call to the Ivory Coast. He was the first missionary from Benin to get a mission call!

His dedication helped him for years. Because of his faith, and that of other members, many more people were baptized. His branch became a ward. That ward is now part of the first stake in Benin!

Géoffroy Koussemou continues to work hard and rely on God. He knows that great things can happen with God’s help.

Friend Magazine, Global 2021/01 Jan

Benin has 4,018 members of the Church.

The first young missionaries were assigned to Benin in 2003.

Benin is a small country on the west coast of Africa.

Géoffroy learned to rely on God through prayer during his school years.

Géoffroy was baptized at age 19.

Géoffroy sold the farm he bought to pay for his mission.

Illustrations by Isabel Muñoz