In 1999 sixteen-year-old Géoffroy Koussemou started professional training in agriculture—and soon felt overwhelmed by his studies. Just as he was on the verge of quitting, however, a close friend advised him to look to God for help: “You must consecrate yourself,” his friend said, “and you will succeed.” Koussemou decided to follow his friend’s advice. He put aside everything that would hinder his studies and turned to God. “I promised him that if I succeeded,” Koussemou remembered, “I would consecrate myself to Him and to His word all my life.”
“He blessed me,” Koussemou recalled of his experience after that prayer. “He gave me courage and devotion in this class.” Shortly afterward, the Lord also sent him an opportunity to further consecrate his life: toward the end of the class, he met a Latter-day Saint. “By him I learned about the Church,” Koussemou said. “I received the brochure of the testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, about which I prayed to have my own testimony of the truth.” He was baptized a short time later.
At the time, the handful of members in Benin were organized as a group rather than a branch. “Little by little, we started to speak about the gospel to our friends, to our brothers, to consecrate ourselves to the work,” Koussemou recalled. Through their efforts, the group grew and eventually a branch was organized. A year later, Koussemou sold his farm to raise money to serve as the first full-time missionary called from Benin. “I had this honor and this responsibility,” he said.
After returning from his mission in Côte d’Ivoire, it was difficult for Koussemou to find employment and support himself. Yet despite these challenges, Koussemou helped his fellow Saints both temporally and spiritually, including helping others to obtain further education through the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund. In 2016 he rejoiced with other Saints in Benin as a stake was organized in the country for the first time. “After so much effort, after so much prayer, consecration, work, and supplication,” he exulted, “the Savior finally decided at last to reward us, to bless us, to bless the land of Benin, to have a little more Zion.”