In 1980 Ivorians Lucien Affoué joined the Church in France, and Philippe Assard joined in Germany. A few years later, both their families felt prompted to return to their homeland and that the Lord would be with them (see Genesis 31:3). Church leaders asked Assard to be a shepherd to the handful of Ivorian Saints who had also been baptized abroad and then returned. In 1987 Côte d’Ivoire was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel, and the first baptisms in the country took place that same year.
By the early 1990s, many Ivorian youth were serving missions or preparing to serve. In 1993 over 300 attended the first youth conference in the country. The Church grew quickly in Côte d’Ivoire: the first stake was organized in 1997, and the 12th stake was organized just 20 years later.
Initially many Ivorian Saints sacrificed to travel to Switzerland or South Africa to make temple covenants. After the Accra Ghana Temple was dedicated in 2004, Ivorian Saints stood out for their dedication to family history and temple work. They organized regular group temple trips, bringing their own family names and their own ordinance workers. In 2015 President Thomas S. Monson announced that a temple would be built in Abidjan.
Official Name: Republic of Côte d’Ivoire/République de Côte d’Ivoire
Capital: Yamoussoukro and Abidjan
Largest City: Abidjan
Official Languages: French
Land Area: 322,463 km2 (124,504 mi2)
Church Area: Africa West
Missions: 3 (Abidjan, Abidjan West, Yamoussoukro)
Temples: 1 (Abidjan [announced])