When the Church was established in Côte d’Ivoire, the closest temples were in South Africa and Switzerland. Ivorian Saints longed for something closer. “Our vision and hope is for a temple in Côte d’Ivoire,” Lucien Affoué said in 1997. Members celebrated in 2004 when the Accra Ghana Temple was dedicated, making the temple easier to reach. In August 2004, over 200 members of the Abobo Côte d’Ivoire Stake endured 18 hours of rough roads and border delays to attend the temple. During their four-day stay, they performed over 4,000 ordinances for deceased relatives. “It really is a beautiful thing to come to the temple of the Lord,” said Dakoury Marie Laure, one of the many youth who participated. “It is fantastic to do ordinances for ancestors.”
These temple trips became a regular event. Some proved to be difficult: one bus full of Saints broke down on a trip in March 2011, right as fighting in the Second Ivorian Civil War broke out, but the members reached the temple safely. Saints also prepared to help with ordinances. Temple workers were ordained from among the Ivorian Saints so they could assist on each temple trip. Under the direction of Adouh Frederic Anzoua and other leaders in the Cocody Côte d’Ivoire Stake, family history specialists were also called in each ward. By 2013 their stake had the highest percentage in the whole Church of adults who submitted ancestors’ names for temple work. The percentage of Ivorian youth doing indexing work was twice as high as the Church’s average, even though few had direct access to computers and most had to go to family history centers to do the work.
During the April 2015 general conference, the hopes of the Ivorian Saints were finally realized when President Thomas S. Monson announced that a temple would be built in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Toh Mabelle Flora of the Cocody stake said she was thankful for the announcement of a temple in her country. “Anytime I go in, I find myself closer and closer to my Savior,” she said. “It’s truly the house of God.”