In the early 1990s, 12-year-old Nowah Afangbedji was surprised when his father, Koffi, excitedly announced, “I’ve found a church … a beautiful church.” Koffi, who had been living and working in Denmark for several years, told his family that his friend Agnon Ameri Didier had introduced him to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had found truth among the kind people there. Koffi told his family he had been baptized two years earlier, and he invited them to attend meetings at Didier’s home. Nowah remained skeptical, however, and continued attending another denomination.
Two years later, Koffi invited his family to a special meeting with Elder James O. Mason, President of the Africa West Area. At the meeting, Elder Mason organized the first official Latter-day Saint group in Togo. He testified that Jesus Christ’s Church had been restored and was led by apostles and prophets. After Mason spoke, Nowah raised his hand. “Do you mean that we have the Apostles Peter, James, and John,” he asked, “these old men again on this earth?”
“Yes,” Mason replied, “but not the same people.” Mason explained that God had called modern men as prophets and apostles.
“My heart settled,” Nowah recalled. “I felt that day that, indeed, we need something like that: an organization whereby the Savior Jesus Christ is leading.” Nowah and others began attending regularly and soon learned about Joseph Smith’s First Vision. Nowah was shocked that someone his own age could “be so strong and confident and go to the Lord and ask Him.” Nowah resolved to follow Joseph’s example and ask God in faith. “I have to join the church where I feel the Lord is,” he thought. In September 1997, Nowah and 13 other new converts were baptized.
From that small and simple beginning, a great work came to pass. Shortly after Nowah returned from a mission in 2009, the first district in Togo was created. Four years later, it became a stake. When the stake was organized, Area Seventy Norbert K. Ounleu paid tribute to Togolese Saints. “We have faithful members who will move the Lord’s business forward,” he said. “They strongly believe the stake will change their lives and protect their country.” For the newly called stake president, Kcodgoh Edgeweblime, the new stake was also a reminder of what could come. “We may not see the importance of it now, but the formation of the Lomé Stake will be a great blessing to Togo,” he said. “There are millions of people in our country who need to hear the word of God.”