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    African Youth Stand Strong

    Douglas Green Stoker and Rebecca R. Stoker Church News contributors

    Thousands of African youth unite at their first For the Strength of Youth conference.

    Nearly 2,400 West African youth participated for the first time in For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conferences in the countries of Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. The purpose of an FSY conference is for youth to gather together in a large group and strengthen one another in living the gospel. The theme for the FSY conferences in West Africa was the 2014 Mutual theme, “Come unto Christ.”

    “We learn and think, but unless we act we can never experience true happiness. The time to make a difference is now.”

    On the first day of the conference youth were split into groups and directed to choose a group name and scripture. Jessica Addo from Ghana said her group chose “Humility” as their name and Ether 12:27 as their scripture.

    “We stand for humility,” Jessica said. “It is a sign of strength. When others hear our name, we want them to think of our standards, our principles, and that we follow Jesus Christ always.”

    Group of African young women walking

    The Africa West Area Presidency—which includes Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., Area President; Elder Terence M. Vinson, First Counselor; and Elder Edward Dube, Second Counselor—spoke at the conferences.

    Elder Curtis taught about gaining a testimony of the scriptures. “Read every word of the Book of Mormon. After every chapter, ask yourself these three questions: Is this the word of God? Is this the work of man? Could any man have written this book?” He told the youth that if they do that, with time the Spirit will testify to them that the Book of Mormon is true.

    Young African woman smiling

    Elder Dube spoke about reaching your full potential. “We learn and think, but unless we act we can never experience true happiness. The time to make a difference is now. Establish good habits that will help shape your character.”

    Elder Vinson read from Helaman 10 and referred to Nephi’s complete obedience to the Lord. He said that the Lord’s trust and approval came by obedience to all of His commandments. When we listen to and follow the Spirit, he said, we can know we are living according to the Lord’s will.

    Young African women painting a poster

    Memories created at these FSY conferences will continue to live on with the youth in Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. These strong and valiant members of the Church will carry on with their lives, knowing that they are not alone in coming unto Christ.

    This article originally appeared in the Church News on September 17, 2014.

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