News Release

Elder Bednar and Elder Kearon Meet With New Liberia President

The two Apostles also tour humanitarian sites in Ghana

Two Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with the new president of Liberia in the capital of Monrovia on Thursday, February 22, 2024. Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Patrick Kearon of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles traveled to the West African country for a special meeting with Liberia President Joseph Boakai, who took office a month ago.

Downloadable B-roll & SOTs

“I think we had a magnificent conversation about the purpose, the role of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the world, and how that relates to what’s taking place in Liberia,” said Elder Bednar.

The meeting took place in the executive mansion. President Boakai told the senior Church leaders that his country faces many challenges. “This country needs transformation,” he said.

Elder Bednar shared the Church of Jesus Christ’s desire to help the people of Liberia: “We want to know how we can help you.”

“It was an excellent meeting,” said Elder Kearon. “This is a country that saw years of strife. It’s finding its feet. And we’ve talked about what our members can do and perhaps what some of our humanitarian work can do to assist here.”

“I think we identified a number of very important commonalities that we can go forward and work together on,” Elder Bednar said.

The Apostles were joined by their wives and other Church leaders, including the Africa West Area Presidency and Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy.

The Apostles’ visit with the president comes a month after the Church’s collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme was highlighted during a meeting in Liberia.

Ministering in Africa

“I had the blessing to work as the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles overseeing the work in Africa for many years,” Elder Bednar said. “Susan and I were here frequently. To come back is to be in a familiar place with people that we love.”

It is a unique opportunity to have Apostles travel together to the same continent. In fact, there were three Apostles in Africa at the same time, an area of the world experiencing a growth in Church membership and announcements of new houses of the Lord. Elder Bednar and Elder Kearon — the Church’s newest Apostle — ministered in four West African countries. Meanwhile, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles just completed his ministry to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Kenya in the Africa Central Area.

“Traveling with Elder Bednar is like traveling with an Apostle who’s been an Apostle for 20 years, and I’m an Apostle who’s been in this role for nine weeks,” said Elder Kearon. “I get to watch him and learn from him, and we get to share these experiences together.”

Elder Bednar and Elder Kearon also flew to Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja to visit with Professor Ibrahim Ahmad Maqari, the Deputy Chief Imam of the National Mosque.

On Tuesday, the senior leaders visited two Church meetinghouses in Accra, Ghana, where education initiatives are underway to teach Latter-day youth and young adults life skills. Volunteers provide the training.

“These young people are receiving opportunities to learn skills that are very practical, that can improve their standard of living, that blesses them, their families, enables them to serve in the Church, and even more powerful ways,” Elder Bednar said.

The Church-sponsored Gathering Place program in Accra and other locations in the area allows young adults to learn vocational skills.

Elder Kearon explained, “We have all of these young people, young adults coming to learn skills from bricklaying to soapmaking to IT skills in animation and fixing computers and myriad other things, and also to have the Institute classes all together, all in one building, all in one place. Church members and others that are not of our faith.”

Faith in Africa

Elder Bednar and Elder Kearon have been touched by the faith of the African Saints.

“As you visit with the Saints, there’s increased faith. They started with great faith. But the faith is growing stronger in the Savior. Their devotion, the addition of temples. Many temples have been announced in Africa,” Elder Bednar explained.

“What I am loving about this time in Western Africa is seeing again the energy, the vigor, the vitality that the Saints have in their faith,” Elder Kearon added. “And that is manifest in everything, in how they are … how they sing, how they testify, how they interact with one another. We’ve got a lot to learn from these wonderful people.”

The senior Church leaders are wrapping up their 10-day ministry to West Africa in Cote d’Ivoire, where they met with missionaries. They also visited the site of a new house of the Lord under construction in Abidjan. On Sunday, they hosted a live youth broadcast originating from Ghana. 

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.