Additional Resource

Mormons in Africa: A Kenyan Journalist is a Latter-day Saint

The following are the feelings, observations and convictions of Elizabeth Njeri Kang’ethe, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a journalist. She describes how her life has improved after her coming in contact with the Church.

My name is Elizabeth Njeri Kang’ethe. I hail from Central Province in Kenya, raised up in a family of ten (seven girls and three boys). My goodly parents of devoted Catholic faith taught me at an early age Christian values by word, deed and love for mankind. My primary and secondary school life was quite eventful; I loved being taught by my teachers, some of whom were my neighbors and good friends to my parents.

Soon after my high school graduation in year 2000, I enrolled in a beauty college for two years, where I pursued social etiquette majoring in personal image and good grooming. Upon the course completion, I had an opportunity to work as an image consultant for news anchors in a media firm. It is while working here that I interacted with leading regional media personalities that I developed a strong passion for a career in media industry. Later, I enrolled for media studies in a local university. Since then I have worked for several leading dailies (newspapers) in Kenya and South Africa.

Her line of work brought her in contact with Alex. She describes him as a handsome young man who works as an entrepreneur in the gold mining industry. She also learned that Alex was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a returned missionary (he had served a two-year mission for the Church).

Because of his Christlike attributes, I responded to his invitation to visit the Church one Sunday morning. The experience was unique and peaceful. I later found myself very interested to learn more about the Church, which I did by going through missionary discussions. There would be no turning back, I told myself, as I approached the waters of baptism. My experience as a Church member has been spiritually fulfilling; it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me — accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ. Last year, I married Alex and I am looking forward to a fun-filled life of learning.

As a journalist and new member of the Church, Elizabeth says she often responds to questions from the news media and the general public about her new faith. She’s glad that she belongs to a church that teaches its members correct principles. The Church has sought to influence and uplift people’s lives both spiritually and temporally. Elizabeth says her life has been blessed. Being an active member of the Church means the opportunity to attend the temple.

A recent visit to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple brought me to an encounter with members of the Church from as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Uganda. The intention in their eyes was clear — temple blessings for them and their ancestors. Many shared their humbling experiences of hard work, sacrifice, patience and the eventual journey to the temple. With this great sacrifice and devotion to the gospel, the blessings of having temples closer to home may sooner or later be realized considering there are three temples in sub-Saharan Africa located in  South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.

Elizabeth says Latter-day Saints working with the full-time Church missionaries is resulting in tremendous growth in Johannesburg, Kenya and several other area congregations.

Members’ lifestyles have improved with the opportunity for young people to further their education under the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF).

The Saints have been greatly blessed in so many ways, including improved living standards made possible by the PEF program. Testimonies borne by the Saints attest to this fact. Experience indicates that many young adults are the main beneficiary of this rewarding opportunity with the resultant effect of improved and enriched personal lives, better earnings and payment of tithing.

The Church’s worldwide humanitarian efforts have helped in many parts of Africa, from trying to stop hunger in children to building community clean water systems. African governments have readily acknowledged the Church’s work through Mormon Helping Hands. Often people of other faiths join in volunteering as well to complete these community service projects. Elizabeth recounts the positive experience with the Mormon Helping Hands day of service in her community.

Activities vary depending on the needs of a particular constituency all aimed at reaching out to the society. In my most recent experience in my ward (local congregation), members embarked on a tree-planting activity at a public primary school. It was a fun-filled day with the members dressed in yellow T-shirts and caps marching along the streets prompting keen interest from the public and the local media over the noble act. More humanitarian activities continue to be undertaken by LDS Charities, notably borehole drilling in East Africa, where society at large benefits from clean drinking water and crop irrigation. Humanitarian aid to Ethiopia and Zimbabwe has been very useful to the less fortunate.

Currently, Elizabeth is pursuing further education while doing correspondence for a few daily newspapers.

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