“Africa has been held in reserve by the Lord,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in an October 2010 visit to Burundi. “Africa will someday be seen as a bright land full of gospel hope and happiness.” 
Africa is one of the fastest growing areas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly referred to as the Mormon Church by members of other faiths) with some 320,000 members, the majority of whom have joined the Church over the past 30 years. These faithful Saints have found that hope and happiness spoken of by Elder Holland through embracing the teachings of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every year, as congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ continue to grow in different areas of the world, several dozen new stakes (congregational groups similar to Catholic dioceses) are organized.
In December 2012, Elder Holland organized the 3,000th worldwide stake of The Church of Jesus Christ in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This is the first stake in the West African nation and is comprised of eight congregations (approximately 3,000 members.) “So much is happening that there seems to be this momentum, and it really seems to be featuring now the African moment, in a sense,” Elder Holland says. 
Following the end of the country’s civil war, Elder Holland states that The Church of Jesus Christ has been a great source of peace and comfort for the members there, many of whom endured extreme hardships during and as a result of the war. Abibu Charles, part of the new stake’s leadership commented, “. . . .the past year has brought incredible blessings for his country. Ten years back, I never thought this would have happened. . . . the Church is growing rapidly. Things are happening.” 
Elder Holland further noted that the people of Sierra Leone have servant hearts and a wonderful perspective on life. “If ever you wanted an object lesson that your happiness doesn’t depend on your material wealth, you’d go to Africa,” he said. “These are happy, blessed, joyful people, and in many cases they have almost nothing.” 
About Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.