Our Area Devotional speaker today was Elder Yirenya-Tawiah, Area 70 who is the physical facilities manager for the Africa West Area. He was born in 1966, so that means he is 49 years old. He joined the Church in 1988 at the age of 22 and had been invited to hear the discussions by a friend who was being taught by the missionaries. He studied the Church for a year and during that time fell in love with the Book of Mormon. Throughout the year, many teams of missionaries taught him but it was not until one team challenged him to pray and fast that his conversion went from an intellectual one where he was not preparing for baptism to a spiritual one in which he asked the missionaries to set up his baptism. It is not enough to have good discussions but rather missionaries must see that the investigator has a spiritual connection.
When he was about 8 years old his grandparents, who lived in a small village, asked his parents to send him to live with them. However, they left him alone every day very early and did not return until late at night. As such he had to fend for himself...cook his meals and work out his schedule for the days. He was very angry about this for years, in fact until just a few years ago, when he realized that this experience had made him very independent and self confident.
Just a note about this group. These 84 missionaries represent our 37th group since coming to the MTC 18 months ago. They are from 17 different countries including Malawi and Namibia, two countries we have not seen often. Twenty of these missionaries have been with us for six weeks learning French or English. That in itself is remarkable because they now teach in their new language and do so quite well. Twenty-nine of our missionaries are sisters, as pictured here and prior to coming to the MTC, 48 or fifty-seven percent of them had never been to the temple. Now they all have.