A Light in Africa

A Light in Africa

Some years ago, my wife, Harriet, and I had a memorable experience…. We were in West Africa, a beautiful part of the world where the Church is growing and the Latter-day Saints are delightful. However, West Africa also has many challenges. In particular, I was sorrowed by the poverty that I saw. In the cities there is high unemployment, and families often struggle to provide for their daily needs and for their safety. It broke my heart to know that many of our precious members of the Church live in such deprivation. But I also learned that these fine members help each other to lighten their heavy burdens.

We eventually arrived at one of our meetinghouses near a large city. But instead of finding a people burdened and absorbed by darkness, we discovered a joyful people who were radiating with light! The happiness they felt for the gospel was contagious and lifted our spirits. The love they expressed for us was humbling. Their smiles were genuine and infectious.

I remember wondering at the time if there could possibly be a happier people on the face of the planet. Even though these dear Saints were surrounded by difficulties and trials, they were filled with light!

The meeting began, and I started to speak. But soon the power went out in the building, and we were left in complete darkness.

For a while I could hardly see anyone in the congregation, but I could see and feel the brilliant and beautiful smiles of our Saints. Oh, how I loved being with these wonderful people!

The darkness in the chapel continued, and so I sat next to my wife and waited for the power to be restored. As we waited, something remarkable happened.

A few voices began singing one of the hymns of the Restoration. And then others joined in. And then more. Soon, a sweet and overwhelming chorus of voices filled the chapel.

These members of the Church did not need hymnbooks; they knew every word of every hymn they sang. And they sang one song after another with an energy and spirit that touched my soul.

Eventually, the lights sparked back on and bathed the room with light. Harriet and I looked at each other; our cheeks wet with tears.

In the midst of great darkness, these beautiful, wonderful Saints had filled this Church building and our souls with light.

It was a profoundly moving moment for us—one Harriet and I will never forget.

Taken from Liahona, September 2013