A day of service in Western Africa

As the beautiful morning sun rose over Western Africa, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, more than 11,000 men, women and children picked up shovels, rakes and paintbrushes and donned bright yellow vests, as the fourth annual All Africa Mormon Helping Hands event swept the continent.

Under the leadership of the Africa West Area presidency — Elder Craig A. Cardon, Elder John B. Dickson and Elder Joseph W. Sitati, all of the Seventy — Latter-day Saints from seven nations in West Africa, representing more than 59 stakes and districts joined hands with over 1,200 of their friends and neighbors, rendering selfless service. Each year, the project has grown, with increasing numbers of members desiring to send the message, "We follow Jesus Christ." Those partnering with the Church included members of private business, governmental agencies, tribal chiefs and people of other faiths.

In preparation for the annual event, local priesthood and community leaders met to identify major areas of concern. Elder Adesina Olukanni, area director of public affairs in West Africa, commented in a statement to the press: "Worthy of note, is the fact that the program fosters the ideals of unity among different people who come together in community service. It is our hope that it will promote inter-faith relationships and peaceful co-existence with members of different denominations."

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