Monday, January 9, 2012

Latter-day Saint Women Around the World: Suzan from Kenya

Today's guest post for my series on Latter-day Saint Women Around the World is by Suzan from Kenya!

I am Suzan and am from a family of twelve, some of which are deceased. I am from Nairobi, Kenya.

1. What is the dominate belief system in your country? Do most people consider themselves to be "religious"? Are business and stores closed on Sunday? Do most people attend church?

Kenyans are religious people and so most of us consider ourselves religious. I think it is among the countries with too many churches. Very few businesses and stores are closed on Sunday. Most people attend church and even those who don't, or rather don't attend most of the time, have a church where they belong.

2. How long have you been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If you are a convert please tell us a little about your conversion. If you were born in the church tell us a bit about your family and who was the first in your family to join the church.

I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for six years. My conversion story is bit long but I will try to make it short. I first saw the Book of Mormon nine years before I joined the church and it was written in French, which I could not understand. I had no one to read it to me so I ended up locking it in my drawer and I would take it out and just look at it. After nine years I was blessed to see it for the first time written in English when I visited the church and was at the same time pleased to receive my own copy, now in English. When I read it I felt the truthfulness of it and I didn't want to stop reading it. I then started the lessons with the missionaries and after two weeks I was in for the baptism. Just as I prayed the first time to know if the Church and the Book of Mormon were true I still know for sure that this is the true Church of God upon the face of the earth, and that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ, and that we have a living prophet today.

3. What is the LDS church attendance like in your area?

In new branches I would say that the church is growing so fast but the same does not apply to some wards .We have 1 Stake, 7 Wards and around 11 branches in Kenya. An average church attendance is about 50. Those of whom we say travel far spend about an hour to reach the church, though those in the villages might spend 2 hours. We more single adults than married and I also think that the women are more than men.

4. How far away is the nearest temple? When was it built? How busy is it? Do most people in your country know about it? What are their feelings about it?

The nearest Temple is in South Africa which was dedicated on August 24 1985 and it is busy because it serves both the Southern and Eastern African countries. Not many know about it but members of the church does and love being in the temple.

5. What sort of reaction do you get from most people when they find out you are Mormon? Are people familiar with the church? Do you often have to defend or explain your beliefs?

The reaction of people is not all that good because the church has had a bad name in Kenya. They say we are cult and not so many know about it because there are many churches in Kenya. Yes, we often do [defend our beliefs] and this helps people in know and understand about the church.

6. How is missionary work in your country? Would you say that it is difficult or easy for missionaries to find people to teach? How often do you have a new baptism? What are the greatest barriers to missionary work in your country?

Missionary work is not so easy and baptisms are after every month or even two. I think the greatest barrier in missionary work is the formation of many churches and polygamy which Kenyans practice a lot.

7. How many families do you know (LDS or not) who have more than two children? If a family with four children moved to your area, would their family size seem unusual? What about a family with six children?

Many families have more than two children and it is normal to have a family of whichever size you want, and even if a family of 12 move to any neighborhood it would still be OK because there are many polygamous families in the country.

8. How many sisters do you visit teach? Do you have to travel far to reach them? What have been some of your best visiting teaching experiences?

I visit teach six sisters and yes to some I have to travel a long distance. Some of my best experiences are when I teach and feel the bond between me and those I teach. The greatest experience was when I visited a new convert and listened to her testimony.

9. What are the greatest challenges the sisters in your Relief Society are facing?

Long distances visiting teaching and the unavailability of those you are assigned to visit.

10. What is the greatest blessing that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into your life?

It is a blessing to know that if I do my part I will be able to be with my family members for eternity. The knowledge the gospel offers to me is a great blessing.

Thank you so much Suzan! I loved reading your conversion story and am so glad that you finally got a copy of the Book of Mormon in English!


  1. Here is something you will like- Adam Smith is making videos of the paintings of the "other eminent men and women" that had the work done for them in the St. George Temple by Wilford Woodruff when the founding fathers came to him. The artist seems to be painting the women first!

  2. Suzan,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and testimony with us. Are any others in your family members?