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20-year-old LDS missionary dies in Nigeria

Young proselytizer died after a “health episode” unrelated to COVID-19.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Samuel Joseph Iseh Jr., a 20-year-old serving a mission in his native Nigeria, died Jan. 1, 2021.

A 20-year-old Nigerian serving a mission in his homeland for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Friday.

Samuel Joseph Iseh Jr. experienced a “sudden health episode (unrelated to COVID-19)” and was taken to a hospital, Sam Penrod, spokesman for the Utah-based faith, said in a news release.

Iseh, a native of Port Harcourt who had been serving in Nigeria’s Lagos Mission for the past 19 months, died in the hospital.

No other details were released about his illness or death.

“We express our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” Penrod said, “and pray they will be comforted during this difficult time.”

Nigeria is home to more than 192,000 Latter-day Saints, the most of any African country, and over 720 congregations. The church has one temple in Nigeria, in Aba, with plans for two more, in Benin City and Lagos.

The faith has about 67,000 volunteer missionaries — most of them young men and women who serve for two years and 18 months, respectively — across the globe. Many of them are operating under restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, doing their proselytizing and teaching through social media.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Aba Nigeria Temple.

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