Sery Kone was born in the large port city of Abidjani, Ivory Coast. When Sery was 4 years old, his parents divorced. His father took him 1,200 away from his home and placed him with a woman in a small village by the name of Kolia. The woman that he lived with was very poor and the only way to survive was for Sery to work.
The woman was wise enough to know that children deserved an education. She insisted that the children in her home went to school. But when Kone was not in school, he would go to work, sometimes walking as much as 35 miles to a cocoa farm. He would work 10 hours. He worked hard for 6 years. Then one day he decided, 'I have had enough'. He got onto a bus heading to the big city where he was born. He said to the driver, 'I have no money, but my family will pay for me when we get there'. The bus driver refused and told him to get off, but he was not going back. 'I would not get off,' he said. 'I would not go back.' After much arguing, a kindly rider paid for his fare. Kone went to Abidjani, a two day ride, to find his family. Then he was taken in by an orphanage and worked odd jobs as he could. He lived there for 6 months.
One day, a man came up and called him by his childhood name. 'I am your uncle,' said the man. Kone did not believe him and he ran away. But the man persisted in finding him. It turned out that he really was his mother's brother. He was a school teacher and he took Kone into his home. Later on, Kone asked him “How did you know it was me?” His uncle answered “You looked so much like your mother, I knew it was you.”
Kone found out that his mother had passed away. Kone felt deeply that God had been so unfair to him. Now a teenager, he found entertainment in arguing with Christians, especially Jehovah's Witnesses. For some reason, he found them an easy target for his anger.
Kone remembers a day when two LDS missionaries were walking by. He thought they were Jehovah's Witnesses. 'Hey,' he called out. 'Why don't you come here and talk to me?' He meant it more as a challenge, but the two young men replied that they were happy to share their message. They came to his home and began to present the Plan of Salvation. This struck Kone to the heart. He knew their message was true and could see from the truths they taught that Heavenly Father did care about His children and had provided a clear path for them to find happiness and someday to return home to Him.
Kone joined the LDS church and found much peace in being a member. His uncle supported him while he went to public school. When he was 20 years old, he went on a mission in the DR Congo, where he worked very hard. Following the completion of his mission, Kone decided complete his studies in Finance. He will soon be obtaining an MBA. His goal is to become an Investment Counsellor
Kone has served Heavenly Father in many ways, and he has been blessed for it. He married a beautiful daughter of God in a temple of the Lord and is raising an eternal family.
With all of these blessings poured upon him, Kone has finally found a peace and joy he never thought possible. But he was not completely happy. He wanted more. This desire was not born out of greed but rather gratitude. He wanted to reach out to children trapped in child slavery. He wanted to help communities to become stronger. He even wanted to reach out to the cacao ranchers and help them improve their systems so that they would not need to depend on utilizing low wage workers in order to make a profit.
Kone has organized a movement called WELL Africa (World Education for a Legacy of Liberty). Since 2012 WELL Africa has taken 300 children out of cacao farms to receive an education and over 250 women have received micro financing loans to start businesses. They have trained men in bee keeping. In 2014 WELL Africa completed the construction of its first school.
The next goal is to build a self-sustaining hospital in order to provide healthcare services to the poor communities in Ivory Coast.
Related by Elder and Sister Jones of the Honolulu Hawaii Mission http://ronandnina.blogspot.com/2015/03/walking-amongst-giants-sery-kone-from.html