Saturday, March 17, 2012

And in the beginning...

Missionaries live in a rented apartment in the compound of a women who is a member of the church. In fact, she was the first member of the church in the Eastern Region of Ghana. She told the missionaries recently how it started, I relay their story and hers so as to provide a little history for us all.

In 1985, seven years after the church first came to Ghana, Sister Boateng’s husband was sitting outside their home watching the grass grow (oh wait…no grass in Ghana), when he saw four gentlemen ride by on the bikes. As soon as they saw him they just turned tail and rode right into their compound. They told him they taught about Jesus Christ and wanted to discuss with him. So he let them sit down and discuss. He agreed to let them come back again.

The next visit he talked his wife and firstborn to sit down with them as well. After that visit he told them that this was their new church, whether they liked it or not. Basically they agreed and the three of them were the first baptized members of the church in Ghana.

Soon Brother Boateng found out that the missionaries had been staying in a school for about a month but the school was about to reopen so they didn’t have any place to go. They would have to leave the area behind. Brother Boateng wouldn’t allow it. He called up the mission president and told him he would let the elders stay in his extra apartment (brother Boateng was very wealthy by Ghanaian standards). It was agreed to, so the missionaries were able to stay in the area.

As Sister Boateng tells the story she is convinced that all of this was designed and illustrated by God. She tells us how much of an influence her husband had in the community and how that influence helped the church grow very rapidly in the beginning. In fact, she said that in the beginning people knew the church as “Deacon Boateng’s Church”. Soon they all learned that it was the Lord’s Church. Brother Boateng became Koforidua’s very first branch president, and later became the first Accra Ghana Stake patriarch before he passed away some years ago.

The Boateng’s have four children, three of which served missions (two served in the US after they went to BYU for school). Their dedication and commitment to the restored church of Jesus Christ has blessed the lives of many and helped many of God’s children receive the saving ordinances that only this church has the authority to perform.

As she has told us a few stories of the church’s progress in Ghana, it is clear that the Lord’s hand is in the work. He influences His children so that His work will go forward.

As told by Elder J. Speirs

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