The Miracle of Kwanwoma

On November 21 2021, we made a post titled simply “Kwanwoma“. It tells the story of our first visit to what was then only a Group which was part of the Daban ward. On July 26, 2022, just over a month ago, we made another post, this time titled the “100 Meter Box“. I mentioned that Elder Sam and Elder Simpson had been teaching a seminary class each evening, Tuesday – Friday and had 15-20 students in what is now the Kwanwoma Branch. On Sunday, 16 of those youth were baptized. Victor, Joanna, Jacqueline, Annabelle, Samuel, Akwasi, Irene, Vivian, Priscilla, Desmond, Francis, Prince, Beatrice, Regina, Evelyn, Ellen. I will now explain the miracle, because you see, it is something that is happening now, but will take years before it is fully manifest.

In that post titled the 100 Meter Box, I explained how all of these youth live in a very small footprint in that community. The Presbyterians, The Pentecostals, and the Seventh Day Adventists all have a presence in that footprint. Many of the adults attend those churches and some of their children as well. The problem is that the community is plagued with teenage pregnancies and abortions. It has been the expected norm for these youth as they get older, to engage in sexual activity resulting in fatherless children and seared consciences. These other churches have found no effective way to stem this tide of sin and sadness. When Elder Simpson and Elder Sam began teaching these youth, I was skeptical, we want to baptize parents and bring complete families into the Church. But the parents were somehow stuck in their own traditions yet interestingly enough, these youth had the support of their parents to attend church on Sunday and seminary during the week. In order for a minor to be baptized, a parent has to give signed permission. Now the miracle. Because all of these young people live so closely together, they are able to support and encourage each other. They have been taught the law of chastity and have committed to living its principles. These 16 young people, plus the 3 that were baptized last transfer, plus the other 10 who are still being taught are going to change the future of this small community. I can see missionaries; young women, relief society, and primary presidents; bishops, and even stake presidents growing out of these youth that are so impressive and valiant in their testimony of Christ. Yes, the miracle of Kwanwoma has really only just begun.

While I am talking about the weekend, let me also mention the Coordinating Council meeting that was held on Saturday under the direction of Elder Patrick Appianti. He is an amazing leader. As I have mentioned before, he is only in his mid-thirties, but has already served as a mission president and works as the Operations Manager of the Ghana Missionary Training Center. We covered a lot of ground including missionary work, the role of stake presidents, priesthood power, and a review of President Nelson’s inspired devotional with the young adults on May 15, 2022. It was a great meeting. We started at 1 pm and ended exactly at 5 pm. These are a powerful, honorable, and worthy group of men that I am blessed to associate with.

LtoR – Me, President Mensah (University Stake), Br Koomson (Executive Secretary), President E. Obeng (my first counselor), President Sosu (Suame Stake), President Oppong (Konongo Stake), President M. Obeng (Dichemso Stake), Elder Appianti (Area Seventy), President Appiah (Bantama Stake)

Let me now wind the clock back to earlier in the week. On Tuesday, we held our Virtual Mission Leadership Council with the Assistants, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders. The Assistants gave a powerful instruction titled, “Raising our Standards”. Among the other wonderful quotes and scriptures they shared, there are two key invitations they offered. The first, they called, “changing our should’s to must’s”

  • I should get out of the apartment on time.
  • I must get out of the apartment on time.
  • I should exercise every day.
  • I must exercise every day.
  • I should do my personal and companionship study everyday.
  • I must do my personal and companionship study everyday.
  • I should proselyte at least 9 hours everyday.
  • I must proselyte at least 9 hours everyday.

The second was going from “interested” to “committed”.

  • When you’re committed, you find a way.
  • When you’re interested, you find an excuse
  • When you’re committed, you do whatever it takes.
  • When you’re interested, you do what’s convenient.
  • When you’re committed, you do it consistently.
  • When you’re interested, you do it occasionally.
  • When you’re committed, you take accountability.
  • When you’re interested, you point fingers and shift blame.

I am so blessed to have two powerful, consecrated, intelligent, and obedient Assistants. I am very grateful for the power with which they teach and the inspiration with which they prepare.

Top row: Elder Anderson and Elder Aidoo; us; Elder Simpson and Elder Sam; Sister Gurure, Sister Ofosua, Elder Bayles, Elder Gyasi. Middle Row: Elder Donohoe and Elder Maulana; Sister Musa and Sister Damsa; Sister Kumi, Sister Lenga, Elder Donkor, Elder Harnois; Elder Barrowes and Elder Brigham. Bottom Row: Elder Penrose and Elder Franklin; Elder Walker and Elder Bangura; Elder Nelson and Elder Belnap; Elder Sunday and Elder Graham.

On Wednesday, we traveled to Dichemso and interviewed 14 missionaries, we took pictures of all but Sister Lenga and Sister Kumi, our sister training leaders for Dichemso and Suame.

Wednesday evening, I held our mission presidency meeting. Unfortunately, President Obeng’s baby daughter had had surgery that day and he needed to focus on his family, although he popped in and out of the meeting. I am so grateful for these good men who help move the work along in the districts by spending time and effort where I just don’t have the bandwidth to do so. President Obeng, President Asante, Eugene Ghorman (mission clerk) and Elder Garrison (Executive Secretary). Unfortunately I only took a snap after Elder Garrison had already hung up from the call.

On Thursday, we traveled to Atafoa Ward building and then the Suame Stake Center and sat down with the 16 missionaries who serve in that zone that I had not yet interviewed. I had already visited with the Offinso, Mampong, and Agona missionaries after zone conference on August 11th. We missed a picture of Sister Chimhepo and Sister Sister Donkor while in Atafoa.

Friday, we made the short drive to the Agric building and interviewed 10 more missionaries. These interviews with all of the missionaries in the mission are the highlight of the transfer. I know I have said it before, but it is true. I love hearing them share their scripture with me and learning from them and then sharing my scripture with each of them. It is a great experience as they each strive to be even more devoted and disciplined disciples of Jesus Christ. We really failed with pictures on Friday, as Sister Forkpah, Sister Yula, Sister Ilulu and Sister Okumah-Boyd all left before we pulled out the phone for the picture at the end. They were doing exactly what they needed to be doing – finding the Elect!

Elder Barrowes, Elder Call, Elder Fitzpatrick, Elder Brigham, Elder Beck, and Elder Braithwaite.

On Friday, evening, we were pleased to host Elder Patrick and Sister Elizabeth Appianti in our home for a visit. We then went over to Piri Piri and in the pounding rain (on the tin roof of an open pavillion) enjoyed a delicious meal together. We are so grateful for the Appianti’s and the time they spent with us Friday evening.

We should also mention that we received a package this week that was sent by our mentors and great friends Rod and Melanie Hillam. It was sent over 2 months ago, but arrived with some goodies. We are so grateful for all that the Hilliam’s taught us in our preparation to come to Kumasi and all that they have continued to teach us since our arrival. That you so much President & Sister Hillam!

We have been grateful for this second consecutive week of normalcy. With transfers coming up next week (23 missionaries arriving, and 10 going home), I have been seeking inspiration on the transfer board as I have continued to interview missionaries. Until I finish interviews this Wednesday, the door of inspiration is never fully open to be able to figure out how to accommodate these missionaries, including 12 new french speakers. Somehow it always works out, because it is not our work, it is His work, and He allows us to be a part of it. In two weeks we will have our mission tour with Elder Klebingat and we have also been working on preparing our messages for that. What a great blessing it is to be engaged in this great work of gathering Israel, Together in Ghana.

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