Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Africa is a three story building

By Greg

Everywhere we go here in Ghana we notice that the buildings appear to be under construction.  I have given this a lot of thought and I think this is a metaphor for Ghana.


The ground floor of this building is occupied
They are building these buildings out of cement.  They want a solid structure.  They obviously do not have the capital to finish the buildings all at once.  But they have plans.  Almost every building appears to have the option of adding an additional level.


They have pretty much finished and occupied the ground floor with their shops, stores, offices and homes.  Of course, all around, behind and even to the side of these cement structures; there are shanties that are left over from the past.  These are occupied homes and shops as well.


It would appear that the people have hope.  They are planning for improvements.  The second floors will be better than the first.


See what the upper floors can become
When they have the capital, and the demand, and the infrastructure support, they will finish the second floor and then they can focus on the third floor.  I think this will happen in a relative short period.  When this happens this country will be transformed into a “third story” country.  Right now it is still a “ground floor” country.


The young Ghanaian who is currently playing football at BYU is the younger brother of some very fast running Africans (We understand the older ones were All-Americans).  These boys have returned to Ghana with master’s degrees in Economics and are claiming that Ghana will be like the US in 25 years!  That seems fantastic.  But consider this description of Senior Sister Miller just 28 years ago:


“Accra had no street lights.  The eerie glow of candles lit the stands of the peddlers who lined the streets with their wares of eggs, bread, fruit, and bolts of materials, nail polish, and Ghanaian jewelry.  The heat was unbearable by day, and we restlessly tossed on our beds at night, perspiring and listening to the ugly, annoying croaking of the frogs or the continual barking of dogs, and inhaling the strange odors of Ghanaian cooking…there were stores with nothing to sell, telephones that never rang, and electric lights that did not illuminate.”


I think you get the picture.  Then, there were no cars.  Now, the streets are packed.  Then there was no air conditioning, now most larger buildings are attempted to be cooled.  Then there was despair, now hope is everywhere.  Then education was a dream, now it is within the reach of most children and young adults.

Consider this: “Let faith rule the hearts of Thy Saints that they may contribute their tithes and offerings and be worthy of Thine outreaching hand in their behalf that they may be prospered in their labors, that their lands may be productive, and that the blessings of heaven may come down upon them in great measure, that they may be lifted from the scourge of poverty, that they may be looked upon as a favored people.”  This prayer was offered by President Hinckley on January 11, 2004 as he dedicated the Accra Ghana Temple and formally opened the second floor construction of this county (in my opinion).


By Debi:


Greg and I have had a debate on whether we can tell other peoples stories that we have heard from people here in Ghana.  We decided that if we heard the story from the very person that it is about, that we can retell it with confidence that it is true. Here is a story that we heard from the very man that it happened to.  We also decided that we would not use their name unless we have specifically have asked them if we can use their name.

Monday night at President Biellett’s (Temple President of the Ghana Temple) home,  we met a  man who has been a member of the church for about 25 years and he is now a temple worker.  When he first heard of the church he lived in a town just east of Cape Coast.  He was living a very riotous live and he had one of the few cars in the village.  He told his friend that he wanted to look for a church.  Another friend told him about the Mormon Church and asked him to come.  Each week he would go to the Church and learn and listen to the missionaries.  His friend didn’t want to join the Church because it was too hard but this man felt the spirit and completely changed his life.

He and his wife were baptized and have been sealed in the temple and they have remained active for 25 years. The one catch to the story is that his father was the King of the village.  The man was in line to be the next king.  When his father died the men in the village planned to kidnap him and force him to denounce the Church and break the covenants that he made in the Temple.  His wife got word of the whole affair and told him.  He immediately got in his little car and drove as fast as he could to another city named Kumasi.  He remained in hiding for six months.  Eventually the men in the village decided to make a cousin the king and allowed the man to return to his family and home.  This is what this Priesthood Brother said last Monday night, “I would rather be a Deacon in God’s true Church than be a King here on Earth.”  He then bore a beautiful testimony to the truthfulness of the gospel and the blessings he and his family have received.


We are so blessed to be here in Africa.  We hear experiences like this almost every day. 

Not only are the people full of hope but they are also very spiritual and very humble.  The Lord is blessing them with experiences that give them strength and understanding of the Lord’s plan for them. Even though there is so much true poverty the people seem to not worry so much about their worldly possessions and more about their spiritual possessions.

There is a beautiful three part video the Church has produced with people telling their stories.  Here is the link:> prophets and apostles>previously published>July 2012>emerging with faith in Africa-Mahmud’s Story.

Mahmud works in our building on the same floor as we are on.  He currently works in the real estate section finding buildings to rent for the one or two new units they are adding each month!

The wife of President Prince has a shop that makes bags and all the sisters know her.  He is the one who read the Book of Mormon in one of the other segements. 

 I hope you enjoy the video and think of us when you see the pictures of Ghana because that is what we are seeing every day.




  1. Wow, I just watched those three videos. I see so many parallels with my mission. The people were so poor and they had nothing, but they were so wonderful. And the Church grew and now there will be 3 temples in Peru. 500,000 members of the Church.
    I can't stand this. I may have to stop what I am doing and go on a mission.
    I think I can get over it. But I envy you two and when I see what you are doing...
    Treasure every day. Realize where you are.

  2. I loved this entry. What a great metaphor to the 3 story buildings. You are contributing to their growth! I am so proud of both of you. Keep the stories coming. True or myth they are still inspiring:)

    I love you,