The Mankessim 1st Ward -- April 23, 2017
The two branches in Mankessim were both organized as wards today and new bishops were called. President Davies, of the Yamoransa Ghana Stake, presided and he invited Sister Stevenson and me to come and participate. We had a previous obligation to speak in the Ola Ward, so after we finished that assignment, we drove to Mankessim and were able to join the worship services for the second block of meetings.
A "ward" is a fully organized congregation of the Church. In Western Africa, congregations generally evolve from dependent "groups" to "branches" to "wards". It is an indication of the faithfulness, growth and depth of leadership of the congregation. Until the Yamoransa Stake was formed a year ago, the units in Mankessim were Mission Branches, meaning that the Mission President had ecclesiastical responsibility for them. We have witnessed the growth of those mission branches to two wards and three strong groups. It would not surprise me to see the surrounding congregations continue to grow so that Mankessim would be the center of a stake in a few years. We were grateful to represent all of the mission presidents and missionaries who contributed to the events of the day.
The Stake Presidency (right) and the bishopric of the Mankessim 1st Ward. (Bishop Godfred Ninson is third from the left.)
The Stake Presidency and the bishopric of the Mankessim 2nd Ward. (Bishop Alex Tawiah is third from the left.)
We enjoyed seeing our missionaries from Mankessim and Saltpond.
During the time I presided over the Mankessim Branches, I worked with two wonderful branch presidents.
President Incoom from the 1st Branch.
President Oppong from the 2nd Branch.
These are great priesthood leaders who directed the growth of the Church in this region. I have very fond memories of experiences with both of them.
Even though we didn't get there in time to participate in the organization of the 2nd Ward, there were still a few of the members around after the meetings for a photo.
The stake choir joined the ward choirs for the music. These are some of the choir members from Greenhill Ward, including our returned missionary, Sister Tawiah Sagoe.
The Stake Primary Presidency came to lend a hand in Primary. Sister Stevenson just got to watch.
As I mentioned, we began the day in the Ola Ward.
The Sisters and their investigators.
Now, for the rest of the week....
We held our first three zone conferences of the transfer in Takoradi, Tarkwa and Mpintsin. We are focusing on coordinating missionary work with the local members of the Church.
The pictures are all mixed up, so you have to sort them our yourself.
On Friday morning, we had interviews with the Bakaano District, then Finish Strong in the afternoon.
Somehow, the Bakaano District got away before we could get a picture of them.
There is no room left on the original Finish Strong shirt, so this group will sign both the old and new shirt to give continuity.
"Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry..."
This group set a goal together to baptize 100 people between now and the completion of their missions in July.
The July 2017 Finish Strong Group.
(Sister Danga looks like my sister, Janell -- the only sister in an army of brothers.)
Saturday was also busy, but light on photographs.
I drove out to Praso early in the morning to help with a baptismal interview, then rushed back (within the speed limit) to attend the quarterly Coordinating Council Meeting with the Stake Presidents and Area Seventy.
Elder Davis presides at the Coordinating Council Meeting.
After the council meeting was over, I drove out to Komenda to meet with a family there. I got home a little after 5 p.m. and found Sister Stevenson had baked fresh banana bread! I was ready for it.
So, that was the week. Please stay tuned for next week when another of my former mission branches will become a ward and we will divide the Kissi Branch and create the Komenda Branch!