Sister Alice Johnson Haney is the daughter of Billy Johnson, one of the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana. By the time the missionaries had arrived there, Brother Johnson had prepared over 1,000 people to receive the gospel and be baptized, forming ten new congregations.
In 1998 as a young woman, Sister Johnson (as she was at the time) was called to serve a mission in her own country, and she shares this experience:
“One of my most humble moments occurred while serving in Koforidua, when a senior couple from England, Elder and Sister Reeves, were assigned to serve in the same branch with us. The Reeves’ past bishop in England, Bishop Twum Danso, was a native of Ghana, and when this good bishop died, his remains were sent to Ghana to be buried near Koforidua.
“When the Reeves were called to serve in Koforidua, their ward in England asked them to lay a wreath on the bishop’s grave. This act of kindness opened a marvelous work. My companion and I, the Reeves, and the branch president of Koforidua, traveled to Akim Mase, home of the late bishop. That was memorable.”
Little did they know, Bishop Danso had been a member of the royal family in his village. Because of this, the group needed permission to visit the royal cemetery where he was buried.
Sister Haney relates, “… we visited the Akim Mase palace and met with the chief and his elders. The Reeves informed them all of the purpose of their visit and also their desire to share the gospel. We were permitted to visit the cemetery to lay the wreath, and then we were paraded through the town with the help of the king’s men. We later scheduled a date with the palace to introduce the gospel to the community leaders, a week after the visit.
“The first discussion took place at the palace, and there was a large group. Many of our investigators were the schoolteachers of the town, most of whom eventually accepted the gospel. Our first baptism was thirty converts.”
Subsequently, they conducted baptisms of twenty-seven and then twenty-one people. Most of these converts became the first leaders of the Church at Akim Mase. The death of Bishop Manso in England indirectly brought the gospel to dozens of wonderful people in his distant village.
Taken from a letter written by Alice Haney, documented in an article by Mark Albright in Meridian Magazine http://ldsmag.com/article/1/12910/2/page-2; excerpted by Marnae Wilson