Articles from the July 1997 Unification News
The Church in Ghana
by Bismarck Bamfo-Accra-North, Ghana
Ghana can be considered the center of the earth because of its geographical location: the equator (latitude 0 degrees) and longitude 0 degrees, all in Ghanaian waters. It has a population of about 18 million. The nation gained her independence in 1957. As the nation celebrates her 40th anniversary of independence, it's also time to take deep reflection as a Unificationist, a nation and people, in line with God's providence-where are we coming from, where are we now, where are we going and how can we get there?
As the first nation to gain independence from her colonial master in Africa, the first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, declared to the world on Independence Day, "The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is connected to the total liberation of Africa."
With this vision in mind, he was able to help many African countries who were under their colonial masters to gain independence by 1960. Despite being trained and educated in the West, he aligned himself with the Eastern bloc. Dr. Nkrumah adopted socialism from the East and encouraged other African nations to follow this example. He dramatically improved the education system in Ghana, information and communication, infrastructure like highways, Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam, hospitals, etc. However, the introduction of socialism in Ghana, coupled with the Alien Compliance Order-the expulsion of illegal aliens, especially Nigerians-which was adopted by succeeding governments-brought a double curse to the nation. As a mother and land of freedom (as many call her), Ghana had the responsibility to embrace all people and show the way to continental peace centered on God. She could not share God's word with other nations; rather she propagated Socialism (the younger brother to Communism) which denies God. She was not able to embrace the oppressed ones who sought refuge-the Nigerians who escaped from the Biafra War.
The nation went through a wilderness course. The nation became a land of oppression, corruption, bloodshed, coup d'état and famine. Most educated people, including university professors, medical doctors, engineers, the young elite, sought refuge outside Ghana.
In 1975, after years of suffering, God sent Unificationist missionaries to save the nation. That did not work. They even had to escape to Nigeria for years. Internally, Ghana Unificationists, and externally, ordinary Ghanaians in Nigeria, went through terrible difficulties.
The situation changed when True Parents finally paid the price with Danbury, the 7000 Christian leaders workshop in Korea, and the success of CAUSA activities world-wide. The decline of communism opened the way for the introduction of democracy and the salvation of Ghana and the world.
The suffering and difficulties the nation went through from independence to the fall of the Soviet empire revived religious people, especially Christians, to turn to God and Jesus for solutions. This ignited the establishment of many denominations throughout the nation. The Unification movement returned from Nigeria in the late 1980s to prepare for the harvest. True Parents' 40 year course ended in 1992. In the same year, True Parents started the globalization of the Blessing. By God's grace, over 30 Ghanaians received the Blessing on Aug. 25, 1992. The introduction of democracy and general elections brought greater freedom of Assembly and worship in the country.
Preparation for August 1995 Blessing
At the end of 1992 Blessing, True Parents declared 360,000 Couples to be the goal of 1995 Blessing. Ghana was asked to bring 10,000 couples for Blessing 1995. Members were mobilized inside and outside Ghana, with the support from Women's Federation for World Peace volunteers, to achieve the goal. True Mother's speech, "The Appearance of True Parents and the Completed Testament Age," was read in all the regional capitals and millions of copies given to participants. It was also published in one of our newspapers. It was well received in many circles. At the same time, it generated a great deal of controversy. Internally, we prepared and supported the campaign by offering one-day chain fasting, 40 and sometimes even 80 "kyombae" until the Blessing day-Aug. 25, 1995.
Mother's speech opened the way for openminded as well as controversial pastors to find out. They wanted to know more about True Parents and the Blessing.
Workshops and seminars were conducted in various churches in the country. Most of them accepted the conclusion with mixed feelings, thinking that our motivation was to draw and capture their members. Others rejected, but a few wholeheartedly accepted.
By the middle of August 1995, we had hope that over 7000 couples would participate in the Blessing. However, to our dismay, fewer than 3,000 couples and about 120 matching candidates participated. The above skepticism coupled with other factors-transportation, financial constraints-resulted in a low turnout. Out of those who received the Blessing, only 20% received Divine Principle and Unification tradition. We promised to educate them after the Blessing.
Single Persons Blessing Oct. 1995
After Aug. 1995 Blessing, our movement became popular through inter-faith activities. We were in John the Baptist position: bring the churches to God and True Parents. Those who participated saw True Parents and the number of participants at the Olympic Stadium. They went home with pride and dignity. They said, "We have been Blessed. We were part of the 360,000 Couples." Those who did not participate regretted it, after hearing others' testimonies about its magnitude.
Fortunately, we received instruction to continue the Blessing for a time. The churches were very happy when they heard about the extension of the Blessing. Rev. Chung H. Kwak's visit to Ghana during the same period, coupled with the announcement to conduct the Single Persons Blessing, broke the camel's back. All along, the churches had been asking how their older single persons could be Blessed. It was a short time noticed, however, with great enthusiasm, they were able to mobilize 250 candidates. On the day of the Single Persons Blessing, Rev. Kwak explained about the position of True Parents, the significance of the Blessing, and that they would be matched after they go to the spiritual world to another spirit person. To be matched with a spirit person? Sometimes even members found that difficult to digest, but they accepted it and responded boldly, clearly and loudly: Amen. Amazing! What is happening in Ghana? God, True Parents and the entire good spirit world are with us!
Ghana: Secret of our Success
In Ghana, over 10,000 couples from different denominations participated in the 1995 Blessing. A majority of them were from made-in-Ghana (i.e., native Ghanaian) churches. The news about the Blessing reached most of the churches after Aug. 25, 1995. After the SIngle Persons Blessing in October 1995, brothers and sisters were mobilized to continue the Blessing. From that moment, thirty to forty-five minutes was enough to convince a church leader for their members to receive the Blessing. By the end of the extended period, we were able to achieve the above goal of 10,000 couples. How did we do it?
First, Ghana brought the highest result during the Single Persons Blessing 1995 for matching to spirit world. If they were truly matched, what sort of spirit world were they? Were they good, great saints and sages? Maybe True Parents will be in the best position to answer us.
If those spirits have the opportunity to support True Parents' activities, which country will they support the most? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The answer is obvious that they will assist the Ghanaian providence.
Second, True Parents' visit to Ghana is another major factor. They were well received by the Ghanaian government and even exchanged gifts. As the Bible says: "He who receives my son receives me and he will receive my reward." The Christian community from Nigeria and Ghana also received them with enthusiasm. In addition, only 40% of those who came to see and listen to True Parents at the conference center could enter. The rest (over 5,000) were not able to fit inside. They were ambassadors, government officials, religious leaders, etc. The hall (capacity 3,200) was jammed and packed two hours before the time Father was to speak. Instead of ushering people in, they had to usher people out.
The audience was so inspired by the contents of the speech that after the conference the church leaders read the speech several times in their churches. This also served as another foundation for the spirit world to work. With this foundation, they were ready to receive the Blessing.
Third, at first the churches felt we had other motives-to take their members. (Of course, all Blessed couples are the Children of God and True Parents. Therefore, they are automatically members of the unification community. Unification movement is not for Unificationists alone. It was created for God, True Parents and world peace.) Yet after the Blessing we were free with them. We invited them to our conferences (fish powder, RYS, Inter Religious Federation for World Peace, AIDS, etc.) and still we did not impose any laws and regulations on them. Is unification movement's Blessing beneficial to the churches or not? Beneficial! The church leaders now feel comfortable and they are proud to work with us. Miracles are now happening in their churches. Most of their problems have disappeared.
Fourth, Ghanaians by nature are religious and they have cool, submissive and subservient character. Many people consider Ghana as the mother and Nigeria as the father of Africa. Others say they are twins or sister and brother respectively. Nigerians are more aggressive, subjective and masculine in personality. Ghanaians have learned a lot from her mistake in promoting socialism in Africa, as well as the Aliens Compliance Order. As mother and land of freedom, she has opened more to her neighbors and to foreigners than ever before. It is a place where no one worries foreigners when they enter. She is now considered as the most hospitable country in Africa by foreigners. This character of Ghana has created the foundation for people to be humbler, more tolerant and willing to follow. This is also another major factor in our success working with the churches. However, in many situations and circumstances, it has been misconstrued as weakness and abused by many foreigners who come to Ghana.
The victory of Aug. 1995 Blessing, the Single Persons Blessing and the spiritual foundation laid the base for Ghana to stand together with the advanced nations to lead the world into the 21st Century. The election of the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Honorable Dr. Kofi Anan-the first black African to occupy that office-has a providential reason and meaning. Moreover, Dr. Anan will lead the United Nations into the 21st Century.
The success of Dr. Anan's mission (externally) will depend on the success of the Unification movement (internally) in its goal of 3.6 million Couples Blessing on Nov. 29, 1997. Our national goal is 400,000 Couples, which is also very significant. It symbolizes separating the nation from Satan after 40 years of independence.
The Way to Achieve Our Goal
As commented by one Nigerian member, "Ghanaian members are slow but sure." We have few staff members, but we have the "Can Do" spirit. How are we going to achieve our goal: 400.000 couples?
As stated earlier, good spirit world is with us, the churches are more prepared and have full confidence in Unification movement than ever, and they are willing to work with us. Above all, the people are ready to listen and receive the Blessing of God and True Parents.
So far, we are reaching out in three ways. First, Unification members (candidates and Blessed members) have been assigned to church leaders who received Blessing in 1995. Some of the churches have mobilized brass bands and they are campaigning from town to town, city to city, Blessing their members and non-members of their churches. Initially, the results were not encouraging-an average of 70 couples per day. Nowadays, some are Blessing 2,000 per day. What do you think, if this trend continues? Can we meet the goal of 400,000 Couples?
Second, Unification members are working day and night in towns and villages conducting Blessing. Some are doing house to house, explaining about sanitation, the dangers of AIDS and the need to maintain one spouse. Those who pledge to maintain one spouse before God, Jesus, True Parents and for the sake of their own future generations (lineage) are given Blessing. We literally shake the dust off our feet when any home refuses to accept us. This method also brings a very good result in our campaign.
Third, Youth Federation for World Peace (YFWP) gained national recognition through our first National Seminar on AIDS. The government, through the Ministry of Education's recognition letter, is serving as a license to reach out to all churches, schools and other institutions including the public and private sectors.
YFWP is therefore reaching out to new churches, schools, police, fire service, immigration, customs and excise and many others. We approach them through AIDS education and conclude with lectures on meaning and purpose of life, then giving them the Blessing.
Wherever we go, our Blessing materials are with us. Couples are given Blessing right away. Single candidates are also invited to the center for further training. We always "hit the iron when it is red hot" (i.e., strike when the iron is hot).
Those members who are working in towns, villages or homes are also bringing single people for workshop. The director of Ghana's National Fire Service has granted us permission to educate all their staff and Bless them. Over 200 couples have been Blessed already from the Fire Service. We have over 10,000 more to be Blessed throughout the country.
In the meantime, the Police Force and Ministry of Defense (military) have also agreed for us to teach and Bless qualified couples in the military. Immigrations and Customs program for education and Blessing is in the pipeline. In August 1996 we had the Religious Youth Service project in Ghana. After the project, some of the students from the University of Cape Coast decided to inaugurate a chapter in their University. It was finally inaugurated on Dec. 15, 1996 with over 80 students registering with RYS. RYS is also working at the University Campuses throughout the country to open chapters, teach them about Godism and the Blessing. We are expecting many candidates from RYS. The national Blessing campaign started in the middle of February at a very slow pace but now we are gathering momentum day by day. So far, over 100,000 couples have received the Blessing (by the end of May 1997).
Together with You
We have few months to go. The question is: Is it possible to achieve the goal before Nov. 29, 1997? The answer is: Yes! Despite the fact that we have limited logistics, including manpower and funds, we also need your prayers and moral support. There is something peculiar about Ghanaians when it comes to their relationships with Americans, Europeans and Asians. Their respect for white or yellow people is beyond description. To Ghanaians, on your way to church, if you meet a white or yellow person, it is enough. There is no need to go to church because that man represents Christ. You have been blessed already by God in that regard. Once True Parents announced the Blessing of 3.6 million couples by Nov. 29, 1997, we have to bring the result at all costs. Ghana is ready to bring the result if members in Europe, America, Asia and anywhere else who are finding it difficult to witness can join us here in Ghana. Our people want to meet Christ by meeting a white or oriental man. As Unificationists, we are not meeting Ghanaians just for meeting's sake, but to convey God's Truth and God's Blessing to them. Our combined effort (Ghanaians' and other members') will increase our moral results dramatically and thereby achieve our national and world-wide goal-3.6 million couples.
Apart from that, members working in villages and towns are receiving a warm welcome everywhere they go. Sometimes the chiefs, assemblymen and the general public express their appreciation by giving them sheep, goats, food and transportation to the next town. Amazing! It is not by our own effort. It is Heavenly Father's and True Parents' foundation. We want you to join us to bring victory together-to God and True Parents.
Our Future Goals
The activities in Ghana are not just bread and butter issues. There are many problems but we can't allow those problems to stop God's providence. One of the areas which needs attention, if not today then soon, is education. The churches are receiving the Blessing with minimum education-Divine Principle and Unification traditions. Sometimes it is not easy for most of them to receive True Parents as messiahs when detailed lectures are given before Blessing them. However, once they receive the Blessing, it is very easy for them to accept True Parents as Messiahs. The expansion of our activities with different denominations and religions call for the need to train more members who can deal with these religions, denominations and VIP's on a higher level. I think the time has come for more members to prepare for the task ahead of us in Ghana at the Unification Theological Seminary and at the University of Bridgeport. Since the number of Blessed Couples in the country is increasing, there is a need to translate Divine Principle into local languages and teach them using television, radio and the print media.
One of our major problems is in the area of financing. We are extremely handicapped in our economic foundation. We hope to create strong economic foundations for our future activities. Already, International Seafood of Alaska is working things out to help start the fish powder business in Ghana. We hope to establish business agents with some of our companies abroad in Ghana as their representatives.
Let us pray and support each other for total victory for God and True Parents-3.6 million. How can we love God and True Parents? By accomplishing the goal of 3.6 million Couples Blessing. A better United Nations centered on God and True Parents will emerge once we succeed. Shall we do it?
Bismarck Bamfo is a member of the 30,000 Couple Blessing of August 1992. He is national chairman of YFWP in Ghana, and the national director of education of HSA-UWC there as well. He can be reached at Box 11626, Accra-North, Ghana.
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