Our Heritage: James and John Ewudzie—Instruments of the Lord

Our Heritage: James and John Ewudzie—Instruments of the Lord

James Ewudzie – In 1970, Ghana was a place where groups calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were starting to establish themselves in Accra and Takoradi. The Lord was inspiring James and his brother John to be instruments in furthering the work of the gospel in Ghana. Both James and John came in contact with these early church groups through a friend, Brother Billy Johnson.

James had many dreams that helped him understand the gospel as it was being taught by Brother Johnson.  At the end of a Church meeting one Sunday, Brother Johnson asked if anyone had a dream that they could relate to the congregation.  In West Africa, it is common to have dreams concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.  James did not want to reveal his dream, but he felt the spirit push him to the front of the group.  He told the people of his dream and that a certain house had caught on fire.  A woman from the audience knew that the house he had described had burned that very day, which James had not known about.  James realized that the Lord was aware of the saints in Ghana and was preparing them.

Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in 1978 soon after the revelation on the Priesthood.   James and John were both baptized along with many others who had been awaiting the arrival of the missionaries who came with the authority to baptize, organize the Church and confer the Priesthood on worthy males.  It was a long awaited and joyous time.

James Ewudzie continued to have strong spiritual impressions.  On one occasion he was asked to bless a baby.  When he finished, he felt a humble feeling and heard, in his mind, that He would bless the country of Ghana with the blessings of the Temple.  From then on, James listened to the words he heard in his heart. When the Temple came to Ghana, it was a great blessing for everyone.

On another occasion James had been visiting with Brother Billy Johnson about the Book of Mormon.  They loved the story of Abinadi and were discussing the story.  When he went home that night, he dreamed that Angel Moroni appeared to him and five other men.  The men followed the angel and as they came to an avenue, he stopped and pulled out the gold plates.  It was a testimony to James that the Lord had brought the gold plates to Joseph Smith to be translated for the world to see the truth.  James wondered why so many miracles were happening in Ghana at this time.  Perhaps because of their willingness to accept dreams and visions, the Lord used these means to help the Ghanaians to read and accept the Book of Mormon as inspired and additional scripture. 

John Dan Ewudzie – John was introduced to the early church calling itself The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his older brother James.  The congregation met in an old cocoa warehouse in Cape Coast. John was happy to be a member of the Church.  He participated with Brother Billy Johnson as well.  Brother Johnson would call John when the services were about to begin and he would read from the Book of Mormon. As he read to the congregation other members would translate what had been said.  Many of the people called him Nephi, because he would read from the Book of Mormon every meeting.

John had dreams of the Church as well.  As was the custom for some of the men in these early church groups, John would fast and pray for three days with Brother Johnson.  At the conclusion of the fasting, he felt very close to the Lord.  He would go home and dream of many things.  In one dream, he was in a playing field of beautiful flowers, varieties he had never seen on earth.  He followed along a path and saw beautiful children.  The air smelled sweet and fragrant and different from Ghana.  A man told him it was where the prophets lived.  Then he saw a man dressed in the clothing of the bible, and he saw the Prophet Abraham.  Such vivid dreams and visions were not uncommon with these faithful African Christians.

The Church in Ghana – James and John Ewudzie were a part of the great beginning of the restored gospel in Ghana.  Brother Billy Johnson had a great influence on their lives and on the starting of the Church in Ghana.  Everyone loved him, and members wanted to be with Brother Johnson, and do what he asked them to do.  The RSU, which was the Restored Scripture Union was established for men to study and read the Book of Mormon which was taught by Brother Johnson.  The men were able to fast, pray, and study the scriptures with the organization.   The men fasted often to receive missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they traveled from branch to branch proselyting with the Book of Mormon and the Church pamphlets they had received.  Many other missionaries from other denominations, both black and white, came to Ghana to persuade Brother Johnson and his fellow saints to follow their teachings and join their churches.  However, Brother Johnson would say, “These are not our brothers who are from America.”  When the missionaries finally arrived in 1978, it was a happy day for them. Brother and Sister Mabey, and Brother and Sister Cannon came to Ghana. They taught them about the gospel and how to conduct Church meetings, discarding many of the traditional customs.  Following interviews with these faithful patient saints, many baptisms took place. On December 9, 1978, a group of eighty people were baptized in Cape Coast.  The Church was finally established and it flourished with hundreds more baptized soon thereafter.

Returning to Ghana from a trip to Salt Lake City, James went to the newly dedicated Ghana temple and was sealed to his wife.  His children were not sealed to them that day.  James’ family consisted of two daughters and a son who had been ill with meningitis and had not walked or spoken for nine years.  After the sealing, James heard a voice telling him to return quickly to have his children sealed to him as well.  One week after the sealing was done, his son LeGrand Richards passed away.  He was happy because he had learned to listen to the still small voice.

These two Ewudzie brothers, along with their brother Thomas, have continued as leaders in the Cape Coast area for many years.  Their valiant testimonies and dedication to the work of God is an inspiration to all.