Our Heritage: Fred Antwi - A “Right Turn” That Made All The Difference.

Our Heritage: Fred Antwi - A “Right Turn” That Made All The Difference.

April 1986:  Chief Nana Asomobore the 2nd – chief of a tribe in Ghana, passed away.  Attending his brother’s funeral was Fred Antwi, who had a year prior been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The burial would take place in six months and unknown to Fred, plans were being made by his sister, the queen mother, for Fred to take over the position of Chief of the tribe.  Just prior to the evening of the burial, Fred’s younger sister came to inform him and said, “Do you know what plans the family has for you?”.  He replied “No, not until I’m told.”  She replied, “You are going to the next of kin (new Chief)”.  Fred was surprised and said emphatically, “No!  My religion will not permit me.”

Being a Chief in Ghana

To serve as a chief is an honor. A chief is respected in his villages and is the first contact man for the large extended family. The chief is the overall boss and when he speaks, the people will do as they are instructed.  A chief receives financial support, and whatever he feels he needs, it will be provided to him. 

Brother Antwi’s Decision – the ‘Right Turn’

Fred relates the following upon hearing his sister’s news. “That same evening, I took my car and drove to one of our elders in the village called Anyinamso, in the Ashanti Region near Kumasi, to inform him of what I had heard.  He told me, “Kofi, I am part and parcel of the plans. I know what they are saying so there is nothing I can do to take you out from being a chief.” I said, “Well Nana, you know I am a Christian and my religion will not permit me to be a chief because there are a whole lot of things that we do in terms of pouring of libations, slaughtering of all animals and other things which to me might not all go well for me.” Nana replied, “Well, go back to your elder people and tell them that you are a Christian and from what you have said you can never be a chief.”

“I went back to inform the elders, but they ignored my message. The corpse was to be buried midnight so on our way, around 7:00 p.m. we were on our way from Mpesetia to bury my late brother in Kumasi, a place called Pankronu.  I was driving along with all of the other family members in their own cars, and upon reaching Kwadaso, instead of turning left with the others, I turned right leading to Cape Coast and sped off.”

For the first six months there was no contact from the extended family. Fred later learned that had he gone to the burial, he would have been named as the next chief, putting him in a very difficult situation. He learned in time that his nephew, son of the queen mother, was named the next chief.

Conversion – The Gospel will Change Your Life For Good

What compelled Fred Antwi to give up this position of honor – one which many may esteem very desirable?  Fred had found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Firm in his testimony of the principles and doctrines of the Gospel, Fred’s course in life was changed.  Brother Antwi had received the priesthood and was fully engaged in his calling as Branch President, dedicated to the service of the Lord.  Fred Antwi has continued to serve in District and Stake Presidencies and as a couple, he and Sister Antwi were the first full-time West African missionaries called to serve in the Ghana Temple.  Currently, he serves as a historian in the Africa West Area.

Brother Antwi shares his testimony of the Priesthood

“It was in this church that I first heard about this word priesthood.  I was baptized and confirmed the same day and the following week I was ordained a priest in the Aaronic priesthood. When I was ordained, I was given some assignments as a priest and I practiced this until I was interviewed and ordained as an elder three months later. This priesthood of which we are talking is a gift and to me it’s a privilege to have it….. this is the priesthood which our Father in Heaven had in creating all that we see here on earth. And the priesthood has helped my family. Whenever any of them gets sick, I lay my hands upon him or her, pray for him or her and he receives healing. This priesthood indeed is true and as we remain obedient and faithful, the priesthood is something that if we truly and worthily administer, will help us in our families.”

One does not have to be with Brother Fred Antwi for more than a few moments before his wonderful broad smile appears.  His love for the Gospel and the lasting change it has brought to him and his family’s life is reflected in that smile.  Truly, he made the ‘right’ decision.