Our Heritage: Pioneer from Takoradi, Ghana -Sister Martha Lily Bassaw Osei

Our Heritage: Pioneer from Takoradi, Ghana -Sister Martha Lily Bassaw Osei

Martha Lily Bassaw Osei, now serving as a Temple Missionary in the Accra, Ghana temple, is an early pioneer member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in West Africa.  The strength of her conversion and testimony are a blessing to not only her, but to all those who know her.

Martha and her husband were living in Cape Coast, both employed – he as an attorney and she as an accountant.  After a move to Takoradi for employment, her husband then left for Accra for some work and Martha remained in Takoradi.  It was at this time that Martha became acquainted with a group that called itself the “Mormon Church”.  Martha had a dream at this time.  “I dreamt one time that there is a church within this church which is so beautiful”.   She later realized that this church had the basic teachings but not the authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Because of some political issues, he had to flee to America.  Martha, by that time had been given a copy of the Book of Mormon. “I told him that if he reached America, he should look out for that Church which book I have given him”, Martha relates.  Months later, he wrote to Martha that he had found the Church.  He came back to Ghana and took Martha to the United States where they ended up in Provo, Utah.  Martha felt uncomfortable that she was so very far from her homeland, Ghana.  However, the first night in Provo changed her view dramatically.  “That night we slept in Provo, I had a dream that an uncle, who had died nearly ten years previously, came to me.  He told me about the Church – that the Church is also in the hereafter and that the Book of Mormon was true.  This was in September 1978.  Martha learned that her husband had been baptized and although she knew the Church must be true, she did not know much about the Church.  “The missionaries started to teach me the gospel and it was there that I learned about the Book of Mormon properly and about Joseph Smith.   It was there in Provo that I was baptized.”

Although Martha’s husband was coming and going from Provo for the next three years, Martha remained in Provo, growing in her knowledge of the Church and the gospel.  She had a wonderful opportunity to visit Nauvoo Illinois and Carthage.  Her longing for home and desire to reunite with her mother, still in Ghana, became stronger.   So, in 1981, Martha returned to Africa where she found that the same wonderful spiritual feelings she had experienced in America were present in the members who worshiped in the Church in Ghana. 

Martha became very involved in Relief Society, teaching and organizing activities.  She witnessed the rapid growth of the membership as new branches were created.  She has continued to serve in many callings in Relief Society and Young Women’s where she has had a great influence on many women.  She currently serves in the Ghana Temple as a Senior Missionary.

Martha loves music, and the hymns have strengthened her.   She says, “Whatever comes, the Lord promised me that He is with me.   Words from the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation” inspire this strength… ‘Fear not, I am with you’.  Martha states, “There are certain difficulties we will have, and then Lord is saying, ‘I am with you….  The soul that on Jesus leans for repose, I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never…..no never forsake.” (Hymn #85:  “How Firm a Foundation”)

“My testimony is that I know from the bottom of my heart, as my uncle said, that this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ.  The Book of Mormon is true. I have been alone for all these years, and the scriptures and books of the Church are what I read.  They strengthen me. They have the answer to all questions.  That is what I read and feel the Spirit of the Lord with me.”