Prepared to Serve

Prepared to Serve

Born with a gift for music and an adventurous spirit, Peter LeGrand Mensah has led an interesting and varied life. As a result of his father’s death when he was about three years old, he was raised by various relatives. At fifteen years of age, after seven years of school, he decided to train with a Methodist minister to become a preacher. The minister taught him in all subjects, including math, literature and writing. After several years, Peter Mensah decided that being a preacher was not the life he was looking for.  On a school break he went to Takoradi to visit his elder brother.  While there, he heard a band playing, and he was particularly drawn to the sound of an electric guitar. Seeing Peter’s interest and talent, the band director agreed to teach him if he would work and save enough money to buy his own guitar. After earning his guitar, the director taught him how to play and included him in his band. Thus began the first career of Peter Mensah.

Peter loved this career in music, and it was very successful. It took him from Takoradi to Liberia, to Senegal, to Cȏte d’Ivoire, to Upper Volta and always back to Ghana. In Senegal he began learning French, and in Daloa, Cȏte d’Ivoire he worked hard to become more proficient in the language. During these five or six years he still pursued his interest in religion, reading and studying many religions but not attaching himself to any particular one. 

Upon returning to Ghana in 1968, Peter again organized a band. He spent some time purchasing instruments in Hamburg, Germany, and then returned to organize other dance bands. The last band he formed was the Railway Worker’s Band in 1972. By this time he was about 31 years of age, and he began to think of marriage. A friend thought he would be a good match for her sister, Cecilia. After courting and getting to know each other well, Peter and Cecelia were married in 1972. They lived in Takoradi and had two children. Peter eventually left his music career and went into business.

Peter’s life began to change in another way when he met Brother Ghartey, the Takoradi District President. Brother Ghartey told Peter about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but Peter was not interested. Cecilia was staunch Catholic, and Peter was not interested in any organized religion, but that did not stop Brother Ghartey.  He gave Peter a book, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, by LeGrand Richards.  He took the book home to read and found it very interesting.  When he read about the Urim and Thummim he was curious.  He had read that Moses used a Urim and Thummim when he wrote the five books of the Old Testament.  He was also interested in the organization of the priesthood. Peter Mensah started attending Church and began a serious study of the gospel.

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

Before becoming a member Peter paid his tithing and served as the ward choir director. He paid a generous amount of tithing to his ward, more than the 10%.  He did this for more than nine months. While at work one day, the accountant came in to tell him that his employer had underpaid him.  He was given an extra check for his work. This was a surprise, but he knew and felt in his heart that it was because he had paid a generous tithing. This experience helped him to realize it was time to be baptized at last.  Many members of his ward came to see their ‘dry’ choirmaster become the ‘wet’, or baptized, choirmaster. He was baptized with three of their children on October 27, 1984

After being baptized, a date was set for him to receive the priesthood. He suggested to his wife that since he was going to be made a priest, she might want to come and witness it. When Cecilia went to Church to see Peter ordained, she was greeted enthusiastically by many schoolmates who invited her to attend church and help with the music in the primary. Eventually, she also decided to join the Church and was baptized in 1985.  Since then, they have given much service to the Church. Peter was called to serve as Anaji Branch president before he had been a member three years.

When he was called to serve as a bishop of Takoradi Ward, he also received a call to go to Salt Lake City to work on voice recording for translation of the temple movie presentation.  He had not been through the temple yet, so he and his wife had the privilege of going to the Bountiful Temple for their endowments and then to the Salt Lake Temple the next day to be sealed.  He was able to meet President Hinckley, who told the Mensahs that he would be in Ghana soon.  On February16th, 1998, President Hinckley arrived in Ghana and announced a temple in Accra.  Everyone was so happy about the prospects of a temple in West Africa. 

Besides serving as branch president and bishop, and high councilman, Brother and Sister Mensah were called as service missionaries and also served as temple workers.  He loved his temple calling and has a testimony of that important work. Brother Mensah has found his French very useful as he has served in this capacity. Brother and Sister Mensah recently completed serving in the Accra Ghana Temple presidency. They finished their three-year term in October of 2015.

Before his baptism, Brother Mensah found it odd that so many people cry during testimony meeting.  He always thought it was a weakness to show such emotion.  After his baptism, he was sitting in the new Cape Coast chapel that was being dedicated by Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  He had the opportunity to sit right in back of him.  He had a strange feeling come over him and he began to weep openly.  He looked around to see that others were doing the same thing.  He went home and called a friend to ask why he was doing such a thing.  His friend said that he had felt the Holy Spirit, and that is why he was crying in front of the congregation. Now when bearing his testimony, he knows it is a good thing, not a sign of weakness.  Since that time, he has felt the witness of the Holy Spirit many times. The hand of the Lord is evident in his life. This has brought him great joy.