Provident Living: Following the Wise Counsels of the Prophets

Provident Living: Following the Wise Counsels of the Prophets

The fridge was full, the store-room was packed and the kitchen shelves were well stocked; Sister Pauline Konu, Achimota Ward Relief Society President, stood in amazement.  She could not determine what additional supplies the sisters could provide to assist Sister Yvonne Ansah-Arthur and her four young children who had just lost their father.

William Ansah-Arthur had been the Bishop of Achimota ward for some years when he decided to focus on encouraging his members to make a serious effort to obey the Prophets’ counsels to  Stay out of Debt and to Keep a year’s Supply of Food at Home; advice that has been difficult for many members in West Africa to keep.  “How does one store enough for a year when there is barely enough for the month?” many wonder; but Bishop Ansah-Arthur was not deterred. He determined that to motivate the members to obey this directive, he first had to set the example by living that principle himself. 

Stay out of Debt and to Keep a year’s Supply of Food at Home;

At a Family Home Evening activity, the Ansah-Arthur family prayed to the Lord for guidance.  That year, they were inspired to double their Christmas expenditure on food.  Instead of purchasing two bags of rice they bought four.  Instead of 10 kilos of sugar, they bought 20.  Three cartons of tomato paste instead of two, three gallons cooking oil instead of one.  On and on the list went until they had a well-stocked store of provisions and essential victuals.

While they stored food they also kept some livestock in the backyard and planted a little garden of vegetables and basic spices.  The twin girls, Maame Badu and Naa Lamiokor, helped their mother to blend and freeze tomatoes that had earlier been cooked; while their brother Amuakachie and sister Ekuba helped dad to feed the goats and sheep.

That Christmas, the children did not have any presents but they were still happy and thankful that they had helped their parents to follow the teachings of the Prophets. “We do not have much spare cash”, Bishop Ansah-Arthur said “but we sure do have enough food to last several months!”    Beaming with smiles, Yvonne and the children nodded in agreement.


As fate would have it, weeks after this inspired activity, Bishop Ansah-Arthur fell ill and died on January 9, 2012.   This sudden and tragic incident brought much pain and anguish to the young family.  Many Church members, friends and relatives were there to console and comfort them.  The Lord was merciful and quickly healed their broken hearts.  Words of kindness and encouragement echoed through their minds and souls - one that Sister Ansah-Arthur fondly remembers are those of a sister who remarked “Bishop did not just instruct us to follow our Prophets; he actually lived by the words of the Prophets”.

On the principle of staying out of debt, Bishop Ansah Arthur taught his members to avoid borrowing and to live within their means.  He went a step further by asking them to cultivate the saving habit and encourage their kids to do the same.  “Get piggy banks for the children and urge them to save all spare coins.  No amount is too small to be saved!” he would stress. 

The Bishop and his wife decided to set aside 5 cedis (about 2.50 USD) for each child every month on top of each child’s own savings.  After years of consistency, the children soon realized that their coins had grown into sizable amounts that could be invested in treasury bills!   Years have passed and their dear dad has gone into eternity but his precious teachings on provident living continue to impact their lives for the better - it certainly pays to live the principles of the Gospel.