The Lord Had A Plan

When David Fosu Asiedu was 17 years old, his elder brother, Richmond, a student away at university, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This surprised his family because they were members of their extended-family church, for which their father served as pastor. 

When his mother, Joyce, went to visit her son at university, she was so impressed by the change that had taken place in him that she came home and immediately told her family.  His father, Robert, had the same reaction after speaking to his son. He was puzzled as to why this change had taken place.  He taught his children to believe in Jesus Christ and live His commandments.  What did this new church have that theirs didn’t?  He asked his son about it and Richmond sent the missionaries to him.

At the time, David and his younger sister, Charlotte, lived at home with their parents. The three older boys were all away at school.  The missionaries came and taught the four members of the Asiedu family about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, and challenged them to pray about it to find out if it was true. 

They did. The answer came first to David’s father. Robert responded to the message of the restoration of the original Church organized by Jesus Christ. He was especially impressed that this restoration brought the keys to the Holy Priesthood with the authority to perform saving ordinances to bring his family back to his Father in Heaven.

The family eagerly joined the Church, and just three months later, the two remaining older boys also joined.  The visible influence of the gospel in one brother’s life had led them all to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Along with their joy in their new life came trials that would test their conviction. Soon after their baptism, David’s grandmother, Aunty Charlotte, who was the family matriarch and presided over their large family church, returned home from an extended visit to France. When she learned that her daughter’s family (including Robert, who held the prominent position of pastor) had joined another church, she became extremely angry.  She did everything in her power to make them leave this new church, even to the point of encouraging her daughter to divorce Robert.  She cut them off from association with the extended family. Robert’s primary source of income had been from his work as pastor. Now, that was gone, and they were left to survive on the money they earned from odd jobs they could find.  Despite this, their father encouraged them to remain true, teaching them that hardship would bring about great things in their lives. 

Their circumstances became very desperate.  At one point, they had no food, and the only money they had in the house was the money they had set aside for tithing.  It was Fast Sunday that week, but they had no money for transportation to church.  Despite their hunger, they set out for church, an hour’s walk away.  They arrived and joyfully paid their tithing in full, telling no one of their plight. As they journeyed home, they were filled with happiness and gratitude that they had been able to pay their tithing.

God blessed them for their faithfulness.  He did not send them more money, or jobs or food, and their situation remained the same for several years.  The miracle they received was that during all this time, the little food they were able to obtain nourished them in such a way that they became healthier and happier than ever before, despite their hunger.  People would often ask them what they were doing that made them glow with such good health. Others never knew that they were surviving on very little.  Not only this, the family was happy and never felt ill or weak. God fed them in His own way, and they thrived. 

About two and a half years later, on a Sunday after their Stake Conference, the Stake Presidency came to the Asiedu home to visit with Robert.  During their conversation, Robert shared something very personal.  He told them his faith was firm, and that his soul will find rest when he departs from this life because he knows he has accomplished the work he had come on earth to do, which was to bring his family to the right church.

Six months later, David’s father, who had been the picture of health, passed away suddenly. The family was devastated by the loss, but sustained by their knowledge of the great Plan of Happiness they had come to understand.  It was at this time that the members of the Stake Presidency who had visited Robert six months earlier shared Robert’s words of six months before.  They were comforted by this reassurance that their father’s passing was part of a greater plan, and that he had accomplished his mission in mortality.

With Robert’s passing, another great miracle occurred.  Their grandmother, Aunty Charlotte, who had been so angry with them and cut them off from the family, watched the way her daughter and grandchildren reacted to the death of their husband and father.  She saw that they mourned and were sad he was no longer with them, but was surprised to see that they still had hope and did not despair. Their conviction that they would be with their beloved Robert again impressed her deeply. Then, when she attended the LDS funeral service and heard the principles of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation preached there, her heart was touched, and she became interested in finding out more. Aunty Charlotte, a well-educated and studious woman, asked to see literature about the Church.

Just four days after his father’s death, David received his mission call to serve in Ghana Accra.  During the weeks before his departure, his uncles and extended family all tried to tell him that he should not go on this mission, as it was his duty to stay home and care for the family.  But David stood firm in his faith, and with the help of his mum and siblings, he chose to serve the Lord.

In the time before David left for his mission, Aunty Charlotte continued to study, but he doubted that she would ever humble herself enough to join the Church that she had criticized for so many years.  Imagine the joy he felt, 18 months into his mission, when during a Mother’s Day phone call, his family surprised him with the news that his grandmother Aunty Charlotte, had not only been baptized, but had also been to the temple and received her endowment. She had become a faithful and powerful force for good in her ward and neighborhood, and her newfound happiness led others to join the Church.

As he looks back, David sees that the Lord had a plan for their family, and that there was a purpose behind all they experienced.  The lesson their father had taught them that hardship would bring about great things had truly come to pass. He sees the greater purpose of his father’s death being the means of bringing his grandmother into the Church, and the influence of their example quietly changed the hearts of those around them.

God’s plan continues to work in the lives of David’s family and friends. Aunty Charlotte passed away recently. The family is planning a funeral service where the truths of the restored gospel will be taught.  They know that, like Lehi, their grandmother would say,

“I partook of the fruit thereof [and] it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” 1 Nephi 8:12

The Asiedu family knows that nothing will make their grandmother happier than to know the occasion of her passing will be the means of influencing her loved ones to come unto Christ, and partake of the beautiful fruit of the Tree of Life. They know that the Lord worked His plan on behalf of their family, and that He will continue his marvelous work, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39