Elder Wall and I (Elder Richard and Sister Joyce Wall) had been called to help open the Missionary Training Center in Tema, Ghana. We were scheduled to be released in November 2003. In October of 2003 we received a special call to extend our mission so we could write and direct a youth cultural program for the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple in January 2004. This was one of President Hinckley’s wonderful ideas for the youth and was the first “cultural celebration” ever.
We only had three months to put this all together, but had wonderful help from Church leaders and especially from our Public Affairs missionaries, Elder Mike Kirkpatrick and his wife, Sister Marged Kirkpatrick. The production was to be held in a huge outdoor soccer stadium and Kirkpatricks had made an appointment with Ms. Amarteiflo, the director of Ghana’s National Theatre Company, to see if we might rent some stage properties. We met with the Kirkpatricks on Tuesday morning to finalize some details of the script. They told us they had just received a box of Tabernacle Choir CDs and wondered if we would like one. Gratefully, I chose one, dropped it in my purse, and we were off to our meeting with Ms. Amarteiflo.
We entered the National Theatre and were guided to Ms. Amarteiflo’s office where we introduced ourselves. She seemed distracted as we explained the reason for our visit. She said she thought it was impossible to mount a production with “untrained youth” in only three months. She asked if we would like to hire their trained drummers and dancers. We explained that our purpose was to involve church youth in all of Ghana. At that point, she looked at her watch and stood to usher us out.
Elder Wall felt prompted to share his testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, or the Mormons. Ms. Amarteiflo’s face brightened, she motioned for us to sit down again. “Is that the Church with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?” she asked, excitedly. When we said that it was, she said, “They are one of my favorite choirs! I love their music!” I took the Choir CD from my purse, and gave it to her.
Then Ms. Amarteiflo led us into the storage room for the National Theatre Props. It was filled with wonderful, authentic African items: huge talking drums, palaquins, king’s and queen’s stools, chief’s umbrellas, headdress for palaquin carriers, even a huge African hut. “Feel free to spend as much time here as you wish,” she said. Make me a list of items that you would like to use.” One of the items I knew we wanted was the African hut. “Oh,” she said, “that needs painting. We will make sure it is refurbished for your program.”
The Lord prepared a way for us to obtain the needed props through such a small and simple gift of a Mormon Tabernacle CD. We were grateful for this tender mercy.