Ghana’s Adventist history is said to have started with literature.
In 1863 Adventism found its way into West Africa through literature. It wasn’t an official church missionary who brought the literature to West Africa. It was Hannah More, an American missionary who worked for another denomination in Liberia1. While Hannah was on vacation in America, Adventist Pioneer Stephen Haskell gave her literature, which led to her conversion to Adventism. She was baptized in Massachusetts. Upon returning to Africa, Hannah visited the other mission stations on the coast of West Africa, including Ghana, and left literature at each one. She shared her new belief with her missionary colleague Alexander Dickson, who later introduced Adventism into Australia.
The early Adventist pioneers had ship captains drop Adventist literature at various ports around the world to help spread the gospel. In 1888, Francis I. O. Dolphijn of Apam, a Ghanaian coastal town, found one such tract about the Sabbath. He initiated communication with Adventist headquarters from the address printed on the tract. He became a Sabbath keeper and decided to share what he’d learned throughout Ghana. Zealous and committed to his new faith, Francis Dolphijn displayed a special interest in literature evangelism. He became a full-time worker for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1897. He, his sons, and another new convert were the first Adventists baptized in West Africa. There is a statue, called “Dolphijn’s Hand,” of a hand clutching literature on the coast of Apam. This statue commemorates the origin of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghana.
Through literature, Adventism in West Africa became a reality.
Francis Dolphijn displayed a special interest in literature evangelism.
Today, gospel literature evangelism is still impacting many in Ghana.
Pastor Jehoshaphat Yaw Oduro, the South-West Ghana Conference (SWGC) Personal Ministries Director, shared this report:
We had just ended a campaign which yielded 47 precious souls, and the next day there was a lock-down.
With the global outbreak of COVID-19, the government of Ghana gave directives concerning social gatherings and religious activities. It was news we were not prepared to hear at that time as we were trying to incorporate the new members, but we could only trust in God who would make a better way to a better end.
Our entire country may have gone into lockdown, but the mission God has called us to has not changed. Jesus Christ rules with life and peace in a world consumed with fear and death (Colossians 3:15). As His followers, we have an opportunity to demonstrate compassion as we care for others and give the good news of love and peace.
Our SWGC team encouraged families to worship in their homes. I went on routine visits to church families during their worships and brought them literature. We came up with a plan to distribute the evangelistic materials we received from Light Bearers Ministry. We would go house-to-house, to essential businesses, and to schools.
A training seminar was held for SWGC lay members, personal ministries’ leaders, and church leaders.
At the end they received copies of [truth]LINK for sharing. These teachers will mark each of the 27 studies as they go through them with their students. A graduation will follow where the students receive a [truth]LINK diploma and a Bible.
Our entire country may have gone into lockdown, but the mission God has called us to has not changed.
Some of the team visited people to tell them how dangerous the COVID-19 virus is, and they provided fabric masks for free to protect against the virus. They told the people that there is another virus more dangerous than coronavirus, that is sin. Studying the Bible is a protecting mask against the deadly virus of sin. Some took just the masks, but many others accepted Bibles studies.
The Lord has blessed our effort with a total of 137 souls through baptism. The figure includes 32 new souls baptized after two weeks of intensive visitations with our workers, using the Holy Bible and Light Bearers Bible studies.
The SWGC team visited many government organizations to share the gospel literature. Naval officers at the Sekodi and Takoradi bases received copies of the Bible, the books The Great Controversy and The Desire of Ages, and [truth]LINK studies. They also visited Ghana National Fire Service and gave literature to many workers there. The team visited public schools and passed out literature to empower the youth. Several seminars and workshops were organized to train the youth leaders to take care of the youth, leading them through the studies.
The conference hopes that the literature distributed will help give the beneficiaries a better understanding of the times we are in now and they, in turn, will help spread hope in their communities amid this time of uncertainty in the world.
May God help you to help us spread the gospel since the coming of our Lord Jesus is imminent.
- Land, Gary, Historical Dictionary of the Seventh-day Adventists, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015