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GOSPEL TAKES ROOT IN AFRICA'S WILD COAST

- From time to time the Church News receives correspondence that is suitable for publication in the writer's own words.

Following are excerpts from a letter written by Elder Jay H. Buckley, a missionary serving in the South Africa Cape Town Mission. The Republic of Transkei, in which he worked, is a Bantustan - one of several territories in South Africa set aside as reserves for native black peoples, with some self-government.In March 1988, medical doctor Emmanuel Danso and his wife, Akosua Seiwa, moved to a small coastal resort, Port Saint Johns, on the Wild Coast of the Indian Ocean. This little village is 100 kilometers on bad roads from Umtata, the capital of the Republic of Transkei, located in southeastern Africa.

This move left Dr. Danso's wife wondering if the LDS Church, which her husband had joined in Ghana some six years prior, would now forsake him.

But soon after their arrival, Dr. Danso was reading the Daily Dispatch newspaper and noticed an address for the Church in nearby East London. When he wrote them a letter, soon two elders traveled down from Umtata and visited them.

Later, the couple met with South Africa Cape Town Mission Pres. Reed C. Snow, and on July 16, 1988, Akosua Seiwa Danso was baptized in the Indian Ocean.

The missionaries in neighboring Mount Frere were relocated to Umtata and began to hold Church services there. During this time, the Dansos remained faithful members, paying tithing, keeping the Word of Wisdom and other commandments.

Because he was the only doctor in Port Saint Johns, he frequently had to miss attending Church in Umtata. Despite this, Dr. Danso and his wife would sit down together, pray, read the scriptures, sing hymns, and watch general conference tapes.

"We have most of the talks memorized," said Sister Danso. "They were a real spiritual strength to us."

In September 1989, Dr. Danso received the Melchizedek Priesthood.

This past April 8, 12 members, eight investigators, four missionaries and the East London District presidency participated in a landmark meeting.

The district president stood up in the small library hall and organized a branch, the first in the Republic of Transkei. Dr. Danso was sustained and set apart as branch president, with Elder Neil Hansen from Orem, Utah, as first counselor, and prospective missionary Emmanuel Hammond as second counselor.

President Danso bore his testimony of President Ezra Taft Benson and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. He spoke on the fruits of the Spirit, and the Spirit testified that the Lord had truly called this man for the position.