A Faithful, Visionary People

A Faithful, Visionary People
People who are familiar with Africa describe its people as “faithful, visionary people.” For example, Brother Joseph W.B. Johnson was converted after prayerfully reading the Book of Mormon in 1964.  After his conversion he related the following:   “One early morning, while about to prepare for my daily work, I saw the heavens open and angels with trumpets singing songs of praise unto God.  I heard my name mentioned three times: “Johnson, Johnson, Johnson.  If you will take up my work as I will command you, I will bless you and bless your land.’
Pioneers of Africa
Brother Joseph W.B. Johnson

Brother Johnson continued, “Trembling and in tears, I replied, ‘Lord with Thy help, I will do whatever You will command me.’ From that day onward, I was [directed] by the Spirit to go from street to street to deliver the message that I had read in the Book of Mormon.”

When the missionaries arrived in Ghana fourteen years later, there were already hundreds of people in several congregations that Brother Johnson had organized and prepared for baptism.

Strangely enough, Priscilla Sampson-Davis first met the missionaries in Holland in 1964, the same year that Brother Johnson was converted.  Her husband was not interested in their message at the time, but Sister Sampson-Davis was, and she read the Book of Mormon. When the family returned to Ghana, she found Brother Johnson’s group studying the doctrines of the Church, and she became an active participant.  Fourteen years later, she and her children were among the first to be baptized when the missionaries arrived in Ghana.
Priscilla Sampson-Davis
Priscilla Sampson-Davis.jpg

One Sunday after joining the Church, Sister Sampson-Davis also saw a vision, but hers was markedly different than Brother Johnson’s. She felt as if she were at a sacrament meeting. A person in white apparel stood in front of the stand, beckoning to her.  She recalled, “I came and stood by him.  He asked me to turn around and look at the faces of the people to see if they were all enjoying the service.  I looked and saw that some of them had bowed their heads. He asked me why some of those people were not joining in the singing.  I replied, ‘Because they didn’t have the opportunity to go to school, and they can’t read English.  Therefore, they can’t sing the written songs, and that is the reason they bow their heads.’

Then he asked, “Wouldn’t you like to help your sisters and brothers who can’t read and who can’t join you in singing praises to Heavenly Father?’”

Even though she couldn’t write the language well, she replied, “I will try.” The vision ended, and she immediately translated “Redeemer of Israel” into her native language, one of the 800 languages in Africa.  Then Sister Sampson-Davis went on to translate the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, Gospel Principles, and various other Church materials.

Gospel Principles

 In seeking approval to translate the Book of Mormon, Priscilla says: “I discussed the translation with the mission president, and he asked me to continue…. I felt good as I translated the Book of Mormon.  I knew the Lord wanted me to do it, because at times when I would use a certain word or phrase, suddenly, as if somebody was standing behind me, I would hear, ‘No, use this word,’ or ‘No, not that word.’  I always had an eraser with me, because the Spirit was always teaching me.”

Taken from Gospel Pioneers in Africa, E. Dale LeBaron, Liahona, May 1994.

Gospel Pioneers in Africa