This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link: http://ldsghanamtc.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Ghana Pioneer Dr. Kissi Visits Every Ghana MTC Group
Intervew with Dr. Emmanuel Abu Kissi
Recently, Mormon Newsroom visited one of the most accomplished Latter-day Saints in Ghana, Dr. Emmanuel Abu Kissi, a renowned medical practitioner, former lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School, prominent Church leader and distinguished author. After working as a general surgeon at Korle-Bu Hospital, Kissi and his wife Elizabeth, who is a nurse/midwife, established Deseret Hospital, a medical clinic in Accra. Dr. Kissi also visits the MTC every other Saturday to counsel with every missionary who will be serving in Ghana about their health.
The more than half-hour interview with the respected father and grandfather brings to light his experience about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has helped him and the people of Ghana.
Newsroom: Can you tell us briefly about your background?
Dr. Kissi: I was born in Abomosu. I was named after my grandfather who was called Kissi. My father was a farmer. My mother never went to school. I don’t know how it happened, but at one point my father was at the same level of education with his elder brother. When it came to the time for them to continue on at the secondary level, my grandfather asked the two of them to ballot. Whoever won would further his education, since Grandfather did not have enough to pay for the two of them.
My father declined, saying he could not ballot with his elder brother and that his elder brother should carry on with his education. Unfortunately, later on a misfortune befell my uncle and he was killed.
My father served as a ‘foreman’ in the first diamond company at Abomosu.
Newsroom: The records show that you have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 35 years.
Dr. Kissi: Yes, we were baptized into the Church in February, 1979. Fortunately, we have been successful with the Church. The Church has brought so many blessings to Ghana. Sometimes I ask myself, if the Church hadn’t come to Ghana, what would have happened to all the people who have benefitted spiritually and physically to reach the level where they are now? I realize that the Church has brought so many blessings – and I beat my chest and say well, well, well the Lord is great. He has done great things for Ghana.
Newsroom: What moved you to become a Latter-day Saint?
Dr. Kissi: I finished medical school in Ghana in 1969. When I finished medical school, my next object in life was to find a church with teachings I could feel were true. That was very much on my mind. In the 70s I went to England for further training. When I got to England, I said to myself that I was there to do two things. First, I would finish my surgical training. The next thing was to find a church that would be right for me. During those days I had worked myself up religiously. I was very critical when people talked religion. I listened carefully to see if what they were saying made sense. Even when I finished at the university, I studied religion on my own. I bought the books at the University of Ghana bookshop. I educated myself in religion.
When I had the chance to go to England, I took a job near Manchester. My wife was usually at home with the children. The Latter-day Saint missionaries met my wife at home. She had an interesting experience and was excited about their message, but the missionaries told her she would benefit more from the Church if she was with her husband.
She told the missionaries that I usually got home at 9 p.m., so it was not going to be possible for them to meet me since missionaries were expected by their rules to report back at their apartments by 9 p.m. It so happened that one day the missionaries came to the hospital where I worked. Before then my wife had told me about her experience with the Church. So when they later came and shared the story ofJoseph Smith (founder and first worldwide leader of the Church), especially his account of what happened to him, I said I could not reinvent the wheel. I felt Joseph Smith’s experience answered all the questions, so I just needed to do the right thing.
I got everything I could read to find out more about the Church. My wife and I met quite a number of pairs of missionaries. I used to question them a lot. At times they fumbled with answers to my questions. They thought I was throwing dust into their eyes.
Initially I asked them to go back to the mission president (volunteer supervisor of a large group of missionaries) and present the questions which I had. At another point I said to the missionaries, “Get permission from the mission president I would like to write to the prophet (worldwide leader of the Church).” So after all that, when they challenged my wife and me to be baptized and I said yes, they did not believe it. They expected me to say no. They asked, “How can you say you have accepted to be baptized?”
But the truth is that after asking all those questions, one morning I woke up and it was as if something had happened to me. It was like all the questions I had were no longer questions. My conclusion was that the Holy Spirit had come to communicate with me. So I was comfortable and didn’t need to ask further questions.
Newsroom: What was your education in Ghana like before you won a scholarship to study in England?
Dr. Kissi: At that time, we had free education. You didn’t pay fees for the subjects you studied. You just bought a few books and that was all.
Newsroom: What was your professional practice like?
Dr.Kissi: When I was going to Britain, my intention was to live there for a short time. Some of my classmates with whom I came did not return to Ghana. I did not pay school fees. My school fees were paid through the toil of the peasants, and so on. So it was my intention to go to England, learn, then come back and serve my people.
When I was about to return to Ghana, there were many attempts to retain me in Britain. Many people came to me, saying “We want you, we like you, we want you to stay” – and my response was always “Well, you like me, you want me, but my people need me.” I told them that in Britain, medical doctors were all over the place, but in Ghana medical doctors were hard to come by. So I returned to Ghana and took a job as a lecturer at Korle-Bu [University of Ghana Medical School].
Newsroom: For so many years now you have been working as a private practitioner. What inspired you to break into the private sector?
Dr.Kissi: When I came back to Ghana, it got to a point where things were very difficult. Things become unbearable for my wife. There was a time she told me “You call yourself a lecturer at the medical school. When you go to the school you see all the medical students around and you are swollen headed, but when you come home there is no food on the table.” This statement got to me strongly. It was too much for me to take, but it was true. I felt I had paid my dues to the public sector, so I decided to set up a private clinic. Since then I have been practicing privately.
Newsroom: Looking back in life, do you think there is anything you should have done differently?
Dr. Kissi: I have no regrets in life. I feel very much accomplished and I am very grateful for my membership in the Church.
Emmanuel Abu Kissi wroteWalking in the Sand: A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana. At the age of 75, not only does Dr. Kissi continue to serve in the Church, but selflessly devotes his time and energy to the patients at Deseret Hospital, extending a hand of loving service to his Ghanaian fellowmen.