by Michelle A. Lizon
When young people want to join the church, they frequently encounter opposition from friends, relatives, and parents. It takes a great deal of faith to leave your family and join with Christ in His restored Church. So it was with Bishop Kofi Sosu of Kumasi, Ghana.
Sosu was baptized as a young adult, despite his parents’ severe opposition. Shortly after he became a member, the government initiated a “freeze” on the Church, forbidding members from worshipping. The Ghanaian mission was closed, and all the missionaries were sent to other missions or were sent home. Sosu tried to show devotion inside his home, but he was hindered in his efforts to study the gospel and nurture his faith by his parents’ threats to inform the police.
After the freeze ended, Sosu began to meet with the Saints again. Soon he became determined to serve a mission. However, his parents threatened him again, promising to disown him if he chose to don the suit and nametag for two years. Sosu chose his faith and was renounced by his family.
While serving in Nigeria, Sosu sent a letter to his family once a week, but not one was answered. After two years he arrived home with no one to contact but his branch president, who found him a place to stay temporarily. Unsure of where to go next, Sosu prayed and fasted. Despite his apprehension, he felt he should return to his father’s house. As Sosu approached the gate, his father saw him and asked who he was.
“I am your son,” Sosu replied.
“My son?” his father said.
“Yes—your son, Kofi.”
Tears came suddenly to his father’s eyes. No longer able to subdue his emotions, Sosu’s father embraced him.
“Oh, my son, my son. I am so sorry,” he said, pulling away for a moment to look at Sosu’s face. “I have not had a moment’s peace since I disowned you. I know you did the right thing, and I accept you as my son.”
As they mature and grow in the gospel, many young people are able to heal broken family relationships. Their parents see the growth these young people have experienced and can appreciate the great blessings that come to those who live the gospel. Similarly, Bishop Kofi Sosu was able to renew his relationship with his father and feel the joy of being accepted by his father.
But for some of those people who choose to leave their families and follow Christ, there is no joyful reconciliation in this life. For those faithful Saints, though, their loving Heavenly Father embraces them and comforts them as they follow the Savior in faith.
Excerpted by Marnae Wilson from “Faithful Portraits,” Michelle A. Lizon, BYU Magazine, Spring 2008
Painting “Bishop Kofi Sosu and His Father: Forgiveness of Father and Son,” Emmalee Glauser Powell, Ensign, July 2009, p42