BUENA VISTA, Va. When he was 12 years old and living in his native Ghana, Bright Botchway met a girl who was a member of the Church. She invited him to attend Church, and there he met the missionaries.
"I felt it was the right thing to do, so I joined," said Brother Botchway, now a student at Southern Virginia University.
Ten years after his baptism, he decided it was time to share the message that had touched his heart as a youth. He submitted his papers to serve a mission and was called to Nigeria. While there, he enjoyed success sharing the message of the gospel. He said there were many people eager to hear the message the missionaries had to share.
"I didn't want to be selfish with the knowledge that I had," he said. "I felt it was important to share with other people a message that had brought happiness in my life. It was an amazing experience being among those people. Everyday we were teaching people and the Church has grown very quickly there."
The growth has resulted in a temple in Aba, Nigeria, dedicated Aug. 7, 2005.
After his mission, Brother Botchway returned home and studied business for two years. Despite his efforts to further his education, work was hard to find in the economically depressed nation.
"It is difficult in Ghana because it is hard to find work," he said. "I thought I had done enough to get a good job but I decided I could do more."
He started exploring his options. Because of the experiences he had serving a mission and knowing the financial struggles of people in his own country, he wanted to gain an education that would give him the ability to make a difference in his homeland.
He applied to BYU, but it didn't work out. A friend, who had also served a mission, told him about Southern Virginia University. He applied and was accepted.
"I prayed about coming to SVU and felt it was the right thing to do," he said. "I saw coming here as an opportunity to grow and gain the skills I would need to go back and serve my people."
He noted that SVU's mission, which is "to prepare leader-servants in the workplace and the world, in the community and the church, and in the home" attracted him to the school. He felt that SVU would help him learn how to be a leader so he could better serve his people.
Though he was born and raised in Ghana, Brother Botchway has come to love the land where he is attending school. An outstanding soccer player and a big fan, when the U.S. played Ghana in the 2006 World Cup, he was a little disappointed with the outcome as Ghana eliminated the U.S.
"A draw would have been ideal," he said.
A business major with plans to graduate in two years, he said, "I hope to be able to create jobs for other people by establishing businesses in Ghana. I want to give people in Ghana the resources to go school, to give them the opportunities that I will have and have already had."