Ghana lighting ceremony

ACCRA, Ghana — Some 3,000 members and guests attended the Christmas lighting ceremony Dec. 11 on the grounds of the Accra Ghana Temple. Calling the event a gift to the people of Ghana in the days following a peaceful presidential election, the Church here presented a Christmas musical and lighting program that began drawing people in the early afternoon in anticipation of the program.

Presiding over the ceremony and offering a Christmas message was Elder Sheldon F. Child of the Seventy and president of the Africa West Area. President Charles Sono-Koree of the Accra Ghana Lartebiokorshie Stake acknowledged the presence of Ga Chief Nii Ssempe; Hon. Freddie Blay, first deputy speaker of parliament, and his wife, Gina; Hon. David Gyewu, deputy minister for communications and technology; media and other invited guests.

Combined choirs, 118 voices, from the Accra Christianborg and Larebiokorshie stakes presented Christmas songs from Africa and other countries.

A 40-voice children's chorus and five readers joined in the program. Conductor Efakor Ayivie expressed the feelings of the choir when he said, "We rose to the challenge and the Lord blessed us to be a vessel in His hand to sing to Him. We sang to His glory and we were filled with the spirit and it was satisfying to us."

In his remarks, Elder Child described the early life of Jesus when He was found teaching the scholars in the temple. "By twelve years of age He knew and understood His earthly role when He said, 'wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?' " (see Luke 2:49)

The area president shared the first two commandments saying, "The love of God and the love of our fellowmen is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What we think of Jesus Christ and how we feel about Him will determine what we do and how we treat one another. Jesus is our exemplar. If we follow Him, we will have a joyous Christmas season."

As the choir sang, the audience moved to the grounds where the area presidency and honored guests pushed the switch and lights illuminated the grounds and displayed a 23-foot-tall Christmas tree and many stars. A Christmas Nativity scene delighted the audience with re-enactment of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus and statues of animals. The Nativity scene brought peaceful, sacred feelings to the hallowed grounds of the Accra temple.

Children stood wide-eyed as they observed the lights and the nativity scene. Eight-year-old Mavis Shamo exclaimed, "I feel so good standing here. It makes me feel like Jesus is here by me."

An invited guest, John Atsu Seglah, said: "I've never seen such a wonderful event in my life. I am so fortunate to be here. The children singing made me so happy."

James Nyankah, an elders quorum president from Cape Coast commented, "We were in the dark and as the lights came on I felt as I did when the light of the gospel came into my life."