December 2021- February 2022
We Need Each Other
A Disciple's Journey
By Philip Bonsu
My parents lost two children before the birth of my sister that I follow directly. Believing a spiritual cause led to their death, they sought a spiritual solution. Not knowing Christ, my parents went to a traditional priest (person in charge of an idol). Thereafter, my three sisters and I were born. We were born and lived in Ghana. The common belief was we survived through the help of the priest and his idol. We were considered children of the priest. My parents, accepting that belief, performed rituals on our behalf. In addition, we needed to respect taboos.
While attending school in Kumasi, I was invited to a youth camp meeting. On September 16, 1991, I gave my life to Jesus Christ after hearing a message about God’s love for me (manifested through Jesus Christ) and the Great White Throne Judgment.
After camp meeting, I returned to boarding school. My faith in the Lord grew so strong I told my mother I no longer belonged to the idol but to the Lord Jesus Christ. After praying seriously and specifically about our relationship with the idol, I asked my mother to go and dump the ritual pot in a pit in our village. She did. Soon after, I started breaking the taboos and prayed for my sisters, encouraging them to do the same. Praise the Lord, from that time till now, nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened to any of us.
In 1999, I moved to France, where I met Matthew Price and worshiped with the Free Will Baptist church in Nantes. In 2001, the Lord used Clint Morgan to convince me to come to Ivory Coast to be trained as a pastor. After a period of hesitation, I decided to obey God. Not long after I began my second year at the Bible institute, civil war broke out. I moved to Abidjan, began seminary in 2004, and graduated with a master’s degree in theology.
After graduation, I moved to northern Ghana to plant churches. A village called Sighn had no church. I began walking through the village praying in my heart and greeting people. I performed wound care, especially with the children, and offered to pray for people who wanted me to pray for them. This opened the door for me to interact with people. By God’s grace, Muslim friends offered me a meeting place where everybody could come and listen to the gospel.
Pictured: Philip Bonsu
Soon after we began the church, I decided to host a Bible study on Saturday mornings with the young men who had accepted Christ. Some have since become leaders and preachers of the church in Sighn. Also, two of my translators became pastors. Moses Akura was convinced of God’s calling on his life while still my main translator. During his Bible school training, he stayed in our house when on vacation. He became a good friend and comes to Ivory Coast to visit us. Moses has been a pastor in the northern part of Ghana for some years. It is always a great joy to hear what God is doing through the work that started with us.
I returned to Bouna, Ivory Coast, in July 2012, to help train pastors at the Free Will Baptist Bible Institute. I have helped train three groups of students. Some students became friends, and I shared my experience with them.
One, Hein Germain, often seeks counseling when he needs to make important decisions. I am proud of him, and I am grateful to God for the number of churches he has planted during his few years of ministry.
While praying one morning in 2014, the Lord laid it on my heart to go to the prison in Bouna. I went with my wife and a group of people from the Bouna church. Through this ministry, we started a fellowship with the inmates. In addition to the gospel, we provided food, clothing, and met other physical needs. Sometimes, I also did wound care. A group of inmates soon gave their lives to Christ. With permission of the prison authorities, we baptized 15 of them.
Through this prison ministry, I discipled a young man named Kambou Sebmaté. Today, he is one of the leaders of the Bouna church and president of the local youth.
Temple Schilo, the second Free Will Baptist church in Bouna, was planted by Pastor Noufe Sié, the president of the Free Will Baptist association in Ivory Coast. Seeing he needed help, I chose two young men (Martin and David) with leadership potential and spent two hours with them on Saturdays. Martin is training as an electrician while serving the Lord as one of the preachers at Temple Schilo. Also, he and David jointly take care of our church in Nakirdouo (a village just over four miles from Bouna).
This is how the Lord has led me so far. He continues to lead me toward another conviction He gave before I left Nantes in 2001. I will soon work with the Connect Church in Arkansas. I share a common vision with the Connect Church—making disciples. I look forward to working with them to reach people of various ethnic backgrounds with the gospel and to help make disciples of these nations for the Kingdom.
About the Author: Born in Ghana, Philip Bonsu Kwame Osei has followed Christ to France, Ivory Coast, and soon, the United States. Currently a teacher and assistant director of the Free Will Baptist Institute in Bouna, he is married to Claudine and has a son and daughter (Blessing and Lissa). Learn more about Free Will Baptist ministry in Côte d'Ivoire: www.iminc.org