Eleven minutes with the Lead Apostle
Benjamin Ohene-Saffo has not been Lead Apostle for very long. He has only been responsible for parts of Ghana and for Benin and Togo since the middle of December 2019. The members in these regions are therefore very curious to get to know him better.
“Apostle, Apostle! Can we have five to seven minutes of your time please?” Priest Peter Owusu is trying to get hold of Apostle Benjamin Ohene-Saffo for an interview, who dashes off to the washroom in the East Legon congregation. He returns almost immediately, “Ah huh, what do you want from me?” Well, the seven minutes turned into 11 minutes and 13 seconds. It was unplanned and spontaneous. It was an easy interaction with a man who did not want to be an Apostle. Following are extracts of the chance conversation.
A journey down memory lane
Reporter Peter Owusu: Apostle, how has the journey been?
Lead Apostle: Journey? It’s been an interesting one. Looking back it’s been a very interesting journey. Yes, every journey has its rough and smooth times; so far, considering how far we’ve come, it’s been good!
Reporter: Earlier on in the day, you spoke about your experience in the war-torn countries?
Lead Apostle: Yeah, yeah, yeah! You know, I accompanied my uncle, Apostle Amoah (retired), who was in charge of countries like Liberia. And so I happened to be in those areas. It was not a very pleasant time. But it was good because if you see people who have been at war and coping with many problems but still hanging on to their faith and you have to serve them… It was very interesting.
A city boy in the savannahs
Reporter: How old were you when you were ordained a minister?
Lead Apostle: Well, in those days we would go to church and my dad would ask me to stand at the door. I was about 14 or 15 years old and was basically doing what the Deacons today do. I was ordained a Priest at the age of 18. Here was a young man used to the nightlife in Accra. Then suddenly he was dragged along by his uncle out of the comforts of the city and thrown into the savannahs of Bolga. Those were the days when Priest Ohene-Saffo would trek on foot from Bolga to Nangode to Zualungu with his bearers of blessings to conduct six divine services in a day, morning and evening.
A modern-day Jonah
Reporter: It sounds as if you were being prepared to be an Apostle?
Lead Apostle: I really doubt if I was prepared for it. Because I didn’t see it coming, to be frank with you. I remember that I was first approached about the apostleship in 1998 and I humbly declined. I thought I was too young and not ready for it…
Reporter: So you were a Jonah?
Lead Apostle: (He laughs.) Kind of. Eventually, I became the rector for Teshie 2. All I knew was that I was doing the work of the Lord. And then in 2016 I was told, “You are going to be the next Apostle.” I didn’t know what to say, so this time I went to see my dad in the hospital, who was on his death-bed. My dad hadn’t spoken for over a year. When I opened the door, he was facing the wall, not ready to see anyone. I called his name, he turned and looked at me. And I said to him, “Dad, I have some news for you. I have been told I am going to be the next Apostle. Would you want that?” And for the first time in a year, he spoke and said, “Yes!” And then he smiled. He never spoke a word again till he died. I remember it so well like yesterday, he was trying so hard to tell me something, he was struggling to speak, but he couldn’t. So he held my hand so tightly, beaming. That motivated me to accept the ministry. Before that I had not been too sure.
My fear, my joy
Reporter: Apostle, you are 54 now. Do you fear that there will come a time when you can no longer do what you love the most for God?
Lead Apostle: Everything that has a beginning has an end. If you are someone who does not plan, you have to worry. I believe that the greatest legacy I can leave is people that would be able to continue with the mandate that has been given. So, if I do not have people who will take over, I will really weep.
My greatest job now is to develop the youth who will take over the Church, so they can continue. But I have no fear! Why? Because I see the youth, their passion and enthusiasm for the work of God, and I am confident that the work, this work, will continue very well also after me.