HELLO and welcome to “in the HOPE seat”, this is a platform that allows us to interact with members of the HOPE Congregation. Today, we have a very special person in our midst. He is the second minister of HOPE Congregation, Sakumono District of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. Stay tuned to know more about his personal life, his views on general issues, such as politics and community issues as well as the church. Papa you are welcome.
Q. Tell us briefly about yourself.
A. My name is Kennedy Kofi Asante Sarpong. I’m married to Abigail Asante Sarpong. We have three beautiful girls I always call Trinity. The first girl is now in the Junior High school and the two are in the primary school. My wife is a teacher with the General Education Unit and she teaches at “Ashoman”.
Q. Can you now tell us about your education life?
A. Education has been good, but I am not where I want to be yet, I am a qualified Technician and Quantity Surveyor. I studied at a Suhum Secondary School and Accra Polytechnic.
Q. Papa, when did you become a Christian and when did you experience being born again?
A. Thank you so much, being born again is an experience every believer should always remember. I always say that as is your real date of birth for me it was 27 August 1983, while I was preparing for my confirmation. So I have a real passion for confirmation classes and I used to teach a lot these classes because of what it did in my life and the impact it had.
A. This was sometime in 1991 in Jerusalem in Israel, I was in a meeting with some friends from the USA and while the service was going on one of the Minster’s came to me, he brought me to the front, and he began removing his jacket, his tie, putting them upon me and telling me this is what the Lord says that “you will be a minster of the Gospel”. That was somewhere in the early 90’s and I wasn’t prepared for that but I enjoyed the experience and in waiting all these years, and when the day rightly came the Lord called me into the ministry to fulfill what he had said a long time ago.
Q. Papa, what advice would you give to somebody who has also been called into the ministry?
A. My advice is that, “ do not be a Jonah!” because that is exactly what I did when I went into the belly of the whale, went down into the bottom of the sea, the whale brought me out of the whale and I did the work of God. So my advice is when you hear the call do not waste God’s time like I did unfortunately, listen to the Spirit of God and move with what God wants you to do.
Q. Papa, what has been your most interesting experience in the ministry?
A. Wow! The first I can give you is that I am the shy type… Presenter: Really?
Yes… I knew you would chuckle at that but that is the truth, my family will bear witness, speak less, I am a person of a few words it’s the first experience of the change in my life.
Q. Again, Papa do you have any role models any one you look up to?
A. I have this that if I would ever have a role model it would be our master Himself which is Christ. But as you rightly said in this world we need to have someone you look up to, there is a man who changed my life in Jerusalem because I lived there for a while and he is the one I sat under his feet and he taught me the divine word of God, taught me from Genesis to revelation and we had bible studies. The main words of this man that stuck with me he said is that “this whole wide world is like a pack of snow, be careful every step you take because it will show”, his name is Richard Tate. He passed away, just last two months in Jerusalem, he was 95 years old.
Q. Since you have been in the ministry work how has marriage life been?
A. It’s been good but like all marriages we have our challenges, but because the mercy of God abounds, these lovely girls they keep laughter in my mouth every day, but the challenging aspect is that I neglect them because of the work of God but they appreciate every little time I spend with them. On holidays, I make certain that they have all of my attention on these days.
Q. Papa lets now talk a bit more about general issues in our society, what are your views on the church becoming more involved in politics?
A. In Ghana it would be difficult to say that the church to become involved in politics but do you know that is how God intended it, God intended for church and state to live together and that is how Israel Started we have the prophet and the king, the prophet will hear from God and instruct the king on how to govern the state, and for me that is something that can happen only if the whole nation decides to be under the umbrella of one good God and that God will be our God and he will lead us into truths on how to govern. And when the King is on a different path the Lord through the Prophet will instruct the king on how to move things in the direction of God. In Ghana that will be a bit difficult, but it is possible it’s my prayer that one day the God we serve will come into the things of men and have his own way, this is my vision that yes people of God can be involved in politics where He is the king of the country and use people to lead in the flesh.
Q. Papa what do you think should be the role of the Church in the community in issues such as poverty alleviation?
A. I think the church can do more, the church is doing enough but they can do more, because pure religion as James puts it is to take care of the marginalized and that’s what all the ministry is about. I always say the main focus of our Christ Jesus; I call him the God of the underprivileged, the marginalized look through the Bible he is always on the side of the weak and that is the God I know, and so the church can do more, now the focus has been about enriching ourselves in certain churches, certain ministers, but I think we can shift the focus and begin the word as Christ sees it saving the lost souls helping the marginalized and in so doing the whole community will change , because that is what happened in his time, after he had left the scene those 12 men changed the whole world and every where they went they turned the world around. So it’s possible for the church to that
Q. Papa, what are your expectations of the ordinary persons and the Christian in the church.
A. I have said it earlier I expect the little things that we should do, you come to Church on a day, you hear a simple word “Thou shall not steal” you pray that the Lord should help you not to steal, you go home and you are tempted to steal. The little thing I want you to do is to remember those words “thou shall not steal” and to stand by them. I believe these are the practical things we can do, to help ourselves as we thrive to go and have salvation, these things should not be left coming in through one ear and going out through the other. We must try so hard to do it, and by doing these little things each time we come to the presence of God I believe we can change the world.
Q. Papa, now we would like to talk a bit about Hope Congregation before that tell us how many congregations have you served with?
A. I have worked with 4 congregations; the first one in “Otano” as a Team Leader, the second one was at “Haatso” as a care taker, the third one at Emmanuel congregation as a Catechist, the fourth one in Hope as a Rev. Minster.
Q. Papa do you have any fond memories of the congregations you have served with?
A. Yeah the Lord has been good especially at Otano, it was about 30 years ago and we used to walk from Madina to that village. I remember one night when we were coming, it was raining and there were streams of water flowing through the streets, when were coming we saw a snake in the river and one of our brothers took his bible and threw it on the head of the snake and the snake was dead can you imagine the power of God, so when we say the word can kill its real. It was quite an interesting experience because his whole bible was soaked in blood.
Q. Papa we would like to now talk about a very dicey topic and that is spirituality in the church is it possible to measure it and what are your views on it?
A. It is difficult to measure spiritual growth, but at least the only sign you can have is in the lives of the people, the way they respond to teaching, the way they react after hearing the word of God, they way they react to prayer and the way they react after prayer, and the testimonies that come deliver mentioning the mighty works of God, makes you know that the people are in tune with God and as such they are drawing nearer to God measures that can be taken are already being done, for example ; the teaching services, the prayer sessions, Sunday services, all the programs you have at church are geared and tailored to help us grow spiritually, to think of it we come to church to grow spiritually during the week we work for our bodies and our life and the world, but when we come before God because we are made of many parts we want to feed our souls and our spirits so it is important we put these things to work and to build us spiritually.
Q. Thank you Papa, at this point, do you have any message for the members of Hope Congregation?
A. The name Hope is something great, faith Hope and Love, without hope you may cease to exist. When all hope is gone you wish you were dead, but thank God for Hope that is what the church has individually and also as a family.
Q. Papa, are they any hobbies you like to do when you are not on ministerial duties?
A. I have three things, reading, listening to classical music and hiking, but unfortunately it’s been a while since I have hiked.
Q. Thank you Papa, do you have any favorite Jokes?
A. I like jokes, but I always say Christians must always say Holy jokes. I overheard someone telling another this joke, about a drunkard who when to visit his in – law and was served drinks he was already drunk before visiting and more drunk everything he was offered and emptied the bottle, but just before he left, the in-law asked “ akonta ad3n na w’anom mensa yi nyinaa na w’abo?” (In- law, why have you drunk all my wine and gotten drunk?) And this was his response “ asew, mede mebo nam” ( in – law, I carry my drunkenness everywhere I go” – and so when we come to the house of God we should already be “charged” not to come to be “charged”.
Q. At this point, we want to do something really special, we want you to tell us your favorite hymn and invite the trinity to sing with you.
A. This is Sarah Sarpongmaa Sarpong, Gladys Nana Asantewaa Sarpong, Rena Ohemaa Sarpong.
Hymn: Me wura Magyenkwa Pa
Thank you very Papa it has been a pleasure having you on this Show.
Some moments of Papa’s Life