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Her mother had previously lost a newborn baby girl. In time, Ohene-Opare accepted the gospel and was baptized on Dec. Ohene-Opare wrote about her new religious convictions in letters to friends. She said a few replied saying that she was "crazy" and asking "what happened to you? Not sure which direction to go, Monica Ohene-Opare went to Pittsburgh to receive her patriarchal blessing.

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She was inspired by one line in the blessing that promised she would one day "marry someone who would be receptive to the gospel and together they would have great responsibilities in the church," she said. A week after they attended the open house in Accra, they became man and wife. In the months that followed, her husband met with the missionaries. If he was interested, it wasn't obvious, she said. I had married the wrong guy. Then one day, to her delight, Emmanuel Ohene-Opare accepted the invitation to be baptized.

In a short time, he was called as a branch president. Years later, he became the first Area Seventy in Ghana. It turns out she had married the right guy after all, Monica Ohene-Opare said.


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Chapel doors were locked and men with guns stood guard, although church members were still allowed to hold private services in their homes. Each day for about a year, the Ohene-Opares drove past their chapel and saw the guards. On one occasion, Emmanuel Ohene-Opare stopped the car at the church and he and his wife approached the guard.

The man pointed his weapon at the couple and demanded to know what they wanted. Emmanuel Ohene-Opare said he only wanted to say hello, his wife said. After a tense moment or two, they struck up a friendly conversation. The guard, a Muslim, confessed that he didn't know why he was there. He had not witnessed anything to suggest Mormons were bad people.

When they learned the man hadn't eaten anything that day, Monica Ohene-Opare's "Relief Society skills" kicked in and she brought him a plate of food, cementing the friendship, she said. As more church members demonstrated loyalty and good citizenship, the government lifted the ban in November Less than six months later, two stakes were organized, with Emmanuel Ohene-Opare called to preside over the Accra Ghana Stake. Hinckley became the first prophet to visit West Africa. During the trip, President Hinckley spoke to a gathering of 6, members and announced the first temple in West Africa would be built in Ghana.

Monica Ohene-Opare was there. Deep down, she felt a temple would have a tremendous impact on their corner of the world, she said. No one was expecting it. We had been waiting and hoping for a temple," said Monica Ohene-Opare, who before that time had attended the temple in South Africa. Ghana was the most peaceful, friendly country, with good people.

The other countries all look to Ghana, so Ghana getting a temple was like creating a light to shine on the surrounding countries. To us, it was a blessing and a dream come true. In addition to serving in the church over the years, Monica Ohene-Opare has made a difference in many lives through her passion for education, cooking and charity towards others, regardless of religious affiliation. Elise Peterson of Layton became an adopted daughter of the family when she stayed with the family as an exchange student in Since then, she has maintained a close friendship with Ohene-Opare and the family and can attest to the woman's many accomplishments.

She is not afraid to try things that God has placed in her heart. Ohene-Opare realized children needed more educational opportunities, so she found the resources to open a school.

She has helped many adults acquire the skills for a job and independent living. She started a nursing school. She and her husband founded a university that was recently accredited. She has also started a restaurant and operates a catering business that specializes in wedding cakes and decorations, Peterson said. In addition to raising her own children, Ohene-Opare has opened her arms to dozens of children on the street, raised them, educated them and sent some on LDS missions. From the time he was in third grade, the future defensive lineman was constantly at their house.

As I read, the jumble of anxieties in my head felt at peace for the first time. This quote became SECTION FIVE where I discussed the family and the church, perfecting the saints, proclaiming the gospel, redeeming the dead, balancing busy family life, spiritual growth for moms and dealing with tough problems. Yet, even after I had a vision for the organization and what I wanted to discuss, my life was not happily ever after.

I got about pages into the manuscript before I got bogged down and discouraged.


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I wanted to give up. The new book and my life were just too exhausting and overwhelming. I rarely saw my busy bishop husband, my ten very active children were a hand full and the newborn late-night feedings and teenage curfew breakers kept me in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation. So, I just kept rubbing my eyes, waking up every day, and giving it my best shot.

Far from it. Do I have a perfect family? Did I ever see my husband again when he was released as bishop? They made him stake president. No, I still have teenagers and my husband snores. I think we all feel like that. I love this post so much. I also love Janene. Thanks for sharing, Janene! This made my day!

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Thanks for the reminder to keep giving it my all! You are an amazing woman with endless energy! I have that book and I love it—such great, practical ideas. Good to know that someone who can write such a fun book also feels like the rest of us at times!! Thanks Janene!

The Lds Mother's Almanac : Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard :

I needed that! Your bio is overwhelming—makes me want to run and put my head under a blanket. But you sound charming and real and joyful in this article, and that gives me hope that perhaps I can be charming and real an joyful, too. I loved this article!

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Thank you! My life sounds very similar to yours. I have felt completely overwhelmed at times and it is great to see that someone a little farther down the road keeps putting one foot in front of the other everyday too. I bought that book for myself as a young mother and used it often as I was trying to figure this whole mothering thing out!

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Thank you for the sacrifices you made to write that book. This is one family that was blessed by your efforts! I have a feeling I am headed in that direction. My husband has been in school since we got married and although he has been very busy we have still had time with each other. Now that he is going to be done with school and in a career I think our lives are going to be changing more drastically than we realize.