Pulpit built for paralyzed Ghana branch president


Photo Courtesy | Deseret News

Elder Gary Parke and his wife, a couple serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana, recently witnessed a new branch president Ike Joseph Azumah approach the stand on his hands.

According to Deseret News, President Azumah used one knee for balance and flip-flops to protect his palms to bear his testimony from a wireless microphone.

“I just went up and shook his hand, and when I shook his hand, I knew that there was something special about this guy,” Elder Parke said. “I got the impression that I needed to figure out how he could conduct the meeting from the pulpit just like any other branch president would do.”

President Azumah contracted an illness when he was four years old that paralyzed his legs. The father of three has been serving as the New Town Branch president for the past year, and his assignment helped the Parkes understand the purpose of their call, according to Deseret News.

Elder Parke, a contractor, brainstormed ways to help the president serve despite his physical challenges. With the help of people around the world and divine intervention, Elder Parke completed the project, according to Deseret News.

“The interesting thing about this is the Lord knows my abilities, what I’ve done for the past 35 years. He knew I could do what I needed to do to make that work,” Elder Parke said. “By the time I got back to our apartment, I knew exactly how to design and build what was needed for him…”

Elder Parke’s plan was a set of stairs that President Azumah could climb and reach a cushion at the top, where he could sit while using the microphone at the pulpit, according to Deseret News.

Elder Parke put the finishing touches on the pulpit and the stand and brought President Azumah to the chapel to use them for the first time, it was a memorable moment, according to Deseret News.

“I found myself with tears in my eyes and a feeling of deep gratitude in my heart to realize that I was a small instrument in the Lord’s hands in helping this young branch president in accomplishing this great work he was called to do,” Elder Parke said.

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