Ray Mensah's journey to Christ
Today, OneWay Africa works to raise up young people as the next generation of African missionaries. Ray Mensah, director of OneWay Africa, was 23 years old when he gave his life to Christ. His story is just one example of what God can do in the life of someone wholeheartedly committed to Him.
For years, Ray Mensah’s distrust of Christianity led him to want nothing to do with it and even to write stories for a leading African newspaper condemning the faith. But today, thanks to the relentless pursuit of God, Mensah is now a strong leader whose ministry has brought tens of thousands of people across Africa to Christ.
Born in Ghana, Mensah grew up in a middle-class home as the youngest of five children. Although his parents attended church and taught their family good morals, Mensah describes the Christianity that was in his home as religion and not relationship. The truth of the gospel hadn’t resonated deeply enough for salvation to take place.
That is, until his brother Michael went to high school and accepted Jesus into his heart. The change in his life was evident to the family.
But as Mensah grew older and entered high school, he went down the opposite path of his brother Michael.
As he immersed himself in things of the world, he recalls feeling a weight in his conscience for his decisions.
“What if I die? Will I go to heaven? I don’t want to go to hell,” Mensah remembers thinking.
He praises God for this inner compass that kept him out of deeper sin and would eventually lead him to Christ.
But Mensah’s fears and questions didn’t result in significant change. Mensah’s thoughts toward Christianity were full of distrust and dislike. As a college student, he became more hard-hearted toward the faith. He learned more about the many religions in the world and decided that they brought more division than love.
“I got to the point where I felt religion had brought hatred and division, so there was no need for religion,” Mensah said.
After graduating college, he became a journalist and wrote stories that conveyed his frustrations with religion. One story in particular was about a Ghanaian pastor based in Nigeria who stole the offering and ran away with the money. Mensah’s editor, who was also anti-Christian, was so excited about the story that he put it on the front page of the leading newspaper in Nigeria. It encouraged Mensah to write more stories like this.
“I was going to write a series of articles against Christianity, against faith, against religion, and it was in that process that I met Jesus,” Mensah said.
But the Lord had been relentlessly pursuing Mensah through His quiet, persistent voice. For three years, Mensah had been aware of a voice that said, “You are going to be a pastor.” This utterly confounded him because it was his brother Michael who everyone believed was going to be a pastor.
He ignored the whisper, but it never left him and would occur almost every week. Even so, he didn’t feel an urgency to do anything about it, because he felt his life was full and he didn’t need anything else. That is, until one night he was wracked with pain.
COMING TO JESUS
“I was not sick, but I felt pain and it was so intense that I felt I was going to die,” Mensah says.
In those moments that night, he heard that same voice speak to him, “Give your life to Jesus.”
And he did.
He didn’t know exactly what giving his life to Jesus would mean, but he did know that he felt changed. The next day, Mensah called his brother Michael and another friend to share the news. The following Sunday, that friend took him to church, where the pastor invited people to give their life to Christ.
“I went forward and lifted up my hands and accepted Jesus as my Lord and personal Savior again on Sunday,” Mensah said.
Following this public declaration of his faith, Mensah was assigned a counselor and a discipleship group. He grew in ways he didn’t know were possible, and his life completely changed.
“I was just hungry for God. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t smoke again. Never drank again… I just changed. He changed me,” Mensah says.
He devoted his time to hours of prayer and fasting and spent whole days reading his Bible. When he went back to his journalism job and preached to his colleagues, they were astounded by his change.
“What happened to you? Your face is bright, like that of an angel!” they exclaimed to him.
Mensah quickly realized he no longer wanted to work as a journalist and that he should finally listen to that call to serve as a pastor. He couldn’t fathom living a life that wasn’t fully devoted to the Lord.
He went and preached in every place God called him to go. His old dreams faded away, and God’s dream took their place. This led him and his wife, Cynthia, to serve on the mission field for nine years, during which they reached many people with the gospel.
A LIFE SPENT FOR CHRIST
After those nine years, the flame in Mensah’s heart never burned out but rather led him to mobilize other Christians to mission. Before his family had gone to the mission field, the Lord had placed OneWay Ministries in his path.
Mensah became the director of OneWay Africa in 2007. Since then, God has used the ministry to bring the gospel to at least 16 of the 19 unreached people groups in Ghana. In the Jesus Film Campaign alone, more than 43,000 people have accepted Christ after missionaries showed the powerful evangelistic film in their home villages. OneWay Africa missionaries have also planted 278 churches since 2012.
“It was a beautiful leading of the Lord … It’s a beautiful story of what God is using OneWay Africa for … We are seeing a disciple-making movement — disciples making disciples who make disciples.” Mensah says.
Now in his fifties, Mensah is determined that his passion for the Great Commission won’t diminish. The Lord continues to restore to him the joy of his salvation and stir him to greater passion to reach and save the lost.
Mensah challenges us to commit our lives to the Lord in the same way.
“Whether we live to be 95, or we live to be 15, we just have to live for the Lord every day. We just have to be radical. We just have to shake off fear, shake off lukewarmness, shake off comfortability,” he says, “Life is short. One day we are here, tomorrow we are gone. So what are we doing for the Lord? It’s only what we do for the Lord that will count.”