The Danish Governor, Richelieu requested for missionaries from the Basel Missionary Society in Switzerland to evangelise in the then Gold Coast. Four young men ageing between 23 and 27 years accepted this challenge. They were:
Karl F. Salbach (27 years)
Gottieb Holzwath (26 years)
Johannes Gottlob Schmidt (24 years) and
Johannes Henke (23 years)

They arrived in Christianborg in Accra by the 18th December, 1828 and had their first Service at a place called Amanfon, near Osu on 28th December, 1828. Sadly, eight months after their arrival the poor climate claimed the lives of three, leaving only Johannes Henke who also died in November 22, 1831.
A second batch of three missionaries made up of the Rev. Andreas Riis, Rev. Peter Peterson Jager and Dr. Christian Frederich Heinze arrived to continue the work. Ironically, five weeks after their arrival, the medical doctor who was supposed to take care of the health needs of the other two missionaries died of malaria on April 26, 1832. In the helpless and hopeless health situation that they found themselves Rev. P.P. Jager also died on July 18, 1832.


Rev. Andreas Riis who was the only surviving missionary felt seriously sick, but by divine intervention, he was saved by God through a native herbalist who was introduced to him by his European trader friend, George Luttrodt. After his recovery, Luttrodt advised Riis to move to the Akwapim hills where the weather was conducive to their health.
In January 1835, Riis and his friend were warmly received by the then Omanhene of Akwapim Nana Addo Dankwa I. They finally moved and settled at Akropong on the 26th March, 1835. “Osiadan” as Riis was affectionately called, used the natives to build his house made of stones and timber.
After settling for a year, Riis arranged to get a wife called Miss Anne Wulters a twenty year old Danish lady. Among those who came with her were Andreas Stranger and Johannes Murdter. Death once again had its toll. Stranger died on Christmas Eve in 1837 and Murdter and Riis’ own infant died at the close of 1838. Indeed Rev. Riis became the symbol of hope for the evangelical revival in the missionary work.
Riis’ poor health condition and the high rate of death of the missionaries coupled with the slow pace of the missionary work compelled the Basel Missionary Society to abandon the work and recall Riis. After all, for five years Riis was unable to convert a single soul for Christ. Rev. Andreas Riis on his part traveled through Akwamu, Shai, Kroboland, Akim Abuakwa, and Cape Coast and arrived in Kumasi in 1840. Seeing that conditions were too bad to contain, Riis was recalled and the mission was to be closed. The Omanhene and his elders felt sorry for the disappointment and in the Omanhene’s farewell message said, “When God created the world He made the Book (Bible) for the Whiteman and juju (fetish) for the Blackman, but if you could show us some Blackmen who could read the Whiteman’s Book (The Bible) then we would surely follow you.
This philosophical and prophetic message had far reaching repercussions, for it gave Riis and the Basel Missionary Society food for thought. This message compelled the Home Committee to recruit the West Indian-African Christian Missionaries as a new missionary strategy. Riis brought 24 West Indian Missionaries to help establish the Basel Mission in the Gold Coast. The team arrived in Christianborg on Easter Day 16th April, 1843. Apart from the 24 West Indian Missionaries, Riis also had Rev. J Widmann as his assistant and also had donkeys, horses, mulls and other animals and agricultural seeds and cuttings which they were going to introduce to the Gold Coast economy. Riis had to be everything: Pastor, Administrator, Bursar, Accountant, Carpenter, Architect and a Public Relations Officer between the Mission and the traditional rulers. As more missionaries were recruited for the mission, the burden of administrator increased. Riis was forced by circumstances to trade and barter in order to get money to buy food and other needs of his expanding mission staff and local workers. One of the many charges leveled against Riis by some unbelievers and unsympathizers was that he had become a trader instead of a missionary.
Riis and his men started evangelizing to the rural people around Akropong, so the Basel mission became what was popularly called “Rural or Bush” church. Riis wanted to tackle paganism inland and to learn the Akan language spoken more widely in the Gold Coast. Riis as a disciplinarian dismissed a West Indian Missionary George Thompson who failed in his mission at Osu in 1845.
We must remember that the work Christ came to accomplish meant toil, pain and death. The Rev. Andreas Riis is remembered in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for the bold steps he took in his missionary work even in the face of challenges and death. “Others have laboured and we share the glory, Ours to do exploits and add to their gain’. The glorious crown to gain.

Home| Events | History| Articles |Executives Jokes LOV| Committees Guest Book |Programmes Prayer Line Secretariat Hall Of Fame Life Style Rescue Tower Bible Student PCG
Site Design By BenArt® Designs (