What an incredible first day! Completely God-filled! Completely joy-filled! Completely family-ministry-filled! Completely-filled with surprises in Ghana! What a gift!
We traveled today to Teshi and spent the day at Charity Kingdom Outreach (CKO). On our way, we stopped to purchase some water to take for all of the children. Nearly all of the stores are road-side kiosks selling everything from toilet paper to fresh coconut. We stopped at a tiny place near CKO to make our purchase. Our driver, Pessy, honked his horn while Reid waited for someone to come take the money for the bags of water. A young teenage boy came out in his underwear to greet us. (I am not kidding!) The boys took this in with a bit of shock.
After our side venture, we arrived at CKO. This children’s home is run by a young pastor, John, and his wife, Irene. They have one son now and are expecting another child. Their family is always giving themselves to the children whom they truly LOVE!
We joined the children for the church service which had already started. The kids were singing praises at the top of their lungs. Boys were beating on the drums and Marvin was playing the keyboard. The little ones sang, and sang, and sang. Their unhindered freedom in worship made me long to see it in America. These kids really know how to praise! They sing a JOYFUL and LOUD noise to the Lord.
After the singing and dancing, John delivered his sermon based on Isaiah 40:31But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
We were sitting in tiny wooden school desks for the duration. I loved it because it was truly pure praise. No show. Beautiful.
Watching the kids express themselves with so much JOY, I thought about all of the distractions that can keep me from focusing on praising God for his goodness. I kept thinking, “I want to worship like this all the time!”
The sermon was translated into Twi as John preached it. The boy’s name who translated it was Godwin. All of the older boys participated in leading the service. Some sang. A few helped preach. Several children also came forward to give testimony about the Lord. Again, beautiful.
After the service ended, the children came outside to sit under the tree. We handed out water and Reid shared about Jesus being the living water. After some prodding from his mom and dad, Mason played two songs for the kids on his guitar. They loved it. One of the songs he played is a favorite at Water Angels ministry, “Friend of God.” When he finished, Blessing asked him to write the words to the song for her.
Blessing is dear to our heart for several reasons. Her picture has been on our fridge since our October visit. We have prayed frequently for her. She is one of the children we have sponsored with our Life Group. We brought her a bible with her name engraved on it, and she loved it. What a blessing to be with Blessing today!
We also met the other child we have sponsored, F. He is adorable! The boys all hugged him several times during the day. We brought him a few gifts as well which thrilled him. It was so special to meet him for the first time. Now we will know who we are praying for.
After Mason finished the children made a craft we brought. It was a rendition of the fabric glue cups done at Club 180 last summer. The children made a heart-collage out of the fabric. One thing is for sure, these kids love making things! Every child came to show me their creation! Precious!
Then we gave CKO, the gifts we brought. I’d made collages for them from our trip in Oct. John and the children loved it. They loved seeing their pictures. John and the older boys turned the collages into a bulletin board to display in the sitting room. God used this to minister to their hearts as a reminder of how special they truly are! I had no idea! After the bulletin board was started by the men, Jemima and I covered the frame in the fabric pieces from the craft. The Club 180 craft lives on in Ghana!
Mason and Franklin’s English classes wrote letters to each of the children individually. Each letter was addressed by name to specific children. Besides the worship service, this was my favorite part of the day. Every child climbed up onto Reid or my lap to have their letter read to them. I kept holding each child and whispering God loves you so much. You are so special. You are precious to him. Then I kissed every soft cheek and cherished the sound of their giggles! Several times, I became choked up while reading. Although from middle schoolers, some of the letters were powerfully written stating the gospel of Christ clearly. Every child kept their letters close. These obviously were very dear to them.
Today was also the first day of soccer from Grandmama and Papaw. Every year my parents give to a charity instead of gifts for extended family. This year they decided to give the money to Mason to spend on the orphans in Ghana. Mason purchased soccer balls and pumps planning to give them to the children’s homes. Today he unpacked the first two balls delivering them to CKO. What a HIT! Franklin, Mason, Weston and Braden bounced the ball back-and-forth with kids for hours. Thank you Grandmama and Papaw!
Now, I know you are wondering about Godwin Derrick. Today has been incredible. Evidently, many are praying for bonding because he is responding so well to everyone. His laughter is frequent! When we first arrived at CKO, I think he was a bit apprehensive. He held onto Reid and I for the church service.
Once we were outside, he kept climbing in and out of the “ka” (car). I think this helped him to realize he was different. We were not going to leave him. Someone from our family stayed with him at all times. (The boys have been fighting over who gets to carry him!) After a little bit though, he completely relaxed. He began playing on the playground equipment. He ate a huge lunch. He became comfortable without us being in sight.
We talked with him before we left this morning assuring him we would never leave him. We would all be coming and going everywhere as a family. God’s hand has been evident because I think he actually comprehends this. He rolled with our family all day long then fell asleep on Mason on the ride back to the hotel. Please continue to pray for our bonding as a family. Today has been wonderful.
When I tucked him in tonight, I prayed with him lying beside him. He was sound asleep before the end of the prayer!
Our boys have been so affectionate and accepting of Godwin Derrick. Wow! The roots for the depth of their relationship are being planted on this trip.
Finally, Braden’s buddy today was Peter. They were like two peas in a pod. Loud, fast, playful, and the both don’t care anything about staying clean. Reid and I have never seen Braden so dirty! Oh my!
There’s so much to share. I know this post does not do the day justice. My heart hurts for these waiting children. There is not a home on earth that would not be blessed by the presence of one of the children we were surrounded with today.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
PS - When we stopped back at the same kiosk for water on the ride home, the mother came out wrapped in a towel to take out money. Too funny!
All pictures are on Facebook. The connection here is beyond slow, but have no fear. I'm taking lots of photos. Over 450+ today! Perhaps that is why it's taking so long....