Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ghana Share What God's Doing

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! The e-mails you have sent have been precious reminders of each of you. We are extremely grateful for your prayers.

Sunday morning was filled with ministry opportunities. Although the service started at 7 am, Mason played beautifully at Cedar Mountain. I was asked to teach their children, and did a lesson on becoming a new creation in Christ. The children all received a card from someone in the States. The 45 children knew God's Word and all asked when we would be back. From Cedar Mountain, we headed to Freedom Life Chapel where Reid has been preaching this week. Reid challenged the congregation to become workers in God's harvest field. He used the light sticks to remind everyone to be the light of Christ in the world. Oh, the children were thrilled. Reid presented Pastor David with 14 Bibles from Water Angels. Pastor David said he had been specifically praying for Bibles that the congregation could give away to others. It was beautiful to see the Lord answer this prayer! We were told that our family was the first white skin in the nine year old church. Everyone was so welcoming toward us. At the end of the service, they presented Reid and I both with new clothes. We now have two matching outfits - African style! What a significant gift! Can't wait to wear them in Knoxville!

Monday was Weston's 11th birthday. We ventured toward the coast to do two "tourist" activities. Our driver, Daniel, gave Weston his first birthday gift. He had to wear a smiley-face hat all day, compliments of Daniel! Very sweet! For his birthday, we all survived the rope bridge canopy walk in Kakuma National Park. All seven of us walked seven rope bridges extending from 12 to 120 feet into the air. Mason, Franklin, and Reid took turns carrying Godwin Derrick. He was a bit nervous walking on the swinging bridges, and I don't blame him! Mason and Franklin scared us all by performing flips on the ropes! (Karl and Grant Hengeveld would have been so proud!) Amazingly, within our small group was another mission team from Farragut Church of Christ! Can you believe we met another group from our hometown! The leader of the group, Paul Phelps, knows my mother!!! It's a small world after all! We exchanged information and hope to connect once we are back home. Nothing is coincidence.

After the bridges, we toured the slave castle at Cape Coast. Heartbreaking! The boys were all moved by the tragedy of this period in history. As I walked through the "Door of No Return," I was holding Godwin Derrick. Chills covered my arms as I wondered about his ancestors, his family, those who have gone before. The dungeons, the smells, the marking on the floor from the shackles. It made my heart hurt. Our friend, Amela, came with us. She is native Ghanian. She confessed to crying during the tour during her first trip to the castle. This is the history of her people.

On the way home, we had another slight run-in with the police. Our trip home was delayed a few hours because the van we were in was missing a "triangle." It only had one, but legally should have had two. Sadly, the police here seem very corrupt. After an offer of ten cedis ($7 American), the driver's license was returned and we were on the road again. We are learning the ropes.

We arrived home to find Weston's beautiful Ghanaian birthday cake. We ate Red-red, rice, and fried plantain. Yum! Weston loved his gift we brought from home - a personalized Bible. He's been reading it frequently since receiving it. Today, he read the e-mails some of you sent for his birthday. He grinned from ear-to-ear. We were without power for a few days and it did not return until the late evening of his birthday. The return of electricity was a wonderful birthday gift for him.

Yesterday, we started the day with a Bible Study with the staff of Meaningful Life International (MLI). The boys all came, and we participated as a family. The lives represented in the room were full of people sold out for the mission of Christ. Beautiful! Afterwards, we visited the Accra mall. Quite expensive. We realized you really can find anything you want here, but you may pay a hefty price tag. A five pound bag of flour cost 12 cedis ($8 American), a small bag of shredded cheese = 9 cedis ($6.50 American). Gas is sold by the liter, and costs 1.65 cedis; roughly $7.00 per gallon. (Since coming to Tema, we have spent $400+ on gas alone!!) The cost of living here is very high. Ghanaians are called magicians because they can make their money go so far!

We ended the day visiting the hospital MLI is building. The Doron Medical Center will be a tremendous blessing to this community. Strategically located, they will meet the needs of numerous people, and also house mission teams coming to work in this country. The foundation is done, and now the structure is beginning. Funds are still greatly needed for this to become a reality.

Today, the four oldest boys attended a Ghanaian school for the day. Braden was the most apprehensive, but he enjoyed the day tremendously. All four of the boys made friends, learned some new things (Twi, French, etc...), and were glad that they went for the day. At the end of the school day, the superintendent took our photograph so we could be on the website as "friends" of the school. I will say this school was top-notch. They placed first in the nation for education last year. The winner of the national spelling bee was in Mason's class. Very, very smart students!

While the boys were in school, Reid and I went back to the orphanage where Godwin Derrick lived. It was difficult emotionally today for me. Some things within the home disturbed me. Children were crying and needed more attention than they were receiving. When we left, his best friend, Isaac, ran out the door calling his name. He was crying. Several children called for him as he stepped into the van. I wondered, when we he see them again? I pray the Lord will care for these children. May He hold them until they have parents who can love them well.

Tomorrow we head to Nyive, eastward from Ho. It is a five hour drive each way. We will be visiting a deprived school. Tonight, John came by to share with us about the school. There are several hundred children in the village. The school? It meets under a tree. (What will I do with the posters I brought to give to this school? Not exactly the most needed supply.) Tomorrow we will be giving the bags from Water Angels and clothing to the children. Please pray for all of this to be done only in the name of Jesus. May all of the gifts be secondary to sharing the gospel of Jesus. Please pray for our safety in travel tomorrow.

Friday, our plans are to first purchase the mattresses for John's home, CKO. (Feeding the Orphans project!) After this, we hope to go to the market before boarding the plane to head HOME!! We expect to arrive in Knoxville at 1:50 pm as a family of seven. We look forward to seeing our precious friends and family!!

Braden has numerous blisters coming up on his legs and arms. We are treating them with an iodine antibiotic, and hopeful they will be healed. Dr. Lu (our friend we are staying with) thinks this could be a staff infection, so please pray for Braden to be healed.

Dorinda, the daughter of Godwin and Lunesia (our friends we are staying with), is also sick. She has a high fever and other symptoms. The doctor in the house believes she has malaria. (Lenusia is a doctor here in Ghana.) Please pray for her as well.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Thank you for your continual prayer covering. They are felt by all of us! God is on the move!

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