Blogger: Mason Beebe, age 15
As you can probably imagine, the weeks leading up to our departure were extremely hard. We had to leave everything we knew to come serve the Lord and experience his greatness, here in Ghana. Now that we are in Ghana, this feels like home to me. Of course, there are things that I miss - white people, warm showers, a food disposal, paved roads, friends, family, and even things such as Wal-Mart (you never know what you have until it’s gone), but there are so many things that I get to experience here that most Americans never will experience in their lifetime.
When we were here last March to bring Godwin home, the predicament of orphans did not really hit me. Now in all seriousness, can you imagine life without your parents? Really think about this. There would be no one to tuck you in at night, no one to read you a good night story, nobody that you could talk to when you are struggling with something. This is life for kids here. I don’t know how I would be able to survive without my parents. Sure there are times when I just want to give them a pop in the nose, but I think if I lost them, those would be the times I would miss most. Even just barely being able to understand what these orphans experience helped me realize that any love I could offer them would be gladly accepted. You know what? I was right.
Our first ministry opportunity was to help with a medical outreach at City of Refuge. This was an amazing yet horrible day. We were able to help the people of Ghana, but helping them is not always a great experience. At the medical outreach, there was one station that tested the patient for HIV. 17 people tested positive for HIV, about 5 of those being children. One of the last families tested was a single mother, a six year old boy and a three year old boy – they all tested positive. This rocked my world. I actually saw the faces that I had only known as statistics. And I’ll never forget them.
While the reality of the test results was hard to accept, I also met some of the kids from the City of Refuge orphanage and began relationships with them. One of these kids was Sammy, who had just been rescued from child slavery. I was able to love on him by playing with him. I was able to produce many smiles and laughs of joy. I played soccer, basketball, and frisbee with the kids. You would not imagine the effect that even a simple smile from me brought out of these children.
An FTO volunteer, Lola, left Ghana last Monday after serving in Ghana for 9 months. All the kids hear call her Grandma. The night before she left, the orphanage where she had been staying for the last of her 9 months had a Good-Bye party for Lola. When we arrived, one of the orphans that is being adopted by some good friends of ours ran up and gave me a hug. I picked him up and told him that I knew his family. He beamed and squeezed me. I told him that I was great friends with his brother, Tyler. After I said this, he looked up at me and said, “I love my brother,” and then squeezed me again.
After this, there was a special dinner – whache and juice boxes. John, who runs the orphanage, gave a kind speech about Lola and the impact she’s made. Then there were some good-byes. After the good-byes, everyone went outside to dance. I busted a few moves and then decided I didn’t want to put everyone else to shame, so I hung out on the sidelines.
I was standing there when one of the little boys, Moses, walked up to me and reached his arms up, gesturing that he wanted to be held. I picked Moses up and he got the biggest grin. He looked at me and played with my necklace for a few minutes and then laid his head down on my shoulder. I held him like this for a while and then asked my Dad if he was asleep. At the sound of my voice, Moses lifted his head off my shoulder, looked at me and then laid his head back down again. Again, he did not go to sleep. This is when I realized that he didn’t want to go to sleep while he was being held. He wanted to soak in every moment of love he received. I started scratching his back and rubbing his head. As I did this, I wondered had anyone done this for him before? Had he ever felt this much love? Who holds him at night?
As these events took place, I felt really good. I felt like I was doing something to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ. I began to wonder, how did I ever live the safe American lifestyle? How was it possible for me to survive just going through the motions of life when all these children needed was for someone to smile at them?
So, why have I taken the time to write this blog post? I am not writing it so everyone can see all the good I am doing in Ghana. I am not even writing this to share my experiences, although I want to. I am writing this to challenge you.
In America, I heard this several times. “There is so much immorality in America. People won’t have to leave the country any more to be missionaries.” Well first of all, we should be missionaries wherever we are, but I will say I’ve never seen the brokenness in America that there is here in Ghana. There is great poverty here as well. Spiritual warfare is much more evident here than in the states. If you are reading this from the U.S. I would say that you don’t eat dinner each evening listening to the prayer call of a nearby mosque, but that happens here in Ghana. My point is that you need to serve God wherever you are, but let your love reach to countries that sorely and truly need love.
So how can you help from halfway across the ocean? The first way is to pray. In America, this seems like something we do not take seriously enough. Anywhere there is a problem you hear that you need to pray. I am not talking about a “Dear God, please help the orphans in Ghana. Amen.” type of prayer. I mean, plead with God to bless these hurting children. And don’t just pray for Him to “help” but pray specifically. Pray against the devil in this country, pray that the orphans would know love and would know the Father, pray for God’s Kingdom to come, etc.
Another way is to sponsor a child. You can provide a child with clean drinking water and three meals a day for a month by giving up one meal at a restaurant each month, only $30 cares for one child! If you do sponsor a child, send them pictures and letters of you to let them know that YOU love THEM specifically.
Lastly, come. Everyone is so worried about the cost to go to a foreign country, which sadly, holds many people back from experiencing great and mighty things our God is doing around the world. Our family had to raise a huge amount of money to come, but God gave us even more than what we needed in less than 9 months! He provides!
One of my friends, Michael, who decided to come to Ghana for the summer,* was trying to raise money to come. God abundantly supplied Michael’s financial need AND gave him supplies to bring with him. If God wants you to go somewhere, you would be surprised at how richly He will bless you in your efforts to go.
And once you get to wherever you are going, it seems so easy to do God’s work.
For me, all I had to do was smile.
“For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”
*You can follow Michael’s blog at http://gonetoghana2012.wordpress.com/