Home / World Updates / Africa / Ghana 2008
The Africa gang has arrived safely at the mission compound in Wa. We had great flights and our luggage arrived safely and intact with nothing missing as far as we’ve been able to tell. That is a huge praise! Although we haven’t had much sleep the past few days, the Lord has given everyone good energy and excitement.
We got a real taste of the African countryside and people as we drove the 13-hour trip from Accra to Wa. As we traveled through village after primitive village, we would see how hard the people’s lives are. They want to work, but there isn’t work available. They do what they can. The women are fascinating as they carry these huge heavy loads so gracefully on their heads. Often when you’re slowed down because of traffic they will try to sell things to the travelers. They will carry a huge bowl of hardboiled eggs on their heads or bananas or carrots or loaves of bread or plates of steaming meat wrapped in leaves.
Pastor Paul drove us most of the way to Wa. We enjoyed our time with him and Miss Nancy and asked lots of questions and learned much about the people and country. Pastor Paul was uneducated, but got saved and wanted to learn to read. He also wanted to learn English and was one of the ones who read all of the books in the library. He has become self-educated and just recently became one of the four ordained pastors in the area. He’s a very busy man and has a thriving church and is the chairman of several ministries. He’s so humble and gracious.
On Sunday, Steve preached at Pastor Isaac’s church which is about 45 minutes away and had a wonderful meeting. Ken and I were at Pastor Paul’s and Miss Nancy’s church, which is only about 10 minutes from here. I spoke on Dorcas, and really enjoyed the beautiful ladies. Ken did the four stabilizing truths, and it was great. The people are absolutely charming and we are thoroughly enjoying them.
The weather is definitely on the hot side…probably 100+ degrees, but we are in an amazing situation. The rooms in which we are staying have outlets for our appliances and lots of fans and a window air conditioning unit for nighttime. Miss Nancy is so kind and has spoiled us, although we try to take as much off of her as we possibly can. She is a most amazing person and is one of my heroines.
Thank you for your prayers. They men have a lot on their plates, so please keep praying. There are always a lot of dynamics, and they are asking God for wisdom.
Report by Mardi Collier
We have completed stage one of our trip: staff training. As usual, there was nothing usual about it. We did not cover as much as we would have liked, but we think we got far enough for them to be somewhat ready. The people are very eager to learn. Today was the day that a lot of “light bulbs” went on in their eyes as they practiced through interactive case studies. Pray for them as they apply these truths to their churches and campers. As a side note, we had at least 2 other groups here that are trying to start camps in other parts of Ghana. This CA trip has the potential to have great impact on Christian camping in several other areas of the country.
It has been a great joy and privilege to watch Ken put his program hat back on. He has not lost his touch at all! He can still do it all and he seems to be really enjoying it too. The experience seems to be somewhat energizing to him as demonstrated by the fact that the other night we had a small maintenance issue come up in the kitchen and Ken came to the rescue with a truly brilliant idea.
The couples retreat begins this evening. Ken and Mardi will have a great challenge applying the truths to this culture, but I think they are up for the challenge. The people are very excited to have them here. Mardi has been a great addition to the team. She seems to be feeling fine
(Fortunately, the road trip here was not nearly as rough as I had expected). She has been able to soften circumstances like only a lady can. Martha has been very busy being a good servant and spreading her Mary-like passion for God wherever she goes. Pray for Ken and Mardi as they speak and minister.
In conclusion, we are all doing fine and continue to stay healthy. The food has been great- it really helps staying with an American missionary. Thank you for your prayers. We continue to need them. We are facing some dynamics which are greatly affecting the plans for camp and other ministry here. In fact, we are not even certain that we are having camp next week due to the school system changing its dates. Many other factors make this a very interesting situation. I believe God has brought Ken and his 39 years of experience and wisdom here “for such a time as this.”
Report by Steve Stodola
This past Sunday we were able to go to Pastor Timothy’s church, which is a little more of a city church…and Steve went to Pastor Paul’s where we were last week, which is more of country church. Both of them were a blessing. It’s such a thrill to see what God is doing through these national pastors. They have such an obvious love for the Lord and their church families and are involved in numerous other ministries. Pastor Timothy is the director of the Bible Institute here and Pastor Paul is over the literacy center and many other things at the mission.
The camp situation has been a major roller coaster. The plan was to have camp for the 12-15 year olds this week and the 16-25 year olds the week after we leave. Since there is no pre-registration, they never know how many campers will show up. Pastor Paul was predicting over a hundred, but really didn’t know. Some expressed genuine interest, but when it comes right down to it they don’t have the money or the transportation. Then, the government decided at the last minute to have school this week for the younger teens, meaning that they would most likely not be able to attend camp.
The camp board was in a quandary since we were already here to do camp this week. So, there were a couple of possibilities: call camp off for this week / open it up to the older teens / combine both weeks this week and not have one next week. Each day it would change…even right up to Sunday night…because it’s such a difficult decision. No matter what the decision was made, we didn’t think we would have many campers. On Sunday night Pastor Paul had about decided to call it off, but some of the other men said to have it and see how many show up and then if there aren’t enough then we should send them home. They figured there might be 35 kids or so. So we proceeded to do what we needed to do to get ready…kind of! We ran off all the papers, planned the program and schedule (in good faith,) finalized the scoreboard, prepared the equipment, and got ready to register whoever shows up. We have 13 counselors and thought that there could be a lot of one on one going on! We prayed that God would work in the lives of those who do end up coming and that Ken and Steve would know how to orchestrate this very unusual camping challenge. We keep telling ourselves that there could be another Pastor Paul or Timothy who comes out of this camp.
On Monday, the campers arrived… Miss Nancy and I finally finished registering them at 10:30 pm…none of us even ate supper. Rather than the 35 we expected, we ended up with 105+ campers and a lot of them are in the 18-22 year range. Pretty amazing! It’s going very well and Ken and Steve are doing a wonderful job, not to mention Miss Nancy and the pastors. One of the counselors was able to lead his camper to the Lord on Tuesday! They are listening well. The enthusiasm for the games is so refreshing and fun to watch.
Report by Mardi Collier