In March Pastor Mick was invited by Pastor Yim to visit Ghana.   Ghana is located on the West Coast of Africa.  Weather is tropical with only two seasons (rainy or dry) because it is only a few degrees above the Equator.   It was formally known as the Gold Coast.  40% of the working population is dominated by agriculture.  It is a world leader in exporting cocoa.  This could change because oil has recently been found in the Gulf of Ghana.  There are over 100 ethnic groups, each with their own language.  At one time the country was under British rule so the official language is English.  The country is now a democracy.

From the 14 people interested three teams were created.  We left the church on Aug13th at 1:40 am and headed to the Boston airport.

We arrived early Sunday morning in Accra, Ghana.  Pastor Charles and his wife Hwasooa met us and whisked us off to our first  Ghana church service.  The church was small compared to Crosspoint but the love of the Lord was strong.  The music was lively and filled with praise for the Lord.  Probably the biggest difference was during the offering.  By rows the people sang their way up to the offering container.  Later the Pastor and his wife treated us to pizza at a local restaurant.  That afternoon we left the VBS team at the Christian International Academy and the other two teams traveled another couple of hours into the country.
The VBS team, two adults with their children, worked in two locations while in Ghana.  The theme was science and Bible.  They worked first in Accra at the Bible Baptist Church (same church that we visited the day we landed) for 3 days. They averaged around 150 kids there (probably more on some days).  This VBS was held in the church auditorium, meaning that craft time became the kids turning around and working in their chairs or on the bench. There was an amazing presentation of the gospel at this location on day 3 of VBS.
The second location was in Tema at the Christian International Academy.  This VBS was a duplicate of Accra VBS and ran around 180-200 kids. While the team was there they were also able to work with the GES teachers.  Everyone was blessed with the partnership of working together and encouraging each other.

Both VBS locations:

  • craft time
  • song time
  • puppets
  • Bible story (God is the Creator, God is love and God is light with a very clear salvation message)
  • Science lessons that complemented and reinforced the Bible story for the day
  • game time
  • snack time
  • memory verses
  • face painting.

Tema VBS also ended the week with a giant inflatable slide. This was the first time these kids had experienced anything like this!  So much fun.  The teachers had just as much fun as any of the children.  They were not sure who had the best week our members or the Ghanaians.

The construction team, a team of four,  was not sure if they would be doing the cement work or the roof until arriving at the actual site.   Upon arrival they found the walls up.  They started off with a few obstacles, one being the wood was green hardwood that was only rough cut and definitely not straight.  The team came up with the quote “measure once and cut twice”.   Every day had a new challenge but nothing was insurmountable.  There were area men that stopped by daily and helped.  No skill saw or drill was available only manual labor.  The weather was hot and humid, but that did not stop them.  God was good and they only had rain two afternoons, one of which rained them out.  By the time the team left 90% of the roof on both the church and living quarters was on.  The pastor and his wife had tears of appreciation.  The area chief visited one day to see the people that traveled to help build this church.  He also wanted to talk to the “old man” of the team and find out why we would come to such an area and work.  His response, “To help people, give you hope and to show Christian love.”

On our recent mission trip to Ghana Africa 4 people made up the medical team. Three nurses and a helper that organized the pharmacy.   A few villages they went to were Atroso, Apaedam, Bantama, Awuku, and Mante.  Each morning before the team started, the salvation message was given in each village.  Pastor Eric arranged to have interpreters for each nurse, some coming from the village the team was visiting. They saw nearly 1200 people.  The team treated things like high blood pressure, malaria, parasites, wounds and a number of eye issues because of the amount of dust and lack of drinking water.  The people were so pleased to have us there and loved to have their pictures taken.  They learned what a selfie was.   The children loved to entertain us showing off their homemade toys.  

A couple funny cultural communication examples:  
  • A few people asked for a bottle of water. After asking a number of times they brought water bottles but there was no water only the bottles. 
  • Another example was asking for orange soda. It was listed but they kept bringing something else. Finally we asked for Fanta.  So we learned to ask for brand not flavor.    
Hopefully we made no major cultural errors to offend someone. It helped us remember that what we mean may not be how persons from another culture understand.

The poverty saddened our hearts but it did not define them as a people in our eyes because at the same time the people warmed our souls. We were blessed far beyond what we gave.