Monday, March 28, 2011

God Knows and God Cares

Last week, I was really feeling the lack of women friends. I prayed that God would fill this void in my life. I know I've only been in Lawra a short time, but, women need women friends! Oh, I know some women here - Gifty, Edith, Marjorie...but most of the people who spend time with are guys...Dery my language teacher and Razak, who works at the clinic.

God heard my prayer. This past weekend the annual Methodist Women's Fellowship Conference for the Wa Circuit was held in Lawra. Although I only spent a relatively short time there because of other committments, God filled a void. Sophia, a pastor's wife from Boro and I were "kindred spirits." Then, there was Matillia, who was walking behind the rest because of her bad knees. I walked and talked with her as I pushed my bicycle. She lives in Lawra near the market. I will visit her this week. And, there were others, all very welcoming. I cried out to God and He answered me. Barka Naangmen!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Touch of Home

Last week I received two packages from "home." I received a delivery slip in my post office box. I took it inside to the postal worker who filled out some forms for me to sign. Then, I paid 3 Ghana cedis to pick up my package. Next, I got on my bicycle and took the packages to the district office where customs is located. There I had to open the packages. More writing was done on the forms. I left one form there and took the other one back to the post office and left it with the postal worker. Then, I rode home on my bicycle, one package in my basket, one package in my small backpack.

One box was from a friend in Erie who sent some Tupperware that I could not pack, an extra hose for my CPAP machine, zip lock bags, my shower curtain and kitchen towels. The other was an envelope from a friend who lives in Wexford...Twizzlers, Crystal Lite and chicken soup. Both packages were welcomed with open arms and greatly appreciated!

When I use the towels, the Tupperware and even the edible stuff, I get a smile on my face and remember with loving gratefulness those back in the USA. We may be miles apart physically, but as Michael W. Smith wrote...we are "Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them..." Thank you, friends, for thinking of me and praying for me and watching over me, even from thousands of miles away!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Different Way of Banking

Banking, like everything else here in Lawra, is a lot different than at home. When most people enter the bank, they give the man who is at the computer closest to the door their account number and name on a small piece of paper so they can check their balance. After their name is called and their balance is written down, then, if they have to make a withdrawal, they enter the queue. If the person already knows there is money in their account, then this step is skipped.

Last week, when I was waiting my turn at the bank, I watched as an older gentleman "played" with an ink pad. I thought, "Doesn't he realize that he is getting ink all over his fingers?" Then, I saw it. The bank teller had done his part in the transaction and it was the man's turn to sign a check. Except the man could not write. So, he carefully "signed" his check with his fingerprints. I was in awe...How many times do I take writing for granted? How many times do I take the privilege of banking for granted? These are gifts given to me, gifts given to me by the grace of God.

Father, I pray that you continue to open my eyes and let me see how self absorbed I have been. May I never take the "simple privileges" of life for granted.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


This is Ebeneezer. He lives at the Methodist Orphan and Vulnerable Children Center in Lawra. He is here with his mother, Yaa, and his sister, Noella. Ebeneezer is at the center because he is, what the Dagaaba people call, a "snake." Ebeneezer was born without any muscle control. As an infant, he could not hold up his head, kick his legs, fling his arms or grasp a finger. The Dagaaba people believe that children like Ebeneezer should live in the woods where the snakes live and would allow these children to die. This happens today, in 2011. So, Ebeneezer's life is a miracle. He is almost four years old. As you can see, he can lift his head. He can pull himself around on his stomach. And, if you stand him up , holding his hands, he struggles to take a few steps. With care, with "therapy," with prayer, Ebeneezer will walk one day. May God give him the help and the strength he needs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Warrior is a Child

Today is the first day that I have felt as if a good cry will make it all better. Oh, nothing drastic is wrong, just different. My phone card I bought in Accra wasn't registered even though they took all the information. So, I haven't been able to use it. The phone I bought in Wa won't charge, so I need to go back to Wa and see about replacing it. The man that put the curtain rails (rods) up, took a chunk of cement out of the wall. The cover for the trap door in the storage room ceiling is nowhere to be found. There is dust & spiders & spider webs everywhere. I'm not sleeping well because of the heat...and so goes my story of "woe." But, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I feel like the person who Twila Paris describes in her song, "The Warrior is a Child." Read on...

Lately I've been winning battles left and right.
But even winners can get wounded in the fight.
People say that I'm amazing,
Strong beyond my years.
But they don't see inside of me,
I'm hiding all the tears

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know Who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just a while.
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.

Unafraid because His armor is the best.
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest.
People say that I'm amazing,
Never face retreat.
But they don't see the enemies
That lay me at His feet.

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know Who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just a while,
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down.
They don't know Who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and look up for a smile,
'Cause deep inside this armor,
Deep inside this armor,
Deep inside this armor,
The Warrior is a Child.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Observations on a Sunday Morning

When attending church in Lawra, a variety of things can be seen...the people of God worshipping with their whole being, prayers said from the depths of hearts, mothers nursing babies, children roaming around, music played with passion, dancing done in praise...Here are a few images from this morning's service. I hope you enjoy them.
Looking through God's Word

Is the Sermon Over Yet?

A Frequent Attender - Praying for Life!

The Church Parking Lot

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lord, Refresh This Place

Last Sunday, my prayer was, "Lord, come and revive this dry and thirsty land." The temperature had reached 100 degrees by 9:00 AM. The ground was so dry, hard and dusty. Dry weeds and plants were everywhere. The animals that roam around, looking for food were having a hard time finding any. The thermometer reached 106 in the afternoon. Then, it came! A storm! The temperature dropped 31 degrees. The winds were high. The rain pelted the earth, buildings, people. Hail came. The sound on the metal roof was deafening. Afterwards, the earth looked refreshed, people felt refreshed, renewed. Even since then, some small grasses and weeds have sprouted up for the goats and sheep to munch on. Everything looks a bit greener.
And, I prayed, "Lord, refresh not only this land, but this people. Send Your Spirit to refresh and renew them. Open their eyes. Open their hearts, Open their minds. Let them embrace You and your grace and mercy. Let them be a light for You." Pray for the Spirit of God to fall afresh on this place.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Holy Moment

Have you ever been in a worship service when all of a sudden, something happens within you and all you can do is to stop and pray? Well, it happened to me yesterday. It was communion Sunday. After we all came forward to receive the elements, the lay leader took the elements to two gentlemen sitting in the back of the congregation. I had no idea who they were. But, they have impacted my life. During the offering, these men came forward to bring their offerings to the Lord. The first man was blind. He was very gently and lovingly guided by a friend. They, together, gave themselves and their offering to God. The second gentleman walked up to the front very slowly, with a walking stick (cane.) I eventually saw that his feet were deformed. It was a sacrifice for this man to come forward on his own. He looked as if he were in pain. And, as I watched him make his way to give his offering, tears filled my eyes. He was giving much more than a few pesowas. He was giving himself, a living sacrifice to his Lord. As I sat down & prayed, I wondered, “When was the last time I gave my all to God?” Have I ever? Have you?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Tro Tro Adventure

A typical type of public transportation here in Ghana is the "tro tro." A tro tro is a van that has enough seats to accommodate about 20 people. So, early this morning, a friend and I got on a tro tro headed fo Wa. It was a pleasant 2 hour trip. It wasn't too crowded, only about 18 people. But, on the way back, it was another story. The tro tro had seats for 20. Theoretically, by law, everyone must have a seat. There were at least 25 people, plus their purchases. The windows were held together with tape and you could feel every bump and stone in the road. Even though it was a bit crowded, it wasn't too bad. About 4 kilometers from Lawra, the tro tro pulls over. The driver talks to a bunch of people on the road, then, tells everyone to get out of the tro tro. He then loads up with all these other people. They paid him well to take them & their stuff to the river. They were planning to enter the bordering country illegally. And, there we were, sitting under a mango tree. We ended up getting a ride to Lawra from a friend of my friend. My friend reported the driver to the police. When the tro tro finally made it to Lawra, with it's original passengers, the police went after the driver. The driver knew he was at fault and took off, leaving a trail of dust...just another typical Ghanaian day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Amazing Youth

Last Sunday was Youth Sunday at Bethel Methodist Church. The youth planned and presented the entire service. But, to me, the amazing part did not happen until after the service. After the service, the twelve youth who were participating lined up across the front of the church. And, for the next thirty minutes, they recited Scripture verses from memory, never repeating a verse. If a person couldn't think of another verse, they had to sit down. After a half hour, 9 out of 12 were still standing! I found myself wondering if the youth at my home church could do that. I don't think I could. And, what is more amazing, they did it in English, not Dagaare which is their heart or first language! There is no Bible in Dagaare yet. How amazing! And how challenging. I need to go now and hide God's Word in my heart!