Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Boy and His Fish

I have been trying to think of what to post…something profound. But, no thoughts came to mind. So, instead I am posting the story I wrote for my Dagaare lesson this past Friday. The translation follows. Enjoy!

Bie tɛri zim kpɛɛ.
A zim kpɛɛ be a laalɛduor puo.
A zim yiɛlu, “N bɛ bori fo ɔb me.”
A zim zona yi ne do tie.
A deblɛ buol o, “Sik wa!”
A zim kpɛɛ zorɛ dabie sik wa.
Lilkpɛsɛpla yakna a tie sazu.
A lilɛ nyɛna a zim ne yakna a kyɛn a zim zie.
A lilkpɛsɛpla ɔba a zim.
A deblɛ kohena a kulen bonso a lilkpɛsɛpla ɔba o zim.

The child has a big fish. The big fish was in the small yellow bowl. The fish said, “I do not want to be eaten.” The fish ran outside and climbed a tree. The boy called to him, “come down!” The fish was afraid to come down. A big black bird flew above the tree. The bird saw the fish and flew to him. The big black bird ate the fish. The boy walked home crying because the big black bird ate his fish. The end.

Monday, July 25, 2011

There's no Place Like Home

There's no place like home, there's no place like home...and I have been home in Lawra for a week now. It is so good to be here. I have missed my own bed, my kids, my friends and my church family. Although circumstances and situations may drive me crazy (and to my knees) at times, there is still no place like home!

This past week seemed to be more hectic than most, but it could be my imagination since I haven't been here in a month. The week started out with worship...a good place to start! Then, two meetings with the bishop and the staff and management of Lawra Methodist Integrated Health Programme. Next, language lessons and visiting the kids, cleaning out toys, getting shelves fixed, hanging a mosquito net, Bible study, market, surprise visits from friends, laundry, quarterly meeting at church, preparing to lead staff Bible study, post office, customs, immigration, bank, paying bills, every day type of "stuff to do" and finding out on Friday that I was to preach on more!

My spirit is being refreshed and renewed that God's mercies are new every morning. That He is always here with me and I can do all things not in my strength, but in His. And, as long as I remain in Him, I will always be home!

Friday, July 15, 2011

He Will Supply All You Need Just in Time – The Rest of the Story

Ever since I had decided to return to Lawra with or without my passport I have had such peace. I have been enjoying my days and calling to see if there has been any news about the visa and passport. Trust is not easy for me. During this time I believe that God has been trying to take me to a new level of trusting Him. I have felt as if a burden has been lifted off of me.

Late this morning I received a phone call from Mr. A. He was at Ghana Immigration Services. He had my passport, with my resident visa in it in his hand. Praise God!

Yesterday, I bought a bus ticket for Wa, about 2 hours from Lawra, for tonight at 10 PM. When did God supply my need? Today, Corrie Ten Boom’s father was right…God will supply all I need - just in time!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

He Will Supply All You Need Just in Time - Page 3

Have you seen the movie. Facing the Giants? Some of the themes are never give up, never back down, never lose faith. In the movie, Grant Taylor's football team has had six consecutive losing seasons, finances at home are stretched to the limit and his wife desperately wants to get pregnant. After an encounter with God, Grant decides to live out his faith, praising God when they win, praising God when they lose. The school he coaches at has had a revival. Kids were giving their lives to Christ, asking for forgiveness and trying to lead lives that would honor God. When the team won a game, they praised God. When the team lost a game, they praised God. By the end of the movie, Grant's team wins the championship, his finances are on the upswing and his wife is pregnant.

When I face giants in my life, it rarely works out like it did in this movie. There are a lot of situations that I wanted changed, things I wanted to happen, relationships strengthened...and, it just didn't happen. I guess my life isn't a 112 minute movie.

What did happen, though, was the realization that God is all I needed to be complete, to be fulfilled. God was my strength, my fortress, my shelter, my hope, my provider, my healer, my...I can go on and on. He has been building His character in me. Imagine that! The characteristics of God, growing, taking root in me. It is a miracle for which I am thankful. Oh, there have been plenty of struggles, just as there were struggles in the move, but they weren't resolved in an hour and a half. It is a lifetime of learning, growing, trusting, becoming more like Him.

Now, my giant is the unknown about my resident visa. I have decided to return to Lawra with or without my passport tomorrow. I want to go home (to Lawra). I need to go home. I need to totally trust that this situation is in God's hands and that He will supply all I need - just in time!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still Waiting

Here is yesterday's journal entry:

"Good morning, Lord. This morning I am filled with anxiety instead of trust. I want to trust, I choose to trust, but the anxiety seems to creep in. O God, I want my passport today so much that I can taste it. (yum!) I don't want to go back north without it. And, as I listen to others tell me how long they've waited for their passports, that trust and Your peace diminishes bit by bit. Help me to surrender it to You. O God, I do surrender it to You. Fill me with Your peace. Let me experience a new level of intimacy with you. My life is in your hands."

Mark 10:27 "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

Mark 11:22 "Have faith in God," Jesus said.

Monday, July 11, 2011

He Will Supply All You Need Just in Time - Page 2

In my post on Saturday, I said that Mr. A. and I went to Ghana Immigration Service. Here is page 2 of the story:

The person that we needed to see wasn't in, so we turned around and started down the hall to the stairwell. Unexpectedly, an Immigration worker "Psssst - ed" at us and told us to come back. She took us into the office of one of the guys in charge. We told him our story & he sent people out to find my folder. An hour later, he was ready to go home and there was no folder. So, he told us to return on Monday and to skip reception and go straight to the office where visas to Americans are granted.

Mr. A. arrived at Immigration first. So, when I arrived there this morning, people were already looking for my folder. A half hour later, we were told that my folder was lost. They had contacted the records department to see what information could be gotten from them. Mr. A. offered to go back to his office to make copies of everything that was submitted with my resident visa application. While doing this, Mr. A. received a phone call. My folder was found! Praise God!

We were told to call tomorrow to see if we could pick up my passport. I saw mine today. I know it is there...will I have it so I can make plans to head north on Wednesday?

I praise and thank God that we pushed for the passport now. Who knows how many more months would have gone by before it was discovered my file was "lost." So, even though I don't have my passport in hand, God has me and this situation in His hands!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

He Will Suply All You Need Just in Time

Waiting is never easy. I know. That is all I did yesterday, or so it seems! I had a dentist appointment at 10 AM. The driver was to pick me up at 9 AM. He arrived at 11. Yes, I called him. It didn't help. When we got to the dentist, I had to wait an hour before they could take me. I was so grateful that I could be seen! After that, I went to Methodist Headquarters to inquire about my passport. (I have been waiting "patiently" to hear that my resident visa has arrived.) The person who I would accompany suggested we wait before we go to Ghana Immigration Services because they might not all be back from their lunch break. So, I waited a half hour. Then, we went to Immigration. He spoke to the person in the reception area, asking if my passport was ready. She would inquire about it. Two hours later, we still had heard nothing. So, we were going to leave. But, Mr. A. decided to take a chance & go to the office to retrieve it in person. So, we went up to the office where Americans would be approved for a resident visa. An hour later, we left with no visa in hand. But, God's hand was in this...I kept thinking of a story Corrie Ten Boom often told:

"When I was a little girl, " I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me," said Father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?" "No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train." "That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need just in time"

I know I will have my passport just in time, not mine, but God's. Stay tuned...Monday I hope to post "The Rest of the Story."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Will Praise Him in the Morning

The last several mornings I found myself singing praises to the LORD all morning long. Won't you sing with me?

O Lord, our Lord
How majestic is Your name in all the earth.

O Lord, our Lord
How majestic is Your name in all the earth.

O Lord, we praise Your name!
O Lord, we magnify Your name;

Prince of Peace, Mighty God,
O Lord God Almighty.
How Majestic is Thy Name
~written by Michael W. Smith

Monday, July 4, 2011


As I was reading the words in red in my Bible, one verse really caught my attention. It was in Matthew 15:3 "And why do you break the command of God because of your tradition? I live in an area of the world where traditions are very important. They are ingrained into every fiber of life. Even the largest religious group in my area follow the "Traditional" religion.

Jesus was talking with some Pharisees and teachers of the law. They liked to stick to the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. Jesus called them on this. The people in my area have so many traditions that go against not only the letter of the law, but most importantly the spirit of the law. They don't know Jesus. Many have never heard His name or His word. Their world is full of Spiritual darkness.

I pray that I may be the candle light that pierces the darkness of some of the Dagaaba people. "Lord, use me."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Made to Crave

Did you ever think that we were made to crave? Usually we hear that cravings are bad for us. We should resist them. In reality, God made us to crave! Imagine that...made to crave! That gives me permission to crave a LOT of things or does it really? Lately, I've been craving Tupperware. I think it is because every time I cook rice, before I cook it, I have to strain the ants out of it. In my mind, Tupperware would solve the problem! In the last two weeks, I don't want to admit how much time I've spent drooling over stuff on the Tupperware web site. (It is so easy to surf the web while I'm in Accra!) I am dreaming of, I am craving it. Is that so wrong? Just a few sentences ago, didn't I say that we were made to crave? So, craving Tupperware is OK, right? WRONG!

"God made us capable of craving so we would have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only One capable of satisfying them." (from Craving God, by Lysa Terkeurst)

Remember the story of the rich young man from Matthew 19? He asked Jesus what he had to do to be saved. Jesus tells the man to sell everything he owned & give to the poor & then he would have "treasures in Heaven." The man walked away sad because he craved his riches & probably the place they gave him in society more than he craved a relationship with Jesus. His riches are the one thing that consumes him and he just doesn't seem to be able to see that although his money could buy anything & everything he wanted, his soul was malnourished.

"O Lord, forgive me for the times that thoughts and images of Tupperware consumed me. Forgive me for the times I have given it a place in my life that only belongs to You! I want to give that up so I can crave You more. I give to you my thoughts, my cravings, my time. May it glorify You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rejoice, Rest, Renew, Revive, Research, Restock

I have spent the last 2 ½ weeks in Accra. I had some things to do here and my friends needed someone to stay at their house. So, it was a match made in Heaven! Although I miss my home in Lawra, I feel that I have been blessed by God because of the many things I have been able to do while here.

I was able to REJOICE with Raymond Dery (my language teacher) and his family as he was commissioned as a pastor with Methodist Church Ghana. Dery has a burden for his people and it is the desire of his heart to see these people have a day to day, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Any congregation he will serve will be blessed!

I have also been able to REST while here. When I left Lawra, I had malaria. So, rest wasn’t an option. I didn’t feel like doing anything! I had made reservations for a night at Hilburi for a 24 hour vacation & I wasn’t going to cancel that. I had started to feel better. Hilburi was just what I needed! The scenery was beautiful! The bed was comfy. The food was delicious. Since I left Hilburi, I continue to pace myself, trying not to go overboard with “stuff to do” in a day, but making sure that I’m not a “slug.”

RENEWAL should be a part of every day. (That is my opinion!) I enjoy having my morning coffee or tea on the veranda with GOD. I have been using the book, Praying the Attributes of God by Rosemary Jensen, along with my Bible & journal. I am always amazed at what GOD has to say to me, if only I would listen!

REVIVAL has come in a variety of ways. But, I think the one I noticed the most was attending church (or churches) this past Sunday. I didn’t realize how much I needed to worship with the body of Christ without having any expectations or responsibilities laid on me. I felt a release as we sung the first song and the tears started forming in my eyes with gratitude to the Father. That service, along with the online service of First UMC, Corry really revived my soul, my spirit.

Since I have been in Accra, the internet connection has been so much better than the connection I have in Lawra. I have been able to RESEARCH a variety of topics related to birth defects, developmental delays and prenatal care. I’ve been in touch with some people in the medical field who might be able to help out the children and families that I work with. I have also been working on my Dagaare dictionary & have called Dery on the phone to ask him how something is translated into the local language.

Last, but not least, I have been able to RESTOCK. Food choices in Lawra are slim. Even fresh fruit & vegetable choices are slim. So, I have enjoyed being able to go grocery shopping and buying canned goods and cheese to take up north with me. Fruits, veggies, jelly and a variety of other things will be stocked on my shelves when I return.

It seems as if I have been in Accra for a long time. But, it has been necessary. Along with the other things that I have been able to accomplish, I am still waiting on my passport. I need to take it with me to Lawra to present it to the immigration officials there. So, I wait, I call about it, and I wait some more. All the while I know that God has had plans for me while in Accra. This has NOT been wasted time. To God be the glory!

Friday, July 1, 2011

White with Black Stripes or Black with White Stripes?

Have you ever noticed that there are times that you are so familiar with something you cease to really "see" it? You don't notice the little differences or even the big, obvious ones. Take zebras as an example. Are they white with black stripes? Or are they black with white stripes? Or is it something all together different? I get so used to seeing things a certain way, that I miss out on so much more!

This may be a real stretch of my imagination, but, this morning I was reading and praying from the book Praying the Attributes of God by Rosemary Jensen. I was reading about the graciousness of God. One of the Scriptures was from 2Chronicles 15:2: "The LORD is with you when you are with Him.If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you." I've read that how many times in my life. No big "aha" moment ever happened. Not even today. But, then, a page and a half later, I read, "Thank You that when I want to be with You, You want to be with me. When I go looking for You, You will let me find You; but when I reject You, You won't force Your way on me."(based on 2Chronicles 15:2) And, the thought came to me..."Boy, is this self serving or what?" "It's all about what I want, not about what God wants." Who is the servant & who is the master here?

And I prayed, "LORD, forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for making it all about me and not so much about You. I invite You, I beg You, to come into my life a bit closer, a bit deeper than ever before. I want all of You in all of me. Forgive me for the times when I didn't want to be found by You, when I hid or turned my back on You. I want to live for You and in You today and always! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen." Italic