Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A New Name

Names are very important to Ghanaians. The Dagaaba people are no exception. A name can tell a lot about who you are, the circumstances of your birth or of your family. For example: Dery is a name given to a baby boy after a previous baby boy in the family died as an infant. Debuo is a name given to a child whose father died before the child was born. Barvier is a name given to a child who has been born on the final day of the Bari Festival (a Traditional festival) if there were no casualties during the festival. Bonyelli, the name of one of the girls who lives at the centre, means "What have I done? What is wrong?" (These questions are coming from the mother.) Papula is the name given to a child who has been born with fair skin, even though the skin darkens with time. Ayou is given to a child whose parents died while the child are still young.

So, when Dery told me that I was becoming a "Dagaarapog" - a Dagaara woman - he said I needed a Dagaara name. Hmmm...most of the ones I have heard have not been very positive. But, Dery said he would pray and let me know what name comes to mind. Monday, he told me my name..."Wasonti" (pronounced wa (a as in want) sewn tea) which is made up of three words. "Wa" means come, "son" means help, "ti" means us..."come help us." He said that God had sent me here to help the people, so the name fits well. I pray that I can "live up to my name" with God's help. I do not want to be an enabler. I want to be an "empower-er!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011


While living in western Pennsylvania there were many times and seasons of life when I felt as if I was distant from God & He from me. It seemed as if prayers were just bouncing off of walls and ceilings. I would become a person whom barely resembled the real "me." During those times, and others, I knew I needed God. I knew I needed to spend time with Him, open my heart to Him and pour out all the feelings and emotions and "stuff" and just let Him be God. I needed to know He was right there with me, beside me every step of the way. And, I knew that there were many times He carried me. I knew I had to leave the distractions of my job and my home and be alone with Him - no distractions. The sanctuary became that place for me. It has been a place where I could open myself up and be honest with God. I could let the walls come down. Since then, the sanctuary has become "home" to me. Safe. Secure. Holy. I don't need a crisis to be there. I just need to be closer with God and the sanctuary, no matter where I was, turned out to be that place - even in Ankaase, Ghana!

Since I have moved to Lawra, the sanctuary has not been a place of peace and refreshment. It has not been a "safe" and secure place where I could bare my soul to the Lord. Church politics, the knowledge that people always expect me to do something, provide something be some one, they have all kinds of expectations of me. I can't fill them. No one can. So, the sanctuary has not been that restful place for me...

Until last Wednesday. I woke up with a compulsion in my spirit to go to the sanctuary. I knew God was waiting for me there, He would meet me. I was not in a state of crisis or "woe is me." But, I guess I just needed that quality time with the Lord. So, I went.

And, I knew I was "home"!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sacrificial Giving

I like to think of myself as a "giving" person, a person who gives of myself and my resources because I want to, not because I have to. But, have I really given sacrificially? Have I ever given from a standpoint of costing me something? Have ever I given out of my "poverty?" I think in my entire lifetime I have, but only a few times. Usually I give out of my excess. And, many times that excess seems to be need & I want to hang on to whatever it is instead of letting it go.

Thursday, I rode my bicycle to the Dery yir (the Dery house). I had to deliver some notices for church on Friday morning, but had never been to the house, so this was my "practice run." I met Dery's mother and father and other members of the household. After visiting for a time, I got up to leave. As is the custom, Dery got up to walked me and my bicycle down the path to the main road. He had put a bag of groundnuts in my bicycle basket for me to take home and enjoy. Dery's family grows enough food to feed themselves without extra to sell at the market. This year, someone allowed the goats to eat some of the crops. There really isn't any "extra" food to share or to give away. Yet, that's exactly what Dery did. He gave sacrificially. It cost him and his family food for a meal or more. He gave from his heart, out of his poverty, trusting God will provide.

When have I last given like that? Lord, teach me Your way of giving!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Holy Detachment

I wrote this last Friday, but could not get online. I am "connected" now, so here is what I wrote:

Today is “one of those” days. My mind has been preoccupied with thoughts and prayers for one of the children who were discharged from the Centre yesterday. The children went with their mother to live in Biafor with their father, other siblings and their father’s other two wives and their families.

By American standards, the children did not have much while they lived in Lawra at the Centre. But, they had a bedroom with beds in it, screening on the windows to keep out the mosquitoes, clean water was close by, the school was near and…there were children around to play with – friends. At their new home, they will sleep on the floor. The window does have a screen on it, but not a metal one and it already has a hole in it. The water and school are not as close as they were here in Lawra. There are children around…step brothers and sisters as well as older brothers. There are children in the village, too.

The triplets, Sara, Rose and Paul are almost 2 ½ years old. They will quickly adapt to their new surroundings. Papula, though, may be a bit different. She is 7 years old. She knows what she had in Lawra. Now, those things, those people are gone…her friends, her bed, what she has come to know as “home” over the past two plus years.

I talked with Papula, prayed with her and said, “Good bye.” When I left Papula was crying. I know she needs to be with her family. I know that she is not alone. Now, I have to let go and let God be God. He knows what’s best. He will watch over her. I have to believe that and trust Him. He watches over the “least, the last and the lost.” I am so grateful that my God is a God who cares. It is now my turn to “let go and let God.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Privilege

This morning’s staff Bible Study was part 2 of the creation story found in Genesis chapter 1. We started where we left off last week, at verses 14-19, day 4 of creation. The verses were translated into Dagaare and then a discussion followed. As we talked about these verses, Aa-Denuu, an older man who was not in attendance last week, spoke up. Aa-Denuu had never heard the creation story! (He is a Traditionalist.) He was enthralled with it. He listened and even participated in the discussion. I asked him if he would like to see a picture book with the creation story in it. He said that, yes, he would like to see it. He is open to hearing about the One True God…the Creator! I praise and thank God for granting me this privilege of telling someone the story of creation for their very first time! Pray with me that one day Aa-Denuu would know accept, embrace and love the Lord God Almighty.