Sunday, September 25, 2011

Accepting or Embracing?

I was online, "chatting" with a friend recently. She had commented on the way I have accepted the life style change and all that goes with it. The comment has caused me to ponder quite a bit this week. Acceptance? Me? I didn't accept Paul's death very well. And, there are times when I don't readily accept the task at hand, not because of it being so foreign to my American mind, but "just because." Acceptance...what does that really mean?

According to the Encarta Dictionary, one of the definitions of acceptance is willingness to believe: willingness to believe that something is true. As a Christian, this type of acceptance has been part of my life for quite a long time, even though some things are harder to accept than others. But, this is not the acceptance my friend was referring to. The acceptance she meant is defined as coming to terms with something: the realization of a fact or truth and the process of coming to terms with it.

Life in Ghana is a chain of accepting things as they are...the man pictured above is blind. He has accepted that fact. And, he was "reading" Scripture when I took the picture. People here accept the seasons of life much better than they do in America. They accept suffering and illness. They accept hard work, sometimes with little in return. They accept life without all the comforts and hang ups and things that enslave many Americans. They are an inspiration to me!

But, me? Accepting? I never thought of myself that way.All I know is that if I get upset because I have to wait more than an hour for transport to Wa, it will be a really long day! If I get upset over lack of food choices, what am I doing living in Lawra? If I get upset over the lack of hot water or electricity, what am I doing in Ghana? I am where God has led me. I am at home. And I am not just "accepting" life as it is in Lawra, I am EMBRACING it to the glory of God my Father! May His will be done!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I've been "writing" this post in my mind this past week. Still, I wonder what words will end up here. There is so much I don't understand and probably never will this side of heaven. On August4, 2011, a family was discharged from the Methodist Orphan and Vulnerable Child Centre. The mother, and four children, Papula (7 years), Sara, Rose and Paul (28 month old triplets) were being discharged to live in the village with the children's father/the mother's husband. They had been living at the Centre since the triplets were 4 days old. It was a tough day. Papula didn't want to leave her friends. But, the move was made and everyone adapted well to life in the village.

then, last Sunday, September 11, 2011, the mother and the three girls arrived at church during the worship service. The two younger girls had IV ports on the back of their hands. Papula and her mother were silently crying. (It is not appropriate to "weep and wail" in public.) All three of the triplets had been seriously ill. The were admitted to Lawra Regional Hospital for treatment. (I still don't know the nature of their illness.) Paul died that morning.

Who was taking care of these children? Who was making sure they had safe drinking water? Who was making sure they had enough food to eat? Who was making sure they were being protected from mosquitoes? Who was making sure they received proper medical care when it was needed?

I have so many questions! In the midst of it all God is still God and He is still good. I want to know why this child died. His death seems as if it is a needless death, a preventable one. I wonder...How do missionary doctors handle the "needless" and "preventable" deaths they see everyday? I pray that God will give the the strength, courage and wisdom to continue their life saving work. It is not in vain.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff"? Sometimes I wonder if the person who coined the phrase ever had their computer crash. I wonder if they ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong. I wonder if they ever had one of those days when they burned dinner for company arriving in five minutes. I wonder if they ever had blood gushing from their finger, wondering if it is okay...

Living in Ghana has opened my eyes to so many things. I have seen people literally make life and death decisions every day. I have seen mothers wonder how their children will be fed on a particular day. I have seen both children and adults drink the nastiest looking water. I have seen parents wonder if their child will live or die in the next 24 hours. I have seen people not only survive, but gratefully live with very meager means. Then, there's me...

I have wonderful family and friends both in America and here in Ghana. I have wonderful friends all over the globe. And, they ask me, "Sue, what do you want me to send you?" "Sue, what can bring you from Accra?" "Sue, how can we help you and your kids?"And, I answer them with my lists, my requests. But, more and more, I have been prefacing these lists, these requests with the words, "These are WANTS, none of these things are NEEDS."

Living in this type of culture/environment changes a person. The changes come slowly, discreetly, but, they do come. A person comes to realize what is important in life. And, even if it is a pair of glasses that don't arrive when I thought they would, life still goes on without them. It's no big deal. The things that, hope and love. And the most important of these is love, the love God has for a fallen world and the love we give to Him and to others. The rest is small stuff.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just One Little Drop

In the world's eyes, I am just a "normal" person. I haven't accomplished any great feat or have never found a cure for a incurable disease, my grades in school were just average. I am just like most of the world...a sinner. Yet, I have been saved by grace. And, THAT is what makes all the difference in the world!

Living in Ghana, in the Upper West Region, is no big deal. Not to me anyway. I have gotten involved in the life of the local church, in the lives of the children living at the Centre and in the administration of the clinic. People in the community have noticed that I am becoming more and more a part of them. Yet, here, I am not doing any "big" or "great" thing - in my eyes.

I spoke with someone today who had just returned from seeing the bishop of the Northern Ghana Diocese. Evidently, I was one of the topics of conversation. It seems that living everyday life in an area in which I live has created a ripple effect. People have been noticing, watching. Lives have been touched in one way or another. Encouragement has been received. People are being empowered. None of it is in "big, huge ways" but in individual lives. Yet, who knew? I was unaware. Praise God that He can use someone ordinary, like me, to do His work!