Sunday, October 9, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Children - A Tribute to "Daddy Philip"

Yesterday, the earthly body of a friend, Philip Tabiri was laid to rest. He was only 42 years old, leaving a wife, three young sons (ages 6, 4, and 2 years) and an adopted daughter (7 years). The funeral service was beautiful, a celebration of his life and a testimony to his faith. The tributes given by family and words cannot describe them. Ghanaians verbalize so many things much differently than Americans. I would like to share with you the tribute to Philip that was from his children...

"We are too young to understand what is happening, too feeble to bear this pain and too weak to face the challenges that come with it. The atmosphere is not the one we like.

"Everybody is crying in the house without telling the cause. We asked, 'Where is our Dad?' We are told, 'He is gone to Accra, never to return again.' Yet, here we are with our father lying motionless, stiff and fearful looking. Daddy, get up and talk to us! We don't like the way you appear now. You cannot leave us like that. Oh God, have mercy on us!

"Is it true that we will not see our father again to talk with him, play and lie on him? Who is that cruel to treat us so unkindly? We can never forgive you, death. Death, where are you? Come so that we shoot you. This is never fair. Oh God, come to our rescue!

"We have no confidence in anyone except Daddy Philip. Who else can understand our behavior as you do? We can imagine how difficult life will be without the father's support.We know you left us with Christ Jesus. Today we bid you farewell in deepest agony. Thank you and may God give you place in heaven."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cultural Test

You have all heard the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." I have been trying to live with the saying changed just a bit: "When in Ghana do as the Ghanaians do." This weekend has been a "cultural test" for me. When Itravel I want to know when, where, how, how much... But, the people I know just say, "Today I will travel to_______." They may know they will go by lorry & bus, but that's it. They will go to the bus station & wait in line for a ticket (at 4 AM) and go from there.

I left home Thursday. I took the lorry to Wa and spent the night. I got up at 3 AM yesterday to leave at 4 AM for the bus station. The taxi showed up at 4:30. I waited an hour for a ticket to Wenchi (traveling on a bus to Kumasi). The bus left Wa at 6:60 AM & arrived in Wenchi at 11:30. I got off, asked directions to Wenchi Methodist Hospital and began my walk. When I arrived at the hospital, I spent time with people (in the administrative office) I had never met before. The driver, who I had just met, took me to my accommodations which were made for me. I am leaving today for the lorry station with someone I just met yesterday. He will drop me off & I will ride the Lorry to the funeral in Nchiraa, wherever that is! There, I will return to Wenchi with people who work at the hospital. After that, hmmm...I need to buy a bus ticket to Accra. It might mean another 3AM day!

Sometimes, it seems as if it is hurry up & wait all day. But, it has been exciting. I can see God's hand in so much. I may not know which bus I will ride or what time I will arrive, but He does. And, he has placed people along the way to make sure I don't get lost or frustrated or discouraged. All I get (besides being very thankful) is lots of cultural input! WHEN (not if) I make it to Accra safely, I will know I have passed my "cultural test."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

God be with You Until We Meet Again!

This morning as I rode the lorry out of Lawra, I was almost sad. I guess you would say that it was a "bittersweet" moment. Yesterday I said, "God be with you until we meet again" to my language helper and dear brother in Christ, Raymond Dery. Dery will be leaving for Tamale next week where he will begin his first assignment as a pastor with the Methodist Church Ghana. I was spared that farewell, because I left first!

I am not planning to be back in Lawra for almost a month. I have a funeral, a dentist appointment, meetings in Thailand and some "down time" before I return home. But, as I write this from Wa, I am already missing home and the opportunity to spend even a few more hours with Dery learning more Dagaare, picking up some more cultural pointers, discussing Scripture and families and friends and work and farming and harvest and...well, you get the idea! God has blessed me with someone who was very patient and encouraging as I learned the basics of Dagaare. I know He has already provided "follow up" people...Gifty, Rose, Rose (there are 2 Roses, it isn't a mistake), Razak, Dora, Alex, Dery's parents...and the list goes on.

I am excited to hear how God will use Dery while he is in Tamele. I know people will be blessed, God will be glorified and the Kingdom of God will be enlarged.

"Dery, may God be with you until we meet again...and beyond! Blessings, my dear friend."