Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Preparing for Battle

    I put my body through it's paces like a war horse; I keep it clean, sturdy, prepared. I harden it and I pity it. I have no other steed.
    I keep my brain wide awake, lucid, unmerciful. I unleash it to battle relentlessly so that, all light, it may devour the darkness of the flesh. I have no other workshop where I may transform darkness into light.
    I keep my heart flaming, courageous, restless. I feel in my heart all commotions and all contradictions, the joys and sorrows of life. But I struggle to subdue them to a rhythm superior to that of the mind, harsher than that of my heart - to the ascending rhythm of the Universe.
    The cry within me is a call to arms. It shouts: "I, the Cry, am the Lord your God! I am not an asylum. I am not hope and a home. I am not the Father nor the Son not the Holy Ghost. I am your General!
    "You are not my slave, nor a plaything in my hands. You are not my friend, you are not my child. You are my comrade-in-arms!
    "Hold courageously the passes which I entrusted to you; do not betray them. You are in duty bound, and you may act heroically by remaining at your own battle station.
    "Love danger. What is most difficult? That is what I want! Which road should you take? The most craggy ascent! It is the one I also take: follow me!
    "Learn to obey. Only he who obeys a rhythm superior to his own is free.
    "Learn to command. Only he who can give commands may represent me here on earth.
    "Love responsibility. Say: 'It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved then I alone am to blame.'"
                                                ~ From The Saviours of God: Spiritual Exercises by Nikos Kazantzakis

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Dental "Emergency"

Last Wednesday evening, I was munching on some cocoa almonds...mmm, good! All of a sudden, I realized there was a gaping hole where my top front tooth should have been. So, I spit everything out and found the culprit. It was an old filing, rather large, that had come out. I looked in the mirror. I don't even want to think about how I looked. What to do? I tried putting the filling back in. After several attempts, it worked, much like a jig saw puzzle. Thank You, Jesus! I finally fell asleep.

The next morning (Thursday), I called my dentist, in Accra. I was able to schedule an appointment with her for Saturday morning. So, I called friends in Wa, and asked them to purchase a bus ticket to Accra for me. (I wanted to leave Thursday just in case there would be any trouble as we traveled. I didn't want to take the chance of missing my appointment.) I went home (I was at the workplace) and quickly packed. Then, headed off to the lorrie station. After an hour wait, we started the two hour trip to Wa. While in Wa, I visited with my friends until it was time to catch the bus, which left at 5:30 PM. I arrived in Accra around 6:20 Friday morning. Then, off to a colleague's house. I "hung out," went grocery shopping, read & napped. It was a wonderful break from the stress of the past few weeks. Then, Saturday morning, I went to see Dr. Nadia. She fixed my tooth. Praise God! I paid about $50 to get a huge filling replaced. Then, off to the bus station to buy a ticket for home. I left Accra around 8:30 PM Saturday and arrived in Wa 8:15 AM Sunday. I finally made it home at 11:30 Sunday morning. So, my dental "emergency" took about 72 hours from departing from home to arriving back again.

There was a lot to be thankful for in this situation: my tooth did not hurt, I was able to put the filling back in until it was replaced, I was able to schedule a dentist appointment, there was a seat available on the bus, someone was able to pick me up from the bus station, I had a relaxing day in Accra, I was able to buy meat in a store and not "off the hoof," the dentist is really nice, the filling was replaced painlessly, the cost of the dental visit was much less than I would pay in the US, the traveling was uneventful...God is so Good!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


When was the last time you were in a Kindergarten room? Or a preschool room? Or any classroom? The Kindergarten rooms that I am familiar with have tables and chairs or desks, lots of colorful charts, alphabets, calendars, books to read, supplies for science and nature study, art supplies, play things...all kinds of stuff.

This picture is of the Methodist Kindergarten in Lawra. Those are all broken desks piled up. The primary school will bring their broken desks & pile them here, then take ones that aren't broken. (Ed, he is trying to fix some of the desks.) The children sit on the cement floor. The chalkboard is just black paint on a cement wall. There are no posters, no crayons or paint, no paper, no books, no flash cards, nothing. Yet, class meets Monday through Friday every week....over 30 children!

What would we do in America in these circumstances? We couldn't function. But, here, the teachers work with what they have, if they have anything at all! I pray that despite the circumstances and lack of "things" that these children learn, that they would enjoy school and that they would become the men and women God wants them to be.

Monday, February 20, 2012


This tiny baby is Dometiere. When the picture was taken in the beginning of September 2011, she was five weeks old.She has such a big name for such a little girl! Her name is a Dagaaba name, one given to a female child whose mother has died. Dometiere's mother died a week before Dometiere came to live at the Lawra Methodist Orphan and Vulnerable Child Center.  When Dometiere came, she was malnourished, sickly with flies all over her! She came with her "Maakum," her grandmother, her mother's mother.

It is Dagaaba tradition that when a baby's mother dies, the mother of the woman takes care of the child. If not, the spirit of the deceased will come and torment the grandmother. So, in her old age, Maakum, is taking care of Dometiere. The child loves her Maakum and wants no one else! But, tradition seems to rule in Maakum's life. She is used to sleeping on a mat on the floor. There are beds at the Centre.So, Maakum still sleeps on a mat on the floor, but is afraid to have Dometiere sleep on a bed. She does not want the spirit of Dometiere's mother to torture her.

This is a recent picture of Dometiere. Ghanaians would say, "She is looking fine. She is fat." They mean that she is looking healthy and she has gained weight, she has had enough to eat. Maakum wants to take Dometiere to the village to live. But, what she doesn't understand is that Dometiere is still a high risk child. She may look healthy. She just recovered from a bout of malaria. She has been diagnosed with asthma. If she goes to the village, chances are that she will not get enough to eat nor will she receive her medicine. Sickness and even death comes quickly to all children her, especially high risk ones. Please pray for Maakum and Dometiere. Pray that the best decisions for the child would be made. I know that God has big plans for this child. I pray she lives long enough for the to come to fruition.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Smell of Hope

Harmatan is ending. I have enjoyed the cooler temperatures during the night and early morning. I've enjoyed the cooler winds, except when I have to ride my bicycle against it! But, Harmatan is very dusty since there has not been rain since the beginning of October. Floors and windows need to be cleaned often. The table tops and chairs need wiped off every day. And, when riding a bicycle, I often feel like I have been eating dust. I even had to wash the inside of my oven before I baked because there was so much dust in there!

As I ride my bicycle to the office or to see the children or to town, I sweat because even though it is cooler, to me, it is still hot! I've been here a year and it is still summer. I ride against the wind, and "chew" the dust that follows behind cars and buses, and it is not pleasant. The goats have eaten all my flowers. Everything is brown unless it has deep roots. Then, I feel a slight breeze. I smell something WONDERFUL that reminds me of the smell of tulips or daffodils. It is the flower of the nyɛm tree. It reminds me that rain and flowers and green things are coming. And, they will...in time.

I chose to believe in the things I cannot see. I am hoping for a better day as far as climate goes. I know there will be a better day in heaven, too. HOPE. That's what it is about. I HOPE seeds are being planted. I HOPE they will will be watered. I HOPE they will bloom and grow. I HOPE my kids will know their heavenly Father. I HOPE my kids will grow up to be men and women of God. I HOPE that things that I don't see, that I don't understand will one day make sense to me. I HOPE I will remain faithful. I HOPE to be with Jesus one day. I HOPE that many others will be there, too. This sweet smell reminds me of HOPE. And I will hang onto HOPE all the days of my life.  


Thursday, February 2, 2012


I can't believe that a year ago today I said "good bye" to those I love and to all that was familiar to me and boarded a plane bound for Ghana. What a year! In many ways, it seems as if it was a lifetime ago. In many other ways it seems like it was only yesterday. I get a bit nostalgic with anniversaries, so please bear with me. I hope I've grown, matured, accepted and loved plenty since I have been here. I pray that when people see me, they don't see someone who is financially able to solve all their problems, or at least some of them. I hope they see someone who is being Christ to them, who speaks the truth in love and who points the way to the Father. I rejoice in what the Lord has accomplished in the past year. I invite you to celebrate with me.