It would probably be safe to say that a lot of people are looking back at 2012, reviewing what took place in their lives these past twelve months. I am, too. It is good to look back and see where we have been and look forward to where we are going.
What I consider to be highlights of 2012 are vastly different from what Facebook says. As I look past over this year, these thoughts come to mind:
I celebrated my first year in Ghana, where I live, where I work and where I play. I thank God for the Ghanaian friends I have made. It has been a blessing to hang out together, share food and just enjoy each other's company. They have been there for me in good times and in bad. It has been a privilege to share in some of their deepest joys and sorrows over the last year. SNAP (Special Needs Awareness Program) was born in 2012. It is an avenue of ministering to the least of the least in this culture. God has amazing plans for SNAP in 2013! God has blessed me with the opportunity to share His word in some of the villages around Lawra. This, too, will expand in 2013. I wonder what God has in mind. In June, an amazing group of people came from Alabama to work in the villages of the Upper West. These people have become like family to me, especially my sister, Ama. I look forward to seeing them again. I thank God for the children at the Lawra Methodist Orphan and Vulnerable Children's Centre. It is an honor to be "Mama Sue" to them, to be a part of their lives, to watch them grow in body, mind and spirit. And, in 2012, I came to know, at least a little bit, the village of Kasalgri, where I will be working during the upcoming year. I pray that I may shine God's light in a dark world.
The year brought sadness, too. My dear friend and neighbor died this past year. I wasn't able to attend her funeral. I know we will meet again on "the other side." I have seen children die of preventable diseases. I have seen unauthorized use of money, and mismanagement in many areas. I have seen people lie and cheat and argue...I have seen that people (including me) need the Lord. More now than ever! I, along with many, many others, have experienced malaria. Sickness is rampant in my area.
Don't let me end here, though. CHIPs, Childrens Health Insurance Program, is providing health care for the children in the Lawra area. Funds have been raised for water filters for Kasalgri. The word has been sent out about what is happening in my area of Ghana. And, people have responded most graciously. Many, many children and adults will benefit because of their generosity. I have been able to visit family and friends. I've taken a class that has challenged me in more ways than one. Plus, there were trainings, too. Lots of travel took place in 2012. God provided me with transportation, a place to stay and took care of all the details! And, it has all been good.
God has blessed me so much in 2012. It was a year of trust and watching God work. A year of growth in my spiritual life and in my personal life. I am not the person I was a year ago. Praise God! Good-Bye 2012, Hello 2013!