Sunday, March 31, 2013


The people of Lawra Methodist Church can teach us all something about celebration and praising God! Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. Most everyone came to church with palm leaves or other types of leaves to wave during the "official" Palm Sunday type of song. Palm branches were in a variety of shapes and sizes, some branches came "as is," others were woven into numerous intricate designs. At the end of the service, when the "Hosanna" song was sung, the church really came alive with singing, dancing, jumping and praising King Jesus.It was definitely a "party" type atmosphere. Yes, Friday was coming, but this day, celebrating our King was in order.

Today is Easter Sunday. We remember that Jesus conquered sin and death and that "up from the grave He arose." As part of remembering the first Easter, our church went "looking for Jesus," just as the three women did so many years ago. The good news is that the tomb is empty! We met at 5 am at the community center and began a trek of singing praises (complete with drums) and preaching. Along our 1 1/2 hour route, we stopped five times for the word of God to be proclaimed to the nearby residents. The final sermon was at the center of town, at the traffic circle. There was preaching, singing, dancing, drumming, praying and proclaiming that our God is ALIVE. Three and a half hours later, we met for our regular Easter morning service. It has been a day of celebration and gratefulness to our Heavenly Father for His great love and mercy.
1 Hallelujah! Yes, praise the Lord! Praise him in his Temple and in the heavens he made with mighty power. 2 Praise him for his mighty works. Praise his unequaled greatness. 3 Praise him with the trumpet and with lute and harp. 4 Praise him with the drums and dancing. Praise him with stringed instruments and horns. 5 Praise him with the cymbals, yes, loud clanging cymbals. 6 Let everything alive give praises to the Lord! You praise him! Hallelujah!
Psalms 150:1-6 (TLB)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Amazing Grace

This morning at Bethel Cathedral in Tamale, we celebrated the induction of the Very Reverend Matthew Zikpi as the Synod Secretary for the Northern Diocese of The Methodist Church Ghana. The Lord has indeed worked miracles in the life of this man of God. Here is an excerpt from his biography:
The Very Reverend Matthew Zikpi was born on Saturday 22 March 1958...he was one of the eighteen children of his father who were baptised on 22 October 1961. When Matthew left Offadaa to Assin Atwereboanda in 1971, he totally abandoned the Christian faith and returned to heathenism since that was what he was born into.
At "Seyɛna", where he spent most of his years in early life, he grew up to be one of the traditional priests of the "Alafia" Shrine. He rose to the rank of "Kpedziga", a position where he could be described as a high Fetish priest. It is a fact that Matthew could hardly be challenged by anyone in the drinking of alcoholic liquor. He was an experienced tapper of palm wine and "Odoka" as well as a distiller of local gin (akpeteshie).
Matthew gave his life to Christ on the 22nd day of January, 1984, after reading a passage from the Holy Bible, (Acts 2:17-21) as he felt the message there could bring God's judgement on humanity including himself.
Matthew became active in the local church, attending worship and other activities.In 2001, he graduated with Diploma in Ministries and Diploma in Theology from the Trinity Theological Seminary and University of Ghana, Legon, respectively, both with distinction. In 2010, he was awarded his Masters Degree in Religions from the University of Ghana.
Please read the words that have touched the Very Reverend Matthew Zipki's heart and soul. I pray they will touch yours, too.
17 "In the Last Days," God says, "I will pour out my Spirit
 on every kind of people. Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters;
 Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.
 18 When the time comes, I'll pour out my Spirit
 On those who serve me, men and women both, and they'll prophesy.
19 I'll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below,
 Blood and fire and billowing smoke,
20 the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, Before the Day of the Lord arrives,        
the Day tremendous and marvelous;
 21 And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved."
Acts 2:17-21 (MSG)


Friday, during our LONG meeting, I kept wanting to fall asleep. I could feel myself ready to "nod off." That wouldn't look good - me falling off my chair because I was sleeping! I still haven't had time to deal with jet lag, unpacking and all the other stuff involved with being gone for six months. Now, I had to be the "proper" missionary and behave appropriately. It was so hard to keep my eyes open and my head upright!
Then, yesterday, we had a "day off." A whole day with nothing scheduled. So, I called my friends, Bob and Nancy Schaffer, who live in Tamale, and spent the day with them. Bob picked me up at 8 am. At the house, Nancy had baked some wonderful breakfast rolls which we had with coffee. Then, it was off to do a couple of errands. First, airtel to get a new modem for my computer. It is supposed to work well in Lawra. Next, to the craft area to buy a dress. Then, to another shop to buy a dress (oh, did I already do that? I bought another one, anyway.) Returning to the house for the rest of the day was next on the agenda. We had a St. Patrick's Day type lunch with corned beef hash and Africa Cola FLOATS to end the meal. Mmmmmm!
I sat on the porch swing and read. I did some computer work. I took a nap. I visited with Bob and Nancy. Then, it was time for PORK CHOPS for dinner. Yum! Afterwards, Bob took me back "home" to the Bishop's house. God had blessed me with an unhurried day of both getting some work done and some relaxing. Thank You, Father, for friends, for fellowship, for food, for refreshment of body and spirit!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Exhausted. That's how I've been feeling. Once I arrived home, I wanted to unpack. But, that wasn't possible, at least for a short time. When I turned on the lights, I heard a sizzle and a crackling noise. So, I shut them off and flipped all the switches off and tried again. The same thing happened. This wasn't good. I called Donatus, the electrician. He said he would come in the morning. I said, "No, you need to come tonight. I just arrived from America. I have to unpack and I need to put meat in the freezer." So, he came. And, he fixed. I put the meat away, and started unpacking. I worked until 1 am. But, since my driver was leaving by 4 am (my alarm was set for 3:30), I didn't see any reason to go to bed. I was afraid I would over-sleep and Anokye wouldn't get on the road in time for his next commitment. Saturday, I went to the Methodist Church to meet the new pastor, the Very Rev. Ernest. He believes he is in Lawra because that is where God wants him. We are blessed to have him. As we were talking, he told me about a meeting in Tamale this week. He said, "We will leave for Wa on Tuesday and for Tamale on Wednesday."
What? Didn't I just get home? I want to sleep in my own bed. I want to finish unpacking. I want to get rid of some of the dust. I want to get organized. I want internet that works for more than 15 minutes. (Notice a theme here? I want...) Needless to say, Tuesday, I left for Wa, Wednesday, I left for Tamale, where I am right now. The unpacking will get finished. The cleaning will get done. Rest and renewal will come. Now is time to attend to the business of the Church and to enjoy fellowship with the bishop, clergy and laity of the Diocese. Thank You, Lord, for this opportunity,

Home at Last!

Monday evening, March 4, after three uneventful flights, I finally arrived in Ghana. All my luggage arrived safe and sound, and I am grateful that I did not have to open my cases as I went through customs. If I had, I don't know if I would have been able to close them again! At the airport, a colleague of mine, Charlie Jackson, met me and graciously took me to his family's home where I would spend the next few days. The Jacksons had moved since I left for the US, and they carefully moved ALL of the stuff I left at their house along with their own things. I spent Tuesday shopping for meat, trying to get Internet and applying for and receiving my non-citizen Ghanaian ID card. Wednesday was a holiday, so a few of us went to Independence Square for the festivities. It was a lot of fun, so the resulting sunburn didn't seem to matter. Thursday, I finished my shopping...including buying a Ghanaian rocking chair! God is so good! Then, Friday, at 5:15 am, I began my trip north. Anokye, my driver, packed the truck, we "settled in", and drove straight through stopping only for gas. We arrived in Lawra around 7 pm. One of the blessings was that we did not have to drive through Accra. That would have added a bit of time to our trip!
I enjoyed my time in the US. But, as Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home!" I am grateful for each and every one of you who have made my home-coming a reality. God bless you!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Going Home

Today I begin my journey home.I have been in the US for six months, two months longer than I had planned. I am anxious to go home, to sleep in my own bed. But, going home is costly, too. Costly not in monetary value, but in other ways. When I am home, it costs me the opportunity to be with family and those friends that I have know for so long. It costs me the opportunity to worship in my heart language. It costs me the "comforts" I have gotten used stores, easy access to medical services, fast internet. It costs me family get-togethers for celebrations and grieving. I could go on, but I won't. I pay the cost joyfully.

In exchange, I live among the world's most amazing people! And, the most beautiful children! I have the privilege of learning a language that most people never heard of, and I am exposed to a whole new cuisine. I am given the opportunity to work with and love, the least, last and lost in the Upper West Region of Ghana. I work along side some very gifted people. And, I LOVE it! The cost isn't so much if I take time to count the blessings. 

Thank you, Lord, for this next chapter of my Great Adventure with You.