Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Birthday Prayer

Good morning, LORD. I am quite unsettled this morning. I am wondering about so many things. Most of all, though, I am thinking about my mother. I miss her. She was young when she died - only 60 years old. Today would have been her 87th birthday...and I still miss her. I miss the privilege of picking up the phone and talking with her. When my knee hurts, or I have other aches and pains, I wonder what her Rx would be, thinking, "What would Dr. Mom say?" I wonder if I would have confided in her before and during my divorce. I wonder what she would say if she knew where I was living and working now.
LORD, Your ways are not my ways. I'll never know why You chose to call her home when You did. I suppose it was that her work here was finished. She lived out all of her days. It was time for her pain to end. I pray that she has been rejoicing with You all these years.
Before she left, she instilled many things in me: faith, love, compassion, acceptance, laughter...
LORD, if You are able, tell my mother I still love her. I still miss her. And, tell her, "Happy Birthday! I pray that you will continue to praise the Lord throughout the ages to come. I will see you 'on the other side.'"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Long and Winding Road to Functioning A/C - The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story...Donatus did come a week ago. He put freon in my a/c for the second time during the week. He put an Automatic Voltage Stabilizer on the unit so when the electrical current is low, the a/c motor will not get spoiled. If the unit is on and the electricity is low, it automatically shuts off. When the current is high enough, the a/c restarts. When I notice a lot of fluctuation in the current, I just shut off the a/c from the main switch. It usually works well between the hours of 11 PM and 7 AM. So, I need to learn to stay up late so I can close the windows and turn on the a/c. I have hade a few nights this week when I slept UNDER the covers. Oh, what a wonderful feeling that was. So, my a/c works & I am getting to know the signs of low voltage, so I won't even try to use it.
But, amidst all of this, God opened my day, while the electric voltage was low and I was complaining that the a/c wasn't working, a woman died at the Lawra District Hospital...all because the voltage was low and the machines needed to keep her alive did not work during the low voltage. can I complain when the voltage is low? I am blessed beyond belief. Instead if wondering when the a/c will work, I should be thanking God for the times that it has worked and will work again.
"LORD, forgive me for being so narrow minded. Help me to see the bigger picture. Help me to not just see, but really notice the plight of others and act with the gifts and graces You give me. LORD, enlarge my world. Let me see people as You see them, with Your eyes. Let me be Your hands, feet, eyes, and ears with Your heart. Amen"

Saturday, April 20, 2013


God has provided through Cornwall, UMC. A man I met there last fall happens to be a motorcycle instructor in the state of Pennsylvania. When I was speaking and mentioned that I was hoping God would provide me with the means to buy a motorcycle/motorscooter when I returned to Ghana, he made sure that it would be provided. So, here it is...Thank You, Jesus. The LORD has provided! 
A colleague of mine, Ron B., was wondering about the specs of my bike. So, Ron, this part is for you...please remember I live in a remote area of Ghana:
My bike has:
~ two wheels
~ four gears PLUS nuetral
~ a down shift AND an up shift pedal
~ a kickstand
~ handlebars
~ turn signals
~ a horn
~ a light
~ a seat
~ a place to put your feet
~ a gas tank that holds 5 Ghana cedis worth of gas
~ brakes
~ a battery
~ two tires and tubes
~ acceleration
~ two mirrors that I have a hard time getting "just right"
~ two key fobs which will lock & set the alarm, only one has never worked
~ two keys to the gas tank
~ a place to put the "number plate"
~ a wire rack to put a small package or water bottle
~ an exhaust pipe
~ I am sure there is more, I just don't know what it is. :-)
I did ask for an owners manual. The shop owner tried not to laugh. He did give me a generic one, but not specific to my "Sunny Best 110."
Learning to drive is not in my comfort zone and it is WAY beyond my learning zone, it is in my TRUSTING the LORD zone!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


There have been several individuals and churches that have supported the free Children's Health Insurance Program that I have started here in Lawra. While "making the rounds" of visiting churches and sharing what God is doing in this area of the world, it seems that each church was touched in a different way. And, that is good because so many different types of ministry and aid have been funded through these churches. I will be writing about them from time to time. Today, I want to mention two of my supporting churches.
Concord UMC in Beaver Falls, PA, my home church, has been my biggest supporter both for myself and special projects. I am rarely there to hear what is being said about what is going on here in Lawra. They have given much to CHIP and have supported each endeavor. I know they will always "have my back."

What took me by surprise was Rev. Chris Kindle's response to my preaching/sharing at First UMC, St. Mary's PA, last November. I finished talking, and Pastor Chris started...with so much passion, calling the church to repentence. For less than the cost of a coffee at Starbucks, a child can be newly enrolled in the National health Insurance here in Ghana. And, two children can be renewed in the program for less than a cup of coffee. I have heard Pastor Chris preach many times. I have heard him preach with conviction and passion. But, I never knew he could preach with the amount of conviction and passion as he did that Sunday.
Pastor Chris, Pastor Brad (Concord UMC) and Pastor Tom (Concord UMC), these children were part of the 253 children insured this week. Thank you for speading the word, for speaking up, for your faith, your passion, your convictions. Some of these children may live another year because of you and your churches. Barka! (Thank you!)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Long and Winding Road to Functioning A/C

I came back to Lawra at the wrong time of the is the HOT season! The temperatures get around 109 degrees F. The a/c I had didn't do well in the land of unstable electricity. So, I decided to purchase one that would work, the kind that is in all of the offices up here...the kind that makes me want to stay in the Volta River Authority office long after I have paid my bill.
So, I contacted Donatus, THE electrician. He installs all the a/c units for the hospital & offices around here. He made arrangements for the purchase of the a/c unit. It was to be installed two weeks ago. It didn't happen. The car that was bringing the a/c unit from where it was bought to Lawra, somehow forgot to drop it off in Lawra. It was MIA for six days! Donatus even came here with the driver. No one knew for sure where the unit was. So, on "Meet Me There" Day, the day after Easter, Donatus tracked it down. It was in Hamile, at the border of Ghana and Burkina Faso. Evidently, someone who was driving that vehicle, had picked up a load of timber but did not pick up the documents that went with it. So, the border patrol seized the vehicle and locked it up in a holding spot. Donatus had to beg the official to let him have the a/c unit because "his nasapog" (his English speaking woman) could not sleep well because of the heat! Eventually, the a/c unit was released!
Donatus come Tuesday after Easter to begin the installation process...making a hole in the cement wall. Problem - he didn't check the directions, the hole was in the wrong place & the metal plate that he attached to the wall was upside down! So, another hole had to be made in the cement wall. As he continued to work, it was getting later & later. So, the holes were stuffed for the night and work was to resume the next day. Also, the outlet he was going to use because it was wired with stronger wires did not work. And, the larger stabilizer for the electricity was burnt out!

Work did resume on Wednesday, though, with wires and hoses and even a welder to measure the unit so a "cage" could be made to protect the unit from people and animals wishing to do it harm. When Donatus left, the a/c was working! Ahhh.... a stablizer for the electricity still needed to be installed, but things were working! Until the electricity went out in the whole town. So, I couldn't use the a/c that night. The following night I did and it was WONDERFUL! I actually slept under the covers.
Friday, it was getting hot, so I turned on the a/c. The temperature in my room went up 5 degrees. This was not good. I called Donatus. "I'm on the way coming." No sign of him. Did it work Friday night? No, it only blew warm air. Same thing happened whenever I tried to use the a/c.  I FINALLY got a hold of him today, Sunday. The freon was leaking/was low. Hmmmm...I even asked him to check it on Wednesday because I could hear some of it escape while he was working. But, "It's OK. There is plenty." Wrong! So, tomorrow (theoretically) it will be fixed. I am looking forward to the days that I can turn the a/c on and it will work each time. It is a dream of mine. It can happen!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Visit with Kindergarten

Tuesday I went to the Lawra Methodist Primary School to speak with the Kindergarten teacher. I first stopped to greet the Headmistress and told her of my mission for the morning. She informed me that the Kindergarten teacher did not come to school this day. I asked if she would be there the following day since I had school supplies for the Kindergarten children from First UMC in St. Mary's, PA. I was assured that the teacher would be in attendance the following day.

On Wednesday, Rev. Ernest and I went to the school. We stopped to greet the headmistress and to tell her of our mission for the morning. The Kindergarten teacher was in the office, too. So, we visited for a small while and then went to the Kindergarten classroom.
It was dark in the classroom since most of the shutters were closed to keep out the hot sun. The back wall was filled with a huge pile of broken desks. Some of the children were not in the room and had to be found and brought in. At last, everyone was there!

We greeted everyone on behalf of our friends at First UMC, St. Mary's, PA. And passed out the bags containing the school supplies. The children were instructed to take out each item separately.

First, there was drawing paper. Next, the crayons. What is in this box? Colored chalk, to use on the slates, of course! Plus, a rag to clean the slates when finished.

The best was yet to of the people who sent us the school supplies, PLUS...
Salvation bracelets. Each bead has a meaning. The children were told what each bead represented and were also told about the immense love God has for each of them!

God loved them so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for them, to pay the price of sin, so they could live with Jesus forever! A reminder of this was given in the form of a cross necklace. The children were encouraged to talk with God all the time, whenever they wanted.

Our time together ended with prayer being offered by Rev. Ernest. Please pray for these children, too. When I see the school supplies, the condition of the room, desks, etc. and compare them to what we take for granted in the US, I am tempted to ask, "Where is the hope?" The hope is in Jesus Christ. I pray that these boys and girls have the opportunity to grow into men and women of faith and will some day be leaders in their communities.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meet Me There

Today, Easter Monday, is a day of fun and celebration in Lawra. It is called, "Meet Me There." You may wonder, "Meet me where?" The answer is, "Meet me there," of course! The "there" is at the Black Volta River near Lawra. People started gathering sometime during the morning until there were hundreds and hundreds of people. Children and grown-ups alike were swimming in the river and some were even doing back flips off the side into the river. Plenty of people were selling food and "pure water" and minerals (soda pop) to help those celebrating stay refreshed. Boating races dug out canoes) and swimming races and a dance contest were part of the festivities. I went with a few of my Ghanaian friends. We took chicken, fresh killed and baked this morning, and onions. Yum! A great meal. Top it off with a bottle of tonic water, what more can you ask for? After being there for three hours and watching the races, this western Pennsylvania girl was ready to get out of the 106 degree heat (and that was in the shade, we were in the sun.) We were blessed by receiving a ride home in an air conditioned truck. Now, for something cold to drink and SLEEP! Thank You, Lord, for such a fun filled, friend filled day!