Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Today I heard about the death of Bura-Ang, one of our special needs children. She died on Friday, May 24, 2013, in her home in one of the  sub-villages of Kalsagri. Bura-Ang was born with Cerebral Palsy. Here, she would have been called a "baby snake." As time went on, Bura-Ang was able to stand all by herself. The last time I saw her, she haltingly walked to me. She always had a smile on her face.
I was told that she crawled to a big iron water pot, pulled herself up, lost her footing and fell in. She drowned. It was an accident. I have seen these pots. They are HUGE! I can picture a small child grasping it and then falling if not sure-footed. Her father told us a different story. He said she was shivering, shivering, shivering...and then just died. Which, to me, sounds like malaria.
You see, here in the Upper West, most people are Traditionalists. Fear is a big part of the survivors lives because it is believed that these special needs or "malformed" children have evil spirits. And, when they die, where does that evil spirit go? Everyone in the family is afraid that it will go to them. Plus, a young child like this is not grieved. There is no funeral. And it is part of the tradition to bury right away, as soon as the grave is hand dug. Death is a part of life all too often.
As I sat with the family, I was able to share what the Bible says about "these little ones," heaven and the hope we have in Christ. I don't know if I was heard or not, but, it HAD to be said.
On the way home, I contemplated the paradox of this death. The mother wants to grieve. Bura-Ang was her child. Angelina (the mother) loved her. Yet, on the other hand, there is no place for a special needs child in this culture. What would become of the child? How will she live? So, a part of what is being felt is relief. Love...relief. What a combination! Yet, a part of every day life.
I pray seeds will be planted, doors will be opened, and just as this little girl is dancing before Jesus, I pray her family will come to know Him and some day dance before the King of kings!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Difference a Week Can Make!

It has been a very busy week! Last Sunday was the first service in almost three years at the Kalsagri Methodist Church. The roof was falling down, the floor was coming up. The walls were in various stages of falling apart. Windows are needed. A door is needed, too. There are no benches to sit on and no drums to play. Yet, people came. People came because there was worship in their village. Is everyone who came a believer? I doubt it. I can see juju on the children. But, give us time. Allow the Holy Spirit to work.
When asked what was needed for the church, a new roof was decided on by the people worshipping last week. During the week, an estimate was gotten and approved. And, work began. Off with the old, on with the new.
It was also a big week for me. This past week, I drove my motorcycle by myself. I wanted to see what was happening as the work on the roof was being done. So, I drove by myself. The first ride went pretty well, thanks be to God! My arrival at the church wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it...no, I didn't fall or crash...it just wasn't smooth. But, the next day was much better. And, in that time, I actually passed a car! Oh, I suppose I should be truthful and let you know that this particular car was parked! The second day I drove, there was PLENTY of traffic. I drove out to the village twice. And, I saw a total of three trucks, six cars and about twelve motorcycles!
The new roof looks quite fine! The carpenter also made a cross with two pieces of wood, one old piece and one new piece and attached it to the church. So, when people came to church today, they saw the cross, they saw the new roof. And, they thanked God for them. Our worship was amazing! People with so little can really praise God! Today there were 86 people at service. Last week there were 59. Next week is Market Day. So, we will have service at 7 AM. I'm not sure how many will come. But, those who come will worship!
Being at this little church has really helped me put things into perspective. There is a six week old baby, Vikpenibe, who is so very tiny. His mother has no breast milk. There is a six year old boy, Zumeyuor, who is deaf and dumb. There is a five year old girl, Naamal, who has a major malformation of her mouth. What kind of services are there for these children? Who will help them? National Health Insurance will not cover the types of expenses they will incur. And, I, I complain that some of my supporters have quit giving or are giving less. What is that compared to these issues? Lord, I trust you with these children and with my small petty problems. I want to keep my eyes on You.  Help me be your hands and feet at this church, in the village and everywhere I go. Because of the difference You have made in my life, help me make a difference in the lives of others. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Comforts of Home


When I moved to Ghana in February 2011, I brought with me necessities...towels, sheets, clothes, flashlight, insect repellent...oh, and Mr. Mooey! When I returned to Ghana in March 2013, from my visit to the USA, I brought "the comforts of home." My home was comfortable before I left. But, now, it is truly a space where I can rest, relax and renew as well as work, receive guests and bless others. Here is a partial list of the "comforts" that came to Ghana with me:
~ Heinz Ketchup, made in the USA
~ Yankee candles
~ a variety of Bibles
~ more sheets & towels
~ a flip flop shaped pillow (for my beach themed bed room)
~ a variety of crosses for a collage on my living room wall
~ DECAF coffee, hazelnut is my favorite!
~ hazelnut and vanilla flavored coffee creamer
~ pots and pans
~ Starbucks coffee mugs and a mug tree
~ an iPod and tiny speaker
~ slippers
~ STAMPING SUPPLIES...stamps, inks, papers, ribbons, glue, punches, etc.
~ pictures of family and friends
~ office supplies
~ journals
~ decorative pillows
~ a french press
~ books
Even without all these "spoiled American" items, God has helped me make my house a home. But, I am getting older and I am here for the long haul. Thank You, Lord for providing all of this for me!

Monday, May 20, 2013


In Ghana, harvest time is very important, not only at the end of the farming season, but throughout the entire year. When I first attended a Harvest in 2007, I had in mind what most Americans would have in mind. After all, it was fall, and I imagines celebrating the crops that grew by the grace of God, during the season. But, no, when a "Harvest" is held, it is much different than what I had pictured in my mind.
On May 12, the Babile Methodist Church had a Harvest. During the month before this took place, envelopes with the name of the church, the date of the Harvest and other pertinent information printed on it, were given out to church members, community members and any other people who might be interested in financially supporting the church, since a Harvest is a fundraiser!  

May 12 came and I rode on the back of a motorcycle to the Babile church about 1/2 hour away. The church service was great. Surely, the presence of the Lord was in this place. The Very Reverend Ernest Baiden gave a very Biblical sermon on giving. Then, the "festivities" began. First, the normal offering was taken. Then, the envelopes were given. Next a plea for money was given, starting with anyone who could give 50 Ghana cedis all the way down to 1 Ghana cedi. Each amount was pleaded for separately.
Now, the fun began! People brought items from home to sell, to auction off and the proceeds would go to the church. There was millet, Guinea fowl eggs, groundnuts, both in and out of the shell, corn, water sachets, rice...You get the picture. It was so much fun to watch and listen to the bidding. When I saw the groundnuts, I KNEW some would be mine...let the bidding begin!
I had to be patient, as the water, millet, rice, cassava, even the eggs were auctioned off first. Finally, they came to the shelled, raw groundnuts. The bidding started at 6 Ghana cedis...it went to 7, then, 7.50, 8, 8.50...I finally bought my bay of groundnuts for 10 Ghana cedis (about $5.35 USD). (I took them home and roasted them a few days later. I will be eating groundnuts until the end of June!)

After the auction, there was another plea for money, this time, each church represented came forward to place their money in the collection box. The goal was to see which church would "win" by putting in the most money. Of course, Kasalgri, my church, won by 5 Ghana cedis! It was a close race, announcing a winner, then more money given, announcing the new winner, more money given, etc.

At the end of the day, a total of 1580.70 Ghana cedis were given. And, because of a donation by Wesley UMC in Erie, PA, that amount was matched. The church will put a new roof on and start putting in louver windows. It was a wonderful day. Each person there contributed to the cause. They worked hard to raise this money. And, now, after so long, there will be a roof on the church. No more dodging the sun and the rain. Praise God for His provision!