Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Bend in the Road...the Journey Continues

This past Wednesday, I traveled to Kumasi. I was hoping to see Naamal at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. The last I heard was that she needed surgery for an additional benign tumor and her father was "dragging his feet" to return her to KATH. Plenty of people here in Ghana and throughout the world we praying that he would bring her back for the needed surgery. Well, Dad did bring her to the hospital this week. I, along with Rev. Job, went to see her and her father.
We were able to talk with Naamal's father and to see Naamal. She is looking fine except for that huge tumor in her mouth. It was cute to see her wave & smile at Rev. Job. She has gotten to know him during her visits to KATH.
While we were at KATH, we were able to talk with one of Naamal's doctors. This is what he said, "Naamal's tumor is NOT benign. It is malignant. This type does not respond to chemotherapy. Naamal will have to have surgery. They will open her up, from her bottom lip down and remove as much of the tumor as possible. And, since her jaw has been destroyed by the growing of this tumor, the jaw will have to be removed. Either a mesh or a plate will be inserted to keep her face from caving in. Either now, or later, a plate will be put in that will be permanent. Then reconstructive surgery will have to be done when she has finished growing. A feeding tube will have to be inserted for awhile. But, the doctors won't know until the surgery if it will be able to be inserted through the mouth or not. They may have to make an incision in the throat and insert it that way. When it is all over and done, the only deformity she will have is that her mouth will be a bit wider than normal." The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, 29 October 2013.

Prior to surgery, Naamal's father, Joseph, has to find at least two people to donate blood for use during surgery. Plus, any tubes, mesh, plates etc, that will be needed for surgery will have to be bought since the health insurance does not cover these costs.
As I left the hospital, I was about to cry. I knew that Naamal would need extensive work done. But, hearing it made it so much more real. My heart was crying, even if my eyes weren't. "O, LORD. please be with Naamal as she travels this road. My heart hurts for her as I think of removing the jaw. I pray that Joseph, her father, will still agree to the surgery when he realises what it involves. Father God, watch over this small one of Yours, give her peace. Somehow, let her know that she is safe in Your hands. And, when it is over and done, may Naamal and Joseph praise Your name and give You thanks for Naamal's health. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Monday, October 14, 2013

A New Appreciation

I have another new appreciation. "Of what?" you may ask. "Of groundnuts (peanuts), of course!" Groundnuts are a major crop here in the Lawra area. They are a good source of protein. I buy small bags of them for 20 pesewas (about 10 cents.) But, if you knew the work that goes into making those little bundles of groundnuts, you may never sell them because you are definitely not getting anywhere near what you put into them.
First, comes the planting, growing, weeding and harvesting...all by hand with hand hewn tools. next, comes drying the groundnuts. That is what I am doing in the above picture - drying the groundnuts that have been given to me. After 6 or 7 days, I can shell them. And then, boil the nut in very salty water. Next is another time of drying. The last step is frying or roasting. Finally, eating! That is the way I like them, roasted,salted, out of the shell. It can take weeks.But, it is worth every step, every minute of preparation...YUM! I will have to wait before I eat. I am grateful for the Kalsagri church members who have blessed me with portions of their groundnut crop...Peanuts, anyone?

Kobine Festival 2013

The Kobine Festival takes place in Lawra every October. It marks the end of the Traditional Calendar which is based on the "farming seasons." (Harmatan, which is dry and windy, preparing the land for farming, planting season, weeding season, harvest season.) The Festival is a time to give thanks to God, the gods and the ancestors for a successful harvest. 
The week before the Festival, most people are very busy. Houses and places of business are painted. New clothes are being made. Cooking is done for the many family members and friends who will be back in Lawra for the Festival. Women get their hair done. And, booths are set up to protect the vendors from the bright sun. Of course, I can't forget the many, many football (Soccer) matches played throughout the week. The final match will take place on the first day of the Festival, with a puppy given to the winning team. (He will be a sacrifice to the gods for success in the matches.) The first day is arrival day for the numerous out of town guests and visitors.

The second day starts at 6 am with a bicycle race from Lawra to the village of Babali, about 1/2 hour away by tro tro. The sellers set up their wares and pray for a good day. Everything that is sold at a typical weekly market is sold during festival...tons of tomatoes and okra, as well as dishes and kitchen ware, bags,

Traditional smocks,

and, my personal favorite, batik cloth!
The official opening of the Kobine Festival starts with the parade of Chiefs, or Naas, walking under big, red, umbrellas...very regal! They are preceded by men doing the Dance of the hunters. The men are dressed as if they are going out for the hunt. The man in the front, waves two dried elephant ears. 
Another man carries antelope antlers. The dance is complete with many gunshots!
After the Chiefs are settled in their places of honor, the speeches begin. Speeches are given by all the dignitaries...the Paramount Chief of Lawra, the Regional Minister, The district Assembly Minister...Next, comes the Traditional dancing! The dances are done to the music of the traditional wooden xylophone and each dance team is in traditional costume. There are many, many dance teams, several of which will compete during the next day of the festival.

Some people would say the Festival lasts four days. But, the arrival and departure days are included in those four days. The main part of the festival takes place during two days. There is plenty of dancing and drinking of pito, the local fermented drink. All night drumming, xylophone playing and general partying takes place. But, this old woman was not awake to witness it!
Kobine Festival s a great time to enjoy the culture f the area, be with friends, shop and give thanks to God for all the good things He has done! Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Nostalgia has set in. I don't think it is all bad. But, I can't help but think about all those in my life who have left this world and have gone to "the other side," the side where they will see Jesus face to face. Why am I feeling this way? Well, just in the past few days, two people who I have known back in Pennsylvania have died. One, a few years younger than me; the other, a few years older than me. And, the anniversary of my mother's death is approaching. On top of that, next month, I will celebrate my 60th birthday. Mom died when she was 60.
So, today, I am, dad, Dee Dee, Ava, Albert, Bura-Ang, little Paul, Nancy, Rory, Sergei, Bob, Dave, Fran, and oh, so many others. I am grateful for the place they have held in my heart...and still do. And, I know that because of Jesus, after I go the distance, we will again be together...on the other side.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Regina's Story

This past week, I attended the World Mission Conference held in Kasoa, Ghana. The venue was the Pentecostal Conference Center (which is a work in progress, but very nice!) While there, I met a sweet woman who works in the building where I slept. One day, she came to my room to bring me something, and I greeted her and asked her name. (I know very little Twi and she knew very little English.) When I asked her name, she showed me the inner part of her left arm. There, tattooed, was her name and the name of her village. Immediately, my heart broke for her. I have discovered that there are still a few clans that tattoo there arms with name and village as a means of identification, especially if the person is in an accident. Ghana has many languages, people move, they is a way of knowing where a person belongs.
Then, I looked at the inside of her right arm. She told me that she received that tattoo before she became a Christian. It was a tattoo of a Ghanaian proverb, that when a dog bites, he bares his teeth. Then, as we were talking, I was looking at her beautiful face, her lovely smile...and, the markings by her right eye...initiation into the occult when she was young. What does a person say? "Our God is a loving God, a forgiving God, a God who makes us new..." You could see how she loves the Lord.
In the southern part of Ghana, there is the Sankofa symbol. It reminds people to "remember where you have come from." Regina doesn't need that symbol to remember...she can see every day, several times a day, what the Lord has done for her. And, she rejoices, for, in Him, she has been made new!