Monday, November 25, 2013


Sunday, 24 November 2013 was an historic day in the life of Kalsagri Methodist Church. The Very Rev. Ernest K. Baiden preached and then baptized 38 people, confirmed 18 people and then administered the sacrament of Communion. Many people  received communion for the first time!
There were several children under 16 years that were baptized. It was kind of funny...Rev. Baiden told the kids that they would all have to recite a Bible verse before being baptized. Many were cramming before the service! As you can see, Rev. Baiden does NOT use water sparingly!

Those that were 16 years old and above were also confirmed. They had to answer the baptism/confirmation questions individually and not as a group. First, baptism, then, confirmation.
I love the look on Comfort's face. You can see the joy! That is what makes life here in the Upper West worth it! Thank You, Jesus!

The gentleman above is Ko. He "walks" to church every Sunday. He is one of those people, who, if there were no church in the community, probably would not attend worship service. I don't want to say he is "cripple," it is just that he walks differently than you and I. I am inspired by his determination to get around and go places himself. It seems as if he does not give up! He is always one of the first people at church each week.

Communion was also part of the day. For those who were confirmed, it was the first time they were able to take communion. Surely, the LORD was in this place! I was privileged to be a part of these holy moments!

End of the Farming Season Work Day

Saturday, 23 November, was a work day at Kalsagri Church. Baptism was scheduled for the next day and everyone wanted the church grounds to look fine for the Superintendent Minister. There were plenty of leaves and papers on the ground. I thought we would gather them up and burn them. But, the congregation had other ideas!

Rainy season, farming season, is now over. There may be a few odds and ends to harvest, but, for the most part, farming is done. So, how do you get rid of the tall grasses and weeds that have grown during the rainy season? You burn them, of course! But, they are not cut down first. There is a plan...a controlled burn.

Someone would take a handful of dried grass and light it with fire. Then, they would "draw a line" with it, indicating the area to be burnt. The crackling of the fire could be heard everywhere! The "fire marshals" were ready with green boughs freshly cut from trees, to beat the flames if they got out of control.

And, edge work was done, too! All in all, it was a very safe burn. There were plenty of people around to help keep things in control. I was most impressed.

Next came the chopping of tree branches to use while making the Traditional fence. So, the older boys (in their 20s) went to a patch of some near bye trees to cut branches. While there, they saw an idol up in one of the trees. What to do? They left it & later asked the chief. He said to leave it there. I guess we will have to find out if those trees are on church property or not!

Branches were cleaned and fences were put around the mango trees that have survived. The fence will keep the sheep, goats and cattle from "chopping" (eating) the baby trees. The final product looked very nice. AND, the pastor was most impressed when he came the next day!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Morning Prayer

Lord, I don't know what to say. Patrick is dead. David is dead. Another set of two, one younger, one older than me. So many have died since I have been here in Ghana. Where do I fit into all of this? I know it is only You who gives numbers to our days. But, Lord, how are our days numbered? Or, are they just random numbers picked by You? Do we really live long enough to complete the mission You have given us? What if we are too fast or too slow? Does that lengthen or shorten our lives? If we live fully for You, do we earn extra days on earth to continue Your work or are the number of our days shortened because we are fulfilling the task You have given us? Who can truly know Your mind? Who can know the reason's for the length of a person's life? No one, Lord. Only You. Therefore, I will put my trust in You. My life is in Your hands. Grant me the number of days You see fit and I will rejoice in them and praise Your holy Name.


My friend, Patrick died early Monday morning. He was admitted to the hospital on a Sunday afternoon, about a month ago. He had been very week, not eating, elevated temperature.He was diagnosed with acute malaria. He also had open wounds. You see, Patrick also had leprosy. When I first saw him, he looked as if he would fall over (if he were standing or sitting up) if someone breathed on him. I visited him on Thursday again. I had heard that he wasn't eating, so I took him some red grape juice, hoping he would drink some. Two family members had to support him as they held him up in a sitting position. He drank one big cupful. And then, he drank another. As he drank the third, I shared with him the words of Jesus as He drank the words of Scripture: "27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Matt 26:27-29 (NRSV) When I left Patrick that day, I really did not expect to see him again in this life. But, he started getting stronger. I took more juice to him. And, again I visited.
Patrick did get stronger. But, not strong enough. He was released from the hospital after a few weeks. But, he died shortly thereafter. The pastor was called on the morning Patrick died. Patrick had been buried already. In the words of the pastor, "They buried him just as if he were a fowl." Here in the Upper West, even if a person is buried the same day they die, the body is "staged" so people can come to view the body and grieve with the family.
The burial was done as soon as a grave could be dug, without delay. The men who buried Patrick took great caution while touching his body and bathed immediately after Patrick's burial. It is believed that whoever touches Patrick's body would be struck with the same illnesses that had taken up residence in Patrick's body. They believe that concerning certain illnesses and if the person is a witch or a wizard. So, great pains are taken to avoid contact with the corpse.
Patrick was a believer, although most of his family is Traditional. A memorial service will be held for him, planned by the pastor and church members. I have learned so much from Patrick, just by observing him and visiting with him. I pray he has been made whole in the Saviour's arms.



Thursday, November 14, 2013


Recently, I was invited to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe for a "Get Away" sponsored by the Christian Hospitality Network (CHN). Of course, I accepted the invitation. I have always wanted to see Victoria Falls. And, being single, I don't travel alone for a holiday, so this was perfect for me!
I arrived in Victoria Falls on 4 November with a driver waiting to take me to the Elephant Hills Resort Hotel. Even the entrance was gorgeous! I was greeted by the hospitality team of CHN and given a towel to freshen up and a flute of juice (with a sugared rim) to quench my thirst. Cathy, a member of the hospitality team, walked me through registration and gave me a gift bag, which we all received. It included new, soft wash cloths, knitted dish rags, memo pads, pens, chocolate, a screwdriver set, some "instant" side dishes, a watch, and oh, so much more. What a blessing. (I was so excited about the wash cloths!!!) Next, a visit to my room. Oh...this was NOT my life! I don't typically live in such luxury!
The rest of the day was "free," to do whatever I wanted...except that every night at 6:00, we would gather for worship in ENGLISH! So, I had a hot stone massage. Ahhh...need I say more? At 6:00, I went upstairs with over 200 other missionaries to sing and praise God in our own heart language. I was almost a puddle by the end of the first line! It was salve to my spirit!
That night and the next two days were filled with real food and so many surprises and blessings. I don't want to tell you all about them, because I want others who are yet to attend a Get Away to be as surprised as I was. I will say that the Lord blessed me so much, that I was teary eyed more than once!
I did have the opportunity to be a tourist, visiting Victoria falls,

going on a river cruise where I saw elephants and hippos and even a baby alligator,
AND I had the chance to ride and feed an elephant and to see giraffes and zebras!
Oh, it was all relaxing and amazing and fun. But, the very best part was getting to know some of the CHN people, to meet and talk with others who are on the field and to worship in English and to know that there ARE people who do realize what it means to say, "Yes, Lord, I will go wherever You send me and I will do whatever it takes to bring Your love to the least, the last and the lost of this world." Thank you, CHN!





Lately, I have been VERY aware of the choices I have to make. Not the big choices, like what do I make for dinner or do I FINALLY work on that report that is almost due or even the bigger choices of should I marry, but the smaller, every day choices. (Don't worry, I am NOT considering marriage since their is no man in the picture!) The choices I am talking about are:

~ Do I get get angry because the telephone service often switches over to the Burkina Faso service so I can't use it OR do I choose to be grateful that I have telephone service at all?
~ Do I get upset because my luggage did not make it on my flight to Tamale OR do I choose to be thankful that I have luggage and have been blessed by so many people on my trip?
~ Do I get nervous that I still hear bats at night OR do I choose to relax and be comforted with the thought that they don't sound like there are many in my roof?
~ Do I get an impatient because the Internet is slow and not a 3G connection OR do I choose to be grateful and be satisfied with the connection I have here where I live?
~ Do I get cranky because the tro tro (a very crowded van held together with duct tape) is not very clean, OR do I choose to be grateful that the tro tro is working and will get me safely to Wa?
~ Do I get troubled that my Visa card didn't work in Lawra for 6 months OR do I choose to be thankful because I have money in my account that I can withdraw? 
~ Do I get upset because the electricity went off at a most inopportune time OR do I choose to be grateful that I have electricity?
~ Do I place myself in a cocoon so I have very little interaction with co-workers and friends, OR do I choose to embrace life in a new country and her people?
~ Do I get offended because people cannot speak their national language, English, OR do I embrace the beauty of the sounds of their language and try to learn it?
~ Do I get discouraged because not many people come to Lawra for the sole purpose of visiting me OR do I choose to be refreshed by the people who write letters and emails to me and even send me packages!
~ Do I get distressed because the bus broke down and I arrived home four hours later than planned OR do I choose to be grateful that the bus was able to be fixed and I arrived home safely on the day that I first entered the bus? Do I choose to be grateful that it was not raining during the four hours it took to get the bus fixed?
~ Do I get nervous and panic when so many people come to the Kalsagri church OR do I choose to pray and thank God that so many people want to worship Him? Do I ask Him for His words to say?

I love this quote from Charles Swindoll, “We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” 

We all have choices. What will yours be today?