Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Battle for John

Have you ever felt helpless? This afternoon I was at the Kalsagri Church waiting for people to show up for Bible Study. God had a divine appointment for me during that time...
As I was sitting under the nym tree, a young boy came up to me. He looked scared and very distressed. He told me that the wizard was after him, trying to kill him. Now, before you laugh this off and dismiss this encounter, please understand that I live in an area where spiritual warfare is very real, and takes place on a daily basis.
I brought out a chair for this boy, and found out his name was John and he was 17 years old. He doesn't go to school, but, he spoke English quite well. His father is dead. His two brothers are dead. His sister is dead. And, now, the wizard wants him dead, too. (Wizard is a term used for the traditional priest. They cast spells, they talk to the evil spirits. In many peoples eyes, they are very powerful.)
I told John that the God of the Bible, the one, true God, is much more powerful than any wizard. I asked him if he believed that. He said yes, he did. I read to him from Scripture:
Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. "See, all your angry enemies lie confused and shattered. Anyone opposing you will die. You will look for them in vain—they will all be gone. I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God—and I say to you, don’t be afraid; I am here to help you. Isaiah 41:10-13 (TLB)
We talked some more. Then, we prayed. We prayed for protection. John told Satan to leave him alone. He told Satan that he (Satan) had no power over him (John.) He prayed and said that Jesus was stronger and more powerful. He asked Jesus to come and protect him. John asked Jesus to replace the fear he had with His peace. We talked some more. I asked John to stay for Bible study (he stayed for most of it) and invited him to church.
I don't know all that is going on in John's life. I pray I will see him again. And, I hope I can share Jesus with him again. Please, pray for John, for protection and for the salvation of his soul. Pray that he will be able to connect with others that are faithful to Christ so John can learn more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Pray that John will personally experience the love and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Picnic

Here in Ghana, the day after Easter is a public holiday. The tradition is to have an "Easter Picnic" on Easter Monday. So, I asked the members of Kalsagri Methodist Church if they wanted to have a picnic. The answer was a resounding, "YES!"

We talked about food, since you cannot have a picnic without it. I would provide some yams for fried yams and some rice and oil to share. Everyone else was to bring food for their family and to share with someone who might not have any. One of the challenges of the day was lighting the fire to cook - the wind was enough to make this a problem! (See above picture.)

Three of the women of the church spent hours cutting and frying yams and preparing the rice. It was worth all their efforts. The yams were delicious!
While some women cooked, others sang and played games as if they were young school girls. They talked and laughed and had such a good time!

Now, it was time for the main event - FOOD! I was so grateful that people brought food. I wasn't sure. They had never had an Easter Picnic before and, we didn't have money for someone else to cook food for us. But, as you can see, plenty of food was brought to the picnic.

And, plenty of food was enjoyed at the picnic! When I left Kalsagri, five hours after I arrived, the festivities were still going strong with singing and dancing. Everyone was having a wonderful time.
I thank God for this experience. I pray that he draws the Kalsagri members into a close family, but, a family that ALWAYS welcomes new members.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dery Update

Dery has been discharged from the Tamale Teaching Hospital. Praise God! He was discharged on April 17, 2014. He is at home. His memory is returning a little bit at a time. He feels dizzy yet, he can walk, but not by himself, he needs help. Much rest and healing is still needed. Now, he can rest at home. He will return to see his doctor in two weeks. Please continue to pray for him.
As a side note, Dery is to be ordained as a full elder in The Methodist Church Ghana in August. I have no idea how this will impact his ordination. There are several requirements that each person seeking ordination has to fulfill. I don't know where Dery is on fulfilling those requirements. He has a heart for the least, last and the lost and is a gifted pastor. Another item that needs prayer.


Picture this...Easter Sunday worship service. It is testimony time. A woman, Kuufati, stands up and makes her way through the crowd to the front.  She has never come to church before. But, she had to come today. She says that when she sleeps that she sees all the people she knows who have died recently. And, she is told she is going to be next. I tell her that if she wants to turn her back on the spirits and get rid of them she can. The risen Savior, Jesus Christ is stronger than all those spirits. She cannot live in both worlds. She needs to take off her juju (seen above with the Dagaare gospel of Luke, opened to the Resurrection Scriptures, Jesus defeated death!) Kuufati wants to remove the juju. 

She tells Satan that he has no power over her, Jesus is stronger and says, "Come, Lord Jesus." She asks Jesus to live in her heart. After service, the juju she wore to church is burned.

Praise God! Easter Sunday is the day of new life in Him. Christ defeated death more than 2000 years ago, and He defeated death on this Easter Sunday!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Something is terribly wrong with me. I don't know what to do. There is no doctor in Lawra who can help me. I have totally gone out of my mind. (Some of you may think I did that a long time ago.) I have a grand dog. Yes, you read that correctly, I have a grand dog. And, he comes to visit. He has his own pillow, or, um, bunny to sleep on. I actually have bought him his favorite food, banku, to eat. And, I share my biscuits (cookies) with him as well as rice-a roni and other favorite American things to eat. Today, I threw him in the shower. He was NOT happy, but, he was filthy & I didn't want him in my house that dirty. Some days, he will rattle my door so I know he has come to visit. I will let him in, he will get a drink of water, then, go to my bedroom to take a nap. Afterwards, he will just get up and ask to leave. And, he will go to play with his dog friends. When he is here, and I need to go to town, he will run along side of my bicycle and walk next to me at market. Earlier tonight, I shared my water sachet with him, squeezing it so a stream of water came out. He lapped it like a dog drinks from water coming out of a hose! Right now, he is curled up on a towel by my feet, asleep.
Jack does have a "mom." She has traveled. Jack has been staying with his dog friends at Abraham's house. Sometimes, though, he just needs to visit his "Maakum." (Grandmother) So, I will let him in, spoil him small, and let him enjoy his visit.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Giver of Life

On Sunday, 16 March 2014, my dear friend, Dery (Rev. Raymond Dery) was in a motorcycle accident. He had driven to his preaching assignment in the Tamale area, wearing his helmet. He led worship. He preached the word of God. Then, he got back on his motorcycle to drive back home to his wife and children. On the way home, he hit a "home made speed bump" that was not there earlier in the day. He flipped his bike, destroying his helmet. He was taken to Tamale Teaching Hospital. Dery was unresponsive. He was in a coma. The coma lasted six days. Now, three weeks later, his eyes are open. He can speak a few words, although sometimes they are in context and make sense and sometimes they are meaningless. He can eat small. He has sat up for five minutes at a time, with much help.

I saw him a week ago today. I thought I was prepared. I wasn't. I walked into his ward, looking for him. His bed was by the window. Plenty of people were there. He was covered with a sheet, because it is too hot to have any blankets on. My eyes started tearing up. I made my way to his side and said, "Dery, it is your nasapog (white woman.) He had a far off look in his eyes. It was if he couldn't focus on anything. He had no idea who I was. Then, I said, "Naangmen mal fo. (God bless you.) You taught me that." Then, I stepped back to let others come close. As I went into the hall, I saw Vida, his wife sitting on a chair, so I joined her. I put my arm around her and we wept together. No words were said, no words were needed. Before I left Tamale, I was asked if I wanted to visit Dery again. I said "no" because I didn't think I could handle it again.

I KNOW it is a miracle that Dery is alive. I know it is a miracle that he is out of the coma. I know it is a miracle that he has spoken small. I know it is a miracle that he can eat small. I know he has come a long way in a short time. I know head/brain injuries take time to heal. Yet, the reality of what I saw overcomes what I KNOW God can do. My God is a God of miracles. My God is a God of healing. My God is the giver of life.
This past week, I have emailed a friend whose husband was in a bad accident. Just reading part of her story and her words of encouragement...they were balm to my spirit. I felt flickers of hope, not only for Dery, but in my life, too. Then, I started preparing my sermon for tomorrow...Jesus the giver of life...the valley of the dry bones....Lazarus being raised from the dead after being in the tomb for four days.  
Yes, my God is the giver of life...  

A Psalm for Today

O Lord, my heart cries out to You. My spirit seems as if it is in a dry and parched land. Relief is not in sight. Yet, I know You are with me, You alone can refresh my soul. You alone can give me life. You alone. So, I will trust You. I put my hope in You. And I am sure you are with me every step of the way. Praise the Lord!