Saturday, May 31, 2014

Meh! (No Longer)

Are you on Facebook? You know where it asks, "how are you feeling?" One of the emoticons available says, "meh!" I guess it means that I am not happy, I am not sad, I am just here. That's how I felt today...this morning, "meh!" I needed a change of scenery. So, I packed my bag, got on the 'cycle and drove out to Kalsagri. As I drove, I felt God setting me free. When I arrived in Kalsagri, I visited with the women waiting to have their shea nuts ground at the mill. Then, I went to the church, put a table under the nym trees and had my quiet time and worked on my sermon. Several people stopped by to great me. A few of the children came to play. It was a lovely morning. I returned renewed and refreshed. It is amazing what happens when distractions are removed and time is spend in God's word!

Fun in Lawra???

Last week, a friend of mine asked, "What do you do for fun in Lawra?" That questioned has bothered me all week. Hmmm. What do I do for fun in Lawra? Count flies when going out for a Coke. Watch a friend touch a bug zapper and get shocked. Take pictures of the goats and sheep in front of the house. Pray for rain. Typically, I am inside before dark because of the mosquitos. Once in a while, I make greeting cards. It relaxes me, and at times, energizes me. Other than that...there really isn't a "nice" place to go out to eat. There is no Y or movie theater or mall or...but, there are friends! Now, my friends, if they are expats are MUCH younger than I. And, most of my Ghanaian friends who happen to be male, are closer in age, but, only by 10 or 15 years. Ghanaian women are always busy with the house or family or laundry or cooking. In Lawra, the typical Ghanaian woman does not have "time to kill." If they are not busy with their immediate family, they are busy with extended family.
So, I decided to make my own "fun." I hosted a Memorial Day/Africa Day pool party and picnic. (It was nice that both holidays ended up being on the same day.) I got out the pool and got it ready for summer! Filled it. Brought out the beach (it is on the small table on the right of the picture.) Bought chicken and REAL potatoes. Made jello! Made baked beans. Sydney and Emily came over. We had such fun. I laughed more that day than I had laughed in quite awhile! We grilled the chicken and had a feast fit for a king.
So, in answer to your question, Steve, we have a pool party and a picnic. That is how we have fun in Lawra!

I'll Miss You, My Friend

This past week has been a very lonely week for me. Oh, I was surrounded by friends and co-workers and people I have grown to love. But, one important "person" was missing. Jack. About two weeks ago, Jack started not being himself. He would visit and take his nap. But, he looked tired. His eyes were not sparkling. His tail wasn't wagging. Every day, when I talked to Jack's "mother," Sydney, she would tell me about something else she noticed about Jack. He wasn't eating like he usually does. He wasn't as active. Then, the day came when he started vomiting. The vet wasn't in town. He had traveled. So, Sydney doctored Jack as best she could. Now, he wasn't eating at all. And was very sick. Finally, on Friday, May 23, the vet had returned to Lawra. But, it was too late for Jack. There was nothing he could really do for Jack.
So, Friday evening, May 23, 2014, Jack died in Sydney's arms. I called Razak. He called someone with a pickax and brought him to Sydney's house so Jack could be buried. As I walked to Sydney's house, I could hear the eerie sound of the pickax hitting the hard earth A very nice grave was dug. Blue bunny was placed inside the hole. Sydney, very lovingly placed her best friend on top of his favorite bunny. Then, the eerie sounds of the dirt covering Jack. Sydney and I laughed and cried that evening.
Here, where I live, a dog is in the same category as a goat or a sheep. They are not household pets. They are guard dogs...or dinner. People don't understand these silly American women shedding tears over a dog!
I am not a dog person. But, I loved Jack.  I miss Jack. I look for him in the morning...he would come to visit. I miss him going to town with me. You get the picture. Maybe, the name of the Disney movie is true...All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Election of a Bishop - in Pictures

This year, at our annual Synod meeting, a bishop was to be elected. Our present Bishop, The Right Reverend Emmanuel Maclord Afriyie, has completed his term of service. Since I am a member of the Synod, I was given the responsibility of casting my vote for our next Bishop.

The Right Reverend Professor Osei Safo-Kantanka, Bishop of the Kumasi Diocese, and his lay chairman, KwasiAtta Antwi, traveled to Bolgatanga to facilitate the voting process. First, Bishop Safo-Kantanka gave the rules for the vote. Then, the CV or biography of each candidate was read.
The vote could only be written on an official ballot which had Bishop Afriyie's stamp on the back.
The container in which we were to place our votes was turned upside down, so all could see it was empty. Then, the voting began.

Votes were placed in three piles, one for each candidate...
and then counted. 50% of the votes plus one was needed to be elected.

With one round of voting, a Bishop was elected. The votes were written in the journal.

And, now, for the announcement...The Very Reverend Doctor Nathan I. Samwini is our Bishop elect. May God be with both Bishops during this time of transition!

One Year Later...

May 19, 2014, Kalsagri Methodist Society celebrated its one year anniversary of renewal. Last Year, our first worship service was held on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013. I was a bit, to say the least, unsettled. I am not a pastor, I am not a preacher. God had other ideas.  In one year, our attendance grew from 59 to 118! And, a new roof, floor, windows, door and cement work and painting has been done. The church looks very nice.

During services, people sometimes fall asleep. People sometimes smile and nod their heads as if they know what I mean when I give an example or tell a story. Sometimes, they even get when Jacob was given Leah for a wife instead of Rachel!

Little by little, I am trying to find people who are willing to serve in leadership positions. This is their church. There are a few who will volunteer. Pray that leaders will rise up from the congregation and the church will be 100% led by people from Kalsagri. With God, anything can happen!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Frustrations and Joys

Life in Lawra can be challenging in many ways. But, to me, the most challenging things have to do with electronics. The electricity is not stable, it is not always available ("lights off" happens more frequently than I'd like), the internet is slow, some web pages cannot be viewed with a VPN...even this blog post has taken me more than two weeks to write and post, because putting a picture on it has caused me more challenges than I have been ready to face...and...without my morning coffee!!! When I first moved to Lawra, MTN was the internet provider to use...when it worked. Then, Vodafone was amazingly fast! I no longer had to start dinner or do dishes while waiting for a web page to load. That worked for a while. Last year, I heard that airtel worked even better. So, I tried it. I could upload pictures without growing old! WOW! How nice. This year, MTN upgraded their towers. 3G is now available in Lawra! YAY! I can be on my computer, email, use my VPN without everything freezing up and...wait...there is no was fine a minute ago...oh, airtel will work...hmmm...It's back on! Let me try Skype...I video Skyped my brother in Pennsylvania. It was the first time in a long time that I saw him with my own eyes...and his wife...and his grand dogs...what a blessing. Yes, electronics can be a real challenge at times, but, "joy comes in the morning!" (Ps. 30:5b)