Sunday, August 23, 2015

Making New Memories

Today would have been my 40th wedding anniversary. Life happened and it is not my 40th wedding anniversary. I get thinking each year when it rolls around. What would life be like today if I were still married? All the wondering and speculation. The reality is my life is VERY different than what I imagines 40 years ago. That doesn't stop me from wondering...

So, this morning during my quiet time, I decided today's theme would be, "Making New Memories." I try to do something nice for myself around this time of year. Well, due to the illness of my friends, I cancelled my plans for this weekend. I had a "stay-cation" instead. I pulled out my card making things yesterday and started working in Craft Central, Lawra Campus. It is still open for business.

When a friend of mine, Leela, heard it was my ex-anniversary today, she decided on the spot that we would go for a brunch picnic this morning. She rode her bicycle to my house, I put the last odds and ends in my backpack and away we went to picnic at the Lawra stadium.

There isn't much to the stadium except a wall and grass. Oh, and grazing animals and stuff that animals leave behind...if you know what I mean. We carefully looked at the ground and found a spot on which to place our cloths. As we unpacked our bags, we created quite a stir. What were these two white women doing? The sun is strong and they are sitting in it! Elvis and his friend kept a watch on us, hoping to reap the left over food. We had a lot of entertainment...sheep grazing, a man urinating, a farmer weeding, one of the boys mooning us, and then, they serenaded us. Oh, and I must not forget the women who stopped by to tell us we shouldn't sit there because people sh__ there. Such fun! 

As we packed up, we shared our left overs with the boys and let them take a spin on our bicycles. As we were leaving, Elvis told us, "Good bye and good luck!" What a lovely morning! New memories that make me smile were definitely made today! Isn't it just like God to take a day that could be filled with regrets and turn it into something beautiful. Thank You, Jesus! (And Leela!)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Learning to Trust in You

Sunday, August 16, 2015, was Baptism and Confirmation Sunday at Kalsagri Church. Here are the simple testimonies of five people who have chosen to trust Jesus.
I am called Dome Tuole Emmanuel. I thank God for calling me to give testimony. I think this worshipping God is very good. I was in the darkness. And when I was in the darkness, I was experiencing a lot. And I heard there was worship here and so I also ran to come and join. When I joined this church, those things that used to worry me, I don’t experience them again. That’s why I want to continue to worship God, so that God will protect my life. So I thank God so much.
I am called Sabina. I thank God so much, that He has brought me so far to this place. Yes, I’m so excited that I have come to join this church. It got to a time, I was very worried. And I never knew of any witchcraft and people attributed witchcraft to me. And God directed me to come here and join the church. I’m coming here, not even up to a year, but I have seen the transformation in my life. If I hadn’t run to God, Christ, by now I would have been dead and gone. I thank God for delivering me and raising me up to know Christ. I am very excited and I pray that God would continue to protect my life.
I am Donicia. I saw my colleagues were running to join Christ and then I also decided and came. I used to have bad dreams. Things that have been happening in my life. Ever since I came here, I have never experienced that again. So, I am very happy. I want to be baptized, and those things will run away and leave me, with my whole heart.
I am called Kuuzina Madina. I was also a widow. I was sitting in the house, all the time becoming so worried for my life. I didn’t have any way out to forget about it. Every day I think and think. I was wearing down. I started asking and I heard one day there was church service here. Let me run to the place to join my colleagues and then they will also shout. And when they shouted, I also had a sound sleep. I came to the church and they were praying, praying for me. When I went home, I could sleep. Then I saw I was getting myself happy. There was nothing worrying me. I have come to be washed away from my sin and to be baptized.
This church that was brought up again…my small girl. I can remember that when I was born some people told me I even died and some people prayed for me and gave me the name Nnienebe Ama. I also grew up, got married and gave birth to children. Five girls, three died. One lady is still around. This small girl, anytime they are coming to church, she will cry that she will also come to church.The small girl came back and told me, “Mama, let’s go and worship God.” Then, I also came out. Then the small girl said, “Mama, have you seen that prayers is good and worship is good? And let’s pray.” And she started. Nothing is worrying her. And up to date we are saying she should be baptized. I even wanted the child to be baptized, but I think she is too small. I would have been happy if the child would have joined me to be baptized. I want to be baptized with my whole heart. And I will continue to worship with the child here. I thank God for my life. (The child was also baptized the same day.)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Blessing and...not so Much

This past Sunday was a day of celebration at Kalsagri Methodist Church. There were 37 baptisms and 30 confirmations, plus communion! It has been a blessing to be part of the preparations for this day. I was given the opportunity to teach half of the classes to these people who have decided to follow Jesus and to join the church. During the class time, I was able to get to know some of the people and to learn more names than I already knew. I was blessed to hear their testimonies. These are people who cannot read, who cannot write. One person is lame, another blind. Many do not even know their birth date. Yet, they love the Lord. They have seen what changes God has made in their lives. It is humbling to be a part of their faith journey.

Yet, there is a down side, too. But, not with those who have been baptized and confirmed. It is with the business side of it. The man-made rules and expectations. One man did not come to church because he could not afford to pay for the two certificates, a cost of just over $1. (Unknown to him, they were already paid.)  I try my best not to be a part of them. There are times, though, when I cannot escape them. That is the part I don't like.

Being part of this blessing...amazing. To have this opportunity...priceless. I choose to focus on the great things the Lord has done and to celebrate with those who have seen the power of God is truly stronger than the power of darkness.

Thursday, August 13, 2015



Rainy season has definitely come upon us. For a while, it seemed slow in coming. Now, it is here with a vengeance. It rains several times a week. Farmers are happy. Their crops are growing. There will be food for the coming year. But, there is another side to rainy season.

When it rains, everything shuts down, no matter how much it rains. People stay home. If they are out, they stay put. Most people walk, ride a bicycle or a motorcycle as a means of transport. So, during rainy season, plans are made, but may never come to fruition. Meetings are delayed. Church services start after the rain stops and people arrive at the church. Tro tros (vans used for public transportation) sit unoccupied because people won't come out in the rain to the station. (Which is fine, since most tro tros leak and you might as well be outside in the rain.)

Kalsagri Church is preparing for Baptism and Confirmation to be held this coming Sunday. It has rained the last three days of class, but, stopped long enough for people to come. This afternoon is our last class. It remains to be seen if we have class or not. And, this morning, a group of us were to meet at the Kalsagri church to paint the inside walls. It is pouring outside. I can’t drive a moto in this weather. People won’t come to the church in this weather. So, instead, I sit here and write this blog and wait as my computer updates.

Flexibility is definitely needed while living here. Not only in rainy day situations. Electricity is unstable. Schedules and plans get interrupted all the time. Electronics have a mind of their own and work when they want to, not when you want them to. There is no such thing as a tro tro schedule to plan your travel. Meat that is recognizable is not readily available. Neither are a variety of fruits and veggies. Laundry takes forever to dry. So, what do you do? Be flexible. Plan to do nothing else on a travel day. Develop a liking for fruits and veggies that are available. Don’t wait until you have nothing else to wear before you do your laundry. Have a good book or something else to work on during a rainy day. Be flexible! Take advantage of the quiet of a rainy day. “Stuff to do” will get done. And, will it really matter if the church doesn’t get painted today?

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lessons Learned from a Coloring Book - Part 2

I was coloring again today. All was going well. The centers of the flowers were yellow. The orange flowers were colored in. Then, I started on the turquoise flowers. Hmmm. Something isn't quite right. As I colored, I could feel the pencil point wiggling. So, I sharpened it, hoping to correct the problem. Something was still wrong. I looked more closely at the pencil. The point had broken off and was being held in place by the wood surrounding it. It was still usable. I continued coloring...carefully! As I colored I kept thinking, "The point is going to fall out. I should just take it out and sharpen it." But, I didn't. I kept using the pencil for quite some time before I finally gave in and sharpened it. Afterwards, I wondered why I waited so long to resolve the problem. The coloring went much easier, smoother and faster with the pencil point in the proper form.

Hmmm...I'm like that pencil. Sometimes things go wrong within me. It can be an attitude. It can be an action. It can be a thought. Many times I keep on going. Life goes on. Work gets done. Chores get done. Classes get taught. Sermons get written. But, am I really in the best shape for it? Am I really representing Christ if there is an area in my life that is as shaky as that pencil point? I need to deal with that issue, make things right again before I can fully be myself again, especially as a follower of Christ. 

So, I will keep my pencils in good shape. I will have my daily time with God and continue it throughout the day. And, when life circumstances get shaky or I need to take a good look at something God brings to mind, I need to take action. And with His help, His strength, I can be that pencil in God's hand that He uses to write His story in Lawra, Ghana and throughout the world. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Good morning, Lord. I need to talk with You today. I need You. I need You to be not only a Savior, but also a Father, a Brother, a person who keeps the dream alive. I wonder, "What is my dream?" It used to be to work with orphans, to tuck them in at night and to tell them that Someone loves them. Now, I'm not sure. Is that still my dream? I was working with the children from the OVC Centre for a time. Due to circumstances, I no longer work there. 

If someone were to ask me today, "Sue, What is your dream? What are your dreams?" I wouldn't know how to answer. I might say, "I dream of a week where nothing needs fixed, everything works," but, that is not the intent of the question. I do not dream of greatness. I do not dream of marriage. I do not dream of having children or grandchildren. I do not dream of building schools or hospitals. And, I do not dream of leading a small church in a village in the Upper West Region of Ghana - that was Your idea, Lord! I do dream of the day when I stand before the congregation of Kalsagri Methodist Society and tell them they have done well. They are ready to stand on their own. Kalsagri standing on their own is within reach. It is a matter of time. It isn't really a dream. 

But, what's next? Dreams have been hard for me, Father. Dreams have been hard because they are easily broken. So, today, Father, at 8:43 am on August 6, 2015, in Lawra, Ghana, I ask You, "Father, give me a dream."