Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Time for Transition

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every activity under heaven."  
Ecclesiastes 3:1

It is a time of transition for me here in Lawra. I am not going anywhere. I am not changing the focus of my ministry. But, people who have become close to me, people whom I have grown to love are leaving Lawra or maybe even Ghana, and going else where. The picture above is the Very Rev. Ernest K. Baiden at his Farewell Service. He has been my pastor, my boss, my colleague, but, most importantly, my friend. He and his wife, Bertha, are moving to Tamale where he has been posted. I will see him a few times a year, but, it won't be the same. I am looking forward to getting to know the new pastor better and to welcome him and his family to the Lawra area.

Then, there is Leela, from the UK. She left Lawra on Sunday, and will return to London later this week. We have become good friends during her time in Lawra. I hope to visit her and Sarah (who goes and comes from England) sometime next year. Also, very close colleagues of mine, who live in Bolga, left Sunday. I will see them at a conference, but, they will not return to Ghana until the beginning of March. A Peace Corps friend is leaving Lawra in three weeks, going to America, then, returning to Ghana to work in Accra. Other colleagues of mine are leaving in December and will return six months later. Oh, and I am sure there are more...

Saying "good bye" isn't always easy. I have lived in Lawra before all of these people were here. I have lived in Ghana before I became close to these people. So, what do I do now? I believe that the Lord will use this time to draw me closer to Him, to strengthen our relationship.I don't know what God has in mind. But, what I do know, is that he won't leave me to be alone. He will bring others along side of me, both Ghanaians and expats. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open to where He leads!

Monday, September 21, 2015

...They Are Life

"The words I have spoken to you," Jesus says,"are spirit and
they are life." (John 6:63)

They are life...so, when I feel as if the joy of life is ebbing away, I need Your words, Lord. If I am tempted to give into depression, or a "woe is me" attitude, Your words will give life. When the words or actions of others threaten to suck life out of me, Your words give life. Lord, I need You and Your words. Life has its challenges.. Some days those challenges are small. Other days, those challenges are big. And, once in a while, those challenges are HUGE! But, if I immerse myself in Your word, meditate on it, learn from it, know it, lean on it, draw strength from it, no challenge is too big for us together. Life is You. I am determined not to give in to the pull of the world. Instead, I choose life! - Your life!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I Love a Lonely Day

TV's off at 1 a.m.
One more day alone again.
The work gets longer every day.
Why'd I have to get away?
But I have found a comfort here.
Solitude can be so dear.
Loneliness is not so blue,
When it puts my mind on You.
I love a lonely day,
It makes me think of You
All alone, I can easily find Your love.
I love a lonely day,
It chases me to You.
It clears my heart,
Lets my very best part shine through, it's You!
~ Amy Grant

Friday, September 4, 2015

Lessons Learned from a Coloring Book - Part 3

I haven't colored for a week. So, I decided to pull out the pencils and sharpener and the coloring book. I just got started coloring when the lights went out! What to do? grab a couple of flashlights and keep coloring, of course! (Lights were off for twelve hours.)

The next day, when I looked closely at what I colored the night before, I was a bit disappointed. You see, what I colored by flashlight wasn't nice and "crisp", not close to the edges and even missing some places. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but, well, was it really worth it?

I started thinking, "It's all about the light." When the light is good, the coloring is good. Better choices are made. All goes well. But, by flashlight, things aren't so good. Hmmm...sounds familiar. 

The light of Christ helps me make good choices. His word lights up the way I should go. Temptation is easier to ignore in the daytime, in the light. Thoughts stay focused. But, in the night, in the dark, when I am tired, it is harder not to give in to temptation. My mind wanders. And when making decisions on my own instead of by Christ's leading, sometimes they are less than beneficial.

Light versus darkness....in coloring and in life, choose Light!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

More than a Mug

When I first moved to Ghana, I brought the necessities to begin life in a far off land, not knowing what would be available. Plus, I brought a few things that would provide comfort. One of those things is a coffee mug. It isn't anything special to most people. But, when I was looking for a mug to match a plate, my sister bought it for me. Whenever I use it, I think of Debbie, of the great time we have had, of the blessings and the love that is shared.

As my time in Lawra stretched on, I started buying coffee mugs when I traveled. One from Chang Mai, where The Mission Society had a Conference some years ago, reminds me of colleagues and fun times we had together in a place where I never thought I would visit. Then, there was Leahy,a Peace Corps volunteer, who brought me a mug from New York City. I think of her every time I use it to drink hot chocolate, with a spoon. Sarah, a VSO volunteer from England and now works for Action Through Enterprise, brought me an England mug. She also surprised me with a Christmas mug! What memories, old and new!

Again I went to the US. And, when I returned to Ghana, I brought back more mugs...one from St. Simon's Island, GA, where I spent a week with my good friend, Tula. There is also my "hand warmer" mug from Mt. Airy. Ellen brought me a mug from the Lawrenceville Diner. Since it has lots of "bling" on it, I use it when I want to accessorize.

Then, there is my good friend, Nancy. We have been friends since high school. She is a funeral director, hence the funeral home mug. But, she also gave me mugs from Ohio and Florida. I used the funeral home mug yesterday and sent her a picture. She used the exact same mug yesterday! God is good. I use the mugs when I need some comfort (like the one from Memphis and the Sunday School Class at Cordova UMV), or I am missing a particular friend and want to "spend the day" with them, or as a reminder to pray for them.

Of course, there are times when I use the mugs just because. Olaf here is my main squeeze. When I used this mug this morning, I thought of my nephew's wedding in Florida, of the good times I had with my sister-in-law, Anita, while we were shopping and of the cool weather we are having today.

Coffee mugs are so much more than something to use when you drink coffee, tea or hot chocolate. They are reminders to pray, a way to feel close to someone far away, a way to celebrate an ordinary day, a reminder to be grateful for all the people God has placed in my life and opportunities God has given me.