Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Day to Remember

My birthday was not going to go as planned. I was hoping to stay home and make Christmas cards. Did that happen? No. Life happened.I got up early and walked, read my Bible, was greeted by Boniface, drove out to Kunyukuo to pick up the financial books and start going through them, making sure everything was good. (Matthias has been doing a good job!) I also went to talk with the pastor about a bunch of stuff. Oh, and I needed to go into town to buy a few things. Plus, there is a sermon to be written this week. Anyway,it turned out to be mostly a work day, And that's okay, too. Minna, a Peace Corps volunteer was coming for dinner-canned peaches and grilled cheese sandwiches. (I also dropped my laptop on to the top of my right foot...the edge of me laptop. It still hurts!)

Minna came bearing gifts of snacks from Japan, Korea and the US. So, we had appetizers while we tried to figure out why the sound wasn't working on the TV?DVD player. (We didn't figure it out.) Then, there was a phone call. It was Razak. Mama, there is an emergency mandatory meeting at Galipol (He really meant Matron's) at 5:00. Be there! 

So, we walked over to Galipol and waited. And waited. Until a girl came over to tell us that Razak was at Matron's. We walked over and there they were...Razak, Vincent, (both from Ghana) Lena and Seraina (both from Germany.) We sat down and birthday greetings were given. So were birthday gifts. Glasses were placed in front of us and Razak presented me with a bottle of Sparkling Orange Drink. He proceeded to shake it and shake it and shake it and uncork it. The cork flew about 25  feet! There was a birthday toast. Then, a guinea fowl with spaghetti was served. Yum! After awhile, Minna and I walked home and ate some more while putting our feet up and watching a Christmas movie.

The day definitely didn't go as planned. It was so much better! God has truly blessed me with "family" and friends here. I am so grateful that my day was such a blessing. In so many little ways, and some big ones, throughout the day, He showed me that I am not alone and I am loved beyond what I could imagine. Thank You, Lord!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

114 Days

114 days. 114 wonderful days. 114 busy days. 114 long days. 114 days in the United States. In many ways, those days seemed too short. I spent time with family and friends. I enjoyed summer days at the lake, cookouts, coffee shops, shopping, a peach festival, making greeting cards, going to movies and eating popcorn, going out to eat, and snuggling with Lulu (my senior brother's dog.) 

I spent time with supporting churches. And spent time with possible new supporters. I attended continuing education conferences. I traveled to and through several states. And, I missed my people in Lawra.

During the first of those 114 days, I kept watching a video of one of the children who come to my house...it was of video of him making great armpit noises. It made me laugh. (I can't tell you how many times I watched that video while I was gone.) I talked about my "Ghanaian family" whenever given the chance, always wondering what they were doing. I was missing life happenings with them. Oh, when I returned to Ghana, both Elvis and Junior were walking! They weren't walking when I left. I would wonder how my little church was doing. And, I was saddened that I wasn't in Ghana to grieve with my friends when Uncle Christopher died.

On of the hard things about living in another country is always missing the country that I am not physically in. When I am in Ghana, I miss being in America. I miss my sister and brothers. I miss my friends. I miss my home church. I miss celebrating holidays with family. I miss the festivities that go along with those holidays. But, I love my life here in Ghana. I love the fact that God chose me to live this life. I love my little churches. I love the children who come to my house. I love the "laid back" lifestyle. I love that everyday is different. Sure, things don't always go the way I want them to, but, that is part of life, especially life in West Africa.

During those 114 days, people would ask me how it felt to be home. Home? Where is "home"? Right now, it is in Ghana. And, during those 114 days, I missed being there. Today, I thank God for returning me safely. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I was talking with an American friend and I made a comment about tomorrow being Thanksgiving. Her response was precious and typical, "Tomorrow? Thanksgiving? I forgot all about it." That's easy to do when the outside temperatures are over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanksgiving looks different here than it does in America. There are no festivities. After all, it is not a Ghanaian holiday! There are no turkeys. No stuffing/dressing.No cranberry sauce. No blood family.

Yet it is still a day of giving thanks. I am thankful for another day of life to praise my Lord and Savior. I am thankful that I started back walking this morning. I am thankful for all those I see and greet when I walk. I am thankful for my Ghanaian family and friends with whom I can talk, laugh and celebrate the joys of life and grieve the sorrows. I'm thankful for my personal Physician's Assistant who keeps my injections up to date. And for my mechanic who keeps my motorcycle safe to drive. I am thankful for Boniface showing me his school work and doing his homework at my house. I am thankful, too, for the technology that allows me to wish family and friends who are stateside, a "Happy Thanksgiving."

So, while most people I know in the United States are eating turkey with all the fixings and planning their black Friday shopping spree, I am enjoying a teryaki chicken stir fry, rice and a cold glass of iced tea. After all, Thanksgiving isn't about the food or planning the shopping trip! It's about turning your eyes/my eyes to the LORD and thanking Him for His great love and the gift of salvation. He has truly blessed us! Give thanks!