Sunday, December 24, 2017

Santa's Christmas Prayer

On Christmas Eve the other night
I saw the most amazing sight,
for there beneath the Christmas tree
was Santa kneeling on his knee.
His countenance was different than
that all-familiar, jolly grin;
his head was bowed, and hand to breast,
and slightly tucked into his vest.
For there in a Nativity
was Jesus and His family,
and as I heard him start to pray,
I listened close to what he’d say.
“Lord, You know that You’re the reason
I take pleasure in this season.
I don’t want to take Your place,
but just reflect Your wondrous grace.
I hope You’ll help them understand
I’m just an ordinary man,
who found a way to do Your will
by finding kids with needs to fill.
But all those centuries ago,
There was no way for me to know,
that they would make so much of me,
and all the gifts beneath the tree.
They think I have some hidden power
granted at the midnight hour.
But it is my love for You
Inspiring all the things I do.
And they give You all the Glory,
For, ‘You’re the One True Christmas Story.”
Original author
Alda Monteschio

Thursday, November 23, 2017

It's Not about the Turkey

Today is Thanksgiving. I have been seeing pictures on Facebook of Families, Pies and Pilgrims, Table Settings and all kinds of things connected with today's holiday...even Parades and football. It's a sweet day to be with family and friends.

For many Cross Cultural Witnesses, Thanksgiving will be a day quite different than what they were used to celebrating in the United States. Some may live in or close to large cities where the traditional American food for today's feast can be purchased. For others, who live in the middle of nowhere, they may have to kill their own chicken if they want a fowl for dinner. Some may settle with canned chicken breast meat that someone was kind enough to send in the mail ahead of time. (Been there, done that.) Today, in Lawra, I will be eating a "soft chicken" leg quarter (imported and you won't break a tooth trying to eat it), canned green beans...not green bean casserole, the other ingredients aren't available, my favorite Jello that a dear friend brought for me when I was in South Africa, and a pasta side dish that my sister-in-law sent me. So, that's my meal. I most likely will eat alone as my Ghanaian counterparts are all working today. My plans for this evening got canceled, so I will try to meet up with some Ghanaian friends after work. I won't have my family with which to share my meal. Colleagues live too far away from me, so sharing with them isn't possible. 

This is the reality of a Cross Cultural Worker. At least, it's my reality. Everyone is different. I do miss my brothers and sister and their families. I miss my church family at Concord UMC, Wesley UMC and Cornwall UMC especially. Even though they are not with me in body, they are with me in Spirit. I thank God for all of them.

For me, and numerous people like me, Thanksgiving isn't about the turkey. It isn't about the pies. Or about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Or Football. And, when you come down to it, even though family is important, it isn't about family. It's about giving thanks to God. Thanking God for another year. Thanking Him for another year of life. Thanking him for another year with family and friends. Thanking Him for His Salvation, for His provision. And, even when the past year has been tough, thanking Him for Him walking with you, beside you, guiding you and holding you in His arms.

Today is Thanksgiving. Yes, I wish I were going to eat the white meat of the turkey today, along with all the traditional side dishes. It's a wish that will be granted in a few years. In the meantime, I will let all that is within me give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dark Night of the Soul

I really struggle with writing a newsletter when I think I have nothing to say. I had such a hard time writing the one I sent out yesterday, not because I had nothing to say, but because of what I did want to say....and here is what I wrote:

The phrase, “Dark Night of the Soul” is familiar to me. I never realized that it is the title of a poem written by St. John of the Cross. People talk about experiencing this dark night of the soul. It is a time of questioning life, faith, meaning, self-esteem, acceptance, work….everything. I recently experienced a “Dark Night of the Soul.” I don’t think it was severe, but it was definitely a time of searching.  Life was happening. I was doing what I usually do...reading Scripture, praying, preparing sermons, playing with the children, going to the villages, visiting with friends. Yet, something was missing. Something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Prayers seemed to hit the ceiling and go no further. A sadness came upon me. Things that brought me enjoyment no longer did so. What was happening to me? This has happened to me in the past, but in the way past. And, when it did happen something usually triggered it. This time, nothing.
I called a close friend who is a pastor. I talked. He listened. He gave me some suggestions. I started working on implementing them in my life. I also spoke several times from a good friend who is a counselor. That helped, too. As I thought about what preceded this time in my life, I realized that every couple of weeks I was getting sick. The cycle was sinus infection, getting well. Then, another bug, and getting well. Again, something else would strike. I wasn’t well, but I wasn’t sick enough to “stay home from school.” Then, I got a bad case of malaria. Not a perfect end to the story. Not much after I recovered from malaria, I dislocated my shoulder. (Immense pain!) But, what happened as a result of all of this was that I had to take care of myself. I had to take it easy. I had to rest. I spent more time with God. I poured my heart out to Him in a way I haven’t done for quite awhile. I went back to journaling. I read. I allowed God to love me. I allowed God to speak to me. And, I listened.
I recently noticed that Scripture was alive again...even Numbers and Deuteronomy! There was a spring in my step, a smile on my face and I imagine, a sparkle in my eye. God is good! I continue to speak with these two trusted people as I enter into another season of ministry here in Lawra, Ghana.
I know this isn’t a great “ministry moment” kind of testimony. But, it is my life. And, from it I have a deeper realization of the faithfulness of God.
“Faithful, faithful to the end, my true and Precious Friend. You have been faithful, faithful to me.” ~from the song Faithful One by Chris Eaton and Brian White

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Little Trip...

Eight days ago, I traveled to Wa which is about two hours away.. I haven't been there for a while and I was looking forward to doing some shopping that I couldn't do in Lawra. I went to Vodafone, to Foka, to the bank, to Melcom (YAY!) and to the market. As I was leaving the market, a big wind and rainstorm started. I quickened my pace because of the rain. If I got to the place where I would meet the tro tro (a run down van used for public transportation) for the ride back to Lawra, I would be able to sit out of the rain. I was almost to my destination, next door to it as a matter of fact. Then, it happened. I slipped on the wet cement and I fell, turning my body, my heavy backpack taking the lead. Immediately, I knew something was wrong with my left arm and shoulder. I was in excruciating pain, pain worse than I had ever felt before. I couldn't move my arm because it hurt too much. I fell in front of a hair dresser's shop. The women came out and helped me up off of the cement and out of the rain. I begged them to find me a ride to the hospital. They wanted me to wait for the driver of the tro tro that would go back to Lawra. I told the no, I needed to go to the hospital NOW! (I was in pain.) So, one of the girls ran out in the rain and got me a ride.

A few minutes later, I arrived at Wa Regional Hospital. The nurses took me and put me in a wheelchair. My only thought was, "Give me something for this pain." They tried to get basic intake information from me before taking me to see the doctor. A five minute wait seemed like five hours. Finally, the doctor sent me to x-ray. I had someone pushing the wheelchair and someone supporting my arm. I hurt so much! The x-ray technician wanted me to stand in a certain position in order to get a proper picture of my shoulder. Oh, I could hardly stand it. I grabbed onto the nurses arm and squeezed it instead of crying out in pain. I am sure he still has marks on his arms from me.

Then, back to the examination room. When we arrived, NO Doctor was there. And, I still didn't receive anything for the pain. I sat down in an upholstered chair and put my feet up and maneuvered my arm to a less painful position. After some time, someone came in to check my x-ray. Praise God, nothing was broken, but my left shoulder was dislocated. (Later I was told the part that was to be in the joint was in my armpit.) Now, I was to be admitted to a ward, then I would be taken to the Theater so my shoulder could be put back in place. On the way to the ward, we stopped to pay for the x-ray. When we arrived, there was more waiting. And then, there was the "trying to get an IV port into a vein" process. After five tries, it still didn't work. They would do it when I got to the Theater.  I was asked several times who had come with me and everyone was surprised that I was by myself. I didn't plan on going to the Regional Hospital when I left home that morning!

We proceeded to the Theater. We were in an entrance-way, sitting, waiting. I was in pain. I asked about pain meds. "they will give you some." Right! Then, I asked if I could lie down. In my mind, that would ease the pain. The medical people agreed to this. YAY! It didn't help much. But, they did get the IV port in. As I was talking to one of the nurses, I fell asleep since the anesthetic was added to the IV. The next thing I knew, I was in another room, without excruciating pain. My shoulder was back in place. I had pain, but it was bearable. There was some numbness, too. I was told that it would eventually go away.

The plan was to admit me so I would stay overnight. Ghanaian hospitals are different from American hospitals. The family provides the food, medicines, sheet/blanket, etc. I was wearing wet clothing because of the rain. I had no one in Wa to take care of me. So, I pleaded with the doctors to allow me to go back to Lawra where there were people who would care for me. They agreed. And, the anesthesiologist even drove me home! 

I thank God for all he blessings that took place on this day. I was in Wa, not Lawra. It was my left shoulder, not my right. It was put back in place. I had a ride home...All things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Just One Little Bite...

It seems as if I have been sick a lot lately. A sinus infection. Then, two weeks later, something I eat doesn't agree with me. Then, the cough increases. After that is gone, there always seems to be something else. So, when I wasn't feeling well, I wanted to call Vincent, my "personal" Physician's Assistant. Ooops! He is in Germany. I call Derek, the guy who runs the lab at the clinic. "Derek, I am not well. My temperature is not normal. Would you please give me a blood test?" So, he agrees and comes to the lab after normal working hours. He checks for malaria. and, the answer, no malaria. The test is negative. Praise God! Maybe I just need some sleep.

Fast forward twenty four hours. My temperature has been in the triple digits all day, going down with Tylenol, but rising again. I am vomiting. I am freezing to the point of my teeth chattering. Then, I am hot. Then, I am just tired. I try to keep hydrated.I call Razak. He is an Accountant. "Razak, I feel terrible. My temperature is high. I am cold, then hot. The malaria test was negative, but look at me. I must have malaria." "Mama, you do. Start the malaria treatment and drink Tonic (it has quinine in it)." So, I dug out my malaria meds and started treatment.

The next two days, I tried to sleep in the midst of chills and being hot and not feeling quite right. My temperature spiked to 105 degrees  a couple of times. I ached. I couldn't concentrate enough to read. I was miserable. By day three, I felt some relief. I was able to sleep. my temperature was about normal.

The treatment for malaria is only for three days. Day four, I was feeling much better! I still tired easily, but that would change as time went on. Praise God that I wasn't worse than I was and there were people here to check on me. One little bite from such a small insect can cause a whole lot of pain and trouble!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Baby Steps

The work I do here in the Upper West Region of Ghana is important. But, if I look for results that can be seen and measured, I may be discouraged and tempted to take the next flight to the United States. The progress that can be seen is small and slow. Only God can see what is happening in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls. I work as a church "Caretaker" or Lay Pastor. My church, in the village of Kunyukuo, is small. It has an average attendance of 11 adults and 13 children. Most are illiterate. And, if they are able to read, they are very shy and unsure of themselves. My prayer for this church is that one day it would have local leadership. The young man in the above picture is one of those leaders. He has taken the Part I exam to be an accredited local preacher within Methodist Church Ghana. He hopes to attend school in the future, either for teaching or nursing. His heart's desire is to be a pastor, but there is no money for the training. Plus, it takes time.

The young woman's name is Ernestina. Ernestina has attended the Kunyukuo church even before I started there in January 2016. She has just recently volunteered to read the Psalm for the day in the service. Since there is no Old Testament in her heart language of Dagaare, the Psalm is read in English, the national language. She did an excellent job reading. And, Matthias translated it into Dagaare so everyone could understand. It took a year and a half for this to happen! But, it did happen. Baby steps. Please pray for Ernestina, Matthias, and all of those worshiping in Kunyukuo, that the Lord would touch their hearts and they would have the desire to know Him and serve Him.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Home Maintenance, Ghanaian Style

I have lived in the same house for over six years. It's a basic cement brick house built on very hard ground. When it rains, there is no place for the rainwater to drain. Over the years, the cement walls have started to crumble from the water seeping up into them. So, this past spring, it was time to fix that and a bunch of other stuff.

If you want your cement walls fixed, first all the bad cement has to be knocked out of your wall. What a mess! Imagine big, heavy hammers making big holes (or so it seemed) in your walls. Cement dust was everywhere! I was blessed to have a willing helper, Boniface, who would take outside the bad cement bucket by bucket since the masons didn't clean up after themselves.

After the old cement was knocked out, it was time for the new cement to be put on the walls. YAY!  My walls had a two foot strip of new cement about two feet up from the floor. Next came the mopping. Boniface was willing to mop, too. I mopped. Kataali mopped. Razak mopped. Fortune mopped. It was days before my floors looked normal again!

Before the walls and ceilings could be painted, the carpenter came to replace some sections of the ceiling. Again, he doesn't clean up very well. But it is finished and the painting begins!

All of the wall and ceilings inside the house were painted.

Then, the outside received a new coat of paint. And...

The roof was fixed, too!

Next, came the plumber to fix the water tank outside the house. 

It was the most exhausting ten days I had in Lawra. I went to bed with throbbing feet. And, I woke up with throbbing feet. I was tired to the point of tears. I am so grateful for those who helped me get my home back to "normal." I don't think I will have to go through this again. And, if I do, I'm running away!

An Interrupted Dream

Meet Lena. She came to Ghana in September 2016, as an eighteen year-old volunteer from the German organization Kinderhilfe Westafrika. She was posted at Methodist Clinic Lawra, along with a colleague, Seraina. Lena and Seraina were on a rotating schedule for week in the Out Patient area, one week helping in the lab, one week helping in the consulting room,doing whatever was asked of them. They were always ready and willing to work. Then, Lena came down with malaria. Not once, not twice, not even three times since September. But, seven times!She traveled to Kumasi to have extra, more detailed blood work done, to find out why she was so prone to contract malaria. She was put on stronger antibiotics. But, within two weeks, she had malaria again. She was in communication with her organization and with her health insurance. The decision made for her was that Lena would have to travel back to Germany, cutting her service short by about ten weeks. I think all that knew her wept when they heard the news. Lena didn't want to leave. We didn't want her to leave. But, even when you are nineteen years old, an illness that can't be isolated and treated might have long term effects. Lena had only two days to pack and say "good-bye." We have all grieved her leaving us. Lena is determined to return"home" to Lawra someday, to finish her service. It may be later than sooner. We have to trust God for the timing. Maybe Lena will earn her University degree before she returns. We have all been blessed by knowing her. She may not be physically in Lawra, but she is here in our hearts. And, we pray, along with her, that her dream can come to fruition.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Two Amazing Young Men

I have known Wisdom and Godwin for three years now. They are members of the Kalsagri Methodist Church. I remember when we first received the Dagaare New Testament. Straight away, these two boys sat under a tree, opened them up and began reading. They read Dagaare so well! (And that is unusual.) You would never know that there was no Dagaare teacher at their school. 

These boys have been very active in the life of the church. They read the morning Scripture readings. And, if they are from the Old Testament, in English, they are able to appropriately interpret it into their own language. They are on the list to take a turn to lead the worship services. They walk over a half hour to attend church, Bible study, prayer meeting and school. Godwin interprets for Bible study. Wisdom wants to be a pastor and is always at church when something is scheduled..  Both of them are ranked first in their class - Wisdom in Form 1 (Grade 7) and Godwin in Form 2 (Grade 8.)

So, this past week, these two boys were given bicycles as part of the Kalsagri Bicycle Project. It is for Junior High School students. The requirements are: 1. Be a member of the church. 2. Be VERY active in the life of the church for at last a year. 3. Rank first in your class. Already Isabella, who is ranked third in her class, is saying she will work hard to become first. She, too, is active in the church.

What a joy it has been to watch these young people grow and mature, both physically and spiritually. When I question my work it making a difference...I think of these two and I smile. God has blessed me with knowing these young people. Pray for them as they continue to grow, mature, study and become closer to the one true God in the midst of a society where idol worship is the norm. And, continue to pray for the congregations of Kalsagri and Kunyukuo that they may seek after the Lord and Him only. And pray that these congregations will become "a beacon on a hill" for a dark world."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Small Girl's Request

Not too long ago, after church was finished in Kunyukuo, a small girl came up to me. Her name was Akos. I asked her how old she was, she didn't know. I am guessing she is about six years old. She said she wanted me to be her friend and gave me a black plastic bag full of groundnuts. She also asked me if I would give her a Christian name. This was the first time I was asked to name someone. I wasn't sure what to say. So, I replied, "You come back next week. I will pray and ask God what name I should give to you." That was fine with her.

As I rode my motorcycle back to Lawra, I began praying. "Lord, what is Your name for this small girl? I want her to know Your love, Your protection, Your strength, Your mercy. I want her to know that even though she is from the village of Kunyukuo, she can have hope for her future life." All week long, I sought the Lord for an answer. And, all week long, the story of Esther was impressed upon me. Esther didn't have parents. Akos does, but she came to church by herself. Someone else is watching out for her spiritual life. Esther had no idea that she would be the one who would become Queen and be the person God used to save her people.

Young Akos doesn't know what the future holds for her. Her future doesn't look promising when you look at the reality of life in Kunyukuo. God makes all things possible!

So, when Akos returned to church the next Sunday, I sat down with her. I told her (and the entire congregation) the story of Esther. And, that I believed "Esther" is the name God would have me give to her. Maybe one day, she will be an instrument of change in her world.

Please pray for young Esther, for health and safety, for a hunger for the One True God and that she would grow and mature into a woman of God who would change her world!

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Breath of Fresh Air

Heat. Travel. Unstable electricity Things not working. Heat. Things needing repair. Going to town to buy something only to find out "It is finished." Internet issues. Heat. Driving a motorcycle to villages in the strong sun. Not "seeing" any change/growth in the church or congregation. Wondering if "anyone hears." Heat. All of these may seem like small things. But, day after day, they can wear on a person.

Enter, a breath of fresh air. It came in the form of six people from Highworth Community Church, Highworth, Swindon, UK. They came to Lawra for a couple of reasons, one being to encourage me in my ministry, see what God is doing in this part of the world and to pray. And, pray, they did!

They prayed at the clinic.

They prayed at my house.

They prayed at the market.

They prayed at a funeral.

They prayed in Kunyukuo and they prayed in Kalsagri.

One of the things that this team did was to pray throughout my house - a house blessing. I was touched by the faith and conviction with which they prayed...and the blessings they prayed. 

We also had "down time" to share stories of life and faith.

Of course, some were more tired than others!

On Sunday morning, Pastor Matt and the group taught a song to the congregation. His sons did a drama to reinforce the morning Scripture. Then, he preached. It was really nice to hear a sermon in English! I know that all who were present were blessed.

Pastor Matt preaching in Kunyukuo.

All too soon, their time was up and the group had to leave. Lots of farewells and hugs and blessings were given. The visit was short. But, it was enough to strengthen me, to let me know in a concrete way that I am not alone here in Lawra, that others are here with me. (That is easy to forget since I get so few visitors and rarely anyone not connected with TMS Global.) I pray God will continue to bless Highworth Community Church, its leaders, and their mission focus. 

Who would have thought this partnership and friendship would happen? God is so good! Only He could have orchestrated this. Thank you for visiting. You are welcome to come back anytime. The door is open.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Grateful for Six Years

In February, I celebrated six years in Ghana! Six years. In some ways it seems like I just got here. Other ways it seems as if I have been here forever! When I came, I had in my mind that I would be here for at least ten years. IF I decide to leave after ten years, I have passed the halfway mark. I have only four more years! But, I don't sit around and count the days. What good is that?

Today I choose to be grateful for the time and the opportunities that God has given me. I came to Ghana thinking I would be working with children who were AIDS orphans. And I did for a while. But, God had other ideas.

I have had the privilege of: working with disabled children; being a "home away from home" for volunteers from the US and beyond; working in a clinic; being grandmother to a bunch of local children; and facilitating trainings for church leaders and Sunday school teachers. 

The last four years (has it been four years already?) I have been the equivalent of a lay pastor in two village churches, Kalsagri and Kunyukuo. I am so glad God put me in Kalsagri first because if it had been the other was around, I don't know if I could have done it. In Kalsagri, the congregation is made up of a variety of ages. The children and youth WANT to learn and many of them have attended Bible studies, English classes and trainings that  have been available. Even those in Junior High School are helping to lead the church. Kunyukuo is mainly made up of widows, a couple of young mothers and LOTS of young children. So far, I haven't seen the interest in growth among the people of this church. It is as if they are sleeping and need to be awaken. Both churches have a large percentage of illiterate people in their congregation. Both churches have welcomed and accepted me, for which I am grateful.  

It hasn't been easy. God has stretched me beyond what I could imagine. I drive a motorcycle! I prepare a sermon most weeks. I have seen the needless and preventable deaths of both adults and children. I've attended more funerals in the last six years than I have in my entire life before I moved here. I have seen people who are oppressed and need the peace of the Lord. I have seen people who try to feed their families and don't have the means to do so. I have known young men and women who want an education and can't afford it. I have had illnesses that I never thought I would have to worry about. I have seen way too many flying insects up close! And, now that we are entering the hot season...Ugh! 105 degrees and higher is NOT fun.

But,the blessings, oh, the blessings...a Ghanaian family... Being part of someone's life, watching them grow in their faith and be baptized and confirmed. Listening to testimony after testimony of how God has worked in lives. Being a part of a church where the blind, lame and disfigured worship and praise God side by side of others - and witnessing their confession of faith and baptism.Seeing people who have been outcasts become accepted. Watching boys and girls try their best both in school and at church, leading the worship services. Hearing children of all ages call out, "Maakum!" to me. It makes me smile and know I am blessed beyond measure.

Six years down...only God knows how many are in my future.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bible Storying

Most of the people with whom I work are illiterate. They cannot read or write. They live in an oral society and have oral traditions. They learn the stories of those who have gone before and tell them to their children. So, in this culture, it is especially important to teach the Bible in the way people will hear and understand. 

In the two churches where I work, Kunyukuo and Kalsagri, I have started a Bible storying class. We meet in Kunyukuo on Sundays, after church, and in Kalsagri on Saturday afternoons. We will methodically study the main 80-100 stories of the Bible, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation. During the class, the Bible story is told. We discuss it and answer some very pertinent questions, then the story is told again. (This is done in both English and Dagaare.) Then, we break up into pairs and tell the story to each other. Kalsagri did is when I was the Caretaker at their Society. So, they got right into it. They are very animated as they tell the story. And, when someone arrives late, there is no hesitation to tell the newcomer the story of the day.

Kunyukuo, on the other hand is tough. During the first class, people looked at me as if I had three heads. They are not used to doing thing. The last class we had, most groups told the story and a couple of them were very animated. I am hoping that this continues. You can watch some of the Bible storying on my Facebook page, Sue Kolljeski, Serving Christ in Ghana.

In an oral, illiterate society, it important to know the stories and lessons in God’s Word. And, little, by little, these two Societies are able to tell the Bible story and lesson that are taught. Hopefully, people will share the story of God's extreme love for us. And, hopefully they will draw strength from His word, for now they are learning it and hiding it in their hearts.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A "What About Bob?" Kind of Day

You know, as a Christian, and in the work I do, the place that I live, I often feel as if I shouldn't have "one of those days." But, the truth of the matter is, I do. I do have "one of those days" from time to time. Days like yesterday. I didn't choose to take a day off. My body did.. It must have been on strike or it was planning a mutiny and didn't know how to pull it off. 

Out of the last 30 days, I have been sick for at least 20 of them...back to back illnesses. Nothing big or traumatic. Nonetheless, I haven't felt 100% well for awhile. Thien came Monday and Tuesday this week. I felt great, for the most part, still battling small health issues that refuse to let go. I baked! I cleaned! I wrote Sunday's sermon!I played with the children. People visited me. I visited them. I walked. I exercised. I called the carpenter and the plumber to fix things. I did laundry. I sent a report to the pastor. Oh, it felt good to be so productive....

Until yesterday. I could barely drag myself out of bed. I didn't even make coffee! I resorted to the iced coffee I made the day before. What was wrong with me? Even coloring seemed to be a chore. Did I overdo it the last two days? (Yep!) I went back to bed and watched What About Bob? Baby steps. I needed to take baby steps. That way, something would get done. One little step at a time. I sent some emails. Then, I read. I made breakfast. And then I read. And I napped. And I read. I tore myself away from Mr. Mooey and put away the clean laundry from the day before. I started a letter to my sister. I read...that was about all. I ate. I read. I slept. I didn't get much done except for the rest I obviously needed. Anything I did was done a little bit at a steps.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


How do I keep sane with so many children around? I try to set boundaries and stick to them. It should be easy. Right? Operative word - should! 

I have scheduled days for the children to come and play. And, they are pretty good at keeping to those days. And, I am pretty good at sticking to them, too. But, it isn't easy. When there's no school is the hardest. I will be sitting on my veranda and here comes Boniface. "Maakum, I want to read." "Okay, Boniface, here are the Bibles, you read while I read." In a few minutes, "Maakum, I want to do schoolwork." How can you say "no" to schoolwork? But, I must. "No, Boniface. It is time to read. If you are finished, then you need to leave." Some days he reads more. Some days he leaves.

Over the holidays, I was sick, Then, I got better. Then, I got sick again. So, Boniface didn't see me on the veranda. He would come to my bedroom window. (He can't see in because of my curtains.) "Maakum." Pause. "Maakum." Pause. Now, a bit louder, "Maakum!" Pause. "Maakum!" Another pause. Now, louder, "MAAKUM!" It was so hard not to answer. He isn't supposed to come to my window. I listened for him. He didn't leave. He was talking to someone. "MAAKUM!" "MAAKUM!" Finally, I answered him. "What, Boniface. I am sick and I am resting." "Oh, Maakum. I just came to greet." "Boniface, you know you aren't to be at my window. You need to go to the gate. Who is with you? Who were you talking to?" "Maakum, nobody." "Boniface, I heard you talking to someone." "Oh, Maakum, I was praying!" You gotta love the boy!

Monday, January 9, 2017

What Would You Do for a BLT?

In Lawra, there is definitely a shortage of recognizable meat. One of my stand bys has been bacon, which is unheard of where I live. "Bacon, what is that?" "It is pig meat." "Oh!" Bacan can be used for so many things.But, my favorite is a good BLT sandwich. Since I had been so sick and also busy during Christmas and new Year's Day, I decided to take a few days and go to Tamale. In Tamale, I could get BACON and an excellent BLT sub. 

So, on Tuesday, I got up at 3:30 am to prepare, leaving my house at 4:10. I walked to the station and boarded Yaro's tro tro. We made it to Wa in time for me to board the new Metro Mass Transport bus which was headed to Tamale. We should have arrived by noon. Notice I said, "should have." Yes, it was a new bus. Bright, cheerful, with air con. Yet, a half hour into our journey it glided to a halt. The warning beeping started...the annoying noise that lets you know something is wrong. The driver got out to check on the problem. He couldn't find it. So, he called for a mechanic. Over an hour and a half later, the mechanic arrived, no tools, just holding on to a piece of wire. He tried and tried to find the problem and fix it. An electrician was called. But, wait, the mechanic fixed it! The motor was running...two and a half hours on the side of the road. We started moving. Then, after about three minutes, we stopped again. But, this time, no annoying warning sounds. We were waiting for the driver. Apparently, he went somewhere as we waited on the roadside. Twenty minutes later, he arrived, got on the bus and pulled out. We were now on our way to Tamale and my BLT sub. 

Finally, at 3:00 pm, in front of me sat a most delicious BLT sub. Mmmm...heaven on earth. You now know what I would do for a BLT. What would you do?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 - a Year of Hope

2016 is history. 2017 is full of possibilities. It is right before me. What are my hopes? What dreams do I have? What goals have I set? What choices will I make? All of this remains to be seen. The one thing I am sure of is my commitment to be available to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Today I pray the words of John Wesley:

I am no longer my own, but thine.Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.Put me to doing, put me to suffering.Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,exalted for thee or brought low for thee.Let me be full, let me be empty.Let me have all things, let me have nothing.I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,thou art mine, and I am thine.So be it.And the covenant which I have made on earth,let it be ratified in heaven.Amen.