The Typical Day

Would you like to know what a typical day looks like here in Ghana in our lives? Yes? So would we! Everyday is different. I don’t mean that to be cliché. Everyday is different. Take yesterday for example. We are in Accra attempting to get some things done that we can’t do seven hours to the north where we live. So I (Chris) woke up around 5:45. We are staying at the Baptist Guest House in Accra. I went downstairs, made coffee, checked out FaceBook happenings, wrote happy birthday messages to a couple of friends, read my morning devotion, read some scripture (studying the book of Romans), prayed, and had a few moments to take a shower before breakfast.

Around 7:30 the breakfast bell was sounded and we joined other missionary families for an awesome meal of omelettes, biscuits, gravy, pineapple, juice, and more coffee (I like coffee). We love this time of the day at the Baptist Guest House connecting with other people who live here in Ghana and have the same discouragement and encouragement that we suffer and enjoy daily. It helps to talk about it with people who understand what we are experiencing.

Around 8:30 our driver/operations manager came and we drove to the LG service center to make an appointment for someone to come to Nkwanta (seven hours away, remember?) and service our washer/dryer combo. Apparently the surges from the poor power we suffer with here have taken their toll and the machine will sometimes work but mostly doesn’t. We called them a few times a couple of weeks ago and were told “we’ll call you” but they never did. And today, in person, they said….”we’ll call you”. Will you pray with us that they actually do? After that we drove our vehicle to the mechanic for a repair for our power steering pump and to repair our rear door handle/lock that we paid them to fix the last time but they broke it even more where we couldn’t even open it from the inside.

So, around 10:00 AM we took a taxi from the mechanic’s shop to Makola Market in downtown Accra. We met our operations manager’s wife at the market and she accompanied us. It’s always nice to spend time with her! As for the market, think of the largest flea market possible and put it on steroids. This place is massive and you can literally find anything you want. New things. Used things. It’s all there. We were going to look at some things for the new Leadership Empowerment Center, to do a little Christmas shopping, and to purchase some Bibles. We stopped at a store and priced a diesel generator (we could really use this), a lawnmower, and a new bore-hole (well) pump. The bore-hole pump hasn’t broken yet but it’s like everything else here, sooner or later it is going to quit and we will need the money and to drive seven hours one way to pick it up.

We finished all the shopping around 3:00 PM and wouldn’t you know, the “no problem, it won’t take long to fix” repair wasn’t ready. We sent Dana and our operation manager’s wife back to the Baptist Guest House in a taxi and then we proceeded in another taxi back to the mechanic’s shop.

The repair was finally finished around 6:30 PM, the rear door was repaired back to its original broken state, where we could at a minimum open it from inside but not from the outside. I paid the man and we prepared to leave. And just before we departed we realized the Air Condition wouldn’t turn on. The mechanics all looked and scratched their heads. “Please, we beg you, bring the back tomorrow at 7:00 AM and we will see what we can do.” Hmmm, let me think about it…..uhhh, NO!

We left there around 7:00 PM and headed back to meet the ladies at the Baptist Guest House but not before making one more stop to buy some pizza. We arrived back at the Guest House around 8:30 and we enjoyed a great meal together.

And that, my friends is a typical day when we are in Accra. Watch for our next Blog post and we will detail a “typical” day in Nkwanta. Whew! I’m tired. Good night!!

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Be Reconciled

Day25_1I’ve been thinking a lot about reconciliation of late. One good definition of reconcile means to “restore to friendship”. I like that. It implies no matter how strong a friendship you share with someone you may possibly come to a severe disagreement that cripples that friendship. Kind of like what happened between human beings and God. Our friendship was broken because of sin. In these times we live in, when friendships go awry it’s easy to just forget about someone and “move on”. For a time, at least. But if that friend was truly a friend you will most definitely miss them and over time the offense that drove you apart will seem less significant. While that may be true for human relationships it isn’t true for the relationship between man and God. Our sin never becomes less significant to God. He can never forgive it unless we are reconciled with him. There is only one way to reconcile with God. In the same way we would go to a friend and seek forgiveness we have to seek forgiveness from God. A friend most likely will forgive your offense and the relationship can be restored. But not so with God. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” – simply doesn’t cut it with God. Our relationship with God requires a reconciler, one who can stand in the gap of our broken relationship. That reconciler is Jesus and He is the ONLY reconciler that will work. If we trust Jesus to be our reconciler to God, then when we tell Him “I’m sorry, please forgive me” and repent; our relationship is restored; we are now under His grace. And if relationships are that important to God that he would stand by and watch his own son suffer and die to become that reconciler for us; shouldn’t we trust Jesus to reconcile our human relationships?

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24 ESV)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15 ESV)

Matthew 5:24 is a great reminder that we are not to just dust off a friendship easily. We are not to say to ourselves by way of justifying what we did or how we feel, “well, they aren’t worth my time…you know they really hurt me when they did this or said that…you know, I just don’t think they like me anymore…and the excuses can go on and on and on…. But Jesus tells us, before you continue your act of worship, go and reconcile with the one who has something against you. The implication too is that we should do the same thing when we know we’ve offended someone else and they may have something against us.

I know none of this is easy. But it is necessary. The fact of the matter is we are not always in the right, even when we believe that we are. You may be asking – how will I know? I guarantee you, that if you have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, are studying your Bible, are praying and asking God to make you more like Jesus everyday; then, the Holy Spirit will let you know. You’ll recall conversations, actions, and people that you need to reconcile with. It’s important. God made a way to reconcile us; to restore us back into a relationship with Him. We can do no less. Call that person…you know who they are…and go, humble yourself and seek to reconcile. You may never be the friends you once were but there won’t be anything between you and them anymore. And that friends I imagine puts a smile on God’s face.

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Why Africa?

Africa-Globe

 

God called us to Africa. Specifically Ghana. He didn’t call us to Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica or any other place. During our journey to build partnerships and raise funds we met people who were called to those places. Actually we have friends now serving in those places. It’s easy for us to think, why Africa? Why not one of those or any number of other places? And it’s a simple answer. Because God didn’t call us “there” he called us to Africa.

There are difficult days, hot days, days without modern conveniences, days without fast-food, and days that make us ask why “here”? Many of our friends are serving Christ in places providing easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, nearly always on electricity, fast internet, good paved roads, etc. And of course there is the wow factor of seeing the beautiful sights of those countries. Why are they “there” and we are “here”? In Africa?

We need help. We need short-term teams to travel and work alongside us to reach the people we’ve been called to. But the distance from the US is an issue. Many of our other friends don’t have this difficulty. Short flights are available to nearby places that need the Gospel or work parties. The flights are short and inexpensive. But the cost to come to Ghana is high. And it takes a long time to get here. Once here there is another day of driving before arriving at our area of service.   It’s not easy, or convenient. Why here God…why here?

If God called us to another place, a place closer to the US, where the flights were shorter and the cost was less, then we could see family and friends more frequently. We could attend conferences more readily. Why Africa God, why Africa?

And in those moments of questioning and doubt, God gently, patiently, and lovingly reminds us that His grace is sufficient for us. He did not call us to any of those other places. He called us “here”, to Africa. He never led us to believe it would be easy. He leads us to understand that it isn’t punishment that we are “here” while our friends are “there”. It’s his grace in us! He has given us a ministry to this people, in this country, at this time, for HIS glory. And as we embrace that truth, and marvel in it that he would choose people like us to draw people in Africa to Himself, we let go of the Why Africa question and instead sing praises of thankfulness…thank you God for leading us to Africa, to this people, for this ministry, and ALL for your glory. Thank you Jesus for saving us and giving us a heart to share your grace with others that are so different from us. Thank you Holy Spirit for helping us, for guiding us, and for reminding us that it is the God of the Universe who has called us “here”. And now “here” is home.

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