Today was my first full day in Ghana. I’m not counting the day of travel, since it was a strange, sleepless, 40-something hour trip that started in Ohio, somehow skipped a night, and ended around midnight last night, finally at our hotel in Half-Assini.
Half-Assini is about 45 minutes away from the clinic, and is the home of our host, Pastor Frank Archer. He and his wife Joyce have been hosting CVC missions teams for many years, doing the difficult ground work that precedes a team coming. He was also our driver during the 8 hour trek from the capital of Ghana, which was a bit of a Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, weaving around traffic and spending a not insignificant amount of time playing chicken with traffic in the oncoming lane.
Pastor Frank has been planting churches in Ghana for the past 20 years, and is shepherding a thriving church here in Half-Assini. The church is close by, a short walk from the hotel. The building is fairly large, in a process of construction – the members of the church have been building it themselves over the past few years. It’s a single room, strikingly large, with a bunch of instruments and (importantly) a huge speaker system. A large area in front of the stage that was empty, with the rows of chairs for the congregation a ways back, for reasons that soon became clear…
These people are passionate about worshipping God, and cannot stay in their seats. The area in front of the stage was filled several times by people dancing and singing; one woman with a baby strapped to her back grabbed a tambourine and jumped on stage with the band for a few songs. Her baby appeared completely nonplussed by the enormous speakers behind him, blasting out the music – clearly it wasn’t his first time being on stage with his mom.
The service felt very organic; there was no allotted times for music (that I could tell anyways). We’d stand up, we’d sit down, there’d be talking, then more music. At one point, Pastor Frank noticed Mike Chen had brought his guitar and called him up to play a song, so we all jumped up with him and sang a couple songs for the congregation. Kyle had been put on the spot the night before with a request to preach and gave a terrific sermon.
The service lasted about two and a half hours, and no one seemed to be in a hurry to leave. Clearly, this was an important time for them, and was another indicator of how much these people value their relationship with Jesus.
It made me think of Matthew 22:36, and the command for us to love our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Putting everything else second, not worrying about the sermon running over, not caring if singing was out of tune (everyone was actually pitch perfect except for me).
God has put together a wonderful group of servants with this missions trip who are serving just like that, and it showed this afternoon and evening as the team counted, sorted, and bagged thousands of pills in preparation for the first day of the clinic tomorrow.
Please pray for everyone tomorrow:
For wisdom with diagnosing and treating physical ills
For sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading
For open hearts leading to conversations about the Good News of Jesus sacrifice for us
For patience, unity, and love as we try to demonstrate through word and action who Jesus is.
Pray for those who are in the path of Irma – there are relatives of team members currently there!