Tonight, we are sitting on wooden benches in the dirt road intersection of the village of Basake under the Ghanaian night sky. Many of the team members, including myself, are picking local plant nettles, known as “Take Me Home” by the Ghanaians, out of the bottoms of our dresses and pants. Genesis, one of our Ghanaian pastors and translators during the week, yells into the microphone that broadcasts over loudspeakers, while a grainy Ghanaian online music video plays on a portable projector screen in front of us. He is telling the villagers that he has good news and to come and listen! This was an unexpected end to our fourth day in Ghana, but was born out of a joyous announcement and gracious gift from the Basake chief.
Myself (a pediatrician) and my husband Jay (a pharmacist) have been involved with CVC’s medical mission in Ghana since 2014. This is now our fourth trip, so we have grown accustomed to the everchanging plans and twists and turns of the Ghana trip. But through it all, the thing that brings us back year-after-year is seeing God’s plan unfold in the Nzema region. In our last trip in 2017, we ran a clinic in the village of Basake. The chief (or “Nana”) of Basake, who we know as “Nana Basake,” lives across the street from the Pentecostal church where we run the clinic. He is a chief unlike any we’ve met before in Ghana, one full of joy, appreciation, and humility. He is also a gospel-focused Christian and praised our group for the clinic we ran last year. For context, often our past interactions with Ghanaian chiefs involves submitting to the village hierarchy and stopping clinic at any time to see the chief and their families as “VIP patients.” Often, the chiefs are only involved in spreading the gospel so much as to “permit” our group into the village, which allows Pastor Archer a small foothold to plant churches in villages he otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. But this is not Nana Basake. Today, after a busy clinic day in the same Pentecostal church in Basake as last year, he gathered us across the street on his covered patio as we drank Coke and ate food graciously provided by the chief and his wife (normally, we leave clinic around sunset and head to Pastor Archer’s home to eat dinner, so this was a unique circumstance). Once we were all gathered, Nana Basake wanted to make an announcement. With many thanks for coming to his village two years in a row and providing medical care, he remarked, however, that what he sees most important is that through our actions he sees the love of Christ and the spreading of the Gospel in his village. With this, he wanted to make a gift. “I want to give you, free of charge, a plot of land to build a Baptist church!” My jaw hit the floor! For a Ghanian chief to so graciously and freely give of his land is a big deal and a great honor in Ghana. We clapped and cheered along with Pastor Archer and the other Ghanaian members of the team. “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” echoed on the chief’s patio. Nana Basake said he looks forward to future years of CVC teams coming as the church is built. “Please,” he said, “stay and come to the village tonight to announce the news of God’s work!”
This is yet another example of God working in the Nzema region. As we prepare for the opening celebration ceremony for the Nzema Baptist Hospital tomorrow, perhaps someday in years to come we will be doing the same for the Baptist church in Basake. God is good always!