Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Way

The last few weeks the phrase the only nation is humanity has been ringing in my mind. Tonight I had the most beautiful depiction of that, and I'd like to share it with you.

I have written on several occasions about Joseph and Kate the boys boarding house parents at Hope Christian Academy. They never cease to amaze me. Their energy and passionate spirit for the work seems to be unending, despite the fact that their days work consists of caring for children from before dawn until long after dark. They have 60 boys under their care as well as their own four small children. If I were to write the exhaustive list of their duties, it would be an entire blog entry in and of itself. While I was in the states in December I had the privilege of telling their story. I am honored to be able to tell others about the manner in which they live their lives and their ministry here. Two families at my parent’s church responded by saying they would like to help support this family to pay the school fees of their children.

I visited Joseph and Kate the other night with an envelope full of cedis (the local currency) for their children’s education. I sat and talked with them about the money and where it came from and how it was to be used. Kate told me she had seen a poster recently with these words “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.” She said she didn’t know how the song went, but the words had been on her heart the past several weeks so she had been teaching a song to her children with those words in it. All four children instinctively began singing “God will make a way.” Tears came to my eyes as I sat and watched God make a way. He made a way for a family that has had to beg for extensions on payments each month in order to pay the fees for all their children. And he made a way through the love and compassion of people who love him on the other side of the world. No political border or language barrier should be the limit for our compassion. When I see people who love Christ sharing with people across the world it brings me deep joy. God brought us into this world to live in community. God uses his people to make a way for others, even when they live across the world. I have watched time and time again as God has provided in the most unexpected and beautiful ways for me and others living here in Ghana. Jesus told us that he is the Way, and his first followers were called those who were in the Way.  I witnessed what it looks like to live in the Way each day from the Aboagye family, and was so blessed to witness their joy at God's provision from others across the world living in the Way.  The way of love, compassion, and community. Joseph jumped up and started dancing, unable to contain his excitement as Kate and the kids sang. It was a moment that I can’t imagine forgetting. What a beautiful sight when people live in the Way. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Idea!

Every day in Ghana brings me surprises in the form of such great ideas I have never thought of before. I just can’t keep these good ideas to myself. Occasionally I may have to update you on the good ideas, they are just endless here! For today I have these few to share with you:

1. Take your chicken for a taxi ride. Hold it by its wings and give that fowl a joy ride.
2. Make every ceremony as long as possible. Church services, graduations, matriculations, funerals, dedications of buildings/babies, weddings… by the end your guests should be so tired, bored, hot and hungry that they will never forget the event.

3. Dry your cassava stalks by the roadside amidst the dirt and ants.

4. Name your business: Onlookers are Worried.

5. Paint your chicks pink so the hawks won’t eat them.

6. Pour half a bottle of oil in everything that you cook.

7. Stock up on Tummy Tuckers, the reject exercise product of the 80’s and sell it by the roadside in Accra. I’m sure they will sell like hotcakes.

8. Propose to a complete stranger, just because they have white skin.

9. Give a 5 year old a machete

10. Measure the door frame after you have cut the door.  Its like a fun game, see if you got it right! 

11. Load three times the capacity of cargo to be delivered on every truck, it might make it.

The BIG one

I feel like I have left so many gaps in my story here at the VOH, I wish I had time to write to you about so many things.  If you want to hear more just take me to coffee when I get home and I’ll talk your ear off.  This last week Caitlyn came back for a few brief days before flying out last night to the states.  I talked her and Tommy into going to see the biggest tree in West Africa. I have a fascination for trees, and couldn’t resist the chance to go and see the biggest one around.  It is tucked away in the rainforests a couple hours west of the VOH.  After a beautiful drive through rural villages and tall green trees we abruptly arrived at a signboard by the side of the road announcing the tree’s presence.  The tree was discovered over 400 years ago by a hunter wandering the forests, but must be at least 1000 years old.  My eyes were riveted to the tree from the moment we entered the clearing.  There are trees surrounding it so all you can do is stand by the trunk and stare up hundreds of feet into the branches and leaves of this beautiful natural masterpiece.  I seriously considered taking up residence in a hammock nearby or making myself a nice tree house to forever reside in the forests and drink the deep beauty of these ancient trees daily.  However, I had to settle for a nice late morning stroll through the forests listening to the sounds of the birds and insects humming and singing.   And you will have to settle for the cheap imitation rendered in this photograph.  

The loves of my life

The past week has been such a joy. I have rediscovered the joy of just being with the kids. They finished exams last week on Thursday and it has been so wonderful to just be with them and not have to be in the role of disciplinarian and educator all the time. The last 1.5 years I have scheduled myself in such a way that I barely have time to just sit down and have conversation and play soccer with them. I am excited about trying to do as little “work” as possible in the next few weeks so that I can just spend time loving on the kids. I am always jealous of visitors that come and get to just play all the time! I know it can’t always be like that, kids do need to know how to read, but for a few weeks I will relish this time.
There have been so many moments in the last week that I just stop and my heart bursts with love for my children. Yesterday I sat down next to a kid in the grass outside of my house, and within a matter of minutes we had a whole crowd sitting with us, Joseph with his tough exterior and heart just crying for attention, Francis with his sweet notes and gifts of mangoes, kids shouting my name from the field every time I pass, hugs from high schools home on break, walking the to the library for reading night and the Linary house children were fighting over who got to hold my hand, playing soccer for endless hours in the sand, reading stories with kids sitting on the steps, high fiving our 9th grade students as they walk out of their BECE exam room every day this week, watching groups of girls singing as they walk down the path to fetch water… I feel so blessed to be able to share love with these precious children. This week I have had such a renewed sense of joy at just being with them. With every knock on the door and request for batteries, bandages, pencils, etc. I strive to see the child whom Jesus formed and loves endlessly and my heart is full.