I wonder how the Interns are all adapting to village life. I know Suzanne and I felt honored to welcome them to Ghana, or as they say here. Akwabba, or “You are Welcome!” We look forward to next fall, being continue to help our friends Andrew and Ju, and really any missionaries that want someone to pick up their people at the airport and/or help them transition to Ghana. As I have explored my call to ministry next year, I see it as being one of helping those who are already established in the mission field.
[teachers leading children at Paul & Anne’s Orphanage]
When you consider that Ghana is 68% Christian, rising from 50% in the 1980s, it seems to me that much of the work that missionaries do is building relationships with those on front lines of local church, and the place I am most useful is in supporting them. Consider that there is, at least in Accra, there is a large expatriate community which very well may be the largest unreached people group in Ghana. These ones who work in the 1000s of NGOs here, or in the embassy, or business sector who might not connect well with the local practices of Christian worship.
For the Emily, Kirk and Deneise, I think my part was offering a sort of Ghana Evangelism course, showing them around Accra, and being their tour guide and giving them the Ghana 101 course. For me, this was an act of remembering, where I recalled one aspect I loved about being a pastor, that it isn’t all that different from being a tour guide. A tour guide knows the landscape, people and history, and as one who has been there, and loves the place, and wants to introduce it to others so that they will also. That’s what I loved about being a pastor, and having Interns here, showing them Accra, riding the Trotros, and taxis and just watching the excitement on their faces as they were seeing Ghana for the first time, I remembered that same excitement on people’s faces when Jesus becomes real to them for the first time.
It helps confirm my plans for next year, and this Internship with the Mission Society that I have applied for. It will center around three primary areas:
Elim International Family Church Youth Group – Continue to help with Youth Group. Currently this is in the area of music, and worship team development.
Asbury-Dunwell Church – Continue on the pastoral care team, Pulpit Supply, web-page development, and serving on their Board of Elders. [click here]
Short Term Mission Teams – I will offer my services to accompany short-term mission teams from the States as a “chaplain” who would be available to help in areas outside the scope of the mission. For example, meeting people at the airport, organizing nightly worship service, checking in with each short-term team member during the trip, or helping debrief and seek understanding of what is going on both inside and out as the week progressed.
[Grace, pointing to Ghana]
I do not see this as full time work, my primary responsibility will still revolve around my family, though we are losing Grace to a boarding school in Japan. Since we hosted an exchange student from Germany (in 1995-6), we have encouraged our kids to think about spending a year abroad, either in high school or college. Though having Grace spend her 10th grade year abroad wasn’t perhaps our first choice, staying in Ghana for another year wasn’t on her short list either. “Figure something else out,” we told her, and so she did, and we feel God’s peace about letting our middle child escape her brother’s shadow, and very eager and interested and sometimes invasive Ghanaian young men, for a year.
This week we travel to the states for 60 days, after a brief stop over in London. Transitions are always hard, and we’ve learned over the years, a transition can be made easier if there is some sort of buffer between them, and for us, that will be London.