Returning to Ghana, part 1

Our firstborn is a high school graduate from Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana.

Suzanne and I returned to Ghana to witness and celebrate the event and with us, brought a little bit of Texas for our friends: 18lbs of mesquite smoked beef brisket, Stubbs BBQ Sauce, El Lago corn tortilla chips, Velvieeta queso and plenty Central Market flour tortillas. It was a grand graduation party, but the best part was seeing the sheer pleasure the brisket wraps brought to our friends. “This is really good,” we heard watching folks go back three or four times.

The other, and ongoing, part of our trip was to see if we still got “that lovin’” feeling about Ghana. We had had two remarkable years there, some of the happiest times of our life, and 11 months away from it, we went there wondering “would this place still pull so strongly at our heart strings?”

Fox had stayed in Ghana when we returned, living with our dear friends The Mozleys. and in country, we got to enjoy their famous “Boy’s Quarters” where so many interns (Tatum, Rebecca…), and visiting friends had stayed. It felt like a right of passage.

[Fox and his Ghana Family and Tori]

Arriving on Friday night, I preached at Elim International Family Church, and played guitar with the youth group I used to help with, who also lead the worship music that morning. Olivia is leading the group now, they sound great, are doing challenging music, and doing it well. What joy it was sing, and see the God honoring worship leaders these young people have become. Their spirit was servant-like, their musicality, superb, and it made me proud to have once been a part of this group, and to see what they have become.

It was fun to be preaching in the African context again, their responsiveness, the seemingly unlimited time to speak (I think I spoke for 30 minutes), and the deep hunger to just hear a word from The Lord. At the second service it was light out in this usually well air conditioned room, so the heat inside was rather intense. I don’t ever remember the electricity going out during any worship service.

I didn’t blog while in Ghana this time, in part because I didn’t have my computer, or regular access to the internet, but also unlike when we were here, I didn’t want to share my thoughts so quickly. In those days I posted our life and the African experience as it happened, this time was it was reserved, it was our time, and I didn’t want the shared observations to shape what we were doing.

“Ghana is Changing-oooo,” Michael said that first night. The oooo tagged on to a verb, well really anything, to add emphasis. He speaks from firsthand experience. His family was robbed at gunpoint some six weeks ago, and the emotional bruises still ache. Many homes in the area where our friend’s live have been robbed, and the attacks seem to be getting more violent. I remember the first year we were here, two of the Ashesi professors were robbed in our neighborhood, being forced to lie face down in the dirt with a gun to their head, while their belongings were taken. They both left the country at the end of the term, and I wondered then about the long term affect this act of violence had, scaring off those who have come to help Ghana. Michael had the same experience of laying face down, while his kids were held outside, and Claire showed the armed robbers around the house.

Equally disturbing is the lack of press coverage about the robberies. If you are not a part of the community that is being hit, it is likely you have not heard about it, and certainly not in the Daily Graphic.

So that felling of threat was always with us, especially at night when we would call ahead to have someone ready to open the gate, and close it quickly before the compound was crashed. One night we drove by it several times, not sure the intensions of the car following us, nor the one oddly parked just ahead of the gate. It was the same night Fox graduated, and tension driving around, wondering is it safe, was in odd contrast to the joy experience earlier. In fact two days before the graduation ceremony, the principal of the International School was also robbed. Now as I’m writing this and watering our lawn so the homeowners association won’t send us another threatening letter about our brown grass, I wonder about my place in this life here. Brown grass, geesh.

I was listening to my pastor yesterday talk about a formerly successful colleague who was not so at peace with what his life had become, his station in life. That is me, I thought and I don’t want to be that guy, caught in what is, and wanting something else. “It is already written,” an Indian friend of mine would say dragging his two fingers across his forehead in resignation. The two fingers reveal your station in life as already written across your forehead only you cannot read it, only experience their meaning. Is this season of life, or a station? Is it just for now, or for always?

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One thought on “Returning to Ghana, part 1

  1. Welcome home and congratulations on the graduation. Glad to hear the Worship has not changed, if there was more of it, there would be less crime. Lets have lunch. Larkin P.S. Ecclesiastes 11:1 :o)

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