Here is the article that appeared in the Austin American Statesman. [click here] to read on-line, or read below.
Williamson County couple headed to Ghana as missionaries
By Claire Osborn
Published: 10:23 p.m. Sunday, July 8, 2012
GEORGETOWN — Steve Buchele, an assistant pastor at St. Phillips United Methodist Church in Round Rock, and his wife, Suzanne, a Southwestern University professor, know where they really belong: Ghana in West Africa. They were chosen this spring to be missionaries there for five years by the national nonprofit Mission Society.
The Bucheles, who have three children, said they previously lived in Ghana for a few years teaching and preaching and fell in love with the country. Suzanne Buchele, a Fulbright scholar, spent June teaching computer science as a volunteer at Ashesi University located in Berekuso, Ghana. She will also be teaching at the university when she returns as a missionary in 2013.
“There’s so few people who have Ph.D.s like me, and even fewer have them in math or computer science,” she said. Life is hard in Ghana — electricity is spotty, the roads are terrible and people don’t know English that well, she said.
“One way to help the people over there is to educate them,” Suzanne Buchele said. “One teacher affects hundreds of students.”
Steve Buchele lived in Ghana as a child when his father taught agricultural engineering at the University of Ghana in 1968 and 1969. He returned to Ghana in 2006 when his wife won a Fulbright scholarship to teach at Ashesi University, and they both stayed until 2008, he said.
During that time, he became an intern for the Mission Society, and his job included working with a church youth group, preaching and accompanying short-term mission teams who came to work at the Lake Bosumtwi Medical Clinic, he said.
The work done at the medical clinic left him with strong memories, he said.
“Worship was amazing over there,” Steve Buchele said. “The high point was the offering where everybody would dance and sing and bring gifts forward. When somebody sang, it was coming from the heart and it was not a performance.”
The only way to tell residents that medical supplies had arrived at the clinic was to bang on a steel beam that would echo around the lake, he said.
He said he sometimes had to explain the local culture to the mission teams at the clinic.
“When a baby died and the team had trouble with why the mother had waited five days before bringing the baby to the clinic, I explained how she must have gone to the local spiritualist doctor first and later decided to try Western medicine when the fever did not go down.”
When he came back to the U.S. in 2008, Steve Buchele said he found that being in Ghana had changed him. His family’s life became simpler because they were less concerned about keeping up with trends such as seeing the latest movie or television show. “We still love those things, but they don’t define us anymore,” he said.
“I realized that it’s not what you do that will last but the relationships that you build,” he said. When he returns to Ghana in the summer of 2013 for the Mission Society, he said he will work on establishing a church at Ashesi University.
The Mission Society, based in Georgia, chose the Bucheles because “they have demonstrated the kind of learning and humility we are looking for in missionaries,” said Jim Ramsay, a vice president for the society. “They are not coming to Ghana to solve everybody’s problems.”
Ghana has “a mature church tradition,” he said, and the Methodist church of Ghana is about 200 years old.
The multidenominational Mission Society sends missionaries to about 40 countries, Ramsay said. The Bucheles said they will be raising money for the society this year to help pay for their assignment.
Steve Buchele said he and his wife can’t wait to return. “When we are there, I feel like we are being the people that God was thinking about when God created us,” he said.
Contact Claire Osborn at 246-7400