Every ministry setting is as different as the people who live it, and Dave and Ellen’s commitment to each other and following Jesus in a relational way is certainly the product of who they are. For me it has been an exhaustive few days, and I get the feeling it is pretty typical for them. The verse not by my own strength, but by faith alone comes to mind. That is how they do it.
Tonga Oasis signboard
As for me I need a day of rest so on my last day we take in some touristy things, including a surprising visit to Tonga Oasis. Tonga Oasis is the beautiful, but still under construction destination that Dave and Ellen want me to see. We run into Gary, and old friend from 2009. Gary was the new guy in country we sold our old vehicle to when we were shipping out. He has now sold it but had five years of driving, and it is still going strong. I’m glad to know the rest of the story. Such a sweet surprise this divine encounter was of running into each other in a remote place. Gary had just stopped Tonga Oasis to say he was leaving Ghana for the next four months.
Gary & Friends
The second surprise was to see Tamales on the menu, which I had to try. They were tasty!
Tamales at Tonga Oasis
On my was out of Bolga we stop to see something we had only heard about from other missionaries, an ancient red mud fortress that rises above the smaller round and thatched roof buildings of the region.
Typical architecture of northern Ghana
The architecture of northern Ghana is so different than the south; homes are round, in collective compounds, and made of red mud and thatched roofs.
The Zayaa Mosque of Walagu
But this shrine has square corners, was built to be many levels, and looks more like it belongs in Santa Fe than the savannah of Ghana. I have no trouble imaging Luminaries atop its walls at Christmas.
Today known as the Zayaa Mosque, it dominates the landscape, making the mud houses that surround it look out of place, and ancient. Our guide tells us it was just built in the 1990s, using traditional materials and methods.
Sheik Abdul Karim, was given a vision for a house of prayer. In a series of dreams he was directed to this location and then given a vision that specified its design and purpose. The story goes that the morning after he came to Wulugu, a hand dug well appeared on the site. God had provided water. As the Sheik started building, new levels would appear in the night at he slept, as if some unknown person had continued building. In another dream, he heard “The land I have shown to you is a place to be kept holy.” Dave and I are invited to remove our shoes before we enter, this is holy ground.
Do you see the transparent man?
While our guide tells us this story, I look over and see what appears to be a man, a transparent man, sitting, watching us. I have that feeling of being watched, but don’t say anything to Dave. I snap a few pictures to make sure I’m not loosing it I’m wasn’t or imagining things I was.
Close up of “transparent man”
When we take off our shoes and go inside, I see transparent man up close, but I see is his shirt, on closer inspection, he goes away. The site makes me feel energized, adventurous, something our tour guide doesn’t quite know what to do with as I go scampering up any incline he points me to.
Though the Sheik built this as a house of prayer, it feels like a grown-up version mud of a McDonald’s PlayLand with all sorts of cool tunnels, turrets, and walls to climb. No wonder they keep the goats out, they would love this place.
Keep those goats out!
Now it is on to Togo where I visit our TMS friends Esaho & Beatrice Kipuke who serve in the northern town of Kara.
 Philippians 3:9