Join us on our faith journey as we follow Jesus to Ghana, West Africa!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bumpy Roads and Blessings

Mary Kay writes...

I just got back this morning from Wa in the far north-western corner of the country. It was a great trip and a wonderful time of fellowship and ministry, followed by a gruesome 16 hour bus ride.

Charlie and I drove to Wenchi last week (about an 8-hour drive) to participate in the dedication of the new Agricultural campus for the University. It was a wonderful ceremony, and a great chance for us to realize just how many people we have gotten to know here! While we were in Wenchi, we went by and presented a monetary gift from the Mission Society missionaries to the Wenchi bishop, whose parsonage burned to the ground last month! He had been studying simplicity, and has a great attitude about the whole thing - that God really wanted him to get this message about "stuff". Fortunately, he and his wife were out of the house at the time, so there were no injuries, etc.

Charlie and I also learned about cashews. We are all familiar with the nut. But the yellow fruit of the cashew is edible too. It is shaped like a small bell pepper, but very sweet and juicy.

John Russell, another of our missionary team, picked me up in Wenchi and drove me to his home in Wa, another 5 hours north of Wenchi. There I stayed with their family, including their 7 year old son and 3 year old daughter. It was a lot of fun and good fellowship - especially for Bess to have another adult to talk to, but it made me appreciate how grown up my boys are now! I did enjoy reading Dr. Seuss again, though.

Sunday, we went to worship in the village of Kongu - under one of the trees, as their church building is not yet complete. This is a village church that John and Bess planted about 5 months ago, and it is thriving! They only have the Gospel of Luke in their language of Dagare right now, though the Catholics are finishing up some other books which will be released soon. It was great to see how hungry they were for the Gospel and for worship!

Monday, John, his assistant, and I drove to Lawra, about 2 hours north of Wa in the very northwestern corner of Ghana, to visit the Methodist Integrated Health Project there. They have a nutrition center, clinic, orphanage, and HIV/Aids center - and not enough water, which is why I went. After looking over the situation and talking to leaders in the town, I think we will be able to put a new borehole on their campus to alleviate their chronic water shortages. Some of their buildings are on the town's water system, but there just isn't enough water for all their needs, especially the vegetable and moringa plot for nutrition supplementation. I am really excited about being able to help, and I think this will be a good first project.

We returned to Wa on Monday afternoon to find that the Wa pastor's wife, Gifty, who I had met on Saturday, had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday evening with severe burns on her arms, lower legs, and to a lesser degree on her face. She had been cooking in a gas oven and the flame went out. When she went to relight the oven, the built-up gas flared and burned her badly. To make matters worse, this is the week that her husband is being installed as the Superintending minister (a little like a DS) in Wa, with festivities and lots of visitors, family, etc. coming to town. Of course Gifty hates that she will miss it all - but the women of the church are stepping up to take over her hostess duties. She should be released from the hospital today or tomorrow, but of course, the healing will take a long time. Please pray that she heals rapidly and that infection does not set in!

Tuesday, I was supposed to return to Accra, but on Monday, we had heard that the American Ambassador was coming to Wa on Wednesday to meet with Pastor Amos (Gifty's husband) about a water project for one of his village churches. We decided it would be a good idea for me to stay for this, so my bus ticket was changed to Thursday. Then we found out that the visit was delayed until at least which time it was too late to catch the Tuesday bus (service is only on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). Oh well, it really was great to spend additional time with the Russells. I was also able to bring some letters and other items back to Accra for Marjorie, the Lawra clinic manager, which gave us more opportunity to build our new relationship. And it gave me a day to shop for a smock for Charlie (Wa is known for this type of weaving), as well as some down time.

So that brings us to Thursday and my big bus adventure. There is a song from one of the kids' favorite cartoons (Arnold) about "Riding on the Crazy Bus" - well now I've done it!! The bus was supposed to be an air-conditioned motorcoach (greyhound type), and was rumored to show movies (Nigerian soap opera type) for most of the trip. Well - it was a bus, but that was about all the similarities! The usual bus needed repairs, so we got an un-airconditioned, no frills bus, similar in comfort level to a typical city bus - except that the shocks were really bad, so it felt more like you were riding in a school bus. Fortunately, the children on the bus were all very quiet - there was the real potential for screaming babies on this one. The only noisy person was the guy sitting across the aisle and one row behind me, who decided he had to "entertain" the only foreigner on the bus. He started by telling me not to think that all of Ghana was like this, as we were bumping over the three-hour section of dirt road. I told him I knew it wasn't because I lived here, and that I was used to the bumpy roads. So then he decided he had to give me language lessons - not in Twi, since I already know some, but in Ga and Ewe at the same time. Finally a couple of the other passengers got him to leave me alone, so the rest of the trip was pretty quiet. But every hour or so, the bus would just quit working - kind of stall out. So I just kept praying that each time it would start again - and it did. Whew! So we left Wa at about 2:30 yesterday afternoon and arrived here in Accra at 5:45 this morning! What an adventure! Our driver picked me up at the station (where he had been waiting for me since 3 am when the bus was supposed to arrive), and we got home just in time to send the boys off to school.


Angela said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I can't tell you what it means to me to be reading about all of your adventures while you are serving in Ghana. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

I've no idea how I ended up here...but I can tell you why I'll be back for more...
I was born in Wenchi in 1961 to a couple of British Methodist Missionaries who later moved to Kumasi (pa was Headmaster at Freeman College, I've no idea if that still exists...)..!
I'm an amateur to Internet and blogging but I'm loving every second of my "virtual journey...I'll be back :)

India j said...

Small world we live in...I was born in Wenchi 1961 where my parents were Methodist Missionaries (British)..!
Love your blog :)