Friday, September 25, 2009
Me yε Ghanani (I am Ghanaian!)
Mary Kay writes:
I have been praying for a deeper love for Ghanaians. So many missionary biographies speak of the missionary’s overwhelming love for the people they are called to serve. I read that and think, “I don’t know if I really feel this way. Is there something wrong with me?” As I get caught up in the hassles and frustrations of another day, it can be easy to focus on irritation rather than love.
But recently, I have been in two conversations that opened my eyes. I bless these encounters for helping me to see my heart in a fresh, new light!
In the first, I sat with an expatriate I had just met, talking about the work that brings us to Ghana. As we got to know each other, this person started in on a lengthy diatribe against Ghanaians – so disparaging that it shocked me! I tried to defend Ghanaians, but this person would listen to none of that. Afterwards, I wondered why this person had stayed in Ghana so long, if s/he disliked the people so much. And I cried at the pain this apparent hatred brought me and must surely bring to Ghanaians.
In the second, I was at a party with a friend extolling the virtues of another part of Africa. I told her that we had been there, and enjoyed it, but had fallen in love with Ghana. In the face of a somewhat dismissive attitude about there being nothing to do here, I found myself passionately, almost irrationally, defending Ghana. I could see the point my friend was making, but my experiences in Ghana have been so radically different.
It was as I drove home from the party that the realization hit me. I DO have an overwhelming love for the people of Ghana. My God-given compassion for these people is what brings me here; it is what holds me in thrall to this country we now call home. How can I not thrill to the sounds of the Ghanaian national anthem, or jubilate over a Black Stars win, even as my heart stirs to the sounds of the Star-Spangled Banner? Yes, sometimes I want to cry with frustration or rant in anger at the things that are wrong here. But no society is perfect, because we humans are not perfect. As Jesus wept over Jerusalem, I ache for Ghana.
Love is not easy - whether in a marriage or a society - is it? May God ever strengthen my love for Ghana.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Luke 13:34, NIV)