Mary Kay writes:
I first visited Koduakrom in 2010. This little rural farming village is about 30 minutes outside of Sunyani, the capital of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana, which is the breadbasket of Ghana. Farmers here grow bananas, plaintain, coco yams, palm nuts (for palm oil) and other staples of the Ghanaian diet. But it was a somewhat depressing little collection of crumbling mud huts with thatched roofs, one borehole that dries up every year during the dry season, and two cement block buildings – churches – on either end of the village. The Methodist chapel was roofed, but not finished – no plaster, windows or doors.
Back again two years later, my fifth or sixth visit, we celebrated a new day in Koduakrom. The village has a new deeper borehole that will not dry out, thanks to the generosity of my friends at St. John’s UMC in Edwardsville, IL. Everyone in the village is excited about this improvement, especially the children who will not miss school due to waterborne disease as often as in the past.
The Methodist Chapel has been completed as well, thanks to friends at Asbury UMC in Madison, AL. A team from there came this past November to Koduakrom and participated in a revival in the village. At the same time, they were moved to contribute funds toward the completion of the chapel. My dear friend and colleague, Bishop Kofi Asare-Bediako, also remembered his pledge to build a chapel at Koduakrom from the early 90s, when he was a minister in their circuit. So now they have a beautiful Easter egg colored church to remind them of their new life in Jesus – yellow for the light of Christ in our lives, blue for His living water, pink for joy. Villagers report that the church is growing and has a renewed hope for their future.
There is a beautiful grove of mango trees started around the chapel now, too, a gift from the Bishop as well. So in a few years, the church and its members will have the income from the mangoes they grow to augment their coffers – money that will be used to support the widows and orphans of the village.
Lastly, a school is under construction – right across the road from the Methodist Chapel. This is being funded by the local District Assembly, as it should be, but there has never been a school in Koduakrom before now. Schoolchildren have had to walk a couple of kilometers to attend the nearest school in the next village. What a blessing that they will soon be able to attend school in their own village.
Things are definitely looking up in Koduakrom. You could see it in the smiles on peoples' faces and the hugs and warm greetings I received when I got out of the car. The people of Koduakrom also gave us a traditional "thanksgiving" gift from their harvest - plaintain, coco yams, a goat (live!), and palm nuts - all the ingredients for fufu and palm nut soup. I can’t wait to come back in two or three more years to see the changes here, all because its citizens now have pride in their community and hope in the future. And I can’t wait to taste one of their delicious mangoes !
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life..." (Psalm 23:5-6a, NIV)