Tuesday, April 28, 2009

March 29th AFN Missions Day at PHC

Today was our presentation to our church regarding our trip. Except that the Holy Spirit decided to interrupt! What an awesome service.

God is calling us back to surrender. To living set apart for Him. To live diffrently. Something that has been a personal challenge for me, especially since returning from Africa.

Since I didnt get to share all about our trip, I decided to post the section of my notes that were about the trip. I write out my sermons word for word...helps me process my thoughts, so it should be easy to follow. I will also post the video and more pictures!!!

March 29, 2009 Jody and I want to thank all of you for believing in us and supporting us. We love you and it was an honor to be an extension of this Body in Ghana. But I need to tell you, this trip only wet our appetite. We are anxious to get back “home” and back to the work God has for us there.

The video you just watched was just a glimpse into what our life was like in Ghana and what the people of Ghana are like. You just got a glimpse at our true home. We love our family and we love all of you, and the luxuries of America are great, but our hearts, our home is in Kumasi Ghana. God has truly knit our hearts with theirs, and we could not get back quick enough.

Ghanaians are the kindest most giving people you will find. They are very welcoming, hospitable, and loving.Jody and I’s main goals for our trip was to first of all see how our kids would adapt, and also to get a better grasp on the Canaan Life Project.

Our kids did great. They adapted better than us! They did miss their family, but they really enjoyed Africa. Which was such a relief to us. Our prayer has always been that they would share in the work God has given us to do, not just be there because we made them.They had to put up with a lot. Bad food, long car rides, people constantly swarming them and touching them, but they took it like champs.

Son was really not going along with the whole food thing. He is a really picky eater, but by the end he was asking for more. And he will tell you his favorite thing about Africa is that there is no melted cheese, which he absolutely hates. But he loves pizza---go figure!

Daughter is a trooper. She ate everything without much complaint, and reached out to the other kids, and even got up and sang a song with mommy during church. God’s little gift to her was during our last few days, Frank’s neighbor, and good friend came home from Accra, and brought his daughter with him. She is Daughter’s age, and she knows all about Hannah Montana, so they played “Hannah montana” for two days straight. Daughter thought it was amazing.·

Canaan LifeCanaan Life Project as most of you know is was founded by pastor Frank to help get his people out of poverty by teaching biblical financial principles. It teaches the people to tithe, and save, and run their own small business.Speaking of tithing.

Africans know how to take an offering. They have a minimum of 4 offerings on Sunday morning. Your first is the tithes and offerings. Then there is an offering of worship, then an offering of thanksgiving, and then, and this was my favorite, the tithes, in which all of the members/regular attenders brought up their offering records with their tithe in it. They do not mess around!

Although he has been working on this project for over 2 years, he has not gotten very far. Nothing happens fast in Africa. He has several participants in Kumasi, but is having trouble moving beyond the Kumasi church. It is not the program itself, which is great. It is getting the people on board with the concept that God does not mean for them to be poor.

They believe that they are just to keep on keepin on until Jesus comes back. For most of them, when we came to tell them about God’s desire to bless them, it was the first that any one had ever told them that God desires for them to prosper and be successful. And these are people in the church!

We are working with generations and generations of strongholds. Ghanaians are extremely hard workers, but they have a lazy mind set, believing that anyone who has more than them should give them a hand out…sound familiar?? That lazy mind set has kept them in bondage. It has kept them poor and ignorant.

It is a stronghold that will take a new generation rising up and saying, no, I no longer choose to live as a pauper. I am a kings kid and I am going to live like one. It is going to take a new generation to say, God has given me the gifts and talents to care for myself and bless others. We are not talking, either, about a prosperity message of mansions and bmw’s. we are talking about prosperity to have enough to eat and live.

On our way to Oda, we stopped to get some coconuts. We bought about 12 at 10 peswe's each. The man was so happy. He said God had heard his prayer that he would sell a coconut today. Who knows how long he will have to make that small amount of money stretch. This is just one example of the poverty in Ghana.This is the practical ministry need in Ghana. The hands on need.

Canaan Life needs further development of educational/discipleship classes and well as implementation and oversight of the program in the villages. This is what we will be doing. While we are here in America, we will be working on developing materials for the project and raising funds and grants for the project. When we go back, which we hope is very soon, we will be the project coordinators. Traveling to the villages to teach and help with the program and other various projects.

This practical need is not the only need. Ghana, much like the American church is very religious. They take church very seriously, and EVERYONE believes in God. But for many, that is as far as it goes. There is no intimacy with the Father. There is not a knowledge of the father’s heart. God said to make disciples, not converts, but sadly, the church has failed so much in this area. We leave people with a dangerous half knowledge of the ‘good news.’ It is more than a get out of hell free card. Jesus has so much more to give us, if we will only follow him. We want to teach them to follow.

And then, there is the ‘other’ side of Ghana. The dark side. The side that the girl inside me who so desires to take the road less traveled wants to see touched for Jesus. Ghana is 50% professing Christians. The other half is Muslim. Do not believe what the media and our ‘president’ want you to believe about this religion. It is not peaceful religion. It is a religion that is destroying lives around the world while the majority of the Christian world just sits back and watches.

We could always tell when we were going into a more Islamic section of town without even being told. It was more poor and sad and more hopeless than other parts of town. The upper ¼ of the country, called the upper volta, is almost completely musilm. Because of the violence, the entire region goes under cerfew and military control at 4pm in the afternoon.

Our dear Cecilia, whom we love, says it will make you cry and cry. She says the people are so sad and dirty, and simply hopeless.All the other stuff is great, and I know God has called us to do it. Canaan Life is a wonderful evangelistic opportunity, but our desire is to see the many people groups of Ghana that have yet to hear and understand who Jesus really is and what he did for them. And it doesn’t stop in Ghana.

The Ivory Coast has always tugged on my heart. All of the west African nations are in need of the gospel. See, they are the road less traveled. They are the ignored African territory. But just imagine, if there is a Jesus movement in these nations that are open to the gospel but primarily Islamic, just imagine what they can do to their neighbors to the north, the closed nations of the middle east?

Many have asked what is your plan? What did you do and what do you want to do? When are you going back? I wish I had all those answers. While we were there, we preached, built relationships, studied and promoted the canaan life project, and did a lot of waiting around. A lot of waiting. A lot of reading and praying and dreaming and talking. Our plan? What we want to do? We want to go back, set up camp, and get to work. And we want to do it soon.

In the mean time, there are hurting and broken people in need of a savior wherever we go. We are going to keep our eye on Africa. We are actively persuing his call and actively persuing getting back there. In the next few weeks you will begin to get more information about what we are doing while in the US to help with Canaan Life, and what our plans are for returning. But in the mean time, we are going to be hard at work here. Gone are the days of idleness. We cannot afford to be ilde. The church cannot afford to be idle any longer. God’s calling is active no matter your location.

No comments: