Out of Africa
The republic of Ghana is country in West Africa bordering the Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana means warrior king. Ghana (previously known as the Gold Coast) was the first African nation to achieve independence from the United Kingdom in 1957. The climate is tropical and Accra, the capital, extremely hot and humid. Ghana is well endowed with natural resources including gold, timer, cocoa, diamond, bauxite and manganese, although poverty is evident everywhere. Nonetheless, Ghana remains one of the more economically sound countries in all of Africa. Accra, a city with a population of 2,096,653 is the largest city as well as the capital of Ghana.
Finally! I was on my way to Ghana to meet up with team mate Ted, after several years of frustrated attempts to minister there. Upon my arrival in Accra, I was met by Tom Newell, and went straight to the scheduled meeting. According to my watch it was 3 in the morning, but I was excited, My first impression of the Ghanaians was that they were a joyful, colourful, child-like people who loved to dance in worship. They even taught me a few cool moves!
After the first meeting I was driven to the Agape Guest House, very comfortable accommodation hosted by Tom and Cathy Newell. It was a little unnerving to note that this beautiful home was surrounded by a barbed wire fence and that bars protected the windows, and 24 hour guard protected the grounds, however we soon discovered that rampant theft necessitated these measures.
Due to the water shortage, early morning cold showers jolted me to a quick start to the day, however they turned out to be quite refreshing in the light of the high humidity and hot, hot temperatures. We were greeted every morning with a bright sunny African sky, chirping geckos and a few brightly colored lizards along the brick pathway to the main house, on our way to breakfast. Cathy and her helper Paulina provided five star meals which was quite a feat considering the shortage of staples and exorbitant cost of food.
Our first three days of meetings began were held in the Agape House New Testament Church in Accra. Our hosts for these meetings were Rick and Donna Whitcomb, Reverend of the Church and Directors of the Agape Gospel Mission and the Agape Children’s Home. We taught and demonstrated to many church leaders and Pastors, a bondage breaking seminar which we now call Beyond Freedom. (Formerly Set Free to Soar.) These faithful men and women were eager and attentive to learn and received significant insight into the various bondages that can creep into our lives and hinder us from walking into our destiny in Christ. We were very excited to hear over and over testimonies of new found freedom. Following this training time, we opened the meetings to the public and with the help of those who had taken the training, ministered to the larger body. Again the ministry times were very powerful and well received.
On our final day, we had opportunity to visit the Agape House Children’s Home, which is located in the rural area of Accra. This incredible home of justice and mercy provides shelter, food, and nurture, as well as schooling for 91 beautiful children. As young as they are, they have been tragically wounded through tribal disputes, brutality, desertion, death, and poverty and yet through the love of Jesus manifested through the Agape House workers, these children are growing spiritually and developing into well adjusted, happy, healthy boys and girls.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. NIV
Agape’s plans for a new School on the property are on the drawing board and we are praying for completion as soon as possible. If you would like more information about this very worthwhile project, please connect to them directly.
This was my second visit to Africa however, my first ministry trip here. On reflection of this trip, my mind is full of first impressions – the warmth and hospitality of the Ghanaian people, the smile of a two year old lad who was found wounded and deserted at a roadside, the miles of sprawling poverty contrasted with the beauty of tropical forests and inhabitants, the smells of sweat and the sight of tears as worshippers danced and sang, the incredible sadness I couldn’t shake after walking through the dank, moldy dungeons of Elmino Castle, a grim reminder of the days of slavery, $20.00 for a jar of Instant Nescafe Coffee, red dirt roads and crazy drivers, elegantly postured women carrying heavy loads of various produce and drinking water, all precariously balanced on their heads, and ice cold Fanta and lunch at the Coconut Grove Hotel overlooking the most beautiful sandy beach just a few meters away. Thank you Rick and Donna for this amazing opportunity and for your incredible hospitality – we will be prayerfully considering your invitation to Ghana and Nigeria in 2009/2010.