Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
November 5, 2010 Newsletter #10
Your Assignment – "God is at work in the world, and He wants you to join Him. This assignment is called your mission and it is different from your ministry. Your ministry is your service to believers in the Body of Christ, while your mission is your service to unbelievers in the world. God created you for both." – Rick Warren
Come through this day with us. Get a picture of this. See if you can see us….A van ride holding 9 team members and the van driver going down dirt roads filled with more holes and gullies than you have ever seen. This ride is an hour and ½ long – it's like a roller coaster ride that every muscle and bone feels. We arrive Galenshegu (Ga len shaw) village where many children and some adults were already waiting and waving at us. (This is the village we were at on Monday & were not able to do the clinic) So we all disembark the van and make our way through the crowd to scope out shade. Yes, shade. Shade is of utmost importance when you're out doing "bush clinic and evangelism". So, look around, there are a few trees providing minimum shade, from the 100+ degrees heat, (van is under one) and then there is the church building - yep it has windows, but minimal air flow. Oh, don't forget we've got to have the right place, for security reasons, to set the "pharmacy" area up. The church is chosen. Come on in, there is a doorway with no door – what a concept, a church that's never closed, whose door is always open. On the right as a villager steps in, there we are: Cindy, Susan and me – each with our own interpreter and a bench in front of us for villagers to sit on and explain to us what "pains" them. After leaving us, each is guided, usually by Phyllis to one of 3 tables, where they sit on a green bench and wait for their medication to be filled by Jeff, the "pharmacist" or Lena. With their medication there comes an explanation by Lynne, Mike or Don, through an interpreter. After leaving this area they will exit out a side door and no matter how young or old or short or tall they are, they get a "sweetie" (dum-dum lollipop). All throughout their experience they will, more than once, receive a hand shake, been welcomed in the Name of Jesus, given a warm and caring smile, a touch, and have been prayed for. Between 10:00am and 1:30 pm we had seen approximately 206 villagers.
Now what can a simple injury to the leg of an African child do? It can become so infected that it causes the leg to swell and the child be in terrible pain. As Cindy worked, the child crying, Phyllis came over to her & began singing to her about Jesus' love. The most amazing thing happened. The child stopped crying &calmed down so Cindy could finish cleaning the wound, releasing the pus from the large abscess, bandage the child and provided her with much needed antibiotics.. Now had God not given us this opportunity to serve in this village, this young village girl could have surely died of a systemic infection.
Throughout the many years that Susan has been serving the Lord on the missionary field of Africa, I know that today was not the first time she has had to look into the eyes of a mother and tell her that her child was dying. A mother, as each woman on the team is, carried in her arms her 2 year old daughter who was nothing but skin and bones and looked like a baby. This 2 year old child was dying from malnourishment even as it feed from her mother's breast. We know this happens in all third world countries, but no matter where it happens, it's a child, dying because it doesn't get enough food. Susan also saw a woman who came in simply because we were there and she was depressed due to miscarrying her first baby, only a week earlier, due to a snake bite. Our Father in Heaven calls us to serve where we serve because He has a purpose for us being there.
We saw several people who had an extra digit on either one hand or both. Several who were blind and many who complained of eye pain and burning. Eye pain and burning is a common complaint considering the amount of smoke the villagers are exposed to, due to their cooking fires being in their huts. Many complain of diarrhea, stomach pain, and worms. Many children complained of body itching and were covered in sores from bug bites.
Do you have a mental vision now? Though our time in the village was only three and half hours long, we pray the impact is life changing. We left the village and took our bumpy ride back to Seed Ministries arriving covered in red dirt from head to toe. What a site we all are. I arrive back to the comforts of Seed Ministry knowing where my next meal will come from, that I am going to get to take a cool shower, put on clean clothes and rest in the comforts of sheltered protection. I think of the many we've seen throughout the week who don't have any of these comforts and I thank God for sending missionaries, sending us, to reach a loving hand out to them.
So, the mission that God planned, organized and ordained here in Ghana has come to an end. We have been mere servants that He used to reach many villagers/tribes with His Love. Our simple handshakes, touches, or smiles, we can only pray has planted a seed of curiosity as to, "why are they here & who is this Jesus they are sharing?" We saw over 1000 villagers this week – what a Blessed opportunity to share of ourselves the way that God called us to. Though this is my (Rhonda) 6th missionary trip, I am still at awe how those with so little have such a welcoming and kind greeting with a warm smile. We praise God for every villager, the dirt roads filled with holes, the heat, our interpreters, but most importantly we praise God for His Son, our Lord and Savior who calls us to the mission field to serve Him. Thank you again to all who has helped us be here and remember – if you can't be a traveling missionary, support one. – Rhonda
Sunday, November 07, 2010
I awoke this morning to find the 10 people whom I have spent every minute of the past 12 days not here. The team has dispersed onto their separate paths. Johnny & Dan had left us on Friday headed home. Mike flew out last night headed home. Don, Phyllis, Lynne, & Lena fly out this morning headed to Myanmar for their next mission. Susan, Rhonda, Jeff, & I headed to Cape Coast to learn more of the history of Ghana.
Ghana is a new ministry frontier for us. Part of being able to learn about a new culture is to learn about its past. So with that thought, we felt it was important to use some of our personal resources to come & learn about the history of this country. Slavery is deeply rooted in African history, even before colonization. Ghana, known as the Gold coast, was a land rich in resources, which made it a prime target for exploitation. Centuries ago, one of the major exports was slaves. Understanding the past, where a country & its people have been, helps us to understand who the people are today. We pray that the insights we will get will help us to learn how best to minister to them as our relationships here grow in the future.
As we toured the Cape Coast Slave Castle, one of the 2 slave castles here, two thoughts kept haunting me…. How can we be so cruel to our fellow man? When will we learn the lessons of allowing such evil to proliferate in our world? The darkness that shrouds these thoughts is only bearable by 2 other thoughts…. That man is resilient & is capable of change. And ultimately, that sin & death have been conquered for eternity by the blood of Christ. The darkness of the cell, that centuries ago held 200 men for up to 3 months. The markings 1-2 feet up from the ground on the wall marking the height of feces & death were a reminder that many today are still living in darkness with unforgiven sin & death – an eternal death in hell. Unlike those men & women, of centuries ago, who did not have a choice about their circumstance, we do have a choice. A choice to accept the love of a Savior who was willing to leave heaven, come to earth to live as a man, & then die an incomprehensible death. This choice is available to all of humanity, but some have not heard of Jesus. Romans 10: 14-15 states "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to the? And how can they preach unless they are sent?" My only thought while standing in the darkness of that cell was "thank you Lord, thank you for dying for me, prisoner to sin, that I may be set free."
Monday we will head back to Accra to prepare to fly home Tuesday morning.
God has done an amazing work here. Thank you so much for all of the love, support, & prayers!
You can also follow us at: www.CindyAlbertsonMissions@blogspot.com
Friday, November 5, 2010
November 5, 2010 Newsletter #9
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is filled with stories of faithful servants. Many of whom never saw the fruits of their labors or the completion of God's promise given them. What they did see was God working through them to bring about His glory. But in order for God to work through them, they had to be willing to allow God's will for their live – no matter what that was. The paths they trod were sometimes very difficult, and sometimes unto a horrific death. The outcome of their faithfulness was beyond anything they could have ever envisioned & is recorded for all of eternity. God is the creator and orchestrator – His glory is being revealed through all who are faithful & willing. Am I faithful? Am I willing?
As the last day here in Tamale, Ghana dawns we have great sadness and joy - sadness to be leaving here & joy of seeing our families or headed onto a new mission. We came as a fragmented group, arriving at different times & from different places. We bonded & became one. Now it is time for us to begin separating & going in different directions. Johnny & Dan left this morning for their flight home. We already feel like part of us is missing (they've only been gone for 1 hr). The rest of us leave tomorrow morning, some heading home & some headed onto Myanmar for a new mission work.
We came, faithful to God's call. We have planted seeds, tilled some ground, & been blessed seeing a harvesting here. We will never know, this side of heaven, the impact of the work we have done, but God knows. Although we have tried to keep track of the "numbers" that is not the important part. If only one person gave his life to Christ from the work done here this week, it would have all been worth it.
Today we return to the village of Galenshegu, where we were on Monday to have clinic. Due to the larger than expected clinic at Gua that day, we were unable to have the clinic at Galenshegu.
Please keep Johnny & Dan in your prayers as they travel home & us in your prayers as we have our final day of ministry work here.
You can also follow us at: CindyAlbertsonMissions@blogspot.com
Thursday, November 4, 2010
November 4, 2010 Newsletter #8
"You are here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-seasonings of this earth . . .You are here to be light bringing out the God colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept." Matthew 5:13-14 The Message
This is one of the few times in my life I am finding words hard to come by. I know this day will stay forever in my mind and the people of the Dikpuni Village will remain in my heart. This village was about two hours from Tamale over dusty, pot-holed roads. As we approached, the people began to hesitantly approach. They greeted us with smiles and much curiosity but soon warmed up to our presence. We broke off into two teams – Cindy, Susan, Don, Rhonda with the health seminar and evangelism presentation and Phyllis, Lena, Mike, Jeff, Dan and myself with the children. The adults listened intently to the health and sanitation presentation while the children learned about Jesus, sang songs and played fun games. It amazes me how the simplest, home-made games are like gold to these children. To hear their laughter and giggles was the best music I have heard in a long time.
The second half of the afternoon was the medical clinic. For the next three and half hours in the hot sun we met the many needs of 423 people with medical supplies and assistance. The needs were so overwhelming and the people so humble and thankful. Again I was brought to tears as I looked up and saw men, women and children lined up in the hot, blistering sun waiting for whatever medicines they could get. Many waited for hours just to get a pack of 30 daily vitamins and received them as the greatest treasure they had ever received. I can't help but think of how we take so much for granted. I know I will never take another vitamin or Tylenol without seeing these people's faces and remembering their needs.
Johnny spent the afternoon with the Chief of Sognayilli. He was taken the Mega Voice Box for his village which contains the God Story in their language. He was very grateful and said he would listen to it often and share it with his village.
While we were making our way back to Tamale, Johnny headed off to another village for a crusade. The crusade ended with follow-ups for tomorrow, praise God.
On the fun side, the Chief of Dikpuni presented us with a guinea hen and the Chief of Sognayilli presented Johnny with a rooster! Lynne
November 2 & 3, 2010 Newsletter #7
Saakpuli Village (Tuesday, Nov 2)
We arrived to the village and everyone piled out of the 2 vans we had. We surveyed the area trying to determine where each of our ministry projects would take place, as we waited for the Chief of the village to prepare to greet us. After the customary greetings and fellowship with the Chief and the village elders, sites determined, off we went.
Cindy, Don, Susan, & Rhonda headed to the village community center (a small open hut type structure in the center of the village) for the Health Seminar & Evangelism. Phyllis, Lena, Lynne, Johnny, Dan, Mike, Jeff, & the missionaries (Bob & Bonnie Parker) headed to the "big tree" where school is held, to do the children's ministry.
The Health Seminar started with about 30-40 persons, but grew quickly to over 100. We opened with songs of praise. Cindy did the presentation on disease, sanitation, & nutrition. Phyllis joined us after she had finished singing with the children & followed up with the presentation on HIV/AIDS prevention. Then Don gave the gospel presentation using the Evange Cube. It was wonderful to look over and see the village Chief using the small Evange Cube, Don had given him, to follow along with the presentation Don was doing with the large cube. The information shared was well received. They interacted and asked many questions. At the end 15+ hands were raised to give their live to Christ.
Children's ministry (song, Bible story, games & crafts) were at the 'big tree." There were over 85 children. Phyllis lead them in songs, including the KYEOJ (Keep Your Eyes On Jesus) song that she wrote (check out her KYEOJ.com site). Lynne shared her book – all the children got a book to take home. The they were split into 3 groups to rotate to the different game station: rocket launcher, car races, ladder golf & the ball game. Unlike children in the US – fun & games are not a part of their daily life. They live in a survival culture – from an early age they have to work in order for them & their family to survive. But no matter where you are, kids are kids and the resilience they have is so refreshing. What a blessing for us to be able to come & spend a day with them – so they can just be kids.
Then we all headed to the "big" tree for a quick bite to eat & then clinic. The village organized a tribal "thank you" dance for us, so towards the end of our quick lunch we heard drums & dancing coming down the road. The preformed for us – it was wonderful. They we set up for clinic, organized ourselves & the people.
Diagnosing & treating: Susan, Rhonda, Cindy / Pharmacy: Jeff (lead pharmacist), Lena, Phyllis & Lynn (filling prescriptions), Phyllis,(dispensing medications) Dan, Johnny / Gifts: Mike (soap, dum-dum lollipops) / Evangelism: Don
We saw 259 people – thankfully there was nothing too serious. Everyone got vitamins & those with medical needs that we could treat we did. It was a wonderful day!
Wednesday (Nov 3)
A day of rest & rejuvenation – thank you Lord. It is amazing how draining the 100+ heat is here. By about 10am in the morning the temperature is over 90 and rising. We spent the morning in fellowship with each other, then headed off to town to get more medicines for the other 2 clinics this week & a little bit of shopping. Then back to the guest house to count meds & finish getting ready for the next 2 days.
Late afternoon Mike & Dan headed out to a village for a crusade with a couple from Indiana. Dan helped Doris with the children's ministry. Neal & Mike, with their interpreter, went to the chief's home to for the formal greeting & to get permission for the night's activities. They received a warm welcome from the chief. The chief's 2 Muslim sons were sitting with him. The chief told them that he was getting old, and was not as strong as he used to be. He wanted to know what God was going to do about that, would He help him? Mike shared with him that with God anything was possible. The chief inquired if he accepted God for himself, since he was the chief, would his entire village also go to heaven with him. Neal explained to him that acceptance of God was a personal thing, that each person was responsible for himself. Neal pointed to one of the chief's Muslim sons & told him that the son would have to accept God himself.
Once permission from the chief was obtained, the equipment was set up (lights, generator, PA system). With that done & the children's ministry over the crusade was ready to begin. The first order of business is praise and worship, 45 minutes of singing & dancing.
Dusk comes early here – about 6pm. So in order to have an evening crusade you must run lights to be able to see. This tends to attract many flying creatures. Dan was to hold the flashlight as Neal read from his Bible. When the little light came on all the many flying creatures immediately came to the new little light. Needless to say, Neal read his Bible without the assistance of Dan's flashlight or the many flying creatures.
There were approximately 300 persons who heard the word of the Lord. At the end of the message, Neal gave an invitation, inviting those wanting to commit their lives to God. 17 came forward. Dan prayed the sinner's prayer with them. Mike did the closing prayer.
The crusade over the people began to disperse back into the darkness, they had very few "torches" (flashlights). As we packed up the equipment, the many flying creatures, decided that since the lights were gone we would be their friend L. Over 500 gazillion flying creatures invaded every nook & cranny of our clothing. By God's grace (not just a cliché here) were escaped without one bit or injury to our selves – can't say the same for the many flying creatures.
When we were loaded – God smiled on us, again, with a bright moon and little cloud cover providing ample lighting to find the dirt path for us to drive on to make our way back to the main road. Once on the main road, thankfully the traffic was light, which is a blessing, as driving here is challenging enough in the daylight & sometimes downright hazardous, especially at night. We arrived back to SEED Ministry safe, sound, and happy!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lena! One of our team members celebrated her birthday here on Thursday. So to surprise her, we had her surprise Birthday party the evening before. Surprise does not begin to describe her reaction. We had a cake with "Happy B-day" spelled out in g-nuts (peanuts) – you have to improvise on the mission field J. How many people can say they have spent a birthday in a foreign land, serving God by serving others?
You can also follow us on blog: CindyAlbertsonMissions.blogspot.com
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
November 1, 2010 Newsletter #6
"…Opened up my Bible and read about me. Said I've been a prisoner and God's grace had set me free. Then somewhere between the pages it hit me like a lightning bolt….Then I heard someone say, 'LETS GO'… Through the wild blue yonder with God's amazing grace. Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown…This is a life like no other… This is the GREAT ADVENTURE." The Great Adventure by: Steven Curtis Chapman
…for some reason that song seems to be the theme song for me (Cindy) on this trip. God tends to reveal Himself in some surprising and unexpected ways.
Today was our day of ministry service in 2 villages. Due to time constraints the team separated in order to minister to 2 villages. The smaller village is a fairly new ministry site for SEED Ministries, so us being able to go & do a small clinic was a powerful testimony of SEED's commitment to the people there. The rest of us went to a larger village for a full day schedule.
7am – We saddled up our horses and headed into the "glorious unknown." The horses were 2 vans loaded with supplies, the team, and several Ghanaians who work with the ministry here to translate for us.
Don, Cindy, Lena, Phyllis, Johnny, Dan, & Mike were dropped off at Galenshegu for the day long ministry.
Susan, Rhonda, Jeff, Lynn, & Steve (another missionary here) headed off to Gua for a small 2-3 hour clinic.
Cindy did a class on Health Seminar taking about diseases, sanitation, nutrition, and hygiene. The demo using baby powder as "germs" was very effective on their dark skin as they shook hands – spreading the "germs." Point made – you need to wash your hands often. Phyllis ended the seminar by using the HIV / AIDS Evange Cube. The audience was very receptive and participated well.
Don then conducted the evangelism portion using the large Evange Cube. By the time Cindy & Phyllis finished and Don began the adult group had grown to about 100. At the end he gave an invitation and 35 raised their hands making a profession of faith.
While we worked with the adults, Johnny, Dan & Mike worked with the children. We started out with 25 children ranging in ages from the little tiny ones to teenagers. We played ladder golf and a couple of other large group games as our numbers went to about 85. Then we, with Lena & Phyllis, shared some bible stories, a few crafts and shared with them about Jesus. It was a good time of sharing, playing, and planting the seeds for the future. The children are always ready to play and love to be with the crazy Americans. Children of all ages gathered around us and were anxious to be greeted with a friendly smile, a handshake or just a "right-handed" wave. Playing simple games in the dirt delighted them. Their laughter will linger in our memory long after our journey has ended in Africa. This was an awesome first day!
Then we waited for the smaller group to return from Gua. They were to be back between 11am – 12pm. And we waited…. And waited…. And waited…..at 1pm we were wondering if we needed to go to them – maybe they were swamped at the Gua clinic???? We didn't have cell service, so there was no way to contact them. In the meantime we had the people of the village waiting patiently for us to begin clinic – but all the supplies were with the group at Gua. By 2pm we loaded up, told the people of the village waiting we would be back, & headed down the road. Several miles down the road we met the other group headed toward us.
So what can 2 nurses, a landscaper, a preacher, & an author do….show the Love of Jesus through a "bush clinic". Susan & I (Rhonda) triaged 242 people between the 2 of us, Jeff (landscaper) was the lone pharmacist, Steve (preacher from Atlanta, Ga) witnessed to everyone, & Lynne witnessed, loved & played with the children Each got the children's book that she authored. All of this was done in the hot interior of a church, while bats slept in the rafters – you can show the Love of Jesus anywhere, anytime, no matter the language or what is listening. There was more than one tribal group that came through clinic, ranging from babies to the elderly. Many with the aches & pains of living the life of a villager where everyday consist of physically demanding labor in order to survive. There was a small child (age usually not known by the parents) who cried if I tried to reach out & touch him – my interpreter, Peter, informed me that the child had never seen a white person before & thus was afraid of me – I could only think, "I wonder if he will ever understand that we are here to show the Love of Jesus? Will he ever not be afraid of those who come so far to show him love?" So now, how many of us understand just how far Jesus came to show us love….He came from Heaven to earth, He gave us His greatest gift – His Son & then Jesus went so far as to give us His life. How far will you go to show the Love of Jesus? Whose fear will you settle? Thank you to each & every person who helped each & every one of us come to the bush of Africa & show the Love of Jesus to a child who has never seen a white person. God Bless you all.
By: Cindy, Dan, Lena, Rhonda
You can also follow us on blog: CindyAlbertsonMissions.blogspot.com
Monday, November 1, 2010
October 31, 2010 Newsletter #5
Psalm 118:24…This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it…
If there had to be a theme for today, it would certainly be reflected in Psalm 118:24 because it has been a day of rejoicing about all God is continuing to do here in Tamale.
This may be the end of the month on the calendar; but it was the beginning of God's anointing flowing on team members ministering in different village churches throughout Tamale this morning.
The first team out consisted of Face to Faith Director, Don Honeywell, Lena, Phyllis, Lynn and Mike. The church waiting for our arrival was nestled about a half mile off the road, through the mud and straight down the middle of a wet rice field. Arriving at the church with muddy feet, pouring sweat and the relief of not seeing a copperhead snake, was nothing compared to the faces of a congregation ready and waiting to greet us and praise the Lord. Don shared the morning message of Faith, Phyllis ministered in song, Mike encouraged the congregation and Lena, Lynn and Phyllis shared with the children. A copy of Sharing Jesus with Children around the World, the title of Lynn O Quinn's book, was given to every child as she shared her book with the young congregation. To literally be around the world and share her story in Africa almost brought Lynn to tears as she watched the faces of the children light up as they listened and looked at every colorful picture. Lena presented the message of salvation with the witness bracelet. Every eye followed her story, but when she presented every child with the same bracelet she was wearing, the amazement on their faces and the warm thanks from the children will be with Lena for a lifetime.
The next team lead by Pastor Johnny Byrd was off to minister to another village waiting to hear the word. His team consisted of Cindy, Jeff, Dan, Susan and Rhonda. Pastor Johnny preached today on worship and how it should be a natural part of every aspect of our lives. He told his congregation that God knows our heart and if we are not studying our bible on a consistent basis, we are missing a valuable intimate relationship with God.
Having a relationship with God is the reason our team is here in Africa. Many of our team members have made this first step of "stepping out" of their comfort zones to see just how much God loves them. This trust and obedience has come through their individual relationships with God; let's see what he has in store for tomorrow.
Keep Your Eyes On Jesus! Just Phyllis
You can also follow us on blog: CindyAlbertsonMissions.blogspot.com