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!
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