Last Thursday (21st August) I traveled to Wa in the Upper West Region to visit Albert Jatoe for part of the onsite YLI training experience for Roland Martin (Liberia) and Eric Awinaba (Ghana). Since the guys had our car so they could get around in Wa, I traveled from Kumasi on a public bus driven by a very young man with apparent Formula 1 aspirations. The ride was nearly eight hours long over partially completed roads; and my seat was basically on top of the transmission, which gave me good view of all of the sheep, taxis, and pedestrians who panicked and scrambled to get out of our way. I learned one of the few traffic rules of Ghana: “Size determines right of way”!
Once in Wa, almost every night we drove an hour on dirt roads to remote villages where we witnessed the young men who Jatoe is discipling teach, minister and pray for their people. Since those who live in villages are farming nearly every moment of daylight this time of year we always met them at night. There is no electricity in the villages, so we sat outside in circles, sharing flashlights or a lantern to read our Bibles. One night we sat on benches next to a pile of rocks which Jatoe explained was one of the gods of that village.
Many people came each night, and after meeting we would stay to pray for individuals and families for hours, sometimes until midnight. One man brought his twin boy and girl to us for prayer for their protection. In the villages most people believe that twins are from the gods, and he has been under tremendous pressure from the Sazie village elders and community to visit a fetish (traditional idol worship) priest in order to establish a new god in Sazie. They believe a new god would improve their crop harvest and keep their children safe from disease and evil spirits, among other things. A western comparison is if I had a potential cure for cancer but refused to share it. I am still filled with admiration for this man. Please pray for him.
At least three people came to Christ during these times of prayer, but all of us were strengthened and encouraged by what we saw God doing through Jatoe’s solid ministry protégés. As Eric shared with me later, “Although they have no teaching materials but the Bible, these people are truly sincere and minister to each other, and God is really working.”
And, in a symbolic coincidence, on the way home that night from Sazie we drove over a six foot puff adder (at least 4 times) that was sleeping on the road!