February 24: This is Ash writing from Delta flight 166 which took off from Atlanta just fifteen minutes ago. DL166 stops in New York for two hours before departing on an overnight trip across the Atlantic to Accra, Ghana.
This is going to be a special trip; especially because of how the team came together. As you read on about the people sitting with me on the plane to Ghana, and their stories, I hope you also will see the divine “coincidences” that are at work in our midst.
Rob Ketterer: Rob has been on the YLI board since the very beginning in 2002; and, this is his first trip with YLI to Ghana (but that was not by his choice). In 2004, Rob and Jim Moye planned a trip together. The dates were picked, tickets purchased, shots received…but only two weeks before their departure date, Jim collapsed at home and shortly afterward was diagnosed with brain cancer. Since then, Rob has been praying about another opportunity to experience for himself YLI’s ministry in Ghana, and TODAY is the day! It is an honor for me to join Rob on this adventure.
Rich Erwin: Rich works for the mission organization Operation Mobilization. He actually lived for two years on a missions ship that traveled the world. He is also on the global outreach team at Grace Evangelical Church in Fayetteville, Ga. Grace Church has a calling to minister to next-generation indigenous leaders around the world, and asked Rich if he would visit Ghana to check out YLI’s relational style of discipleship.
Rich agreed to the trip and then began to look into the history of YLI. He was amazed to find that YLI was started by Jim Moye! In the 1980’s, Rich was a youth counselor at Northside United Methodist and was part of the group that was discipled by Jim Moye. Rich’s first missions trip was to Jamaica with Jim!
Gary Franklin: Gary is a new YLI board member for 2010. He is the founder of The Leaders Heart, through which he disciples business leaders, and is the lead pastor of Grace Evangelical Church. Gary has mentoring and discipleship experience with leaders from India, Cameroon, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. I am excited for the YLI coaches in Ghana to hear Gary’s voice, and to be exposed to the wisdom and experience he will bring to our leaders.
For the next five days we will be joining the YLI coaches at our home base in Kumasi for teaching, encouragement, friendship and community. Our team of four will then travel with our national leader, Vincent Asamoah, to the northern region of Ghana to partner with one of our key local leaders, who is serving and reaching out in love to people who are living in remote villages and struggling with severe physical and spiritual poverty issues.
We will be doing our best to update http://www.youngleadersinternational .org and the Friends of Young Leaders International Facebook group. We appreciate your prayers and are thankful for your friendship and support!