Thank you for praying! It was a fantastic trip and I know your prayers were a central reason why everything went so well.
We rolled in late last night — it was just under 24 hours of travel from door to door which really is not bad coming from Africa. I’m feeling surprisingly good today.
Below is my Ghana Trip Highlights: Top 10 List (in no particular order) — sorry to be a little long winded; but, it was a great trip and some of you want detail. Others can do a quick scan.
1. The water hole en route to Kpenchela. We stopped on the way to see this water source — the primary source for villages in the area. It was moving to see 2 women w/ 10+ gallon buckets fill up, hoist the buckets onto their heads and walk up the steep bank w/out spilling a drop. They would then walk for miles in 100 degree heat back to their village — all for filthy water that the area animals also wade into. [People seem to carry everything on their heads in Ghana.]
2. Our day in the remote tribal village of Kpenchela. YLI coach Adam Brown has been discipling Matthew who is from the village and the Lord is now using Matthew (and others) to bring His truth and love to these wonderful people. It was amazing that the village Chief and Elders joined us — and their presence drew much of the village to come and see. The 4 of us each had a chance to speak to the crowd that assembled. As a more tangible demonstration of Jesus’ love, we want to help the village w/ a water collection and storage system so they have access to clean water. Once back in Tamale, we interviewed 2 men who have a company that can build the system. If their references check out, we hope to begin and complete construction before the rainy season begins this summer.
3. Vincent Asamoah. We spent all of our time in Ghana w/ Vincent. He is 47 but has a contagious childlike spirit — he is also a very wise man who has a heart for God and for Ghana. He was an incredible blessing to us from beginning to end. I will miss Vincent most of all.
4. “All Nations” Orphanage in Kumasi. A husband and wife have taken in 45 children. We bought some huge sacks of rice and went for a visit. I sat w/ about 20 of the orphans for the time we were there — they gathered in close around me and were so loving and kind. They taught me how to say, “How are you?” “I am fine.” in their language. It touched my heart to hear these impoverished children say over and over again, “I am fine.” (the Lord is taking good care of them). I taught them how to sing “Happy Birthday” in French (they are studying French and English in school). They had fun guessing my age — they guessed all in the 20’s and 30’s and then went right to 100.
5. School Visits. Adam Brown and the three young leaders he is discipling in Tamale have developed great relationships with several area schools where they are teaching children about Jesus. We all spoke multiple times to school kids of all ages. The first time, we suddenly were asked to speak to a group of around 300. I sensed the Lord wanted me to tell them a story…I kept searching my mind for a story until I realized God wanted me to tell them my story. To try and communicate more in their context, I told them when I was their age, I was like “a lost goat” that had wandered away from home (we saw goats everywhere we went in Ghana)….for the next group, I told them I used to be like “a lost cow”. Totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to communicate!
6. The People of Ghana. A tradition in Ghana is the day of the week you are born is your name (or a second name). I was born on Saturday, so, my name is Kwame. Any time I met someone and asked them, “Are you Kwame? Kojo? Kofi? Yaw?” And then I would tell them, “I am Kwame.”…they would give me a big smile and open up. This even worked w/ the more serious folks in customs at the airport. Overall, the people of Ghana are among the friendliest I have met anywhere in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed them.
7. Ash Zook’s Leadership. Ash fits into the culture remarkably well and knows his way around all the cities. He did a great job leading the trip and made it so easy for us first-timers. It was obvious the YLI coaches have a real love and respect for Ash and the Lord is using him in a wonderful way to build His kingdom in Ghana. Ash, Gary, Rich and I got along extremely well and had lots of fun together.
8. Gary Franklin’s Teaching at the Coach’s Conference. Gary led a powerful teaching/discussion w/ the YLI coaches on the first part of Matthew 23 where Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for their religious ways. This was a great warning to us all. As Paul writes, “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”
9. Running in Tamale w/ Emmanuel. It was over 100 degrees every day we were in Tamale (brutal!); however, I was able to run twice at the crack of dawn. The first time, I started running and w/in 2 minutes there was a (20’ish) young man running w/ me. I asked him his name and he told me “Emmanuel”. That was God’s way of saying to me, “I am totally with you on this trip.” Emmanuel ran w/ me for a little over a mile (in regular shoes!) and then told me he was tired. I went another couple of miles and then looped back….and there he was waiting for me to run some more. My runs took me to the outskirts of town and past the kind of huts you would see in “National Geographic”. I got some great looks from the locals; but, everyone waved and said hello.
10. YLI Coaches. What a blessing to meet and bond with the YLI coaches, many of whom I remember Jim Moye regularly talking about 7-8 years ago!
Thank you for making all of this possible with your prayers. God heard and answered! And thank you also to those of you who donated money for the trip or provided shoes and books. Our friends in Ghana were excited and thankful to receive the many books, children’s Bibles and 140+ pairs of shoes. But more, they were thankful we came to love them and be with them…and they were thankful for all you “behind the scenes” people who made it possible!
Love to all, Rob
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40