Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ghana Update: Wednesday, Day 2

The updates continue. For this day, I summarized the day's activities and Janae collected quotes and anecdotes from members of the team.

Day 2

If this email is randomly scattered and doesn’t make much sense, it’s because I’m writing this at 12:50am. You may think that’s because I’ve procrastinated to write up the summary of the day, but the truth is we’ve just returned from our first crusade.  Most days on our trip will follow today’s schedule: travel to a village, evangelize, and end the day with a crusade, the last of which stretches into the next morning.

Our first crusade location is the village of Asamankese, where we will be stationed for the next few days.  The town is not far from Leon’s as the crow flies, but in Ghana crows have to slow down for potholes so it was an hour and a half trip, crawling slowly over roads that had seen better days.  The bus is fairly new and the seats are soft, so the team gamely bantered with each other as they got tossed around like a tumbleweed in a tornado.

The town’s name is quite the mouthful, but the locals were very forgiving of our butchered pronunciations.  We split up into six teams and ventured out into the jungle to invite the local villagers to the evening service.  The United States is severely lacking in jungles, especially the ones so far removed from society that all you can hear is the twitter of birds and bugs in the trees.  We had a Ghanaian tour guide helping us find the remote villages, and as we passed a tree with strange-looking fruit pods on it, he grabbed one and cracked it open.  Inside was an exotic cluster of large seeds, covered in a sugary slime.  He told us to try some of the pods, explaining that we should suck on the gooey seeds and then spit them out once we got past the goo to the seed itself.  “What is this fruit?” I asked as I tossed a gelatinous blob into my mouth. “It’s cocoa.” The guide said.  “What! You mean the stuff chocolate is made from??”  Sure enough, the fruit was cocoa.  The seeds were bitter and bright purple.  One of the villages we stopped at was busy harvesting the fruits.  Their makeshift table held several hundred pounds of seeds in various stages of drying.  The fully-dried seeds were brown and looked more like traditional cocoa.  “It tastes sorta like mango, except it feels like a mouthful of snot.” Janae said, and we all agreed.

The remote jungle villages were tiny. The ones we visited had roughly half a dozen occupants each.  They would cease their work and gather wooden benches for their American guests to sit on.  With the help of our guide translating our words, we would invite the villagers to our evening service.  We told them that we were there to spread the Good News of Jesus, and the locals responded favorably.  They thanked us for coming and promised to attend the evening service.

We were scheduled to begin at 6:30pm.  The team ate a packed supper of egg-salad sandwiches, popcorn, and cookies in the bus to hold off the pangs of hunger until we could return to the supper waiting for us back at Leon’s.  At 6:15pm there were hardly any villagers present, but by 7pm we had quite the crowd.

The evening service began with worship led by the locals, then a festive offering where we danced our way to the collection basket in front of the stage. Following the offering, there were testimonies given by team members Brianna, Adrian, and Jared.  The team assembled on the stage to sing several songs together, and then Leon gave a message entitled “Holy, Holy, Holy”, interpreted by Pastor Felix.  When his message concluded, the locals led a few more songs and then Pastor Felix and Pastor Joseph opened up an invitation.  Many of the Ghanaian adults responded by quickly moving to the front, while many of the Ghanaian children responded by shifting slightly in their seats and falling back asleep.  The local pastors, along with Jon Sauder and Leon Geigley, prayed for the individuals that had responded to the invitation.  After the prayer, we dismissed the group.

At this point, it was well past 10pm.  We tore down the stage, benches, and chairs and packed them on top of the bus. We put away the sound equipment and instruments in the van, and then headed out.

We arrived back at Leon & Barb’s around 12:30am and began to eat the delicious feast she had prepared in our absence.  We immediately inhaled large quantities of spaghetti, garlic bread, Caesar salad, pineapple crisp, and Fan Ice, which are little pouches of “Vanilla Ice cream”. (Personally, I love Fan Ices because they’re cold, refreshing, and remind me of marshmallow cream.)

Jon decided to postpone our debriefing until “tomorrow”, but Leon corrected him by saying that it would actually be “later today, after we’ve gotten some sleep.”

It has been a long day. Thank you very much for your continued prayers, we have certainly felt God’s protection and providence.  Although the roads were practically nonexistent, God spiritually paved the way for us by working in the hearts of the Asamankese villagers.  Please pray that our next few days with them would be fruitful, and that the team would be able to quickly rebound after a long day/short night.

-The Scribe’s Proofreader

“How was the Crusade tonight?” –The Scribe

“I enjoyed the evening.  I had a hard time reading the genuineness of the response, because I wasn’t sure if they were responding due to the call of the Holy Spirit, or if they were responding because of the white people present.  I’m not sure how to explain it, but overall the evening went very well.  If this response is going into the prayer email, I’d request prayer for the people we ministered to, that God would work in their hearts and become more real to them.” –Marie Borkholder

“It was a culture shock.  Very interesting to see the way the people worshipped.  It was very loud but that’s okay.  I believe it was very sincere.” –Marion Nisley

“I was very grateful for the turnout and the response.  I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to hang with me for that long.  Pastor Steven thought it was a very good and sincere response.  They comprehended it and the fourteen that came up at the altar call were serious.” –Leon Geigley

“There were a bunch of little girls sitting around me. One was six years old and she was starting to fall asleep.  I asked if I could pick her up and when I did, she was out in seconds.  I was really surprised how she could sleep with the loud noise and I thought about covering her ears but then I realized she’d been sound asleep for a while.  The whole evening was a great experience.  I love how the children are so open.” –Luetta Borkholder