Sunday dawned and we prepared ourselves for church service. Each of us on the team wore new outfits, designed & sewn by Richie's wife Victoria. Mine came with a headwrap, which I figured out how to wear, tie, and look halfway decent.
I love worshiping at Christ Harvests the Nations Sanctuary. It is spirit-led, spirit-filled and I have learned much there. This morning was no different, the air was super-charged with worship when we arrived! Singing, clapping, praising -- a glorious riot of song and energy! I couldn't wait to get inside, to add my own voice to the praises and prayers being lifted high!
Victoria sang a couple of songs, oh how I wish she would record a cd. Her voice is pure and strong and so full of feeling. Then the choir sang -- and the whole congregation stood, clapping in time to the music.
Several church members gave testimonies. One young man spoke of getting an unexpected job offer; another talked of getting a pay increase. Then Chief Takyi, my dear friend, approached the microphone. Wearing his chieftain's robe, he exuded wisdom and dignity as he began to speak. He held his Bible in his hand, and began to talk of finding salvation, then answers to problems, in Christ through the Word. He raised his Bible high -- blue soft-cover, giant print copy. I recognized it as being a copy that David & I sent to him at Christmas. We're all about the same age, and finding that we need larger print materials. He held his Bible high, and began to give thanks for words written in giant print that he could see "even in the dark night with a candle" -- and then read aloud the inscription that I'd written to him, months ago. I was humbled to realize that a simple trip to WalMart to buy a giant-print Bible for our good friend Chief would have made such a powerful impact. Once again...I realize that a little thing I take for granted is so much needed and appreciated in Ghana.
Each of us in the team took a turn speaking and sharing. It was difficult, in a way, because this was yet another "good-bye" to a church family I have come to love. While there are folks that drift in and out of the congregation --- there are always some folks that are "constants" there, who have been there from the start.
When we sat back down, Rev. James approached the pulpit. Instead of preaching, he began to sing, deep heartfelt praises to Christ the King! The music just flowed from his soul, filled the church, and wrapped around us like smooth silken robes. I could have listened to him forever.
I have to say here that I love Rev. James. He is my pastor, my teacher, my advisor, my confidante, and my friend. My first visit to Ghana -- he spent a lot of time with me, helping me try to understand some of the things I was seeing, hearing, feeling, & experiencing. When I have needed someone to listen to me, it didnt matter the time or day -- all I had to do was pick up the phone and call him. He'd listen, he'd console my hurts, he'd laugh at my jokes, and always -- ALWAYS he would tell me that I was God's precious daughter, and that God loves me no matter what. He is a great man, and I thank God every single day for his life, and I am privileged to be his friend.
All too soon, church was over.
The team traditionally takes our hosts out for a meal together, so we headed to Tsing Tao Chinese Restaurant for lunch. This was a time to show our appreciation to all of the Ghanaian friends who had worked with us, cooked for us, traveled with us, shared with us, and served with us. We had a great time, laughing, sharing great food, telling stories together.
We headed home in the late afternoon.
I stood in the doorway of my room at the Mission House, looking at my belongings scattered about, realizing that within a few hours I'd need to have things packed up to return to the USA. I sighed....
I am realizing that it becomes difficult for me to write about the "end" of my visit. I guess I just dont like to think about goodbyes, even after they've been said & I've flown home.
A friend of mine made the comment that it becomes difficult to "reconcile" our lives back home in the USA with what we see and live for our short visits in Africa. We live in the "Land of Plenty" -- with respect to material goods. Yet we are so poor in spirit. My friends in Ghana might not have "stuff" -- indeed, many folks over there have next to nothing materially -- but what they have in spirit, in heart, in soul far, far exceeds what we experience here.
It is like all our worldly goods seem to crowd out the Spirit.
But they dont crowd out the NEED for the Spirit -- which we continue to seek, but tend to substitute more "stuff" for the things that only God can provide.
It is time to break away, time to step aside. Time to let the world and all of its "things" slip by -- Time to focus on Who is in control, Who is worthy of our praise -- Time to worship in spirit and in truth.