Sunday, July 18, 2010

Retreat at Logba Tota

Friday July 16, 2010

I woke up in the coolness of Logba Tota, remembering a childhood hymn my mother taught me: "God's beautiful world, God's beautiful world, I love God's beautiful world. He made it for you, he made it for me, I love God's beautiful world."

Logba is a natural retreat; it is the perfect spot to relax and unwind after the busyness of the week. And it is a perfect place to reflect upon God's creation and grace, and commune with the Spirit.

There are several lovely waterfalls around the mountain. Several years ago, I made the hike down to the falls and back -- quite a workout! A few of the Grace team mates laced up their tennis shoes and headed out to see the falls.

I knew that physically I was not quite up to that trek this year (maybe next year!). David and I spent the morning in the village of "upstairs" Logba Tota. We first visited the new school built by some Dutch philanthropists. It is a good sized school; the facility is solidly constructed and is a "jewel in the crown" of the town. The person who donated a good bit of the money for the school is having a home built beside the school. We explored the partially constructed house, which is built into the side of the mountain. Breath-taking views will greet them each morning once they move into the place: the master bedroom has a huge window that overlooks a valley stretching several miles before another rocky mountain rises from the red dirt.

As I stood in that partially constructed home, looking out over that valley, I remembered a song from my childhood -- "God's beautiful world, God's beautiful world, I love God's beautiful world. He made it for you, He made it for me, I love God's beautiful world."

Nobody spoke for several moments as we basked in the newness of the morning, looking across the African countryside.

Eventually, we continued our trek through Logba Tota. We walked back through the town, where we had worshiped the night before, and then continued up the rocky path toward the church building. Christ Harvests is sponsoring a nursery school that uses the church building, and we visited with the 10 children. They had no teaching supplies to speak of: Children took their naps on old cardboard boxes that had been split and laid out on the dirt floor. The teacher did not even have a chalkboard; she used drawings on paper that she'd created herself, teaching English words to the children. David gave the kids toffees (candies) as we said goodbye.

Next we paid a visit to my friend Agben & his parents. They live even farther up the mountain!! Agben's dad is crippled --I think he may have had a stroke a few years back-- and rarely (if ever) leaves his house. Each time I go to Logba, I try to visit this family; it is an important relationship to me. We shared some photographs taken last year, made a few new pictures, and then bid them farewell.

Walking back down the mountain, through this village, then back to Fount Hill, I marveled at God's goodness! And I am always struck at the difference between "needs" and "wants" that becomes so obvious when I visit this place. Life is simple here; yet people give thanks and praise to God every day.

Back at Fount Hill, lunch was almost ready. The Grace Church hikers returned from their trek to the waterfalls -- most of them tired and maybe a bit muddy, but glad for the opportunity to see the beauty of God's creation.

After lunch, we packed up the bus -- which meant taking our luggage and all of the kitchen equipment and supplies back down the hill where the bus was parked -- and headed back to Tema -- about a three-hour ride.

Tired, but joyful, we were "home" again in Community 11. The "work" part of our mission was complete. We give thanks to God for the group, for the trip, for the things HE accomplished through us, and for the opportunities we've experienced in this journey.

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