[Korforidua Area- Ghana] This morning was “market day” in this particular part of the area. The streets were teeming with vendors of every imaginable sort. People were coming and going, buying and selling all kinds of things from vegetables to vehicles. It was the center of commerce for most of the morning. As we were stopped in the traffic I noticed the thousands of footprints that were in the red dirt of the market area.
As we traveled from the city center to the more remote areas of the region my eyes were opened to the fact of change. As the roads worsened and the landscape became more rural I was thinking about the nature of our work. Everywhere we go we find school buildings that were built by Christian missionaries of days gone by. Almost everywhere one will notice the “British” influence in the architecture. As we talked with school teachers and officials we learned that missionaries, years ago, understood the importance of placing schools in the remotest parts of the country — a place for education and evangelism. I thank God for those who have gone before us to plant the seeds of the Gospel. I am fully aware that we are walking in the steps of others.
Today however, the schools stand crumbling as an empty reminder of what happens when we change our focus from the spiritual to the secular. Little by little, generation-by-generation, the missionary enterprise in much of Africa changed from a focus on evangelism to a focus on secularism. As a result the people here are walking in darkness and hopelessness.
As our team arrived in one school — a building that would accommodate at least 300 students — we were greeted by the entire school population of less than 50 (including all staff and teachers). The look on the faces of all present was one of a despondency and discouragement. Although the group was small my heart connected with them in a most personal and unusual way.
God gave me the grace to share with them the absolute truth that Jesus loves each one of them personally and has made a way for them to each have a personal relationship with Him. As I opened the Bible and read verses of scripture with them it was obvious that the Holy Spirit was drawing these precious souls to Himself. At the end of the day, all but one person present for the Gospel presentation indicated that TODAY they had prayed to receive Jesus Christ into their lives.
I am certain that the message we share in these places is the same message that true Christian missionaries shared generations ago in these places of the world. The problem is that as time passed the message became less and less important and less and less spoken. I pray that you and I will be careful to leave deep footprints in the soils where we walk so others will have an easier time walking in those steps. O God, may we leave good footprints today!