March 2011 posts
The grace of God has been evident in all our work. The fact that He organized for our first-ever medical clinic was amazing. Unknown to the American team was the fact that this project would be conducted in a Muslim dominated region of Ghana with the potential of turmoil and chaos. The clinic, however, provided us with the perfect platform to demonstrate the genuine love of Jesus Christ. More than once we heard the villages proclaim that they could not believe the fact that we were freely treating Muslims without any reservation. These people had been taught that Christians were hostile and threatening. Perhaps this is a sad indictment upon some who preceded us. We are so thankful that God used our team members to show a gentle and honest picture of the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Through these medical clinics we offered medical assistance to 984 people who, otherwise, would have nearly certainly gone without help.
One sad, yet victorious story bears mentioning. In Saturday’s clinic, there was a particular old man and his wife who traveled a great distance to be seen by our team. The man complained of fatigue and weakness. He was seen by the doctors and referred to the regional hospital. However this man also sat and listened to the Gospel message as it was shared during the clinic to which he responded by inviting Jesus into his life. Although the man was fatigued, he placed his trust in Jesus and a great change in his countenance was evident. We received word on Wednesday (4 days later) that this man had died. This worn out body had succumbed to death, but thanks be to God that he is now at home with Jesus! This certainly served as a reminder that we have the responsibility and privilege of sharing the Gospel with all those in our paths.
It is good to see that God is always a step ahead of us. On Tuesday night Sammy Lartey informed us that he had decided that we would complete our school ministry on Wednesday rather than Thursday. Although his reason was so that we could rest on Thursday in preparation for the long trip early Friday morning, we learned today (Thursday) that all the area teachers have been on strike. Sammy said this morning, “I had no idea, but I know God told me to bunch the schools together for Wednesday.” God is always a step ahead!
02 March 2011
[Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana] It is 7:15pm here in Atebubu. We had been invited to the local radio station for an interview. During the interview Pastor Roy and Pastor Emmanuel had the privilege of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the airwaves, both in English and Twe.
He says His word will never return void. We pray that tonight words have touched the hearts of those still in need of His saving grace. I praise God for what He has done and continues to do!
[Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana] We have just completed our school ministries in Ghana. Over the past 10 days we have ministered in 85 different schools. The ages of the children has spanned from 8 to 19 years. In each school we have seen multitudes of children, teachers, and headmasters humbly accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of these schools have been large area schools but most of them have been poor, remote schools well off the beaten path. (In all we have shared the Gospel in 127 venues to nearly 50,000 people. We have seen 35,204 individuals indicate their first-time decision for Christ!)
Not all of our team members came here expecting to “preach the Gospel” in the schools. The only “preachers” on our team are Jeff Andler, Mark Chase, and myself. Although Craig Barker and Andy Poe have been to Ghana before they never had the primary assignment of preaching, rather they have usually served in support roles. This time however they have had the assignment of preaching each evening in the film crusades and they have done a wonderful job.
Other team members came knowing that they would be working in the medical clinics during our first week and were expecting to work in the dental clinic this last week. However, when word reached us that Dr. Ney was not going to be able to travel to Ghana all our plans changed. Immediately Ruth Kandaras, Matthew Bolling, and Courntey Bolling learned that they would now be speaking in school ministries. While they are all three wonderful individuals who love the Lord none of them have been expected to stand in front of large crowds and present the Gospel. They are all three more comfortable in sharing the Gospel in a one-on-one setting.
God, however, had new plans for them all. Over the course of the days each of them has stood up and clearly presented the Gospel to large groups of students in the schools. God has gently moved them from their comfort zones and expanded them in preparation for more that He plans to do through them.
As I talked to Matthew a few moments ago he said, “I did not expect to be preaching, but God has given me the power to trust Him and be used by Him. This was great!” Ruth told me, “I have to trust God to do what I cannot do!” As we talked I reminded her that too much of what we do is in our own power. “The medical clinics are important and have been used by God, but we are able to do those things in our own strength,” I told Ruth. “But,” I continued, “when we stand and preach the Gospel we know full well that unless God shows up it will be a failure.” “Yes,” Ruth replied, “this is certainly outside my comfort zone and I wish others back home would come here and let God do something wonderful in their lives too.”
“Courtney shared the Gospel with a sweet and gentle spirit that they children loved,” remarked Sammy Lartey. “She is a natural and should come to Ghana every time!” he continued.
I watched with amazement at the ease in which all of these shared the Gospel. It certainly reminded me that being outside our comfort zones is the safest place in the world. It is, however, only when we are outside our abilities that we are conscious that we are completely dependent upon God. Will you move from your comfort zone today?
01 March 2011
[Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana] What a marvelous privilege God gives us every day! Thus far this project has allowed us to the share the Gospel in 112 venues where we have seen 29,192 individuals indicate their personal decision for Jesus Christ!
God continues to reveal His ways to us – even though our ways are not always His ways. He reminds us over and over, that, “He is constantly at work around us.” This morning we traveled to an unscheduled school for ministry. The long road was remote, washed-out, and extremely difficult to navigate. The temperature today passed 100 degrees and we conducted the program outside, in the hot sunshine. While the ministry yielded many decisions for Christ we were all a bit frustrated at the idea of having to travel all the way back to our hotel over that same terrible road.
About half way back we stopped along the way at the beckoning of a woman walking toward the town. This was the only person I remember seeing on the entire journey. She apparently asked us for a ride and we obliged. In a matter of minutes, Pastor Ebenezer engaged her in deep conversation. The spirit of God revealed in me that he was sharing the Gospel with this woman. After only a few moments I could tell that the woman had come to a point of decision and was praying; inviting Jesus into her life. Following the prayer, Ebenezer said, “Dr. Roy this is Ashiatu. She is a Muslim, but now she is our sister!” I have never seen a broader smile nor more gleaming eyes. This woman was evidently happy, not because we had given her a ride, but because she had been accepted into the household of faith!
I had the opportunity to pray with this sister and gave her a bible. She held it close to her chest as she got out of our Rover and left us. The entire event reminded me that our road to nowhere had become a highway to holiness. The word of God says in Isaiah 35:8
We had no idea this morning that we would meet this woman. We thought we were being inconvenienced by the unscheduled trip to such a remote village, but God knew exactly what He was doing. He had scheduled a divine appointment with Ashiatu and allowed us to be a part of the journey. God’s plans are always perfect.
I hope that you will always eagerly embrace the divine interruptions to your schedules.