The Best of Times…
Akuse, Ghana — “It was the best of times … it was the worst of times.” While Dickens’ wrote this phase to open his classic, “The Tale of Two Cities” I can borrow it and apply it to this day in Ghana.
I left our hotel at 6:30am for my trip to our first school assembly of this final day in the Akuse area. When we arrived for our 7:00 scheduled appointment, the crowd, numbering over 1100, were already singing songs of worship and praise. It was melodious to our ears and encouraging to our hearts. The entire school (which was a Senior Secondary High School) was speaking English to perfection. I listened as a few school officials and others spoke to the group about various things. I was praying and asking God how I should speak to the students and faculty since they were all apparently worshiping God in unison.
The Spirit of God spoke to my heart and I knew I was being compelled to share the straightforward Gospel of Jesus Christ. I wanted to speak something else, but God kept impressing upon my heart, 1 Corinthians 2:2: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (I have learned through the years never to argue with the instruction of God as He places it upon my heart.) I stood and simply asked if anyone in the room could tell me for sure how to KNOW they had eternal life. Not a single person volunteered and then I asked, “Would you like to know the way to God?” They responded with a resounding “YES.”
I preached Jesus unto them and explained the basic message of salvation by grace, through faith. When I gave them the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ by faith over 800 indicated their first-time decision for Christ. It reminded me again that sometimes we sing songs and read the Word of God WITHOUT ever knowing the God of the Word.
These were some of the most attentive and engaging students I have ever encountered in Ghana. They were the by-products of teachers and administrators who had taught by example to honor and respect others. This was some of the best of times!
I spoke to 3 more schools today. The middle two were fine, but when I arrived at the final school I have never been met by a more unengaged, disruptive, unappreciative, disrespectful group of people. The students, followed the example of the teachers in talking, walking, wandering, and slouching the entire time we were there. This was some of the worst of times!
I later discovered that our last school routinely scored the poorest of any school in the Region on their annual exams. They were known as a failing school, but what was the difference in these two places? The kids in both schools came from nearly identical socio-economic groups and nearly the same cultural and spiritual backgrounds. They used the same study materials in both schools. The difference in both places were the teachers! One was a group of men and women who were fully engaged in the life of the students. The teachers in school “A” led by example. They sat and listened intently to the gospel message. They listened while others spoke. The teachers in school “B” were disruptive and distasteful. They sat and talked among themselves, clicked on the telephones, and listened to music (in earbuds) all the time the gospel was being presented. These too led by example! Out of a crowd of over 400 barely half indicated their decision to receive Christ.
This was a constant reminder to me that all those in leadership have a responsibility to led by example. What kind of example are you setting today? It was the best of times …