I'm happy to announce that we have a new church member in one of our villages. She was born on Monday, December 18th. The family is all excited about the Christmas gift that God has given them this year.
The baby on naming day
There are several general traditions that will take place on the eighth day of the newborn. First, they will hold a naming ceremony. Since this new baby is a part of a Christian family, they will more than likely pick a biblical name. I heard them discussing names, and I believe they are thinking about the name Mary. Since she was born so close to Christmas, they felt like Mary would be a fitting name for their new baby girl.
Also, part of the traditions for newborn baby girls is to pierce their ears. All girls have their ears pierced here. I have had Ghanaians confused about if I was a girl because I didn't have my ears pierced. Mind you, I was wearing a skirt at the time.
The other thing that they do during newborn traditions is they will shave the baby’s hair off, which I gasped about. Alfred, the father, thought it was funny and started teasing me and invited me to witness this glorious tradition of theirs. I want to just cry over those beautiful locks of curly hair. :-)
As I turn to look at the year ahead of me, there will be many challenges ahead for our team to face. We are in the end times, and Satan is working hard to destroy our churches and the ministry here in Ghana.
Our villagers face so many challenges in their daily lives. As we are now in the dry season, there hasn’t been any rain since October. Many of the people have little food for their families to survive. A couple villages don’t have clean drinking water and will go and dig in dried up riverbeds for water. Many people become sick because they are drinking contaminated water. So many of their illnesses are preventable.
What about a Medical Clinic?
Although building a medical clinic was originally in our plans, after extensive research and evaluation, it is the belief of the board and myself that a clinic would never be able to sustain itself, nor would the villagers be able to afford care. It also doesn’t make sense to build a clinic when that will not solve the root problems. As mentioned already, many of the diseases here are preventable, which brings us to my solution.
The answer is teaching and empowering the people, developing leaders, building relationships, and, most importantly, leading them to Christ. We are so blessed in America. We can have anything delivered to our doorstep, thanks to Amazon. (Oh, how I miss you, Amazon!) Our resources are endless, and it’s in our nature to want to give and help those less fortunate. However, our helping can end up hurting the people.
I challenge you to read a book called When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett. This book has really given me some insight on how we can better help the people in our villages.
Teaching is not an easy task to take on, especially when the people expect you to give something to them. It takes a lot of patience and time, trying to build relationships. So, that is the life of a missionary: taking one step forward, only to turn around and take 7 back. In the short term, it can feel like I’m playing the game SORRY. But we’re working for long term results.
In other news, I now have my own place where I will be living during the rest of my term. Sammy, Grace, and Joshua were so kind to let me be a house guest during this past year. Staying with them gave me great insight into Ghanaian culture, and I got to eat Grace’s delicious Ghanaian food.
My new living quarters
I would like to thank everyone for your continue support over this past year. I’m looking forward to what God has in store for the ministry in 2018. Continue to pray for our ministry team and the World Mission Board that they will have the wisdom to help continue to develop the ministry here.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a blessed New Year.
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