Archive for ‘Accra, Ghana’

Leaning on my Beloved

4 Commentsby   |  07.03.11  |  Accra, Ghana

Hey everybody! Well, it’s hard to believe we’re already more than halfway through our internship in Ghana.  Time here has been slow in moments, but has also gone by so quickly.  On Thursday we came back to Village of Hope’s main site in Fetteh, so I thought I would give a couple concluding reflections on our time in Nkwatia.  First off, an update on the junior high vs. faculty soccer match: unfortunately, faculty lost by one goal (though it must be said there were at least twice as many junior highers on the field than teachers).  Also, I think Jesus poured out his infinite grace on me to recall those long lost goalkeeping skills, and all in all it was a very fun afternoon.  Besides soccer, we also got to attend a school district competition about Ghanaian history and travel with the headmaster as he planned out a field trip for the students.  The field trip planning day turned out to be quite an adventure, which included meeting three English medical students, buying fried bread off the roadside, traveling across Lake Volta (the world’s largest manmade lake) in a fisherman’s boat, visiting the district’s Department of Education (a.k.a encountering the first air-conditioned room since we’ve been in Ghana), and enduring two three hour long busrides.  What an adventure!

These past couple of days, I have been reflecting a lot on our time in Nkwatia.  It was such a blessing to build relationship with the teachers and students and church leaders there.  The day we had to part was a sad one, and I must say that if we never see them again in this world, it will be wonderful to see our brothers one day in Heaven.  As much as I taught in that school, I feel that I was the one who walked away having learned the most.  These past three weeks I have learned what hospitality and generosity truly looks like.  I have learned that as much as there is an earthly physical world around us, there is perhaps even more so a spiritual world right in front of us.  I have learned the value of prayer.  And I have learned that even in the wilderness, Jesus continues to meet us right where we are.  In Song of Solomon 8:5, the chorus inquires about the bride, “Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?”  I think most of all this small African town in the middle of the wilderness has taught me that I desire to be one who leans on her beloved, who relies on Jesus every step of the way, who looks to the Holy Spirit to be directed in all action and thought.  Thank you, Jesus, for taking us to the wilderness.

And once again, thanks to all of you for your prayers.  I wish I could share all of the experiences we’ve had here on this post, but I suppose that will just have to wait until I see you face to face! I cannot say what it means to be supported by prayer warriors like all of you.  You all complete my  joy!

new adventures

10 Commentsby   |  06.28.11  |  Accra, Ghana

well yesterday was the day we made it to Lake Volta. It was a day full of craziness. We had to get up at 5am because our bus was coming to pick us up at 5:30, and there was a huge storm the night before so the thunder and lightning kept most of us up, so needless to say, 5 came real early yesterday. We drove into town to catch another big bus. While waiting we met 3 guys from Newcastle England – Josh, Ed, and Doug. They are spending 8 weeks here doing something with their university…it kind of sounded like study abroad but they are medical students and one of the classes they take is to go somewhere and work with a hospital in their host country. We spent pretty much all our traveling talking to them.
The bus to the lake took about an hour and a half from where we are staying. When we got off the bus we were all standing in around in a circle just talking to each other when i noticed the crazy lady.
[[Okay now for those of your pirates of the Caribbean fans, think back to the second movie i think? well the part when they get in that tiny boat and go through a swamp type place and meet the crazy voodoo lady with dreads.]] OKAY she lives in Ghana. haha. While we were standing there talking i see her coming up to us, and no one else saw her because their backs were turned. She was giving me the death stare and moving her hands around in a weird way witch like way while talking to herself in twi so sadly i couldnt understand her. By the time she was a few feet behind us i told everyone to not freak out or turn around at the same time, but there is a crazy lady behind yall. Haha and of course they all turn around at the same time. She went a little nuts saying things and moving her hands around us like she was casting a spell upon us. We referred to her as calypso for the rest of the day. At one point, how she did this i have no idea. She ended up right behind me. It scared me so bad because i wasn’t expecting her to be there.

Anyways that was fun. We then got on a ferry to cross the Lake. For those of yall who havent heard of Lake Volta, it is the largest man made lake in the world as well as the home to many children who have been sold into modern day slavery and made to be fisherman. Many of the kids from the village of hope have been rescued off of this lake. We saw many fishing boats out on the water when we crossed. Kind of surreal. When we made it to the other side we drove a good 2 hours into town and walked around there for awhile. Went to the local hospital, radio station and school. When we were done we rode a tro tro (which is a taxi van that crams well over 25 people into it) back to the lake. Instead of waiting for the ferry to get back, we took an actual fishing boat to cross the lake. Being on an actual fishing boat on the Volta lake was crazy. I just thought of all the kids that have to be out there everyday. When we made it to the other side we were greeted by all these young boys helping us get out of the boat.When we got out we walked through mud houses and everyone said hello. This country may have the most hospitable people, i love it.

We finally made it home at around 6 and we went to bed not too long after that haha. The experience was awesome and i am so grateful we had the opportunity to go see it first hand. If you have never heard of this place, go to touch a life foundation website and watch the video about lake volta in their videos. Def eye opening!

We go back to the village of hope on thursday!!! I am SOOO excited to go back and be with those kids but i am going to miss the kids here as well. It will be bitter sweet for sure.

I hope everyone back home is happy and healthy. Everyone here is doing just fine and enjoying Africa.

dude i love ghana

2 Commentsby   |  06.26.11  |  Accra, Ghana

ok so ghana is really cool.

lately i have moved from the classroom to construction work. i was having a lot of fun teaching, but i really love construction work. the workers are so much stronger and faster than me so i feel like i have to outwork them to keep up. the only problem is their work ethic is also a lot better than mine.

we leave nkwatia to go back to the village on thursday and tho im really looking forward to being back with the kids and the beach, but there is a lot i will miss about nkwatia. first there’s the van that takes us to and from school. its a vw bus circa whenever vw busses stopped being cool. the battery is by the door, the engine is under the drivers seat and the radiator is under the passenger seat. the back windshield is made of scotch tape, the doors are all stuck and they cram like 40 kids and there. and thats a conservative estimate. then there’s richmond. richmond is the headmaster at church of christ school nkwatia. he looks shockingly like randall from monsters inc. he loves the kids so much and our wellbeing is so high on his priorities. he’s one of the most gentle people i know. then there’s christopher, the preacher. he is such a man of god. his knowledge of the word is so solid and he’s so goofy. he’s such a character i love him. then there’s the whether. its a lot cooler up in the mountains than down in fetteh.

more updates later.

God recieved a new angel

8 Commentsby   |  06.25.11  |  Accra, Ghana

So around this time last year, we were here in nkwatia and Brittany Hunt got the news that one of her grandparents had passed away. I dont know what the deal is with being here, but today we got the news that one of the drivers at the Village of Hope passed away. His name was Michael and one of my favorite adults here. I really got to know him last year on our numerous trips here and there. The second Sunday we were in Ghana this summer, he came up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and when i turned around he had the biggest smile on his face. I screamed and gave him a big hug and he said its so good to have you back here. Though I only knew him for a short time in my life, he is going to be missed. He leaves behind a wife and kids. He was up here last week dropping some things off and i was outside talking to him and he said he wasnt feeling good. Never in a million years thought that goodbye was going to be the last.
I hope that his family and everyone at the village of hope knows hes with our father and is in no more pain. I pray that his family feels God’s arms around them in this time of sorrow. Anytime id run into Michael he’d always ask how i was doing and hoped i was well.
Michael – ‘Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
-Philemon 1:7
I just want everyone to cherish the life they have. Whether they are going through a tough time or are having the time of your life, you can never say i love you enough….to the ones who mean the most to you.

So to my family and friends, i love you to the moon and back. You each have played a certain part in my life who have made me the way i am today.

Nkwatia

7 Commentsby   |  06.21.11  |  Accra, Ghana

Hello Everyone! So we all have been here three weeks in Africa, and everything is going well.  Sorry about the lack of updates; the Internet access is pretty limited up where we are currently staying!  About a week ago we traveled to Village of Hope’s other school location in Nkwatia, a small town in the mountains.  It is much cooler here and less humid (praise the Lord!), but it is still tropical.  I love it here in this location: it is truly beautiful.  The school here is understaffed and in need of teachers, so we have been going up everyday to each and assist in any way we can.  This has been a wonderful experience for me personally, especially since I desire to go into teaching.  I have been learning so much.  It is very different from the U.S. (on the first day I had to take away a machete in class, rather than a cell phone), and teaching has been excellent way to learn about the Ghanaian culture and people, as well as connecting with the kids.  We are all doing well, though Ashton had a malaria scare after falling ill a few days ago.  However, it turns out it was not malaria, and she is already feeling much better.

We will be in Nkwatia for the next week and a half, and will then travel back to the Village of Hope in Fetteh.  Out time here so far has been full of interesting adventures, including exploring the town and hiking to the highest habitable point in Ghana, killing spiders as big as my palm, tasting starfruit, riding in a small van with thirty kids to and from school, coming up with creative ways to eat rice and potatoes, and planning the demise of the rooster that wakes us up at 5:30 a.m. everyday. Next week we will be having a soccer match at the school (faculty vs. junior high), so hopefully I will be able to recall the skills I had in high school!

Thank you for all your prayers – God has been so good to us here.  I feel that I am learning more about Him everyday that I am here and how to be more fully led and guided by the Holy Spirit in all of my actions and words.  Learning to have complete reliance on Him is a wonderful adventure.  I hope to update you all again soon, hopefully with good news about the soccer match!

Hello from Ghana!

8 Commentsby   |  06.18.11  |  Accra, Ghana

Hi family and friends!

I just wanted to update everyone on how it is going here in Africa! I am continully amazed at the fact that we are actually in Africa!

We are in a home in the mountains with three other Lipsomp students. Every morning of the week we travel to the school by a bus. Our experiance at the school thus far have been exciting, exhusting and thought provking. I can not wait to see the Lord is going to do here for the next two weeks before we travel back to Fettah!

I would like to share two stories with you, the first week here in Africa we lived at the orphange and had the choice to help at the school, nursery or clinic. Michelle and I felt God was leading us to help in the nusery. When we first got to the nursery room, I didn’t know my place becasue of the culture and language barrier. We began to play with the kids on the floor. One beauitful girl fell in to my lap peacefully. I felt God leading me to sing over her. I felt such a peace singing to her as the Lord gave me words for her about His love for her. I was so thankful to be able to communitcate His love for his children in this way.

The second story took place at the school we are now located at. The first day we arrived we went into all the schools to meet the teachers and students. In Ghana, every time you meet someone new they welcome you by saying “you are welcome”. I have heard this phrase several times during our stay here. However, one teacher told me this and looked me straight in the eyes. This phase took on a whole new meaning. I realized that they are welcoming me into every suffering of theres and every celebration. They trust me to minister with them. I found this to be very similar to the way our Father in heaven welcomes us in to every good thing he has and into His inheritance. He trusts you all and I to partner with Him as his beloved children.

I hope this enourages you all!

Love

Ashton Davis

4 Commentsby   |  06.16.11  |  Accra, Ghana

hey yall!
we made it safely to nkwatia! the weather is perfect here. nice and cool…complete opposite from home i hear! When we got here today some of the kids remembered me from last year! that was a nice surprise. They have a trip planned for us next weekend to go see lake volta, which is the lake many of the kids at the village of hope have been rescued off of. it will for sure be an eye opening experience that i am so excited to endure!

How many times in the bible has God made something out of nothing?
Many of us have the idea that God uses our strengths to do his work. I absolutely believe that is true, but what about your weaknessess? God can use our strengths and abilities to glorify him but he also uses our nothingness. I think when you put your self completely out of your comfort zone and begin doing something your not comforable doing, God’s power and light will be most evident. It will be more proof that it is indeed God’s power being used instead of your own….God uses broken imperfect people to bring light to the darkest of dark. I just pray everyone remembers that though we are gifted with many strengths, our weaknesses are just as much an outlet to show God’s people his unbelievable power.

Hope that makes sense! hah

Love to all.

a distant shore

16 Commentsby   |  06.16.11  |  Accra, Ghana

the team has been in teaching at the village of hope’s sattelite school in nkwatia.  we’re living in a guest house in nearby abitifi with the lipscomb group.

the weather here is a lot cooler and a lot less humid cuz we’re tucked up in the mountains. its still pretty tropical tho.

our job here is pretty much strictly teaching. we have a lot of down time cuz all the kids here go home after school so our days end at 4. back at the village when school ended we would hang out and love up on the kids till bedtime. i figured out im a lot better teacher than i thought. i also figured out teaching is as fun as you want it to be. when the kids act up i make them do push ups or spin around until they’re dizzy. if they get a hard question right i let them take a victory lap around the class while their classmates applaud for them.  its pretty fun.

while im having a good time here im really looking forward to going back to fetteh in 2 weeks.  i feel like im making a difference at the village whereas here, even if im doing an ok job, im still not as good a teacher as the ones already employed here. plus we dont spend anytime with the kids outside of school so its hard to do ministry with them.  its definitely a learning experience here in nkwatia, but i dont think we’re really doing anything special. im not one to measure the effectiveness of kingdom work by numbers, but practically speaking, we’re not making an impact in the kids lives. 

the food situation is a lot better at the village too. not gonna lie, thats a big factor in why im excited to go back.

so ya i dont really know how people usually end blog posts cuz im not a hipster and i dont have a blog so ya. the end.

No Place I Would Rather Be

52 Commentsby   |  06.08.11  |  Accra, Ghana

Today it has been one week since our team has arrived in Africa, and I am beginning to get my feet on the ground.  This has been a crazy week, as all first weeks are, but I feel that I am becoming more acclimated to the culture and life of Village of Hope.  We are getting a handle on the schedule and beginning to settle into routine.  On a typical day we will have breakfst at eight and exchange any weird dreams caused by the malaria pills (I first began to consider the side effects  of these pills after I dreamt that in preparation for our trip Gary Green and Larry Henderson gave us instruction on how to ward off zombies with a match).  After breakfast, we head up to the nursery and help the teachers there.  I have concluded that some things about nurseries remain the same wherever you go, like how you can never manage to leave them without kid snot and food all over you.  The kids are truly a joy, though, and I love spending time with them teaching the ABC’s and 123’s.  After the nursery, we spend the afternoons assisting in the school and being with the kids after school gets out.  At night we do devotionals and help tutor with homework.  We have been working hard to learn all the kids’ names (there are so many!), and it has been so good to spend more time with them.  As the relationships develop, we learn more about their histories and pasts, which are very hard.  Their genuine affection and childlike joy never ceases to amaze me. 

Tomorrow we will be leaving for Village of Hope’s other site in the mountains for three weeks.  We will be doing much the same thing: teaching and building relationships.  Please pray for safe travels.  Also, another intern named Heather from Lipscomb was supposed to go home yesterday but was not allowed to get on the plane because she came down with malaria.  Please keep her and her situation in your prayers. 

Jesus has been teaching me so much here.  He has been so good to me, as He always is.  I am learning complete and utter reliance on Him and how to be more fully led by the Holy Spirit in all of my daily actions and words.  A song that I have been listening to speaks to Jesus saying, “There’s no place I would rather be than here in your love.”  His steadfast love endures forever, in America, in Ghana, and everywhere.  And truly, there is no place I would rather be.

Greetings from Ghana!

8 Commentsby   |  06.04.11  |  Accra, Ghana

Greetings Beloved Ones!

It has been three days since our team (Zach, Ashton, Shelby, and I) has reached the Village of Hope outside of Accra, Ghana.  We left on May 31st from Dallas and arrived in Accra on June 1st.  Aside from Zach temporarily losing his yellow fever vaccination record in London Heathrow Airport and finding it in a trashcan about an hour later, all travels went smoothly.  Thanks for your prayers for a safe journey!

The Village of Hope is tucked away outside of the city limits about a mile from the beach.  All total, between the school and the orphanage, there are around 600 kids ranging from 2-17 years of age.  We were immediately involved our first day here, teaching and assisting in the school.  After the kids get out of school for the day, we then spend time with them, helping cook dinner, attending devos and church, and bonding with the youth and house parents.

All in all, it has been a crazy first few days.  Between jet lag, time adjustment, and some culture shock, there have definitely been easier days.  But despite all that, there is so much to be thankful for.  There has been such ease in connecting with the kids, and I truly look forward to growing in relationship with them.

A verse that I have been thinking about these past couple days is Matthew 10: 40,42 when Jesus says, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me…And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”  Let’s praise Jesus for how we have been received with open arms by these little ones and continue to pray that God would use us to give them a cup of cold water.

Grace and peace,

-michelle-