I really planned out what to put on each video badly… So there isn’t a whole lot for this video, but it is still a nice glimpse of what class looked like, a little more of our friends and us being silly and some singing.
I have been trying to find the right words to answer the questions that people keep asking about how our trip was. I think I haven’t really processed it all yet and it is so much to try to sum up into a quick answer! We loved it so much! Ghanaians are wonderful welcoming people who are so fun to be around because they are WAY more expressive than North Americans.
Ghanaians are wonderful welcoming people who are so fun to be around because they are WAY more expressive than North Americans. While we were there we taught our hostess, Anna, and her sister Millicent how to make pizza, when we told her we would teach her she danced around the house smiling and cheering. It’s wonderful. (the pizza turned out really good too) We could not have dreamed of better hosts than Paul, Anna and Millicent! We adore them and miss them so much now that we are away. Anna and Millicent are fabulous cooks and spoiled us so much! All three of them are so fun to be around, so silly and hilarious and just all around wonderful.
The classes were great, Caleb loved teaching with Pete and Paul and I enjoyed hanging out with some of the kids what came along with their moms. Lesley and I were able to lead a small group during the second module which was on our Position in Christ. We had about 15 women in our group and really enjoyed getting to know them. We would have loved to have a lot more time with them and are looking forward to seeing them again on a future trip.
We were able to go to a local school and teach during chapels on Wednesday mornings which was awesome. Caleb and I taught the little guys (K – grade 6ish). The younger kids don’t speak very much English yet so we had the help of a translator which was actually really fun because he was a very high energy and expressive translator who copied all the mannerisms I used when I told my story. Caleb taught the first week and I took the second one, I taught the story of Elijah with the prophets of Baal – my favorite Bible story. (That story always goes over really well with kids.) It is pretty cool that they still have prayer, singing and Bible classes in public schools there! It seems like such a foreign thing coming from a country like Canada or the US.
We were able to spend two days with Priscilla, a very cool lady who fosters 8 children (2 have been adopted by her and her husband now, 6 are still foster kids) in Accra. These children all have special needs and some of them are fairly severe. Priscilla is so full of faith and love she practically radiates it. It was so wonderful getting to know her a bit, I would have loved to spend a lot more time with her and hope to do so next time. On top of her job being mommy and daddy to 8 little kids, Priscilla and William teach Bible classes in the nearby slums, one of the few unchurched places. They are praying about planting a church there soon. There are ways to support their ministry with children and with this church plant if you are interested….
Just today we saw that the adoptions for two of these little children have gone through and they will be heading over to the US to their new families. Please pray for William and Priscilla and the children as they all say goodbye, this is always very hard but also something to praise God for! If you want to know more about their ministries you can look them up on facebook, twitter or online West Africa Mercy Ministries.
If you haven’t seen the first video from our trip you can do so here and subscribe to my youtube channel to see the next one when it comes out. I will write more and post more videos soon.
It was a hot hazy day in Ghana, just as every other day had been while we were there. Harmattan was in full swing. We had been there for a few days already and I was starting to think about looking for a dress for Aurora. She had made it very clear that she wanted an African dress and some jewelry. The home we were staying at was just down a short dirt road (subdivision seems like the wrong word….) with a few houses on it a 1-2 minute walk from one of the main roads, we had to walk it every day to go to the market or get to the church where we were teaching in the evenings. We noticed that there was a seamstress right there and decided to stop in and get a quote from her, and pick out a style before heading into the market to find the right fabric.
I know a little about sewing having grown up with a seamstress for a mom (she will freak when she sees me call her that but it is true) so I knew that I would need her waist measurement and the height from nape of neck to floor. Armed with these measurements (via text to my mom) I head across the street with Lesley, Anna and Millicent ready to do business. The problem is that although Ghana is technically an English country, it really isn’t. In the city most people speak a little bit of English, you need to speak slowly (our accents….) and not use big words and you should be ok but the further you get from the city the less English they speak. In Nsawam most people speak a tiny bit at least and the people who came to the teaching spoke enough to understand and communicate quite well as long as we were careful to speak slowly and clearly. Well, this seamstress spoke none. Ok, I can handle this, I have Anna and Millicent, they are both Ghanian and speak Twi as their first language. So they rattle off with her and I just stand there like an idiot trying to be useful.
I chose a pattern and told the seamstress Aurora’s age and start to give the two measurements that I have…. Now my second problem starts. I am not good with details. This is a slight understatement. I really do try but it seems the harder I try the worse it gets. So I start giving measements to the seamstress’s assistant using the numbers and signing with my trusty hostesses there to help if needed.
“Ok. Waist – 43 inches.”
They look at me with confusion, then start rattling off to Anna again. “How old did you say she is?”
“Oh she is 7 but she is very tall so she is more like 8 in her size.”
They continue to look at me with confusion but not wanting to show how horrified they are at my ginormous offspring they calmly write it down. Waist 43 inches.
“Ok, Height – 26 inches…wait a minute….”
Luckily I realized my mistake, giggled about it and tried to explain. Ok no problem. She gave me the amount of yardage I would need and sent me on my way.
Next stop, slightly down the road there was a tailor, I would stop in quickly and ask about a boy’s shirt for Gideon. Since Gideon is a tiny little guy I didn’t bother getting measurements, he is a bit smaller than most African 4-year-olds I hung out with so this would be easy. For some reason it wasn’t. Usually even for an adult outfit this tailor just needs to see a picture of someone and can make an outfit to fit them perfectly. (seriously….skill!) I told the tailor (who spoke even less English than the seamstress, and being a man seemed to understand my signing less than the seamstress had) his age, that he is small and even showed a video of Gideon to him so he would see what he looks like. Nope, I need measurements
“Nope, I need measurements.” he told Anna, but did tell me how much fabric I would need.
We headed off to the market, chose our fabrics and brought them back later in the day. By this time I had gotten a text back from my mom with Gideon’s waist measurement and the length that the shirt should be.
“Waist – 22 inches, length – 14 inches”
“What about his shoulders?”
“Oh, I will have to ask and come back.”
My mom had already sent this measurement, but my dislexia and attention to details flared up here again. She had used numbers to write the other two measurements but had written out “five and a half” for the length of one shoulder so I didn’t notice it. (me with details….).
The next day (time difference…) I get this response:
That’s 11″, it would have been double the other one
Ok, head back to the tailor and tell him, I could do this one alone it would be easy, I wouldn’t need a translator. Caleb went with me.
“Shoulders 24 inches.”
He writes it down and doesn’t even look at me funny.
I leave feeling accomplished.
Several hours later as we are all sitting quietly studying for the evening class I start thinking over what I told him.
“Oh crap. Did I really say that?”
I check the text from my mom. Shoulders are 11 inches, the double it was from the “five and a half” in the first text. Did I say 11? I think I said 24. Where did I get that number from?!
“Hey Caleb, did I tell the guy that Gideon’s shoulder are 11 inches or 24 inches?” I called from the other room.
“I think you said 24.”
I burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter, woke up Lesley and disturbed the guys who are diligently studying. I came stumbling out of the room sobbing, doubled over and attempted to explain what I had done. I say the “double it” and doubled the 11 – except even that doesn’t really make sense because 24 isn’t the double of 11……
I began to picture what this shirt would look like. What this child would look like.
Shoulders: 26″ wide
Waist: 22″ around
More fits of laughter. Oh dear. “I need to go fix this!”
Then I remembered what I had done with Aurora’s measurements and laughed even harder picturing these two freak of nature children standing side by side. Mr. Football shoulders and Miss Beachball. Oh dear. I am such an idiot!
Thankfully when I stopped in with Paul (our host) he was able to explain the extent of my stupidity and the tailor had already figured out a plan.
It was pretty hard to walk past either place afterwards though without fits of laughter.
Moral of the story: I cannot be trusted with details or measurements.
It was always very dark when we left the training sessions and headed back home. Paul had made it clear that it was safe for us to walk TO the church for sessions (just before 5pm) but walking home was not safe. It wasn’t likely that we would get robbed or hurt walking home all together, but it was very possibly that a ruffian might follow us to find out where we were staying and rob us in the night. Safety is something we are always aware of, we don’t want to put our host family in any extra danger and we don’t want to lose anything valuable, especially our passports.
As we had done every night, we walked to the road, Anna hailed a couple taxis and all the ladies piled in and started for home while the men waited for the second taxi to follow.
The taxi Anna flagged seemed like it might be trouble (it had stalled 2 times just turning around to get us and had no tail lights) but most cars here have issues so we hopped on in and started for home.
I need to pause here to mention that Anna had spent about four hours removing her awesome weave, walking down to the road side “salon” getting her hair washed, moisturized and redone with big curlers that had to sit for many hours before being taken out. It was a long process for her and had taken most of the day.
Ok, back to the story.
The speed bumps here are insane, even going as slowly as possible most cars scrape as they go over, so our driver decided to go a different way which included a fairly steep hill (We are in the middle of some small mountains here.) but avoided all but one speed bump.
After stalling for the 30th time and not wanting to start again, Lesley and I started getting nervous. We didn’t know where we were, ànd knew we shouldn’t walk at night. We were beginning to think we would likely get robbed and I would lose my expensive DSLR and all our money, we were just hoping we would make it home unharmed even if we lost everything.
I sent a text to Pete letting him know that we kept stalling and didn’t know where we were, hoping that Paul could help them find us. The mood in the car was very tense. Did I mention it’s 30C? The fumes were pretty strong too.
Suddenly, the silence was peirced as something large came flying in the window through Anna’s hair straight into the cab driver. There was screaming and flapping and feathers flying everywhere. Finally the cabbie caught a very terrified and parcially plucked bantam chicken. The car erupted in laughter. Even the driver was cracking up. A chicken….flew into the cab….into Anna’s hair….
Apparently a dog was chasing it and the taxi seemed like the safest place to be.
The driver was able to get the car started and we slowly puttered/stalled our way home still laughing hysterically.
We teased the driver alot and waved goodbye to our “chicken taxi!”
Today is the big day. The day we all need to use our voices in every way we can to remind those in power that we will not forget about Saeed Abedini like they want us to.
That we won’t forget about his family who is waiting and praying for his return
That we won’t forget about the 1 million Muslim people that Saeed and his wife have been praying for for so long. We will join them and pray for at least 1 million muslims to learn to truth of Christ and to be freed from the prison that they are in. If Saeed hadn’t been imprisoned most of us probably wouldn’t think to pray for Iran and the salvation of as many of it’s people as possible. Without Saeed and Naghmeh’s sacrifice many Iranian’s wouldn’t have already heard the gospel of Jesus and learned the truth about Him that Islam has tried to hide for so long.
Once again persecutors have tried to silence the Word and have instead given it a voice and helped it spread.
So Today let’s praise God for the work he is doing through our dear brother and sister. Let’s pray desperately for them: For Saeed’s health, and for strength and grace for them both and their children; For the people they all come in to contact with who are lost and For Saeed’s release.
What a neat testimony. Wow.
I know it is 19 minutes long but it is really worth your time to watch.
Don’t forget to use social media tomorrow to remind Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani that we will not forget Saeed Abedini. They both have twitter accounts so you can tweet right to them using the hashtags #SaveSaeed and #freesaeed
Pray for continued strength for his family and for Saeed himself.
Pray for the millions of muslims that Saeed and Naghmeh have been praying for to hear the truth of Christ since before they even met.
I’ve been a bit silent lately as I try to stay afloat during this busy time of year, but that is going to change this week.
I hope most of you already know about Pastor Saeed Abedini. If you haven’t here is a quick sum up: He is an American citizen who was in Iran in 2012 setting up and orphanage in the city of Rasht when he was arrested and put first on house arrest then into Evin Prison (for political prisoners) then just recently was moved to a much more overcrowded and horrible prison for rapists and murderers (the kind of place they send people they want the world to forget about and to disappear.)
Despite the fact that he is an American citizen and that the US and Iran have been meeting and making deals and freeing prisoners president Obama has failed to even bring up Saeed. Let alone demand his freedom. Instead Obama has freed Iranian prisoners -bad ones.
Obama thinks we will forget, Iran thinks we will forget.
There are so many Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith and we are called to pray for them. In all honesty, sometimes we forget. We don’t know their names. (That doesn’t make it ok). But in Saeed’s case, we know his name, we can see his picture. We can follow his wife on Facebook and hear her thoughts, we can see pictures of his children. How could we possibly forget him? No excuses.
So always, but especially this week and on the 4th most importantly. Blow up social media with prayers for him, with demands for his freedom. Change your profile picture. Write a blog post. Show Obama that we will not forget and we won’t stand by while he tries to ignore. Tell the Iranian president that we will not forget, he can’t hide Saeed away. And most importantly PRAY. Pray without ceasing.
Today we sang the song “Mighty to Save” in church and I couldn’t help but think of Saeed during the chorus. Our God is all powerful and he is mighty to save Saeed. Let’s pray that he does soon and that in the meantime Saeed will have a mighty impact where he is and that his family will have peace and strength.
“Saviour, He can move the mountains, Our God is mighty to save. He is mighty to save….”
Life, wasting time and following the wrong paths. I’ve been thinking about these things again lately. I hear things like this so often, “We thought the Lord was leading us to _____ but it’s just not working out” or “why would He have brought us this far only to close a door?”
I’ve thought it many times to, I was just thinking it again this week hearing about yet another family wanting to serve the Lord overseas and the money just doesn’t come in. It’s hard not to ask the question at times like that.
My finite mind says “God wants more labourers, he wants those unreached people to hear about His son, he commanded us to go and preach in the whole world. So why is he stopping people who WANT to go?” In my horizontal sight it doesn’t fit.
I don’t know if I will ever understand some of these things while I am on the earth, but I can trust that God sees everything and he must have a plan for all of those people. He must have a reason for taking us partway and then putting on the brakes. He must have a reason for all the things we don’t understand. Maybe it’s just to see how far we will trust him.
It’s easy to trust him when things are going well, when money is coming in to pay the bills, when the path looks straight; but when we are trying to stay afloat in debt because of a lost job or schooling we felt the Lord leading us into it’s pretty hard to trust.
If his ultimate desire for us is to make us more like Christ, to grow us in our maturity and our faith then all we need to do is hang in there, to keep trusting even when nothing makes sense.
Just some of my thoughts today.