Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jake's journal - Day 6 in Ghana - Last day

Day six was yet another fabulous day as we spent the majority of the day with Prince in his village. They scheduled a soccer match for us to watch and we spent hours interacting with the children and people from his village and surrounding areas. Doug even got to practice his skill at making banku with one of the local women. Let’s just say it did not go great and soon he gave the reigns back to her to make sure he did not ruin the food for all the people she was about to feed. We could not have asked for a more incredible day spent with a young boy we have all come to love. It will be hard to leave Prince again tomorrow but we do know that God has plans for him and in that we find some comfort.

We closed the day with a great meal at Esi’s with all the volunteers from the Isaiah 1:17 Foundation and of course another half-dozen guests that know Esi and consider her a great friend. We cannot express our appreciation enough to all the volunteers especially Ameilia and Michael.

It is bittersweet to know we are leaving tomorrow. I am so ready to get back to my wonderful wife and beautiful kids, but at the same time there is a feeling inside of me that is in love with Africa and in love with the desire for opportunity that many of the young people have here in Ghana. I will miss the sense of community. I will miss the amount of joy expressed despite having so little. I will miss how alive Christ feels in many of the villages we have spent time in. I will miss a place where things of the world don’t matter.

What other place in the world can boys wear pink backpacks and pink sandals, where girls can shave their hair, and where people can come from different communities and laugh together? This was never more evident than today when we showed up to Prince’s soccer match and they threw JD a uniform and asked him to play on their team. They even started JD in the game and quickly passed him the ball whenever possible. There were no kids on the bench pouting, no parents mad that he got to start, but instead they were simply thrilled to welcome a new person into the team and into the community. It did not matter that he was not as fast as them or had never practiced with them. They didn’t care that he was white or that he came from America. Instead they welcomed him as if he was one of them. As if he was Ghanaian.

If you could ever see a perfect resemblance of Christ and what it looks like today was it. I pray that I will be able to take the things I have learned this week from the alone time I have spent with God and carry it home with me. It has been a unique experience having so much quiet time this week as Janel and the kids did not make this trip. Being away from them the past seven days it has certainly reminded me how much I love them and how much I desire the simple things....like seeing the expressions on their faces as they talk and holding my wife’s hand in the car. The little things we take for granted on a daily basis can quickly be brought back to the forefront of our minds when those things get taken away - even if it is just a few days.

I hope to have them along with me on all future trips but God has used this time to grow me in my faith. I thank God for that opportunity and if I can ask one thing from Him tonight it would be - what is next? God, what do you want from me? It is so weird because it feels like I have been designed for Africa. Here no one cares about how quickly you returned a phone call or how much notice you provided when something had to change. People genuinely care about people here! In all my trips here including the past 7 days I have never heard one person say a negative thing about another person. Today I was wondering if gossip and all the talking behind peoples’ backs actually exists here. It just feels as though this is how God created people to be and I pray that as an organization in the United States that we can exemplify Christ by not only what we say but how we love others. The ability to love one another in all circumstances is clearly written in scripture many times over. I am beginning to understand exactly what John meant when he wrote the following - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another ( John 13:34-35). I’ve just got to keep praying for God to give me clarity about what is next and how to move forward in a place He has called us to…

Good Night from Africa,


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