Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just a Few of the Things We Have Planned

Our itinerary is really starting to fall into place for our upcoming trip to Asikuma, Ghana! Of course, half of our team will be devoting their time to the construction projects. 8 of our guys will be revamping existing structures donated to our foundation by chief of Asikuma, Nana. The structures will be turned into a medical clinic and the start of a foster home for the village. The team will also be building a brand new library for Asikuma’s primary school, all the while teaching a team of Ghanaians how to build along the way. The other half of our team will be available to help with the construction items as needed, but we’ve got a lot of exciting things planned too!

For starters, our pastor from our big ‘ol church, Cornerstone Church of Ames, has hopped on board our team for this trip. His name is Jeff and he is no stranger to Africa. Over the past few years Pastor Jeff has helped to establish a pastoral training center, called the Hope Center, in Serenje, Zambia. (This training center is linked with the Hope Children’s Center, which provides a healthy meal each day to over 50 orphans).

Basically it started by identifying a network of God-fearing pastors in the area who were serving Christ with great passion, but had not been privileged to receive formal training. Our church and Pastor Jeff came alongside these pastors in Zambia and began offering a three-year regimen (four, one-week sessions per year) of biblical and theological training. Pastor Jeff is hopeful that this model started in Zambia can be replicated in Ghana and in other countries in Africa in the future. For our Ghana trip, Pastor Jeff and Jake have been working with Ken, you will remember him as the music man in this post, to round up interested pastors and find a place to hold the seminar. Some excerpts from Ken’s recent email….

Hi Mr. Jake, I was extremely glad when I got your mail and read it. My response is yes and I am ever ready to assist in the pastoral seminar. I think through it the Lord would do something wonderful in the whole area. In fact I have been dreaming of occasions like this for a long time now. We have our large central chapel in Frankadua, which is just some few kilometers away from Asikuma. I think it can be a convenient place for the event and I think the comers would like the place! If possible, you can send some pictures we can use for posters that I would paste everywhere in town. This evening I would start making the announcement, and this coming Sunday I will pass through the churches in town to inform them. My suggestion is I would like us to do the seminar in the morning and at Frankadua for only pastors and elders, and in the evening we will be in Asikuma for an open gospel outreach. My church planned a crusade in town but didn't set a date. I think we will all join our forces to do it for the Lord. Please I would like you to persuade the assemblyman to allow us to use their musical instruments. My kids and I would help playing for worship. I can’t wait to hug you all soon! May the lord be with your souls til we meet soon. Ken

Pretty exciting! In Ghana, Pastor Jeff will be teaching a course to the pastors called the “Theology of the Gospel” which is an overview of the message of the Bible (the "good news") that begins in Genesis and runs all the way through the book of Revelation. Pastor Jeff is bringing his current intern, Rusty, who will help him with the seminars. Rusty can sing and is able to lead worship time, so he is bringing his guitar and will also be leading worship for our bible studies that we are organizing for the village children! We are hoping to hold the bible studies in the school yard in the evenings while we are in Asikuma. Last time we made salvation bracelets with the kids, and they all LOVED it! This time we are hoping to have a handful of different bible studies with corresponding crafts.

We also have lots of donations to hand out as well (shoes, clothes, books, food, etc). My mom, along with many others, have been sewing pillow case dresses for the girls in Asikuma. Look at how organized she is…..she packaged them up in ziplocks and put the dress size on the outside so we can quickly grab them and outfit girls with the perfect size! My mom also makes really cool verse cards which she put in each of the ziplocks. :)

Last week as I was sketching out our itinerary, I was picturing our team handing out these dresses…..and as I did I had an idea: Why on earth are we sewing all these dresses when it would be much more proactive to take the materials to Asikuma and teach the women there how to make them. Then, they could sell the dresses in the market place and make a little business for themselves! Right after I thought of that I emailed a few people who were sewing and told them to STOP! Then I asked them to package up all their leftover fabric, materials, thread, ribbon, etc. I got in touch with one of the gals (Dee) who will be traveling on our team to see if she would be able to offer a sort of sewing seminar to women in the village who wanted to learn how to sew. Dee is actually a teacher in family & consumer sciences at Marshalltown High School, so she’s used to teaching this sort of thing. Not only that, but her real name is Dorcas…..which may sound like an interesting name choice by her mother, but she was named after the Dorcas in the Bible who…..get ready for this…….made clothes for the poor (Acts 9:36-42)! Since she got that name she figured she might as well live up to it, and her life totally reflects her passion for sewing. Her response to me when I asked her if she could teach the women how to hand-sew the dresses was… ‘I will be in heaven teaching them this.’ From there she rounded up packages of scissors, threads, needles, measuring tapes, and more leftover fabric and ribbon and is ready to roll! My friend who created the dress pattern out of men’s dress shirts is also sending her leftover materials and created a little tutorial for Dee to go off of when instructing. I am so excited to see how it all plays out!

On our last day of the trip, once we head back to Accra, our team will also be making a very special visit back at the Beacon House Orphanage…..for a reason that I can’t share with you until after our trip! TRUST ME, you’ll LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!:)


Caitlin said...

Have I ever shared the Heartline Haiti web site with you? Mike has 5 siblings adopted from there, but they have been doing womens' programs the past few years. They have an English class, sewing class and a maternity center. You should check it out if you haven't. I can give you links if you're interested. :)

Christy said...

LOVE the idea of teaching them how to sew rather than just handing out dresses!!! Great plan! And so fun that Dee's real name is Dorcas. I just love how God works!

Tamara B said...

crazy fun story. I was just with Michelle M on Sunday and we talked about this very thing. We had the same issue when we went to Ethiopia last month. And the name story was amazing!!! My name means palm tree in Hebrew and I've told Ryan that means I need to live near the beach where there's palm trees. He doesn't take me seriously on that one :)