Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our Mission Center

Our mission center in Asikuma, Ghana has now been operating for just over 1 year!

We are currently home to 27 children.

In January 2015 we also completed a temporary structure adjacent to our mission center to serve as a school. This is where the children of our mission center attend and it is also open for enrollment to the Asikuma community.

For this 2015-2016 term, we have two teachers who just graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa who have jumped on staff at the school. They teach along with a team of Ghanaian teachers, and are purposing to help develop curriculum and teaching strategies for the school. These two students, Mary and Anna, went on one of our trips to Ghana a few years ago and now live at our mission center while they receive this one of a kind teaching experience. You can keep up with them on their blog here: http://kccschool.blogspot.com/

This is our head house mother at our mission center, Comfort…

Jake and I have known Comfort since 2012 when she cared for our daughters at her foster home in Accra at the time. At the opening of our mission center last August we had recruited Comfort to move from her city life in Accra out to the rural village life in Asikuma to care for the children at our center. Comfort runs a great schedule at our center, and the kids noticeably thrive under the daily routine that has been established. The children know what to do, what to expect, and what is expected of them. Comfort of course loves children, and is especially fond of babies and toddlers. She really lives up to her name - is genuinely welcoming, kind, and compassionate. One thing that I appreciated when I was at our center last month was something I noticed during bath time for the little ones. Comfort had a bucket a little over half full of cold water ready for the baths. But right before starting she ran inside to grab a saucepan of water she had warmed on the stove which she then mixed in with the cold water to take the bite off. Loved that thoughtful touch.

Comfort receives a monthly salary from Acts 2 Collective and her two children Ajete and Rosemund also live with her at our mission center.

Helena is the house assistant to Comfort at our mission center.

She usually can be found in the kitchen helping to prepare the next meal or playing with one of the children. In Ghana, cooking can be an all day affair so it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare meals.

Helena also has been a big help in guiding and teaching the older girls we’ve taken into our center from Cape Coast. During my time at our mission center I noticed that Helena has an integral role of modeling to the girls how to act appropriately and manage the tasks of a woman in the Ghanaian culture. The Cape Coast girls have never been taught these things before. Now they are learning how to be nurturing and caring to the children as well as learning how to cook, clean, and act socially appropriate....much of which they learn by it being modeled and taught to them by Helena who is close in age to them.

This is not an easy undertaking and there are a lot of battles that go along with guiding these teenage girls, but Helena keeps a very light-hearted approach to it, and holds accurate expectations of them. Helena was raised in Asikuma, left for a time to attend school, and now is back and lives at our center. She is also paid a monthly salary.

This is another of our house helps, also named Comfort, but I like to think of her as Grandma.

Every home needs a Grandmother's presence to bring in softness and gentleness. Grandma Comfort arrives at our mission center in the mornings and stays until evening time before going back to her own home in Asikuma. She is there to provide an extra set of arms to hold and love on the children and also helps with the day to day housework like laundry. The afternoon that I strolled up to take this picture it was midday. Grandma was sitting outside under our wrap-around-porch in the quiet stillness of the afternoon, all snuggled in with our littlest addition to the center, Madjoa. The whole scene was just peace to me, and I loved seeing Madjoa alert and bright-eyed yet content as could be on Grandma's lap. Just how it should be. Grandma Comfort is also one of our paid staff and we are so thankful for her presence at our mission center.

Next up we have Wisdom (pictured left), James (pictured right) and Patrick (pictured center).

Wisdom is the 'man of the house' at our mission center. He does EVERYTHING! He is Daddy to the kids living at our center, handles the intake process for the children who come to live at our center, hires and manages staff, coordinates volunteers, organizes paperwork for each child, runs errands, runs kids to doctor appointments, handles community relations, oversees each part of our campus including the school, feeding program and agriculture, is a leader, visionaire and manager of our Asikuma projects, and basically keeps the place running! Our mission center is thriving in large part to how God is using the leadership and presence of Wisdom. He is a trustworthy and humble servant of the Lord. They just don't come any better.

James works for AgriHope - one of the organizations under the umbrella of Acts 2 Collective. James is from Zambia, but the Lord recently led him to pick up and move his entire life to our mission center in order to help us with creating sustainable farming. And the man is passionate about what he does! On my recent trip I received a very thorough rundown of the farming methods he is employing at our center - all the way from irrigation channels to how to blanket the crops. In as much as we know that James has come to plant physical seeds to grow a harvest, we know that the Lord has also drawn him to Ghana as an evangelist to plant seeds of the gospel in hearts. Just recently he has become friends with one of our mission center groundskeepers and has been encouraging him in his walk with the Lord via using his Iphone to translate from English to French. We love how God is using James to spread His word among our staff, and of course his crop growing skills are top of the line too! Some photos of the corn starting to grow at the mission center….

Patrick, aka 'AJ', is one of the handful of young men assisting James with the manual labor portion of the farming. This is in exchange for Acts 2 Collective paying for his school. I first met Patrick one night when it was pitch dark and I was walking back to the hotel from our mission center all alone. He had just fetched water and was riding his bike back home. He stopped to introduce himself to me the foreigner and just had the friendliest personality....like that kind-hearted older brother sorta feel. It was like God used him on my walk back to the hotel to whisper peace and that He was right there with me, watching out for me. Patrick is the definition of hard worker. I feel the Lord has opened a door for him into our center to be rewarded for how he labors wholeheartedly to provide for his younger siblings.

Our prayer is that our mission center would continue to be a refuge, set apart in the community where all who set foot on the grounds will experience life and peace.

[Pictured: Patrick’s sister Patricia comes to our mission center to help do laundry for her family.]

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