Posted: 8/3/15 at 10:45am. Blog post by Shannon Wilkinson
Something that has always defined my story is fear. Without Jesus, I am not courageous or strong. But this summer, despite a little anxiety, I sandaled up my beautiful feet with readiness for the gospel of peace and flew halfway around the world to Yendi, Ghana.
Just two years ago, God gave me a strong passion for the people of West Africa after spending only 10 days with the Konkomba people, one of the primary people groups in Yendi. Ever since, I have been begging for the opportunity to go back and serve them.
This summer, my prayers were answered and before I knew it I was settling in my new home in Yendi. However, when I arrived, I was overwhelmed by everything around me and by the idea that this place that I loved was a place I barely knew. I clung to God’s provision in the life of Gideon. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” became my mantra. As time went by, I adjusted and fell back in love with a place and a people that I have come to know well.
Living life here brought many challenges, and through those challenges, growth. In a place where I knew almost nobody, the reality of Jesus as a best friend is something I understand much better now. I also had the misfortune of experiencing malaria during my time in Yendi, but through that became equipped to look the people here in the eye and understand some of what they go through.
My heart was a little broken when I realized that not everything here functions like a Jesus-themed fairy tale. Yet through that I learned that when the growing churches and the ministry as a whole faces trials, it serves as a reminder that all humanity needs the mercy of Jesus. As long as churches are made up of people, they will have problems.
As I leave Yendi, I know that I am changed. I am more patient, more humble, and more gentle. I have a better understanding of God’s love. He loved us, despite knowing us fully. Only because I have been shown this kind of love do I have the right to claim true love for Yendi. I know the people here, and despite knowing that they are sinners just like me, I love them.
“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” In Deuteronomy, God promises to go with His children when He calls them. That promise remains true for us. Fear is no longer something that defines my story. Jesus is.
Learn more about the More Than Nets project in Yendi, Ghana.