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Becoming and belonging in Ghana Day 1:

The first day of work on the field was definitely more than nets. The team began the day with a beautiful breakfast before going out to hang ~400 nets in the morning.  The team flourished at interacting with the children and the people in the village. We were welcomed into every home with joy and hospitality unlike anything many had seen before. I smiled all day, watching the team see the people of Yendi love on them by offering entrance into the most sacrid of places in their homes.

As the team were hanging nets, in the last home of the morning, they were told that the house was one of the Ghana team members. It was through him that the team not only got to interact with his father, the healer in the vilage but they were shown the inner sactim, animal sacrifice and all of the family idols. The team then prayed over the house and over a young girl who was injured by snake bite. It was truly an experience that they would never forget.

While some of the team were out in the villages, we had 18 young women here learning to sew the hygiene kits. It was such a glorious sight to behold.

The evening net hanging was no less eventful. We ran into a more idols, prayed for some to recieve Christ, loved on the people we encountered and hung another ~400 nets.

These sort of stories: encounters with idols, the openess of the people, the love of the children, all help for us to see how God intends for us to be as a church. Which was so evident in the evening discussion at the end of the day.

Everynight, we ask the team to give a word for their day the words of the first day where: Humbled, honored, blessed, changed, loved, sickness, and Joy.

As we talked about the day, we realized that we had on day one pointed out all the first world needs we believed the people of the village needed. The beauty of the moment was that in the discussion we began to here things like ” I had rocks in my shoes but when I look down I couldn’t complain because the children had no shoes.” “I can’t believe the joy of the peopel here, they have so little and yet we always want more.” “The homes need running water, but they only asked for us to pray for rain.”

This is often the way the short term mission trip goes.  Even with all the preparation, the reading of When Helping Hurts, and discussions before we got on the plane; we are not prepared for what we will see when we arrive. the stripping away of what we think the world should be begins to be removed.

This is the purpose of the trip to remove the scales from our eyes. To let us understand that the need to collect and have are a vices of the western world. Would the rest of the world like to have, yes they are human too. This was evident during the teaching the pastors about 1 timonthy. Tom proposed the question “how much money would you need to have enough?” Numbers where thrown out and then He challenged them with are you going to buy a house, maybe two, a car maybe two, servants etc etc until the money was gone. At which point they had to hire security to separate themselves from the people around. How easily we can slip from us to I.

What we experienced in the village was that joy comes to people here with relationship, with community, and with famliy.

This is a process for me that fits with the focus of our church. We are seeking to be “A Place to Become and A Place to Belong”. This trip is a chance for the 15 of us to become open to the true idea of community and take that back to our church, and our city to makeit a place where all have a place that they can belong without judgement or shame. For us that is what the church should be and could be once we move past focusing on the I and work on the we.