• By Susan Dixon

2018 Ghana Team Blog


Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of the friends and family who prayed and supported us in this journey. You can scroll from the bottom of the blog to the top to read in chronological order.

Are you interested in joining our next team heading to Ghana? We're taking applications until Feb 23. Click here for more info on our Summer 2019 journey.

July 13 | Day 8

Our last day in Ghana was so peaceful. Pastor Johnbull and his entire team and village of children prayed blessings over us before we departed. I prayerfully gifted my anointing necklace to Nurse Jammie and we left this place with the fullest of hearts. It is hard to say goodbye to the beauty that is in this place. I'm so proud of our team and how well they loved... and allowed themselves to be loved on. We have laughed, cried, and even shrieked a little (maybe a lot). God has been so gracious with us on this trip and we are in love with the work being done here. Thank you again to all who helped us get here. You should know we made a point to pray for all of you as well. May you be abundantly blessed for being such a blessing.

July 12 | Day 7

The Holy Spirit led us today more than ever. Pastor Johnbull invited us to pray with him in the prayer house and he shared some specific prayer needs they have here at CORM. Afterwards, I asked if he would pray over us. He was so kind to do that and spent several minutes praying and speaking life into each of us women. The Holy Spirit is so kind.

Right after, we had a session to talk through discipleship with the directors. You can ask Monica, Tracy, Sabrina, or Tori what the Lord had them share on; they all did an amazing job. Again, the Spirit moved mightily in that time. On this day, these women have been given the gift of moments they will never forget. God is greater than we know.

This afternoon, we visited Shai Hills Preserve with 4 of the older boys and a long term volunteer (and new friend), Ellie. We had adventures squeezing way more people into a taxi than I thought possible, getting completely drenched in the rain when our taxi could go no further, and climbing giant rocks to the most perfect view. We thank God for those boys being with us. They were chivalrous in every way and made sure we were safe climbing up and down and also navigating the muddy paths after the downpour. We so enjoyed getting soaked together. We were like giddy school kids and had an absolute blast. Honestly, it was pretty appropriate that we ended up drenched; I have felt covered by living water all day. I know the rest of our team would say the same.

Tonight ended with us joining the missionary ladies for a women’s Bible Study. It was lovely to share and connect with these women like that and especially to pray over their needs and requests. God is so loving. Thank you, Lord, for everything you’ve done in us and through us while in Ghana. We are blessed beyond measure.

July 11 | Day 6

We got up early to see assembly at school. Every morning, the kids sing pledges and prayers and march to a drum line. Such a fun way to start the day. Then we went to Chapel with the students to be led in praise and worship. It was just beautiful. Together, we worked on the teacher’s lounge and had great help from Pastor Johnbull and some of the older boys. Little ones even came out of the classroom to help us with the larger tables. I’m telling you the spirit here to help out and serve others is a true example for all of us. Monica was able to “sub in” for the 2nd grade teacher for about an hour and it was great to see how engaged the kids were with her.

Cailyn took her prayer walk with little Abigail and was so impressed with how seriously Abigail was taking it. This little girl was bringing Cailyn to tears with how she was praying for her own community. Little Mary also decided to join Tracy on her prayer walk and Tracy said she loved having a little partner with her.

After dinner, we did Bible study with all the staff and kids from CORM around a bonfire; it was such a special experience. We sang worship songs and Pastor Frank encouraged us with a brief message. When he finished, the group was asked to stand and share testimonies (if we felt led) and several kids did! At closing, we partnered up and prayed for someone near us and that in itself was a true highlight of my day. I love that children and adults here are learning and growing together in this way. I love that our team was able to be a part of it this week.

I don’t forget the extremely difficult circumstances these children have come from; but if you didn’t know, it would be hard to guess. By the grace of God, these precious ones have been rescued and redeemed in so many ways. I am overwhelmed by the obvious goodness of God to take them from where they were (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) to where they are now.

July 10 | Day 5

We had a day of adventure. We finished up work in the storage shed and closet with a few surprises to entertain us in the process. Tracy, Monica and I were briefly trapped in a classroom, and the picture proof had us dying laughing. Mama Teresa invited Cailyn to stay with her and learn how to sew, and Cailyn was over the moon excited. She and Mama Teresa have a special bond. Sabrina and Tori helped Mama Selena in the kitchen and she was so pleased to hear that we enjoyed eating the yams they had made for us.

Once school was out, we watched Pastor Johnbull play volleyball with the boys and Tracy, Monica, and Sabrina joined in for fun. Monica said it was a good reminder to “join in on the fun” more often when it comes to playing with her family outside. I have to say how much we’re all so touched by Pastor Johnbull and how he invests in these boys. He gives leadership to a church, an orphanage, a school, his own family and so much more and yet he always has time for the one in front of him. All the kids and the staff here endearingly call him “daddy” and he is such a great example of what being a daddy looks like.

Then off to prayer walk. That’s when little Mary asked about my necklace. “What is that?”, she said. And when I told her it was an anointing oil necklace, she said, “Power! Jesus! Can I have some?!” Goodness, how I love these kids. After dinner, we split up to help the kids with “prep”. Tori, Cailyn, Sabrina helped with the older kids and I went to the prayer house to help the younger ones. These kids are fun and they have the biggest hearts. We’re already starting to get sad at the idea of heading home in a few days.

July 9 | Day 4

This team works hard, they have fun and they look out for one another. As I was telling someone else today, this team is more awesome than they realize. Today we helped Dr. Troy and Jammie organize the clinic. They had both been in and out the last 3 weeks doing medical outreaches in the local villages so things were out of place and we were happy to help.

We spent most of the rest of the day organizing several bins of clothes so that CORM can take them on additional outreaches planned for next week. It was outside and it was hot but this team had fun and didn’t complain once. This evening, we prayer walked over the property praying blessing and interceding for the children and the staff here and Tracy squeezed in a mini game of basketball.

After dinner, we helped some of the kids “prep” for their exams which gave us some great one on one time with the kids. I hate math... but I love hanging with Moses so it was worth it. Sabrina got to know Rafael and Tori hung out with Dora. Overall, we are pretty beat tired from the day but super filled up.

July 8 | Day 3

Today was Church and Sabbath. Worship was beautiful and we heard a great message on discipleship from Dr. Troy. I didn’t understand many of the words during worship but even without our understanding- the Spirit of God led us all to tears. My heart has missed being at church at City of Refuge. It has been a homecoming for many of us- even those who physically had not been before this trip.

What touched me today. Precious young Abigail who got on her knees in the corner of the church (and in her pretty little dress) to worship the Lord with her whole heart. Getting Moses to play jenga and cards. We connected last year but he is older now and it took him longer to come around. I had missed Moses though so I’m glad he let me hang out with him today.

Watching Tracy get beat at “spar”, (a card game the boys taught her). Tori, Monica, and Sabrina eating some yam and fish stew. Sabrina rubbing Joanna’s back until she fell asleep on the table. Monica bonding and connecting with little Deborah. Seeing the look of rest on Tori’s face today after she took a nap “just because”. She never does that. What a great, peaceful, and love-filled day our Sabbath was.

July 7 | Day 2

We had a beautiful and challenging day today. Started off at 4am to head to Cape Coast. 5 hours of traffic and bumpy roads led us to Kakum National Park where we crossed several canopies towering over the trees. About half of our team dislikes heights so I was proud of them for pushing through. Today, they learned they are even braver than they think.

After the canopy bridge, we found a perfect hole-in-the-wall restaurant close to Elmina Castle and shared a meal with our driver and friend, John (John has lived at CORM for 3 years and he and his wife serve as the house parents for the girls’ home). Finally, it was time to visit Elmina Castle. There is something that feels so wrong and yet so necessary about visiting this place. It is one of the castles where slaves were beaten, raped, and starved prior to boarding slave ships for the Americas. We walked into cells where the darkness and lack of air was stifling. We heard the history of how this atrocity began and details of the evil done in that place. Many died here. And for those people who survived- the horror from Elmina was really just beginning.

There is one holy place I found. A place where African Americans have returned and brought wreath offerings in remembrance and honor of their ancestors. As our guide said, no slaves who ever left Elmina returned...but centuries later, their American ancestors are beginning to. Pray for our team. We left heavy spirited and we’re still processing. We can be taught on slavery in schools but there’s a different level of understanding we receive when we’re closed in the same cell as those who experienced this atrocity first hand.

July 6 | Day 1

We started our morning by handing over 8 suitcases of donations and gifts. Thank you again to all who donated medical supplies, food, books, clothes, and more. We had a great orientation with Sheila (CORE staff), Ellie (Volunteer) and Pastor Johnbull (Co-founder). We learned how City of Refuge began, got an update on the children and also were able to share some of our heart behind coming to Ghana. We learned some key phrases in Twi, like akwabba and madaasi thanks to Sheila.

Be proud of this team. They share their hearts well and are so eager to serve and to learn.

We completed our first day prayer walk around the complex (which is so important) and got some great welcome home hugs for Cailyn.

We played jenga, blew bubbles, and played some cards. Matthew gave us a tour of the aquaponics garden. Dinner was served with our gracious hosts and movie night was tonight.

Busy day! My high? Meeting Ezekiel. He arrived here last July as one of the boys rescued off the lake. Last year, he spoke no English. This year, he won the regions English spelling bee and has such a spirit of peace within him. Imagine the miracle of this young mans’ testimony! “I once was lost but now I’m found”. God’s so good.

July 4 & 5 | Take Off & Travel Day

Our team left Atlanta this evening. We had a small issue checking our many bags of donations but God's favor was already upon us and we were able to combine items into less bags and make things work. Thank you for praying for our travels. We'll see you on the other side!

July 3 | Prayer Send Off

Our team shared a special time of worship, prayer and commissioning alongside several friends and family members, including Tracy and Monica's family, who joined us via Skype. Our team has universally felt some extra attack from the enemy this past week, so it felt right to start the night off with testimonies of God's goodness and worship. There is no greater spiritual weapon than worshiping our King.

Eric shared about the challenges that come with sticking our necks out for God and the art of perseverance. Individually, we engaged in a time of reflection as we released fears and control back to God and took communion as a remembrance of who He is and what He has done.

After communion, I was blessed to be able to pray over and commission each team member. Our prayer time was focused on the "Ebenezer" stones we selected earlier during our training. Each team member chose different words for their journey; love, trust, obedience, freedom, joy, and understanding (empathy). The Lord gave us those words as a focus for us on this trip and we know He will be faithful to help us grow in these areas. Together, we prayed for discernment, protection and to be fully surrendered to God's purposes through every bit of this journey. We also prayed for City of Refuge, our partners in Ghana.

We leave to begin our journey soon. Please keep us lifted in prayer and you'll hear from us again when we're on the other side of the world!

June | Pre-Trip: Training

Thank you for signing into our Faith Journeys Ghana Team Blog. Many of you have invested time, prayers, and finances into this so you are a part of our journey as well and we want you to follow along! We depart July 4 and intend to update this as much as we can, (depending on what kind of connection we get) once we are over there. Keep this link and pray for us often. We'd so appreciate it.

About a week ago, our team of 6 women gathered in the North Georgia mountains for 3 1/2 days of intense training. Some of our team knew each other and some did not so we had a great time of breaking the ice and getting to know one another. We cooked together, prayed together, and laughed often. Healing tears were also shed as we learned how to experience the agape love the Father has for us. We spent time learning about discipleship, heart healing, and how to serve others in a way that preserves dignity... and in between all that we also shared some of our personal struggles and were able to pour love and prayers over each other in the process.

A lot was packed into those short days and God was so present. He brought together a unique group of women for this journey, and yet we also found we have so many things in common. One thing I know for sure; these women love the Lord. God has already begun a powerful work in each of us through this journey and we are so excited to see how He plans to use us while we are in Ghana supporting our City of Refuge Ministries partners.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of the friends and family who are praying and supporting us in this journey. We will do our best to update this blog daily once we depart, so make note of the address to get future updates.

Blessings,

Susan

Interested in joining a team? We are currently taking applications for our next trip to Ghana which will leave July 2019 out of Atlanta. Click here for more info.

#Ghana #cityofrefuge #training #faith #volunteering #Africa #discipleship #shorttermmissions

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