2020 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. This team has shown great perseverance through this trip that was supposed to have happened in July. Now, with the journey behind us, we all agree God's timing was absolutely the best. Below is our day to day activities from our time in Ghana. You can scroll from the bottom of the blog to the top to read in chronological order.
Are you interested in joining our next faith journey? We are currently taking applications for Ghana (July 2021).
Jan 2 | Day 7
Final Day: This morning our devotional was focused around our key verse for Faith Journeys; Galatians 5:13 which says, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Many people have come through our discipleship journey and all have said it changed them. The proof of that, however, truly shows once they come home. Our plea with each team member is rooted in Galatians 5:13; to use the gifts and revelations they've gained on this journey to make a difference in their own sphere once they are back home. Some will run with this challenge. Some will not. Our prayer for these ladies is that they will.
We had a half day of fun at CORM today. Some of us did word searches in the cafeteria, some watched the older boys play basketball, and others took a long walk with Stacy and another long term volunteer. After lunch, we packed up and said our final goodbyes which are never easy. This place has earned a space in everyone’s heart and we're so grateful for that. We are now at the airport awaiting our flight. Please pray traveling mercies as we begin this journey home and arrive around 2pm Sunday.
Here are some questions to ask your loved ones when they get home. Answering the standard “how was your trip?” is harder to put into words.
- What serving activities were you a part of? - Tell me what was most unexpected about your journey. - Tell me one of your favorite moments with your team. - What about with someone from City of Refuge? - What was the hardest part of this experience? - What do you miss most about Ghana? - How can I be praying for you now that you’re back? - How can I pray for your new friends? - What did you miss most while you were gone? - What is most difficult about being back home? - What is God teaching you as you get back into your routine here? - How do you want to remember this experience going forward? - How did God change your view of the world? - What did God teach you about Himself?
Jan 1 | Day 6
We slept in today after the late night party last night. Our team kept saying what a blessing it was to ring in the new year 100% focused on Jesus. And we had a blast doing it. Most of the kids stay up until 5am to see the sunrise, and Carena did her best to make it that long. A reliable source tells us she made it until at least 4am before falling asleep at the Tompkin's house. It is probably the most eventful New Years most of us have had in years.
This afternoon, we went for a hike with some of the older boys and it was quite the adventure. With each of the 6 of us, there was a different young man who took it upon himself to make sure we were safe climbing up and down some very steep points. We sweated buckets, built new memories, and truly just enjoyed spending time with these boys. They were so kind and patient with us as we went twice as slow as they normally would have without us. The mamas from the single moms discipleship program came along as well and this was their first ever hike.
Once we arrived home (about 2 hours later) it was almost time for dinner which was made special to celebrate the new year. The founders had soda and ice cream for everyone (a special treat) and Auntie Jessica made a delicious cake.
Afterwards, they allowed me (Susan) to hand out all the donated sheets and blankets we had brought with us and these kids were so thankful. Thank you again to all our friends and family for their contributions!
Tomorrow is a half day here and then we head home. We will do our best to save the “sad” until then.
Dec 31 | Day 5
Day 5: Happy New Year from Africa! Today was a blessed day. We finished our VBS this morning with the kids proudly performing their song and dance about the armor of God in front of the staff and house parents from CORM. All the kids (even the older ones) danced and had a great time.
It isn't lost on us that for some of these children, having the freedom to dance and sing was not something they had this time last year. City of Refuge is exactly that; a refuge for these young ones to safely live out the rest of their childhood. It has blessed our team so much to witness their joy while doing that.
This afternoon, our team had a sweet time of ministry with the leadership team at CORM where they ministered to each of us. It was moving and special and we are so blessed. Each of us received a word of encouragement, confirmation of things to come, and above all, the Father's Love just pouring out on us. These people - this place - is quite special.
This evening, our church service started at 9:30 with lots and lots of worship, testimonies and a message from Pastor Johnbull. Then fireworks and more dancing. City of Refuge purchased several fireworks (called Knock Outs here) so once we rang in the New Year, we had fireworks going off for several hours after. What an amazing was to ring in the year; with gratitude and faith. God is good. Welcome 2021!
Dec 30 | Day 4
Day 4: We had a fun day of VBS as Heather C. led us in a lesson about the Gospel shoes of peace and the shield of faith. Afterwards, one of the volunteers said, "I think this is the first time I truly understand what the shoes of peace represent." Sometimes hearing a message created for children helps the adults understand better than one would think. The craft we made together was beautiful and even our helpers wanted to try making one. After VBS, we helped in the library again and got to have some good quality time with Stacy, one of the co-founders of CORM.
This afternoon, we finished our bracelets and were able to have some extra down time with the kids. This evening we enjoyed Bible Study by the bonfire and were very excited about it. Today is officially our half-way point for our trip. Some team members are starting to feel a bit sad about leaving; it has already been such a beautiful experience and it will be bittersweet to leave.
Dec 29 | Day 3
Today has been a lovely day. We started our day with our VBS. We had more kids come than we anticipated which was awesome. All the kid’s loved the music and dancing. We have some pros here. One of our favorite thing to witness was how the older kids actively helped the younger ones. The olders were assigned as helpers 1 or 2 days during VBS but many of them came the whole week and were so engaged. These kids are discipling and investing in the next generation because they want to- and we loved seeing that. After VBS, we went to the school library to help organize by reading level. They have a few hundred books that have been donated so this is definitely a 2 day task. Carena and Jennifer L. spent time helping in the clinic today as well.
We prayer walked as we do every day and it’s sweet to see our team more and more passionate in their prayers and they get to know the hearts who live here. God is good. After prayer walk, we worked on our jewelry bracelets (which are still not done btw) and then enjoyed some delicious smoothies made by Auntie Jessica. It’s 90 degrees here so smoothies are amazing.
This evening, Susan (I) spent some good one on one time with my dear Abigail. I have loved her from day 1 of meeting her 4 years ago and she’s a mama now. She was very proud to introduce me to her sweet Jeremiah.
City of Refuge is a special place. You should come. It will change you.
Dec 28 | Day 2
Your prayers worked! Our VBS started today and it went really well. Pastor Dominion did an incredible job leading everyone in worship and because of all the hard work Jennifer L. put into organizing our material ahead of time, our teaching times in small group went super smooth. After VBS, we painted a wall in the clinic where a pipe had burst and had a great deal of help from Ernest who works in the clinic. It was great to hear about the contributions he’s been making as a part of the medical team.
This afternoon, Jennifer P. led us in a jewelry making activity alongside some of the women from CORM. The leadership team thanked us for making a point to do something like this for them; oftentimes activities are only scheduled around the children and the women can feel forgotten. Making the bracelets was a much harder activity than Jenn anticipated so we will be finishing it tomorrow but had so much fun learning it together today.
This evening, we were honored to witness an anniversary celebration for Pastor Robert and his wife. The whole community prayed blessings over them and couples came with words of affirmation to share as well. As in the States, marriage isn't always taken seriously in Ghana and commitment isn't always valued. Hearing this community honor it so well was a beautiful thing for us to witness and a wonderful lesson for all the young men and women of CORM.
Without exception, everyone in our team feels lighter. Less burdened. This place brings about a certain sense of peace. We all needed that and we are grateful. Thank you to everyone who has invested and prayed into our journey here.
Dec 27 | Day 1
Our team had a great night of rest and woke up to a beautiful 90 degree day in Ghana. It was nice to see familiar faces and also for our first timers to make new friends. Pastor Johnbull spoke a great word a out the battlefield of our minds during church and it was beautiful to see everyone wearing their matching Christmas outfits.
This afternoon was spent in volunteer training, prayer walking, interacting with the kids, and catching up on some sleep. Our VBS behind tomorrow! Pray for us!! Some of us are naturals at this teaching thing and some of us are not.
Dec 25 & 26 | Team Travel Days
Our team is on the way! Please keep us all in your prayers.
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!
Typically, our partners in Ghana have at least 7-8 teams come serve with them throughout the year. Teams bring over much needed supplies and donations and serve tirelessly alongside the teachers and staff onsite. This year, because of Covid 19 we are the only team that was actually able to serve. Our presence in that place was much more needed than it ever has been before. Some might think we were crazy to go and that’s ok. God had us on a real faith journey and some of the spiritual mountains crossed weren't very fun, to be honest. But through that, comes growth if we allow it.
In June, we completed our team training and left there more refreshed and empowered than ever before. 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.
God’s presence has been tangible and His angels have ministered so well to us. These trainings are much less about “what we’ll be doing in Ghana” and much more about “what God wants to do in us”. I’m humbled and grateful at the opportunity to lead these amazing women. They’ve been equipped in a mighty way and they’re ready to pour out.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of the friends and family who are praying and supporting us in this journey.
Are you interested in joining our next faith journey? We are currently taking applications for Ghana (July 2020).