2022 Ghana July Team Blog
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This team has been the largest one for Faith Journeys and we were blessed by the level of commitment, efficiency and love for the Lord that everyone carried. Much was accomplished in them and through them - well beyond what most of us would have imagined. We are so grateful for City of Refuge and the work they do. Because of their vision to fight human trafficking, hundreds of children have been rescued and taken in. Our team fell in love with many of those children and their hearts have grown as a result. Thank you to everyone who donated over the counter medicines, school supplies, toys, and other much needed items for our new found friends. It means so much to them and to us. 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 India (Jan 2023).
Jul 20 & 21 | Day 10/11 Travel Days
We have said our good byes and shared lots of hugs. Aunty Tori asked to be baptized before we left and Pastor Johnbull was so kind to make it happen. We miss our new family already. Thank you for everyone who has prayed and invested in this journey. Our travels were long and delayed but we are grateful to be home now and processing our experience. Oh, all the things God has been up to within us and through us. Thank you, friends, for being a part of it all.
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?
Jul 19 | Day 9
The Lord is so kind to us. Truly. It’s been an amazing day. An amazing trip. Many of us are sad right now and that’s to be expected. We have made special connections with so many of these children- and also with the staff. There are amazing people here and we have been abundantly blessed to get to know them. The Directors team took several hours out of their day today to pray over each of us and we are leaving this place filled up to overflowing.
Lord, we ask you to continue the work you are doing here at CORM. Love on your people. Bless them abundantly and show them how deep and how wide your love is for them. We don’t have any way to repay the love that’s been poured out on us here. But we are beyond grateful.
Friends, pray for us as we say our goodbye’s tomorrow. We want to finish this race well.
Jul 18 | Day 8
Sunday church day and our team was looking snazzy in their outfits made by CORE. Pastor Autumn preached an amazing message on Romans Ch. 8 which was a much needed and timely message for many of us. Jessika did an amazing job helping lead worship as well. We are so proud of her.
After church, we rested a bit and then some went out to pray with the local villagers. As Julie said, “It was hot. It was sticky. A little sad. But absolutely amazing.”
Some of us choose to stay at CORM and enjoy one of our last days with the kids here. We played uno, colored papers, and made bracelets. And we absolutely loved it. This team represents the body of Christ so well- each living out their part without reservation.
Tonight, we participated in a volunteer debrief led by Pastor Johnbull and Mama Stacy. It was good to spend time with them and for the team to hear a little about their story.
Our time here is starting to wind down and everyone is feeling it. A little excitement because we’ll be heading home soon and also a little sad to leave all these faces we’ve fallen in love with in such a short time.
Jul 17 | Day 7
Today was an amazing day. We spent most of the day with 15 boys and 7 girls all between 10 and 14 years old. We played games and taught lessons on kindness, self-esteem, temptation and godly influence. As part of the day we took them on a fun hike and enjoyed the beauty of Ghana. Some of the older boys came along to help and we were grateful for them.
You’d be so proud of this team. Each person stepped up in big ways and led their portion of the day like pros. Everyone has fun and the kids learned a lot. Honestly, as we sat there listening I can say as adults, we were also learning a lot from each other.
Today was a highlight of the trip for many of us. We’ve spent enough time with these kids now that we’ve built trust and so conversations were easier than they would have been earlier on. The kids were so thrilled to go on this hike and have a bit of a field trip and we really enjoyed being a part of that. One of the boys kept saying “I love my life!!!” It’s was precious.
If you have a loved one on this journey, just know they’re really doing an amazing job. Fully committed, loving to the point it hurts, and holding nothing back. They are growing. We are growing. And we thank you.
God is good. Even better than we think.
Jul 16 | Day 6
This morning, Jessika led us in devotional and we had a beautiful time of praying for each other. Afterwards, we finished sorting through the homeschool curriculum and then several headed to the school to finish up sponsorship letters. Tori, Jenn, and Jeff did their 2nd day of training with the ladies from CORE and this afternoon we finished painting the administration building.
Tonight, we had dinner together at the Omorefe house with delicious fried rice and chicken and afterwards we had movie night in the cafeteria.
Benjamin was able to go into town this morning with Sir Stephen to get more paint and that was an adventure.
Jessika was asked to be part of the worship team for Sunday so tonight she had her first practice. And loved every minute.
We prayer walked along the path tonight and it was nice to do things a little differently.
Tomorrow is our retreat day with some of the pre teen boys and girls. Please keep the whole day in prayer for us. That the kids learn a lot and also have a lot of fun.
Jul 15 | Day 5
Today was a great day even though a few of us seem to be rotating through a cycle of no sleep. Every morning, we try to spend time praying for and encouraging each other. Today Adam spoke scripture over us and it was lovely.
Afterwards, we sorted through giant bins of old homeschool materials and many hands made for light work. Our assignments for the day changed slightly and a different group of us taught the family curriculum to the women of CORE. They had great conversation about godly unions and the women are asking lots of questions.
We finished the socks project and met with several more kids about their sponsorship letters. Honestly, this part of the day was challenging for some of us because talking through gratitude with these kids feels like a strange conversation. Yes, these children are blessed to be cared for the way they are and to have been rescued from what they were rescued from. But also they have been through a lot. Is it possible to have gratitude and also still be processing through things? Yes. Yes it is.
This evening, the Omorefe family returned home after 3 months away and the level of joy and celebration was incredible here. This family is so very loved and it is because they equally love so well. Our team felt included as part of the family celebration even though we’ve only been here a few days. We spent time making welcome home signs and it was so fun. It was an honor.
Finally, a few of us helped with homework again tonight. Thank you for your prayers, friends. We can feel them.
Jul 13 | Day 4
It’s been a day of adversity today but God always comes through. Benjamin wasn’t able to sleep at all and it affected him quite a bit. Please pray that he can sleep tonight. We’ve had some tougher moments as a team but all pushed through and God gets the last laugh. We’ve gotten close to completing all the assignments given to us that were expected to last the whole week. This team works hard and efficiently and we are so proud of each of them.
Painting, gathering chicken eggs, sorting socks (100’s of socks), helping with sponsor letters and doing some training with the women.
Starting tomorrow we’ll have some additional tasks to complete and the founders of City of Refuge return from the States. The team is really excited to meet the individuals who trusted God and followed the vision for this place.
Positive moments: Benjamin had a long talk with Sir Ernest who runs the medical clinic. It was his highlight.
Jeff spent quality time with several of the kids and got a little gift from one of the boys.
Tori took a walk and felt like she really heard from God in that time. Jenn was with her and felt the same.
Adam loved Bible Study tonight, which was led by Pastor Dominion covering the topic of temptation. That was Eric’s highlight as well.
Julie had a special moment with one of the young girls here who she has been building connection with.
Jessika received a beautiful coloring paper from one of the younger boys here and it touched her heart so much.
Susan enjoyed watching Joshua bond with the boys here. And Bible study was truly amazing.
God wins. Sometimes things in the mission field get tough as the Lord allows us to be stretched. Please continue praying for us as we finish the race set before us. We all have enjoyed our time here and want to continue serving God in everything we do.
Jul 12 | Day 3
Today was our first day out working our scheduled assignments. Some of us painted the outside of the administration building while others gathered chicken eggs from the farm. Some taught the family discipleship curriculum to the women from City of Refuge Empowerment while others helped children write letters to their sponsors. Some also helped with reading assessments at the school. It was quite a busy day.
We also managed to get measured for customized clothes at CORE and bought a few things for friends and family at the Hope Store on campus. The guys on the team got their laundry done as well and let it air dry on the line. And of course we had our prayer walk.
This evening, a few of us helped out with homework in the cafeteria while the rest led a singles mentorship night for the staff and university students on campus. And a couple of our ladies helped prepare dinner as well.
We haven’t stopped moving today and it’s really been fantastic. What a great team this is. They all love the Lord so much, love these kids, and have incredible hearts to serve. To have 10 people respond so well to this experience and to our friends at CORM has been a true blessing to us.
Jul 11 | Day 2
Eric started our day with devotional and led us to talking about Abraham and Isaac. “Is there anything we are still withholding from the Lord?”, he asked. What a deep question. And something we chewed on for the rest of the day.
This morning was filled with fun activities for the kids and our team participated in several. Volleyball, basketball, and cheering on all the teams. The kids love having us be a part of the fun (even if some of us haven’t played these sports in 10+ years). It’s great to be included and welcomed regardless. A few of the high schoolers returned home for break today and it touched our hearts to see the younger ones celebrate and welcome them home. City of Refuge is absolutely home for these kids and they are 100% a family. Lunch was fried chicken, salad and fries and everyone loved it. Afterwards, we made friendship bracelets with some of the kids and some of us colored.
Julie said she’s taken so many pictures of our guys holding hands with the kids as they walk around campus. And it’s truly a redemption story. These kids feel safe with these men. And it’s beautiful to see. Relationship with adult men haven’t always been safe for some of them.
This afternoon, we went to the school to learn how to do our assignments for the rest of the week. We also sorted out the curriculum we brought back for the kids. Aunty Autumn spoke to us about what having this curriculum will mean for the school and why it was so important for them to change what they were using. It gave us a better understanding of why us taking all these books around the globe mattered and we are humbled to have played a part.
We prayer walked around campus, as we do every night, and then this evening we had our official volunteer training.
It was a crazy busy day and our team ended the night exhausted but energized. As we get to know some of these children better, the impact of what they’ve been through has started to hit everyone. Some of us are angry that these horrific things even happen. Some of us are relieved that there is now freedom for the precious ones who have now been rescued. And I think all of us are realizing that the purpose of being on this trip is way bigger than any of us could have imagined when first signing up.
God is good, friends. God is good.
Jul 10 | Day 1
Today was our first full day at City of Refuge. We started the day with church. Everyone was dancing during worship and their joy for the Lord was contagious. Pastor Robert gave a really impactful message covering Romans 7. After church we had lunch and the rest of day was spent playing with the kids. Some played basketball, others colored. Some played cards and others some jenga. It was really beautiful to see every single person on the team connect with kids on campus. This afternoon, we started our prayer walk which we will try to do everyday while we are here. Overall, everyone has handled the journey with grace and flexibility and they are doing amazing. Tomorrow is a Ghana national holiday so our team will help facilitate a fun day of games and activities for the kids. Not part of the plan but TIA (this is Africa). Ha! We are having a blast and enjoying each other and this place so much. Please pray tomorrow is fun for the kids and that we are able to continue connecting with them. We’ve had multiple little God moments and one on one conversations. The Lord is always doing a thing and we are blessed to be a part of it.
Jul 8 & 9 | Team Travel Days
We are on our way to Ghana. It was quite the journey, ending up with 1 extra bag than we anticipated and a slight hiccup with Tori's medical exemption. Thankfully, God granted us favor and we made it through all our connections without issue. We landed in Ghana about 4pm and made it to City of Refuge about 9pm on Saturday after going through customs and picking up some Ghana KFC for the ride home. Our team is tired but excited.
Jul 7 | Prayer Send Off
Our team shared a special time of worship, prayer and commissioning the night before our travels. Handling logistics at home and making their way to Orlando was the beginning of this journey for many team members and it was important for us to pray a covering of protection not just over ourselves but those family and friends holding down the fort back home. We are each so grateful for the people who have made space and sacrifice to allow us to go on this faith journey. God bless them all. 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
We completed our team training and left feeling truly knitted together. Jessika helped lead us into times of worship and we spent dedicated time sharing our hearts and our burdens with one another. Scripture says, "Confess your sins to one another and be healed." This has been a true statement for many of us on this team. We thank the Lord for each individual on this team and we are looking forward to what is to come. God has done a great work in these 4 days and it's only the beginning.
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 India (Jan 2023).