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2023 Ghana December Team Blog

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!

For the first time, Faith Journeys led a team of mom and kids to Ghana and it was beautiful to watch each child connect and serve others in their own unique way. It reminds us of 1 Timothy 4:12, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe." Whether participating in worship, helping with chickens, leading our team in devotional or cheering on our Bible Quiz team, we can say each of our servant hearted kids honored God and honored others well. We are so proud of them. Thank you to those who donated over the counter medicines, school supplies, clothes, 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.

Are you interested in joining our next faith journey? We are currently taking applications for our Adults summer trip to Ghana (July 2024).

September | Pre-Trip: Training

As a team, we gathered in the Panhandle to meet, train, and develop our oikos, which in Greek loosely means family and home. Our training is the most vital part of serving with Faith Journeys as strangers become family and grow in their understanding of who God truly is. It was neat to see moms and kids connect over so many things. Jen, one of our moms and frequent volunteers said, "there was a lot less crying and a lot more laughter" at this training compared to others and that is so true. We adapted several of our discipleship teachings and tools to be relevant to even our youngest participant and that inherently made it that much more fun. Jesus can be fun, y'all! We thank the Lord for each family and individual on this team and we are looking forward to what is to come.

Dec 25/26 | Day 1/2 Travel Days

Our Ghana Christmas team checked in with 18+ bags filled with donations for our friends. Thank you to everyone who contributed! Several of the team traveled by car 6+ hours just to get to this point - what a way to spend Christmas Day - and what patience and commitment they showed. We made small goodie bags for some of the Airline Staff and flight Attendants, as they were working hard on Christmas Day to help us begin our journey. It was nice to see the delight and surprise as each child handed those out. We landed safely in Accra the evening of the 26th and all our bags arrived! Amen Praise, as Carena would say.

Dec 27 | Day 1

Our team is doing really well so far. The heat is on another level right now so some of our outdoor activities were postponed. Instead, we helped process chickens (in the shade) which included killing, plucking, and butchering the chickens. The experience was hard for a few on the team but also amazing to see the efficiency; nothing was wasted and everyone had a job.

Afterwards, we took a little break and hung out with the kids. Some colored with markers, others made bracelets, others made scones and a few played basketball. We really enjoyed just hanging out and getting to know these amazing kids.

A tradition with Faith Journeys is our prayer walk and we took time today to do that before dinner. We prayed for these amazing kids, for the staff, and for this place. Many of us were moved by the heart of God for these kids. They are loved beyond any words we could offer. Lastly, we participated in Bible Quiz competitions which will run the next 3 evenings. It was great to see how knowledgeable many of these kids are regarding the word of God and how seriously they take our faith.

Dec 28 | Day 2

We started our day with devotional (led by Jenn) followed by time playing volleyball with the kids. We all participated when we could and it’s so lovely playing with kids who are just so excited to be playing. Winning is secondary to community when they play with us and we’re very grateful.

After volleyball, we spent time making and decorating kites our team brought over and we were thrilled to see kids of all ages engaged in the activity. What we thought would captivate them for 30 minutes actually engaged them for most of the afternoon. After kites, the kids decorated cookies and we did our prayer walk praying over the medical clinic, the church, and the founders house.

Dinner was delicious with rice, black eyed peas and a small bit of chicken and, after that, most of campus gathered in the church for round 2 of the Bible quiz competition. We are down to 2 teams and the finale is tomorrow. We celebrated with ice cream and some coconuts. It’s been a good day celebrating the lives of these littles and the miracle it is to just see them playing like regular kids. Once a slave and now forever free. It is a massive blessing.

Dec 29 | Day 3

Today we did laundry by hand and took bucket showers because a main water line broke by the camp. These moments sure do increase our gratitude for the conveniences of home. In the midst of that, though, our team had a great day. As part of our winter camp activities we played dodgeball, colored, played cards, made bracelets and introduced many of the children at CORM to their first s’mores. It sounds like all we do is play games but this is how CORM wanted and needed us to serve. Holiday seasons are when all the kids are home from school and have less structure. Our team is providing some structured fun to keep the kids engaged while they are home and that makes life a little easier on the staff too.

In the evening, we witnessed the finale of the Bible Quiz and it was the team called Joshua’s Generation who won. It’s was quite an exciting game to witness and the kids took it very seriously. Averie’s high for the day was chatting with one of the girls and realizing they had quite a few things in common. Susan’s was watching one of the boys beam at successfully teaching Jenn how to make a bracelet. Alyson’s was asking several kids if they had prayer requests and allowing them to write them down in her journal. We’ve all had fantastic days here and God’s just getting started.

Dec 30 | Day 4

We went for a hike with the kids ages 10 and up and a few adults as well. It was quite hot and moments of the hike were steep but we had CORM kids there to help us. They ensured we were safe every step of the way and we’re so proud of them for choosing to go slow and hold our hands rather than speed up ahead searching for adventure. After the hike, we washed up using the bucket (I have to say bucket showers are actually quite refreshing!) and some of us continued making bracelets while others started our prayer walk.

God spoke to us so clearly on our walk this time around and it was purposeful and impactful. We sensed God is doing a new thing in this place and we are so honored to play a part in that. Sometimes God asks us to do things that are silly, according to the world's standards. But nothing ever changed by trying hard to fit in. We pray our kids and the kids at CORM grow in their understanding of God's purposes for them. They each have great God-given potential.

Dec 31 | Day 5

It’s New Years Eve and a day of great anticipation. We started the day at church with Pastor Johnbull leading service. It’s such a blessing for these kids to have church right on campus simply because transporting everyone each Sunday would be costly and take a lot of time. Our team loved seeing everyone get dressed up for church and it was a beautiful service.

After church, we had tuna fish sandwiches for lunch and then continued our activities with the kids. They decided that we should have a women’s only football match and Averie, Madison, Jessika and Jennifer did a great job participating. Jenn especially was the secret weapon blocking several goals for her team.

The evening festivities began at 8:30 with focused prayers and worship. We prayed for the campus, the various ministries here, for provision and for each other. At midnight, we rang in the New Year with much dancing and celebration. It is such a beautiful way to start 2024, filled with prayer and gratitude. Some of our women were able to stay up until about 3am enjoying a few fireworks and New Years soup. All our kids fell asleep by 1:30 though despite planning to stay up all night. 🙂

Jan 1 | Day 6

Happy New Year! Last night, several of the team stayed up celebrating New Years with a special soup and some soda, which is a treat here for these kids. This morning, Jenn and Jessika helped make meat pies for lunch, the rest of us colored or made bracelets with the children.

A local church came with a donation of rice and salad so the children had two lunches today which is quite rare. One boy showed me his boxed lunch which was about half the size of a to-go box in the States and was in awe at the amount. “This is so much, he said in shock.” He didn’t know what to do with such abundance.

In the evening, the CORM community put together a fashion show with teams divided up based on the houses they lived in. There were models for the older boys, younger boys, the girls, the single moms, and staff. They asked our volunteer house to also participate and our kids stepped up. These volunteer kids surprised us all with their charisma on the catwalk. Elijah even did a little dance on the way down. It has been special to watch them all participate in things they would never do in the States out of fear of not fitting in. The peer pressure and peer judgement they experience back home is a lot to bear and they get a reprieve from that here. It has been a blessing.

On this trip, we have talked a lot about “the one”. Looking for “the one” who is off to the side and sitting alone. The one who feels invisible or maybe is just having a lonely day. As a team and as individuals we can’t help the whole world and that is too lofty a goal. If we can touch just one, though, then we have represented the heart of Jesus. Our team has taken up the challenge and done this well and we are so proud of them. There is always one person in the room God is calling you to notice and pour into. May we be more aware of what God is doing outside of ourselves so we don’t miss the opportunity to love as He does.

Jan 2 | Day 7

It was our last full day at CORM and our team made the most of it. Joshua learned to play Spar (Ghana version of Spades), Jenn drew and painted with Bernard, Alyson prayed over the single mamas and kitchen staff, Averie and Carena spent one on one time with friends they’ve connected with so far, Madison had great conversations with some of the older kids, Elijah got filthy dirty playing in the gravel with several boys in the playground and Jessika received a proper water soaking, which she received on behalf of her husband for his birthday.

Several of us enjoyed good conversation with Stacy, one of the founders of CORM and had a fun night of reading and solving riddles together. It has been a blessed week being able to be part of the CORM community. Today the power went out and the drinking water system stopped working. There are always many problems to solve out here “in the bush” and we so admire the Directors and their ability to problem solve. Our kids have successfully adapted to the African way of rolling with what comes their way. We did not hear a single complaint from them about the heat, losing power or the water breaking and instead just focused on loving the one. Every person on our team has grown in resilience, faith, patience, love, confidence, and joy. Every person on this team as been deeply impacted by the humility and generosity of the staff and children we came to serve and we pray these amazing people have felt our love this week and God’s love through us.

Jan 3 | Day 8

We said goodbye to our Ghana friends today. Final card games, conversations, and hugs were had and a few tears cried. These children and the staff who care for them are very special and we pray great favor upon their lives.

Every team and journey teaches us a bit more about ourselves and how to improve our experience. Faith Journeys is a discipleship organization with the goal of making disciples who know their identity and who learn to make disciples themselves. That means our experience can be a bit more intensive than most, both during the training process and in the field. Our prayer is that, after everything, our participants can say it was worth it.

We don’t believe serving internationally is for everyone. We don’t believe serving in the intense heat of India or Ghana (record breaking this time) is easy. But for those who are called to do it and serve in this way, God always makes a way for us to receive more than we ever give.

Both our partner organizations offer long term volunteer opportunities directly for those who would prefer to serve individually. Check out City of Refuge and Rahab's Rope for more information about that. And for those who are ready to serve as part of a team, check out our next Ghana journey, which includes service at Lake Volta.

We have said our good byes and shared lots of hugs. We miss our new family already. Thank you for everyone who has prayed and invested in this journey. Our travels were long 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.

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?



Are you interested in joining our next faith journey? We are currently taking applications for Ghana (July 2024).

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