Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An update from FM Missionary Dennis Hilman

Dear Family and Friends! So here I am in Ghana. Something exciting and new for me. I arrived in the capital city of Accra from London last Friday evening and was met by Pastor Frank Famiyeh and three other pastors or elders of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana. Ghana is a rather small country but has a population of about 33 million and over 4 million live in Accra. So plenty of people and cars are the order of the day.

On Saturday I rested but right away on Sunday morning I was speaking at a local ALC church to a congregation of about 100 people. The church van broke down that morning so we arrived an hour late but the congregation had wasted no time - they were going strong with songs and prayers when we arrived. That in spite of the fact that the generator had also broken down that morning (the church is not electrified) and we had to proceed without the electric keyboard, PA system and cooling fans. But this is Ghana. You don't spend a lot of time bemoaning what isn't but capitalize on what is and so the service got underway and the Word of God went forth unhindered. A new assistant pastor, Pastor Steven, was inducted at the end of the service.

Monday was travel day......seven hours of it....105 degrees...no AC - and I enjoyed it. Pastor Frank and I were headed for our mission calling out in western Ghana. He is the head of the ALC Ghana and the one who is organizing my stay and traveling with me throughout my time in West Africa. The landscape along the way was truly beautiful. At first low shrub-like trees and bushes covering the rolling hills - all in lush green - and then after some hours we were suddenly driving along the Atlantic Ocean with it's powerful breakers tossing on beaches lined elegantly with palm trees. And then after another hour or so we were driving through the more larger forested areas of the Western Province.

In one smaller town Pastor Frank noticed that something was wrong with a front tire so he pulled over. Sure enough, it had ruptured. But in God's great plan a group of young men were lounging on the side of the road just at that point and they immediately took it upon themselves to do the honors (see picture with Pastor Frank supervising) and in no time the tire was changed and we were on our way. How God provides in every detail.

A humorous anecdote from this stop was that one old women came pushing forward and laughingly said she wanted to marry me. You see I hadn't been here three days and already had a proposal (see picture - go ahead and smile!). That was yesterday.

Today we started our four day Pastors' Seminar. I am always thrilled when I can share the goodness of God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who have committed their lives to serving Him. My point of departure is God's plan of salvation for mankind and how Jesus put that plan into practice when He walked this earth, died upon the cross and rose triumphant over death, hell and the devil. And I do emphasize how practically He did this and just how realistically all pastors are encouraged to follow His leading and example in carrying out the great commission.

See the picture of the eager and well-dressed pastors who are attending this seminar until Friday. Pastor Frank - who is in the blue shirt in the back row - told me that a tie wasn't necessary but you can see that many showed respect for the seminar with a tie. And here in the city of Tarkwa, in true Ghanian style, there has not been electricity much of the time. Imagine how glad I was to find a hotel with a generator last night. Without power the lights, food service and air conditioning were not functioning in my first hotel so it turned out to be less than the most desirable place in the world. With temperatures running well above 100 every day the room felt like an oven when I got there.

But God is good and we found this second hotel which even has wireless internet. A luxury that I never expected out here in the hinterlands. But this is Ghana! We will be holding meetings and other seminars here in the Western Province for about ten days all together. After we return to Accra we will soon be leaving for another ten day to two weeks of pastors' seminars in Togo and after that to Liberia. I'll keep you posted and whenever you wish I have no objection if keep those prayers coming.

May God's love and peace surround you! Dennis

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