In the sunshine and warmth of these April weeks Ghana has truly glowed. The prayers and efforts toward unity and reconciliation that were made here, together with Pastor Bob Maki in October, have borne fruit. There is a calmness and peace in the congregations I have visited. The prayerful endeavours of Pastor Frank Famiyeh to expand the influence of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Ghana into the western region of the country have also borne fruit. Today I would like to take you to the village of Asante-Aye in that region, which is about an hour's drive from Tarkwa, a central city in that gold mining area. (Note: It seems that all the gold is either still below ground or in the pockets of foreign investors since no evidence of any wealth can be seen in this area.)
So it was in this poor village that the prayers and tireless efforts of a young man named Samuel Sagoe, a pastoral training student of Pastor Frank's, got a new congregation started last year. This is now part of a movement which promises to spread to the neighbouring villages. There have been no Christian churches in any of these villages. The harvest is truly plentiful and now the congregation in Asante-Aye is vibrantly growing......one could almost say glowing! On Palm Sunday I had the privilege of delivering the message there. How appropriate! In a clearing under a grove of palm trees, coconut trees, banana trees and cocoa trees I preached the message that with God all things are possible. The verdant tropical canopy seemed to reverberate with the truth of that message - that God's possibilities through His Son Jesus Christ are all-encompassing - for example right in this village where demons and pagan spirits previously held sway.
People, young and old, flock to the newly built frame for the future church in Asante-Aye - a project being engineered by Pastor Frank which only needs $2000 to complete it, that is for corrugated metal sheets to roof it and side it.
The next day was Easter Sunday, when I preached at Lakeside Church again - on how the stone was rolled away, Jesus was truly risen and right there and then He even revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene by calling her name. What joy we can have in each of these verities in our everyday lives - especially when our Lord reveals Himself to us again and again by speaking to us individually! After the service all of the young people and youth who had been at the beach with me the day before wanted to have a picture of us together on the steps of the church. A few other congregation members joined us of course. Who can resist being in a picture - especially in Africa!
Liberia calls. On Saturday April 30 Matthew Niemela from Chassel, Michigan will join me for a two week mission adventure in that country. I say adventure because Liberia is always an adventure! I plan to return to Ghana on May 14 and leave a couple days later for the Philippines where I will spend the better part of two weeks together with my brother, Pastor Raymond - all God willing, of course. I covet your prayers.
In God's love and peace,