Home From Ghana

A while back I noted that I was headed over to West Africa to the country of Ghana for a visit with our missionaries Steve and Kandie Taylor. The Taylors are doing a wonderful work for the cause of Christ in circumstances that are sometimes quite challenging. I was there to speak in a Bible Seminar that was held in the village of Kulkpeni on the property of the local congregation.
Many of you who read my articles here also receive the “Yendi Notes” from Steve and Kandie. While I was there I wrote those and in them I tried to give a daily account of our activities. Take a look at them if you have not already. I’ve been home a few days now and have had a little time to think about the whole experience and have come up with a few thoughts about my trip.
This trip to Africa reinforced my faith in the power of the Word of God. I was asked to preach eight or nine times over including the four times at the Seminar. At each service we had great Christian fellows doing the interpretation; at the seminar there were two interpreters for each lesson. Most of the people for whom I spoke were Christians. After each worship service and at the seminar here was a question period. The questions we heard indicated serious thought and respect for the Word. God’s Word has magnificent power (Hebrews 4:12).
Of course, these people live in very limited material circumstances compared to us. Though I have been there before (in 2001) and have worked in Guyana many times, the trip reacquainted me with abject poverty and the literal unavailability of things we take for granted. Our work in Guyana is in the populated areas. In those areas one can see that though they are behind a developed country like ours, the distance from them to us is comprehendible. Even in Guyana, the material situation in the interior villages is far behind that of the more populated regions. But in Georgetown and New Amsterdam and Bartica one can easily imagine that in time the gap will narrow considerably.
The life in the larger cities of Ghana is also more advanced materially than in the smaller towns and villages. But the gap between the village and the city seems very large to me (though everyone seems to have a cell phone!). It may have to do with the way people look at life, what some local folks (like the man at our Accra hotel) call the village mentality. Brother Royce Reynolds said that you could take the man out of the village but you could not take the village out of the man. I am not any sort of sociologist but it does seem that ideas associated with pagan religion and some of the doctrines of Islam are holding these folks back from the kind of material progress that would make their lives safer and healthier. Our work in the Child Center is a benevolent work aimed at helping those folks see that there is a better way to live.
Of course, our primary purpose for being in Ghana is to reach the lost with the gospel. That effort also faces challenges unique to the circumstance. There are pressures from many directions to compromise the simple New Testament truth of the Gospel. One of the key challenge points has to do with the doctrine of repentance. Mission people know that baptizing people is not the real challenge. The real challenge is helping folks see that a polygamist or a practitioner of traditional juju religion has to repent. It is so difficult that some folks from the US give up and say that we have to accommodate the culture in such places. Well, some people also let children they deem to be imperfectly developed die. Shall we accommodate that? The teaching of the Biblical text and the lessons of history indicate that the culture must change to fit Biblical principles, not the other way around.
Please remember to pray for Christians working in difficult circumstances everywhere. Please pray also for Steve and Kandie Taylor. The Taylors are home for a well deserved break and will return to Ghana soon.