Friday, September 28, 2012

Women's Bible Study

“But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 We wanted to give a closer look at the women’s Bible study we’ve been leading for a little while. We’ve seen more and more of the older girls and Aunties coming, which is encouraging for sure. As we’ve written, we are going through the book of 1 John, and already we are seeing God using His Word to guide the women. Most of what we’ve covered so far in the book is talking about walking in the true Light, and abiding in Him as His children. As 1 John 2:6 says, if you abide in Christ you will walk as He walked, emphasizing it’s a way of life, not a day. The women have been asking questions about how to have a quiet time, how to study, about sin and how it relates to believers. It seems as if they are truly wanting to learn and grow in Christ. God has already been moving hearts with His Word. The first Bible study, we looked into who God was, how He has manifested Himself to people. Exodus 34 tells of God revealing some of His glory to Moses and declaring His name: several of His wonderful attributes. He describes Himself as “slow to anger,” and we connected that to our response to others, especially the children that are under their care. Later, one of the women in charge talked with some of the older boys about how to discipline in love, with patience and not in anger. We can see them changing how they respond to the kids already, so we are praying for God to continue growing them. This study has been a blessing, in preparing it and teaching. It is so wonderful to see the consistency of God’s Word in how our quiet times are supporting and matching up with the study lessons. Last Bible study we talked about abiding in Him and John 15 about God as the vine. We used a tomato vine as an example. The tomatoes begin as a seed, but are transformed as they grow into a vine that then bears fruit (maters). The tomatoes won’t grow if not connected to the vine. Also, in each tomato there are seeds. The vine does not end with the first growing; instead, the seeds of the first fruits are to be used for a new harvest of even more tomatoes. As we are growing in Christ, our fruit should be overflowing to others leading to discipleship. Our prayer for this group is that even when we leave, they continue to meet and grow together, sharpening each other and producing more “tomatoes”, leading other girls there in Christ, to the praise of His glory (Isaiah 61:3, 11). Discipleship is not an option for a Christian, it has been appointed us by God (“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit.” John 15:16), and His purpose will be fulfilled. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All I have is Christ

September 26,2012 Diane All I have is Christ If you had not loved me first I would refuse you still. You looked upon my helpless state and lead me to the Cross You suffered in my place. This trip has been Amazing and Fantastic!! I have been teaching phonics and bible lessons to kids ages 3-9 this is not at all out of my comfort zone. (lol) The bible lessons have been on Gen. 1:1, Jn 1:1, Exodus 3:14, Jn 8:12, Isaiah 48:11, Psalm 115;1 showing the kids that God is the Light in this dark world and He is the One who gets all the Glory. Also, we have been leading a bible study with the women at GMI. We are going through 1Jn learning how we are to walk if we are in Christ.

Now switching gears to share with you what I have been learning. The mornings and evenings by C.H Sperugon has encouraged me each m & e because it has been rigt on with the scriptures and everything we have experienced. I have been studying through Psalms, and it has been Amazing. God has showed me over and over that He is the Light in the darkness. Psalm 27:1-14 "The Lord is my Light and My Salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? He is my rock and my fortress!" Psalm 31. He prepared me as we went to Villages D & N with scriptures Psalm 43:1-5 and Psalm 46:11 God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble: vs. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” God showed me that He was in control and their is nothing to fear. John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. I have also been reading the book by John Piper: A Holy Ambition and listening to a sermon by him on Doing Missions when Dying is Gain. He talks about 1.Teaching that His Promise is sure (God) 2. The Price is Suffering 3. The Prize is Satisfying (This is a must listen toooo!!! LoL ). Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. So in a small nutshell thats what I have been doing and learning. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 In Christ Alone, Di

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beach Time!

This past Sunday, all the Feeding the Orphans members went to church at GMI orphanage. After the wonderful Gospel was presented, the kids got ready to go to the beach! They do not go very often because you have to pay to go to the beach if you’re over a certain age, so the kids were jumping up and down excited. Thinking about it, these children spend every single day inside the orphanage grounds. There is a concrete “fence” around the property with barbed wire and rusty blades embedded in the top for security purposes. In the front is a playground of sorts with a large concrete pad where they can play football (soccer) or Ampe (a Ghanaian jumping game). But for the most part, the kids never go outside this place. Taking over 50 to the beach is not an easy task anyways, but couple that with only having a Toyota Sequoia, it becomes an exciting challenge to see how many giggling little kids you can fit in one trip. At the beach, the kids wasted no time getting to the water. Little ones played in the sand, burying each other and making sand elephants, while the older ones flung themselves to the waves. It was a wonderful freedom for them, and a wonderful blessing from God to enjoy the day with them. By God’s sovereignty we had a whole rubbermade tote full of popcorn made by Mrs. Beebe to hand out to the children. All the kids loved it and came back for 5th and 6th servings. Some other younger kids on the beach wanted some when they saw all the other kids with it. One of the boys looked in very rough shape- sores on his leg and face, yellowed eyes and skin. Come to find out, he had been abandoned at the beach 3-4 months ago by his parents who had gone to another city. Three to four months, living outside on the beach every night; no food provided, just forced to survive on his own. We ended up taking him and another boy to GMI, got them clothes, fed them. That night at dinner they didn’t want to eat all their food because they were afraid they wouldn’t have any the next morning. We were broken at the thought of abandoning our children, especially in that manner. What selfishness can be wrought in our fallen depraved nature. Praise God for bringing us to the beach that day to have fun freedom in the waves and uniting us to these two boys in need. We are praying for the mighty plan God has for these boys, that He would give them a new heart to hear the Gospel in their new home to be adopted into His spiritual home as well as an earthly home.

Light in the Darkness

Week two was a blur of activity in Ghana. This week we started teaching phonics. It is desperately needed in both classes and sad to see the reading level of some of the kids. At least half of the children cannot read, so trying to teach anything else is pretty difficult. We are coming to a quick appreciation for the dedication and patience it takes to teach children, and we are praying God gives us more! We found out they actually needed us to teach more than phonics, half days and full days to fill in for missing teachers. By God’s grace we will do this, and we pray God uses us to help these kids increase in knowledge. Teaching in the classes gives us a good opportunity to start our Bible lessons using our t-shirt verses. The kids are still learning their verses; many of them can already say them! It is so exciting, and we pray God uses these truths to open ears for more hearing.

When we’re not teaching, we try to find ways to assist the “Aunties” at the orphanage. They wash the children’s clothes (by hand, in bowls using buckets of water!), so we “obrunis” try to help. It is definitely more work than at home, so I don’t think we’ll be complaining of doing laundry when we get home! We also help in the kitchen washing dishes (again by hand, being as conservative with the water as possible) and with cooking- a little haha. Sister Esther is currently in charge of cooking, and she so graciously lets us help her, showing us how to “drive” banku (corn dough that has been soaked and then cooked) and sort black eyed peas to make beans with plantains. She is still a teenager but cooking 3 meals a day right now for everyone at the orphanage (50+ people). I cannot imagine! It has been wonderful to spend time with her and the older girls that help her. Esther is about to start “high school” and she wants to one day have her own restaurant to cook in and earn money to run her own orphanage. I think you can find her story on the Beebe’s blog {}.
Speaking of the Beebe’s, we spent the last half of the week with their family plus Katie Batchelor! It was a wonderful time of fellowship and ministry. It was refreshing to have our little Basswood reunion and to finally meet the Beebe family who has moved to Ghana for a couple of years to do full time mission work. The weekend was full. We travelled to 2 villages D and N for outreach. D was on Friday where a new water pump was dedicated, medical care given (dewormer, anti-malarial, anti-fungals). We walked around the village, talking to people, praying, and inviting them to the outreach that night. That night, after some technical difficulties and getting a computer delivered by motorcycle, the Jesus Film was shown in the native dialect to over 90 people, probably the first time many of them had heard it. How awesome it was to see the excitement of the people to receive clean drinking water and then their joy later at receiving the Living Water with changed hearts. We are praying God is doing a work in the people of D. The next day we set out for Ningo, 14 people in the Beebe’s Sequoia. The outreach there was more of a church service/givaway. We got to meet some teenage girls in the village who said they were Christians, but they did not witness in their town because they were afraid they’d get hurt or even be killed. We prayed with them and encouraged them to not live in fear but trusting God in the ministry He’s entrusted to them. They are called to be lights in a dark city, and by the grace and power of God, His name will be famous there.
All in all it was another very blessed week here in Ghana. God is continuing to reveal Himself working in people’s hearts, including ours. He has blessed our study time tremendously, which flows into our conversations with others. So much of our quiet times and Morning and Evening readings spoke of remaining strong in the Lord as our fortress, our sovereign fortress; much of our study also spoke against idolatry, diminishing the strongholds of evil spirits in the Light of Christ. Continue praying for villages D and N and the work God is doing in hearts of people at the orphanage. Praise God for this opportunity, and we are praying for ya’ll as well! Soli Deo Gloria
Psalm 43:3,4 “Send out Your Light and Your Truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 1 at GMI w/ Maame Akua and Akua (Di and Amanda)

It’s been almost a week since we left good Ole Rocky Top for Ghana, West Africa. The flight over was long and definitely tiresome, but it was so much better traveling w/ sisters in Christ! We got here late and after getting away from the “helpers” at the airport, Reid Beebe was driving us to where we would stay. After not even 3 months here, he is driving like a Ghanaian (scary thought!). After unloading and setting in, Katie went with the Beebe’s and we stayed in Teshie where the next day was go, go, go! We went to the orphanage (GMI) for the first time, and immediately got to work-playing with the kids. It really is a full time job because there are around 36 younger kids ages 2-10 and then some older ones that altogether make about 50 kids. They all call us Maame (“mommy”). We don’t know all their stories or where they came from, so at times it is very difficult to try to love them the best way or even speak with them.
Most of the kids attend school at GMI in 2 different classrooms. Sadly, the work is not consistent or for a full school day. Yesterday neither teacher showed up, but thankfully some of the older kids stepped in to help. The learning style is very different in Ghana than in the US, so Di and I are adapting it. We were responsible for teaching the kids phonics to help w/ reading, but it looks like we will be taking over all the teaching now until others are hired. One thing we’ve noticed is that discipline is different here. Kids here are like kids at home, manifesting their fallen nature in many ways. We try to give the children love and nurturing as if each one is our own because that is something they need, but one part of love is discipline, correcting and training in the Lord (Prov. 22:6). Since the problem lies in the heart, the only answer is a God-changed one, and as we heard in church Sunday, you can’t be like God if you don’t know Him. We made t-shirts that have different Bible verses on them; mine will say one and Di’s will quote another one that corresponds to it. There’s little lessons for each verse, too. The first verses we went over were Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 connecting how God is first and above all, and therefore we are accountable to Him as our authority (we had to teach them what authority meant). We tied in listening to God as our ultimate authority and listening to those authorities placed over us. Even if it is not a mother and father, there are others responsible for them who direct them out of love. It was precious to see the kids working on memorizing the verses after school time, saying it over and over to each other and helping each other out. We pray that God uses this to change hearts and grow them in knowledge of Him, and we know that apart from Him these shirts and lessons are fruitless.
God has already blessed us even in the preparation to teach lessons with the verses. When going over John 1, we talked about verse 5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” marveling at God’s sovereignty and authority over all in the world. How wonderful to know that He is not overcome or taken aback by anything, instead it all occurs the way it does for His own Glory!!! Minutes later, as we’re heading for the orphanage to teach, Mr. O’Leary stops us downstairs and tells us about the villages D and N we will be going to Friday and Saturday. He says some serious spiritual warfare is occurring there, especially in Village N which is consumed with idol worship and witchcraft. There is a small church there being persecuted right now. As we prayed over these villages, God brought to our minds what we’d just studied of how He is the light in the darkness, and He will not be overcome by it. Praise God! Please pray for the situation in Villages D and N as outreach is done this weekend and beyond!
God has granted us a smooth transition to the Ghanaian cultural experience. Our stomachs have been fed and not upset, and though tired, God has boosted our energy stores to keep up with all the crazy little ones. The mosquitoes really like Di (14 bites and counting vs. me with 0 hahaha), and tomorrow is laundry day. All glory and thanksgiving goes to God who allowed this opportunity of serving and growing us. Soli Deo Gloria
Thoughts from Morning and Evening-Spurgeon graciously donated by Danielle D: "Let us not see the face of man today till we have seen Jesus. Time spent with Him is laid out at blessed interest. We too shall cast out devils and work wonders if we go down into the world girded with that divine energy which Christ alone can give. It is of no use going to the Lord's battle till we are armed with heavenly weapons. We must see Jesus, this is essential."

Friday, April 01, 2011

Visiting Hannah!

[CLT::: “The Church” – Elevation Worship]
Last night I could hardly get to bed fast enough, but I was so excited it was difficult to fall asleep. I woke up early, and Winifred helped me carry down the gifts I would give to Hannah’s family, and I was off in the “church van” to Senya Bereku. I met the director of the development center, Bismark, and he showed me around the fishing town.

Parents were coming up to him asking for their child to go to the Development Center. He explained the center is now full with 265 kids; 250 currently have a sponsor, and the other 15 are still available for sponsorship. Bismark took me where the children meet at the school for the development center. There, they had a program organized for my visit, but it was a celebration all around for Compassion’s work there. They told me I was the first sponsor to visit there, so they were excited. Some children from the center performed beautiful traditional dances, and the Reverend of the church that sponsor’s the center spoke.
Then they showed me the classrooms at the school. I met the headmaster and was just taking pictures of the classroom outside, and I was totally unprepared when they said, “Here’s Hannah, your sponsor child.” Here comes this little girl shyly walking up to me and hugging me and people telling us to smile for pictures. She was very shy at first, especially because neither of us knew the other’s language very well, but we definitely became buddies by the end of the day.

From the school, we went to Hannah’s house. It is a family house where much of the extended family lives. It has six rooms in it, and Hannah’s family has one of them where the two parents and five children all sleep. We got to talk a little through Bismark who interpreted for us, so I got to ask them if they went to church and if they did family worship (they do it 2 times a week!). I gave them a 25kg of rice and 5L of cooking oil as a gift; they were very grateful, and presented me with the fabric the mom, Rosemary, had chosen. I gave Hannah her bag with a Veggie-Tales coloring book, candy, pencils, crayons, and bubbles in it. When I showed her how to blow bubbles, everyone even her grandmother got excited!
I took her family and some of the development center administrators out for lunch. On the way there, I made up a dancing game with Hannah and her 11 year old sister, Sarah; it was completely random and pointless, but they loved it! The lunch place was on the beach, so while waiting for the food, Hannah, Sarah, and I went to the beach. Even though we couldn’t communicate verbally very well, we had a blast! We played at the water’s edge, drew pictures in the sand, played Ampe (a Ghanaian children’s game), and did other goofy things.
Hannah LOVES to dance, so we did the Hokey-Pokey and had some random break-out dance sessions. Hannah has tons of energy like any other nine year old, and she also has a good imagination. It was funny, when she concentrated on anything or was having a really good time, she would stick her tongue out; skipping at the water’s edge, her little pink tongue was sticking out between her gorgeous smile.

After a wonderful lunch, we took the family back home. Bismark told me I could volunteer at the development center on the weekends to help the kids with their work and other things. Then I would get to help more kids in the community and still get to visit Hannah a couple more times before I leave. Once again, God blew me away on this trip, sovereignly using every mix-up and misunderstanding to make a great day. 100% glory goes to God for allowing and enabling me to sponsor Hannah and visit with her; I pray God works through this to draw not only Hannah to Himself, but also to transform this community into a city shining brilliantly to a dark world.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To go to Togo!

[CLT::: "Unashamed" - Starfield]
Togo is the country to the East of Ghana; it's only about 3 hours travel time away (with no traffic!), yet the cultures are greatly different! Togo is a francophone country, and approaching the border you can tell things are changing. The streets are not as crowded as in Accra, and for the most part, people are pretty chill about you being there. Some of the international students went there this weekend because we had to get our Ghana visas extended, and it's so close.
As soon as we crossed the border, we hopped on motorcycle taxis (motos) and met our friends at their hotel. I was the only one of the four of us who spoke French, and it was so great to be able to practice with the moto-drivers and the people in the market-place. I'm so grateful to my high school French teacher (Mrs. Francis) for the wonderful job teaching us; I was delighted at how much I remembered! One of the moto drivers was super nice, and I got to talk with him as we were driving through the streets; he even helped us out when people at the voodoo market gave us a hard time.
We ate at a wonderful restaurant there for lunch that had French crêpes (yum!). Then, we traveled to the market. Since it was Sunday, not as many vendors were open, but we still got some wonderful baguettes! Oh they were great! It was a pretty quick trip, but it was great to just zip by the beach on motos and enjoy the French culture in Africa.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Knitting with Winny

[CLT::: "Bear With You" - Trip Lee ft. Tedashii]
Though the temperature warm and humid, there is still a use for knitting here in wonderful Ghana. So far, I've just made a few pot-holders for some people, but I'm hoping to expand into making hats soon. My roommate was the first recipient of a UT-orange pot-holder which she sets her rice cooker on. She was interested in knitting, and asked me to show her how. She wants to make a little blanket covering for her friends who are expecting their first child. So I got her some shish-kebab sticks at the Night Market, and she picked out some pink and purple yarn to use. She doesn't know if it's a girl or boy yet, but hopefully a girl! Anyways, I started teaching her one night, but Winny was too tired to get too far. The next morning as soon as I woke up the next morning, she had the kebabs in hand asking me if she was doing it right. I'm glad she's as excited about knitting as me (and Danielle)!