The journey was long – a two hour flight to JFK in New York City and then a ten hour flight to Accra, Ghana.
Weary upon landing and feeling a bit crusty in the same clothing we had worn for almost 24 hours, we walked off our flight to be greeted by a brewing storm and humid temperatures.
Passports stamped and visa’s approved, we were home-free. Into Ghana we were permitted.
Did I mention that we checked EIGHT suitcases and carried our personal belongings on the flight with us?
To ship a simple Fed Ex envelope to Ghana, it costs roughly $100.00. To ship goods that are inexpensive in the United States but not so much in Africa, it could run as high as $500 per box.
Therefore, those who travel over often pack the two suitcases per person allowance that the airlines permit with donations as a more budget-friendly way to get goods into Africa.
Bibles. Pregnancy tests. Prenatal vitamins. Towels. Clothing. Toys. Suckers. Mugs. Toothbrushes.
You name it. It was pretty much present.
In August of 2010, Dana adopted two precious girls from Ghana to add to her brood of three. During the process, she spent seven weeks in Accra with her girls before all paperwork was approved.
While there, she met an angel that walks this earth – Comfort Addo.
Comfort’s story merits a separate post if she grants me permission to do so but let’s just say that hers is the quintessential story of survival if I ever heard one.
Upon their first meeting roughly one year ago, Comfort revealed to Dana that she was a midwife and ministered to several of the women of Teshie, a small village about 20 minutes from the Ghanaian capital of Accra.
My sweet friend Dana has a passion for those experiencing crisis pregnancies. She has volunteered at a local crisis pregnancy center for a while now as a counselor but she had a dream to start a home in Ghana for scared, usually young, expectant mothers who had nowhere else to turn.
Oftentimes, this is a population that might choose to abort their babies.
She dreamed of a safe place where women could go when they suspected they might be pregnant (hence the need for donated pregnancy tests). She dreamed of a place where women could be counseled on the sanctity of life and gain support during a journey that is supposed to be joyful but is instead somewhat frightening to this particular group of women. She dreamed of a place that would provide information on God’s design for intimacy between a man and a woman.
That place was born and The Fern House opened it’s physical structure in January of this year.
The Fern House is named after the “Aya” – a West African Akindra Symbol which represents endurance and resourcefulness. Individuals who identify with the fern symbol have endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty, as the fern is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places. (Obtained through The Fern House’s website)
Both women work in tandem to service the eight residents who are packing this three bedroom home and are provided with the love and support so needed during their unplanned pregnancies. The mission of The Fern House is to “...educate women and men about pregnancy. The services provided help families make informed decisions about parenting options, sexual integrity and health. We provide the resources necessary for successful parenting: counsel on parenting options, prenatal care, nutritional counsel, and family management skills. The ministry attends to the women’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs during what can be one of the most challenging times in a woman’s life. The participants receive initial life skills training and assistance in pursuing long-term educational and career goals.” (www.thefernhouse.org)
A few current residents of The Fern House and their babies. Comfort is in the head scarf, Mary is in the white shirt behind her. Emma, in the green dress next to Mary, is also Comfort’s daughter and is about to give birth any day now. The two children in the front are Comfort’s grandchildren.
Comfort decided it might be best to rent a “tro-tro” to carry all of us and our 11 bags…
Comfort is also a foster mom and she greeted us with precious Baby Girl (obviously not her real name) that she thrust into my arms to hold while she was getting into the tro-tro.
I did not return her until we arrived at The Fern House.
Upon our arrival at The Fern House, we were warmly greeted by Comfort’s husband, an associate pastor, who led us in a beautiful “welcoming” ceremony of praising the one who makes it all so – our Heavenly Father.
And then I sat down and held a sleeping baby for a bit and all was well with the world…
To be continued…
How can you help The Fern House?
1. Pray for this ministry.
2. Help by increasing awareness through simply sharing it with those you know.
3. Sponsor a child or a mother for either $30, $50, or $100 each month.
4. Make a one-time donation of any amount.
To donate, please:
1. Go to www.thefernhouse.org.
2. Click on “Donate Now” at the top of the page.
3. You will be taken to the umbrella organization called “Project Global Hope”. Click on the yellow “Donate” button.
4. Scroll down until you see “Pregnancy Resource Center”.
You may pay via Pay Pal and arrange for any monthly donations to be automatically deducted.
From Project Global Hope: Our goal is to get every dollar you send to your designated beneficiary. However,due to PayPal fees and wiring fees, we generally find that up to 8% may be taken from the full amount of your donation. PayPal automatically charges 3%, we do our best to consolodate wiring to lower fees. In some cases as little as .5% may go to wiring fees. We also accept checks.