The nights were surprisingly cooler than I had imagined them to be in West Africa and I woke well-rested to the sound of a tambourine and voices praising, I had hoped, the same God I praise as well.
Please don’t send me messages and say I’m intolerant. I am tolerant – I promise. It’s just that I would prefer to begin my day with the sound of those worshiping Him and not something else.
Northern Ghana is predominately Muslim and we were in southern Ghana – it was likely that these villagers were indeed praising our God for the lower regions of the country is 60-70% Christian.
Still a little unsure and a bit shaky due to culture shock and exhaustion, I fumbled to the (cold) shower and readied myself for worship at Teshie’s Jesus Christ of Nazareth church where Comfort’s husband, Ernest, is an associate pastor.
I was told that church in Ghana is definitely not something you want to miss.
I didn’t want to miss it.
But we almost did.
As we walked to our taxi, a man was crossing by The Fern House.
“Good morning!” he said with a twinkling smile and a heart you could see was ridiculously kind through the softness of his eyes.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
“Where are you going to fellowship this morning?” he inquired.
“We fellowship right over there, ” he states as he points to precisely the area where I heard the praise songs and tambourines as I woke that very morning.
“Please come and fellowship with us anytime. Jesus is our Savior!” he exclaims and we thank.
For so much.
The three abruni’s ( meaning “white people” in the tribal language of Ga) were a little late and pretty much missed most of the service. We did, however, get there just in time to take part in the offering in which women, dressed to the nines in beautiful African fabrics, got up and basically did a line dance to the offering plate.
Somewhere along the way, this abruni didn’t translate that we were dancing up to the altar to deposit our cedis and I thought instead it was just a big line dance party around the church.
So I was in for the party but when I got up to the offering plate, I was not in for the tithe because I didn’t carry any money up with me.
What are we going to do with them?
Dana with Mary (Fern House Operations Manager, a Fern House resident and her baby, Comfort, Fern House Director, and Comfort’s grandchild.)
And I think of the churches in the States that are considered the “mega-churches”. The churches with the fitness centers and the Rockefeller Center-like auditorium and the thousands of members.
I’m not eschewing these churches. I think they do a lot of good in bringing people to the cross who may not have been brought had they not existed.
But I’m reminded that it really is quite simple and our God really doesn’t ask for too much…
To be continued…
But because it is indeed Monday, my list of gratitudes must continue…Thank you, God, for:
471. A shift in perspective
472. Realizing just how much excess we possess – is this why the African people seem to carefree?
473. The diversity in worship you love all over the globe
474. Fried rice and chicken
475. Coca-Cola Light
476. New friendships that cross race and cultural boundaries and allow us to see how very similar we all really are
477. The residents of The Fern House who are choosing the courage option
478. Friendships that were solidified to the status of “sisterhood”
479. African beads
480. The singing voices worshipping Him, the giggles of children playing with a balloon as a soccer ball, the cries of a baby wanting his mommy – the same cries us mama’s here anywhere…You are a God of the senses and you will stop at nothing to engage us. Thank you.
This week, may you stop. May you listen. May you assess. May you pray.
And may you hear.