For the whole month of April Leona and I have been working and travelling in West Africa. We started in Ghana, then spent a week in Togo and now are completing our stay in Liberia.. One interesting thing about West Africa is that every other country along the coast is English speaking and every other one French speaking.. Of the three we have visited Togo is French speaking. Otherwise their cultures are quite similar. Rev. Andrew Mickelson led the first Apostolic Lutheran mission trip to this area of Africa, namely to Nigeria, already 40 years ago.At that time such an undertaking was highly controversial but the "call had come from Macedonia" so he came. On one of those trips he also visited Liberia with Pastor Gust Kandoll. In recent years we have not been able to keep in touch with our contacts in Nigeria - assumedly because of war conditions in the area - but with a visit by Andy Kandoll to the mission field of his father in 2008 our contacts with the church in Liberia were revived and have remained very active since then. (It should also be mentioned that his sister Joyce and her husband Dan Karnes were in the Peace Corps in Liberia many years ago and that is why Gust visited here) . Pastor Bob Maki opened the mission to Ghana together with Pastor Frank Famiyeh of that country a number of years ago and on that basis we build our mission efforts in that country further.
With funds supplied by The Master's Mission a church was built for the Lakeside ALC congregation in the mid 2000's. It is a spacious church that has an active congregation which often hosts combined services with the othter Apostolic Lutheran Churches in Accra. Here are some of the members at the sevice we held on Good Friday.
A very important meeting we had this time was with the reconstituted Board of the ALC Ghana. A serious and efficient body of servants. The advisor to this Board is Mr. Ben Eghan, who just happens to be the Secretary of State for the current national government - third from right. At the end of the table the current president and chairman of the Board, Pastor Emmanuel Baisie.
The Sunday School of another of our churches in Accra, the Gbawe ALC with two of their teachers.
As a prelude to the Easter Sunday celebration service at the Gbawe Church the younger youth provided a song and dance act praising God.
The Gbawe church up on a mountain where the congregation has a lovely view of the valley and full air-conditioning. Note the organ (drums) in the front row. This church was completely built by resources provided by local residents. On this Easter morning it was something like being on the mount of transfiguration.
Lovely lasses. Leona with the Sunday School teachers at that church.
Member of the congregation, seriously handicapped Sarah, the mother of three children, who struggles to survive in a society that is largely unable to help the handicapped. She is hoping to get some support money so she can finish training as a seamstress. She could use this trade to better support her family.
On Easter Monday we decided to really take it easy. I invited about 50 of the youth from two churches out to the Botanical Gardens Park where we had a great time. You know how I love young people. During the afternoon we also took plenty of time around God's Word and there were many questions. There was also a lot of drumming and singing of spiritual songs.
A more formal pose of some of the kids at the park. Grandpa gets the only chair of course.
As you can imagine the Easter Sunday weekend rather dominated our time in Ghana as well as the very important meetings with had with the ALCG Board and Pastor Frank Famiyeh. Things are healing in Ghana and the church is moving ahead. How crucial that we can come regularly to encourage them.
In God's love and peace,