Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Second Trip to Ghana- Feb. 2010

Shortly before Christmas 2009, Cindi Dauphin, our pastor’s wife and good friend for over 10 years now, asked if I wanted to go to Ghana in February to help Hollie Dickens with the children while her husband Joel (physician/ medical missionary) attended a physician’s conference in Kenya for two weeks. Never in a million years could I have imagined returning to Ghana for another visit in the same year. Only God could orchestrate that. So I returned to Ghana with Cindi and while the location was familiar, the experiences were different.

Favorite memories:

-Long walks in the cool of the mornings with Abigail (2yrs) and AnnaLeigh (6 mo.) in their stroller. Each morning, we would go and feed the pet monkey on the Compound, say hello to the head cook in the guest lodge, and greet all the workers, visiting doctors and missionaries who were finishing breakfast and beginning to start their day. It was a wonderful social time for all three of us. The Ghana natives even have greeting they use each day, loosely translated “Cool of the morning to you.” The mornings were my favorite time of day there.

-Helping Colt (age8) with his homeschooling each morning. As much as I would love to be a nurse, or artist, I know that God has given me a gift and love to teach, no matter what age the person is. Helping Colt was a blessing and fun for me, and he and I formed a special friendship from spending that much time together.

- Interacting with the visiting physicians. Because both of the resident doctors were gone to the conference in Kenya, a group of physicians came to fill in, mainly retired guys and a few still practicing. . .It was the retired guys that so impressed me. . One of the 80-year old surgeons would perform 8-9 surgeries a day, and by end of the day, he could hardly stand up from being on his feet all day. . .but he didn’t complain and had a wonderful countenance about him. . Another doctor had Cindi and I help him take notes while he examined patients. . .He was constantly teaching us about the diseases and ailments he was seeing. He prayed with each patient, no matter if the patient was a believer or not, and led a couple of people to the Lord in his examining room. . .he too understood that he was being Jesus’ hands and feet to a group of people who so desperately needed his skill and expertise.

-The fragility of Life. Since I spent more time at the clinic this visit, I was more aware of the devastating effects of preventable disease on families, especially the children. . One of the retired visiting pediatricians said during a devotion time one night,” I have signed more death certificates this week than I have my entire career.” Death is such a part of daily life there, that it made me realize that each day is truly a gift from the Lord.

-Visits with Hollie, of course. I came to realize the importance of face-to-face visits with foreign missionaries. It’s important to pray for them and support them financially, but to go and spend time with them is incredibly valuable. The foreign mission field can be lonely and isolating, and a familiar face from home can be spiritually and mentally rejuvenating. I have learned to never underestimate that.

-Sharing an adventure with my friend Cindi. . .There is nothing quite like traveling to the other side of the world with someone to deepen a friendship.  The long plane rides, the hours of waiting at airports, traveling to and from the remote village of Nalerigu, shopping in Accra, the capital of Ghana, and discussions about books, our children, life and the Lord are very special memories to me.  All I can do is thank Jesus for the opportunity to share this journey with her.

I never want to forget what I  learned in Ghana, the 9th poorest country in the world. I still struggle with what I saw, and I pray that the Lord will continue to convict my soul with caring for the hungry and needy in our world, as described in Isaiah 58.

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