Woke up this morning at 4 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Still getting used to my new surroundings. Had breakfast again at pastor Stephen’s house. His adopted daughter Evelyn is a fabulous cook and has adjusted well to my unique dietary needs (primarily gluten-free). So far, I don’t mind African food one bit!
After getting fortified for the day, Stephen and I took the truck (instead of his Nissan Car) to visit the village of Obadoka up in the hills. Within the last year, they planted a church in Obadoka, which now numbers around 30. It didn’t take me long to discover why we took the truck. The road was terrible, even worse than normal for this area.
Met with 4-5 members of the new church, including the 78 year old (former Baptist pastor) who fills in for Stephen when he can’t be there to preach and minister. As we chatted, they seemed encouraged by us, and I know I was by them.
Stephen has plans to build a structure for them to worship in. A lot of the materials are already there on site, they just need more funding to start. Our visit ended with a trip across the road to pray with a very sick lady. Not sure what she is sick with, but we prayed with her. It is not always the will of God to heal physically, but often it is (John 9:3) and we are trusting God to touch her body.
We then travelled back to Suhum and stopped at a big secondary school. This one is much larger and nicer than the ones we visited yesterday, but still primitive compared to what you would find in the US or Canada. We were there quite a while as Stephen talked with the chaplain and two other administrators. The outcome was that on Saturday at 11am we will be holding a service and I will be preaching. Afterwards I asked Stephen, “Isn’t school just Monday – Friday?” He said, “Yes, but they can just tell the kids to show up.” That kind of thing wouldn’t fly back home, but I am grateful for the opportunity.
Next, we travelled to the city center, which was a hub of activity because today is market day. There were people everywhere! Stephen’s navigation skills are impressive. I wondered a few times if we were going to hit someone (or be hit), but that’s just how you drive here in Africa. And drivers make good use of their horns!
Excited to once again preach at our outreach event tonight. Last night was my first time ever preaching with a translator. And just like I thought, it was challenging but still seemed to go well. Stephen told me (after I had just used an illustration and he had translated) that he had made it more delicious and then chuckled. Gotta love a good translator!
Tonight, I will be preaching on John 3 and the new birth. God, please give me the words – make them powerful and effective!
The service last night went well. As I preached on the new birth, I tried to emphasize that church attendance, giving to God’s work, moral behavior, family heritage, etc. are not enough in themselves to save you. I emphasized over and over that YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN! And only God can save through the atoning work of His Son Jesus Christ.
I’m starting to get used to preaching with a translator, but it is tough. Stating things crisply and clearly is important. Stephen seems to think I am doing a good job. At the end, a man came forward and asked for prayer. I prayed for the salvation of his soul and for deliverance from his alcoholism.
Woke up this morning at 5:45 after a good nights sleep. The time difference here is only 4 hours, so not too bad. My body is also adjusting to eating at different times. I am used to the 7-12-5 eating schedule. Here, we do two big meals at 9 and 2. By the time evening rolls around, I am getting a little hungry, but I just snack a little. As I said before, Stephen’s daughter is an excellent cook. African food is great!
I have also enjoyed my conversations with Stephen. He is a big man with a big heart and a big faith in His Savior. We have talked about many things, but mostly the Lord. I find myself being sharpened by this brother in Christ (Proverbs 27:17). I have also enjoyed getting to know his “right hand man” Samuel. Samuel is a gifted young man currently studying at a University in Accra.
One last thing…..I have been able to tolerate the heat pretty good. As best I can tell, it has been around 85 each day. Everyone says it’s not bad, but obviously they’re used to it. It had been raining every day, but since I arrived, it hasn’t rained.
Just finishing off another day here in Africa. It is has been an incredible trip so far! Really thankful to the Lord for this opportunity.
Last night we had our evening outdoor service in a neighboring community (can’t remember the name of the town). Each of these three meetings have been held at a newly constructed pavilion. Tonight, I preached on Matthew 28:16-20 and the “Profile of a Disciple.” My outline was as follows:
A Disciple is….
- Obedient to Christ (v. 16)
- A Worshiper of Christ (v. 17)
- Submitted to Christ (v. 18)
- A Disciple-making Disciple (v. 19)
- Spirit-Filled (v. 20)
Talked to a young man name Patrick after the service. He was especially appreciative of my sermon. Will try to keep him in prayer.
Woke up this morning at 5:30 to get ready for the day. Spent a rich time in the Word and in prayer. This year I am doing the Robert Murray McCheyne Bible reading plan. I have done it twice before and it’s my favorite reading plan.
Spent much of the morning preparing to preach at a secondary school here in Suhum. I learned a lesson in African culture today as the event was scheduled to start at 11am. We waited and waited, then Stephen and I went downtown to run some errands, and then we came back to wait some more. Finally, at about 12:30 things got started. Stephen calls it “Africa time” and it seems to work for them.
The event itself went really well. I preached without translation on Isaiah 6:1-8 and the holiness of God. I have always been a “notes” kind of guy when it comes to preaching, but decided to drop the notes and preach from memory. The Holy Spirit gave me utterance as I preached to about 250 young people. Very thankful for this opportunity from the Lord (Isaiah 55:11).
Prayed with a young man name Collins after the service. He feels a call to ministry – seems very eager to serve the Lord. I encouraged him to get more involved with his local church. I said the best way to “test” that call is by immersing yourself in a body of believers, and to serve in whatever way you can. If you are truly called of God, it will be confirmed over time. Talked with another young man who was also very keen. He picked up my Bible and papers and I thought, “why is he taking my stuff?” I asked if I could have my Bible back but he insisted on carrying it for me to the car. Stephen said it is their way of honoring servants of the Lord. They are doing a good job because since I’ve got here I don’t feel like I’ve carried much of anything.
This evening I decided to shower again. I admit, I haven’t been very good with this, but it is mainly because of the cold water and the low pressure. After leaving the hot nozzle on for a long time, I was desperate for the water to warm up. It didn’t. But I do feel better now. Not so “ripe” as my dear wife would say.
If you missed Part 1, here it is