Sep 5, 2010

The Orphans of Anfaani

Team members Chris, Beverly and Martin with Anfaani triplets

Team Member, Tayler Insuaste, with her sponsored child Nathan

For the past two years, God has given us the incredible opportunity to visit and support the children at Anfaani Orphan Home in Tamale.  This is a private orphan home that houses around 10 orphans, ages 2 and under. 

Currently there are three babies who need sponsorship.  Sponsorship assures that the children received nutritious food and healthcare.

Would you consider helping?  Click here for more information.

Aug 13, 2010

Beach Day in Aflao

After leaving the Northern Region, the team flew back to Accra and then drove directly to Aflao, which is located in the Volta Region, near the border of Togo.  Aflao is a beautiful place full of beautiful people like Pastor Christian and his lovely wife Rejoice.

Pastor Christian is the director of Good Shepherd Children's Home, a place where they take care of 40 orphans, many of whom have been abandoned.  The home is clean and the children are well loved and well cared for.

We were only there for a couple of days, but we had great fun taking the children for a day at the beach!

Here are a few pictures of our time together.

Aug 1, 2010

Update from the Field

It was a very long drive from Kumasi to Tamale

Cheryl with one of the widows and her children
Saleem, Pastor Mohammed's son
Katie and Colton
Katie and Emma
The team spent a restful and relaxing week at Ankaase, which is near Kumasi.  We enjoyed having a house mom who taught us how to cook Ghanaian food and we also enjoyed working with Julie at the Reading Town Library.

On Wednesday, we went on an excursion to Kumasi.  We shopped in the local market and toured the Chief's Palace.

We traveled back to Tamale on Thursday. 

On Friday, we welcomed 5 new team members from Visiting Orphans, then spent the day visiting orphan homes and shopping for food at a local supermarket. 

Saturday was an incredible day for all of us as we loaded into the big yellow van and headed back out into the remote villages to visit the widows who received goats a couple of weeks ago.  On these visits, we took the time to sit down and get to know them and their children.  We also had the opportunity to share the story of Jesus with each of them.  More than once, the widows' response to the message was, "We know for certain that Christianity is the Truth."  Our prayer is that these women and their children will soon come to know the Lord.  The ministers of Shalom Baptist Church will continue to follow up with them to see if they have any needs or questions.  We thank God for Pastor Steven Napari, Pastor Mohammed and Pastor Issah for their dedication to the Lord.

Today is our last Sunday in Tamale and we had the opportunity to go and worship with our good friends at Shalom Baptist Church in Tarikpaa.  It was a great morning as the Visiting Orphans team formally received their Dagomba names.  Also, Cheryl had the honor of praying the dedication prayer over a new baby at a baby dedication ceremony.  The team danced their hearts out and even sang a song for everyone!

We have only 3 more days in the Northern Region and already we are starting to be sad.  This place gets under your skin and in your heart.

Thank you all for your continued prayers.  We will be flying to Accra on Thursday.

Jul 29, 2010

A Few Pictures

Katie and Emma

Back:  Karli, Colton, Caleb, Joseph
Front:  Katie, Paige, Camille

The Girls - on our way to church

Joseph at Ankaase Library - usually he's playing chase with the children

Colton and Friend
Chris, Beverly and Martin with the triplets at Anfaani

Jul 24, 2010

Wed-Fri, July 22-24

When we arrived in Ankaase on Tuesday night, we were introduced to house mom, Maggie.  She is an extraordinary woman who manages the mission house when teams come here to stay.  Also, there were 2 American college interns here named David and Libby, who left on Friday for the US.  The house is surrounded by a concrete wall and there's a security guard at the gate 24 hours a days.  This is a very common thing in Ghana.

On Wednesday morning, Cheryl and Colton went with David and the local Methodist pastor to the nearby large village of Kumasi to do some grocery shopping since the pantry was empty.  This was quite an adventure because we had to go to the local Ghanaian market and try and purchase everything for all of our meals for 1 1/2 weeks.  Shopping in a Ghanaian market is quite different from shopping at Tom Thumb.  First of all, the milk was not kept refrigerated.  It was in a box on the shelf with the juice.  How strange.  Also, one did not go up and down the aisle with a buggy because of congestion.  The buggy was parked at the end of the aisle and if you were lucky, it would still be there when you came back with your items.  Fruits and vegetables had to be purchased from local street vendors.  We were so glad to find fresh pineapple, bananas, plantain, oranges and watermelon!  We had to go inside the local "farmer's market" to get our vegetables so our driver's mother went with us to help get the best price.  I think the local "farmer's market" is a fascinating place, but I could surely do without the hunks of raw meat sitting out.

While Cheryl and Colton were at the market, the rest of the team went to the library and entertained about 300 children with Bible stories and songs.  The library is an amazing place.  The town of Ankaase is so blessed to have it here, but they do not yet understand its value to their community.  That will take some time, but by God's grace, it will happen.

On Thursday and Friday, the team would have breakfast and devotions and then head to the library to process books sent by US donors.  In the afternoons, we would do Bible stories and school lessons with the children.

Being in Ankaase has been very different than anything else this team has done.  Everything here moves at a much slower pace and our evenings are free.  It has been a wonderful and much needed time of rest for all of us.

We will be here until next Thursday and then we go back to Tamale until Aug 5.  A small team from Visiting Orphans will join us on July 30.  We are looking forward to meeting them and showing them around.

Jul 23, 2010

Tuesday, July 20 - Team Departures

Early this morning, 12 of our team members boarded a small plane in Tamale and headed back to Accra to begin their journey home.  It was very difficult to say good-bye to them and there were lots of tears and hugs.  They went straight from airport in Accra to a village on the outskirts of town called Agbogbloshie.  This is a village of more than 25,000 Dagomba who have settled into what the locals called "Sodom and Gomorrah".  It is a dump, with raw sewer in the streets and houses made of sheet metal and cardboard.  This is the village where Pastor Mohammed pastored a church for many years before relocating to the Northern Region.  This is also the village where Cheryl Read and Richard Newman first served in Ghana.  The village is adjacent to a local market, where the Dagomba come to sell their vegetables (mostly yam and shea butter).

In the middle of this madness is a small band of believers who meet in a concrete structure called All Souls Baptist Church.  Some  of them even sleep in the church, on long wooden benches.  Together they struggle to survive in an almost impossible situation.  The teams go there to encourage and strengthen them, but in the end, it is usually the Americans who are encouraged when they see such joy in the midst of such poverty and suffering.  After visiting Agbogbloshie, the team spent a couple of hours at the market, where they were sure to spend the last of their pocket money on beads and machetes.

The remaining 8 team members decided to depart this day for a village near Kumasi, called Ankaase, where they were going to work with school children in a local library. We decided it would be too sad and lonely to be without our other team members at the guesthouse in Tamale.

A few hours into the trip, we were stopped at a road block by Ghanaian State Police, who showed our driver a radar gun (really?  a radar gun?) and told him he was speeding.  They insisted that he turn over his license, but our driver told them that he had left Tamale without it.  They made him get out of the car and follow them to the back of the vehicle.  In all honestly, I was a little frightenend.  Here was one American woman with 7 college students and a bag full of money, sitting on the side of the road, with our driver on the verge of being arrested.  Everything turned out fine though, when our driver paid the man 5 GHc as a bribe, and we went on our way.

Our way was supposed to take 4 hours, but 9 hours later, we were still trying to find our way to Ankaase in the dark.  Not fun and a little stressful.  If you've been to Africa, you know that when it gets dark, it is very dark as there are no street lights and many villages do not have electricity.  Also, we were traveling on dirt roads.

We finally located the Gongwer house and unloaded our luggage.  What a pleasant surprise to find a huge, three bedroom home with all the conveniences of home waiting for us!  This place was like a bed and breakfast!  For the first time in 20 days, we had hot water.  Hot water!!!

After a good night's rest, we woke to find ourselves in a tropical paradise.  We were in the home of American missionaries who have now moved to Accra.  The weather here is so mild that we have to use blankets at nights for warmth!  Who knew?  And we have hot water!!  We also have a wonderful house mom named Maggie who loves Jesus and loves to cook for "Obrunis" (white people).  And to top it off, there's a porch swing.

And did I mention that we also have HOT WATER??!!??