The Value is the Same!
This is an exciting time to be in Ghana; well, not quite as exciting as when Ghana beat the U.S. in the World Cup games, but almost! This week the re-denomination of the Ghana cedi begins; everywhere there are posters of the new currency, charts of how to exchange the local currency with the new one, and the slogan that has become everyone's current favorite phrase: "The value is the same!" 10,000 cedis will become 1 Ghana Cedi, which at the current exchange rate is roughly equivalent to $1.11 US dollar. We all expect to be a little confused at the beginning, but the change is going to be good for Ghana, and the government has done a tremendous job of preparing everyone for the conversion. Having never before participated in something like this, I am very interested in the whole process......
Otherwise, things have been pretty much status quo since I last wrote; our phone conversations with our participants in their various locations indicate that all is going well for them. John and I have been busy on our computers....thanks so much for your prayers in that regard! John has been keeping his computer plugged in 24/7 and always on standby when not in use, since the computer screen only fails to turn on when the computer has been turned off. Lord willing, this will get us through at least until we travel for debrief........we are thankful to God for this idea that has enabled his computer to keep going.
Sunday was Republic Day and Monday was celebrated as a public holiday, so we enjoyed a three day weekend. We spent our extra day off visiting a GILLBT friend and his family to see their new baby, and then helping our friends Timothy and Esther move to a new house. (Timothy worked with us as caretaker at the GILLBT Tamale Guest House, and although he is no longer with GILLBT we have continued to enjoy a close relationship with him and his family through the years.) At night, Shevawn enjoyed a ladies night out with Lizzy and Patricia, Discovery alumni from 2005 who are both currently working for our friend Pastor Johnson Asare here in Tamale. They took her to the Jungle Bar, where they had a great time enjoying pizza, cokes and several hours of laughing together.
One of the things that has particularly encouraged us during this past week is seeing God use us here in the lives of others in ways not even related to our Discovery purposes. Several times we have been amazed to see how, through no ability or strategy of our own, save our being available to him as conduits of his grace and love, that he has allowed us to be a source of encouragement to others involved in ministry here. One example of this that really surprised us was when Timothy told us of a conversation he had recently with a mutual friend of ours who is with GILLBT. Timothy was mentioning to Acquah that we were here in Tamale, and Acquah responded with "You see what God has done!" This statement puzzled us, until Timothy explained that then Acquah recounted about the circumstances of our sudden departure in 1994, how it seemed like we would be gone from Ghana for good, and yet here we keep coming back, again and again. I was amazed that just by our physically coming back, others would see and remember how God can do the impossible and be encouraged! Wow! How awesome is that!
There are always more than enough opportunities for helping others... Please pray with us about two needs we have become aware of in the last week:
a young man; Alhassan Abdulai from Kukuo Baptist Church who is in urgent need of a heart valve replacement to save his life. The estimated cost of surgery is USD$12,000 and the poor family is being asked to raise half that amount before the surgery can be done in Accra (the heart foundation will bear the other half).
And a friend of ours working in full time church ministry to an unreached community was told by doctors to not do manual labor anymore... His pay is about USD$10 per month so he relies on farming activity to provide for his family. We would like to help him start up a small business to better provide for his needs.
Well...I know I said I would write some orientation stories here, but I think this has already become a bit long. I will try harder to include some in my next update.... for now, we just want to say thank you so much for your prayers while we are here in Ghana. Each time we see God work in and through us during our time here, we know it is because people are praying for us, that together God is using your prayers and our physical presence to do the work he has for us to do in Ghana. Thanks so much for partnering with us, supporting us to be and do what He has brought us here to be and do.
In His love; Shevawn & John