Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kairos luggage

God blessed us as we returned with over 1600 new Kairos bracelets today!

Here is a photo with all the luggage! Thank you for your continued prayers and support as God continues to bless and expand this amazing ministry!

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Back in the USA

Well, where to start is the real question. We have officially landed on US soil. It's good to be home and at the same time a reminder of how blessed we are here and how little the villages we visited had. I'm not talking about the luxuries and pleasures like seeing Starbucks upon deplaning but the ghanaians we treated in medical clinics were without fresh water, no electricity and many of the children had no shoes or clothing. It is not possible to explain all we saw and how it made us feel. Personally speaking my heart will forever be changed. Asking God to use me and allow me to be His hands and feet meant breaking my heart for what breaks His. And despite their poverty and illness (and their was a great deal of malaria), they were joyful, thankful and some of the most hard working people I've met! We could learn something from them! Valerie, Apostle Odai's wife, told me she would be praying for my return. I too will be praying for God's will and purpose for my life and I am humbled to have had this amazing experience with this God given talented team! Mary

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The Toffee Guild

Hello to all and God bless you for your prayers and support, they were much needed! When I first felt God tell me to go to Ghana (through a church bulletin no less) I came up with a thousand reasons why I could not go. but the only reason that came to matter was God telling me "because I said so!" so here I am ;)

I was prepared for culture shock, which came in many forms such as the red dirt roller-coasters they consider roads. But I would have never guessed the amazing ways God would work while I journeyed in Ghana this week. I witnessed how much God is in control as plans always changed (several times and only at the last minute) vans broke down in the middle of the highway, (frogger anyone?) and eager crowds of children would rush us for "toffee" or candy as you call it. Through all of this my constants have been a surrender to his will and prayer. I now understand the soul deep need behind "Here I am Lord, send me!" its not that he needs my help but more like a child jumping up and down shouting "pick me, pick me!"

The children of Ghana have been the highlight of my week. These children excitedly pose for pictures. They erupt into a chorus of giggles at everything you do all while mobbing you to goggle at themselves in the camera. Everywhere I went the children knew I had "toffee" my bag and would follow me around waiting for it. These pint sized Ghanians provided us with endless entertainment!

The first time we pulled into a village, Kawampe, for clinics, my heart was broken by the scene before me. It was as if stepping into a picture straight from feed the children. Dressed in torn, dirty clothes and malnourished rounded tummies. Many children had no shoes and those that did have them are nothing to write home about.

But it was their hearts, eager to learn and hear about Jesus, soaking up and parroting back songs and verses to me that made me fall in love with them. We replaced sticks and spools with soccer balls, bubbles, glove balloons and bribed with lots of toffee. We taught them "Jesus love me" and that Jesus said "let the children come to me" He knew more than anyone that having a child's simple faith is the key to letting God take control of having life abundantly.

I want you to know that God answered all our prayers before we even thought of them. On Monday alone, in the village Kawampe, we saw God bring 52 people to him and they were baptized. We treated many cases of malaria, and dedicated 4 water wells. This provided amazing opportunities to share God's love and his everlasting water of life. I started out on this trip trying to plan every tangible thing I could take to help. Now at the end I'm taking with me far more eternal things than what was left behind. I leave a humbled student of the powerful faith and worship Apostle Odai's people posses. I leave with wonderful new siblings in Christ and blessed new friendships. Finally I leave knowing God has been in control all this week and I must say it has been a blessed assurance. That and toffee!

Love in Christ,
Shawna Howard

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kwanpe village

I was amazed that a village just off a national highway had never seen whit people. I remember scores of smiles even though the living conditions were so much more primitive. The adults were friendly and glad we were there. The clinic was challenging because it was the first for our team and the first in that village. The families were very thankful we were seeing them especially those with children. It was difficult to leave with hundreds of people still to be seen: "The needs are great but the workers are few." It was amazing that 52 people were baptized, demonstrating that when physical needs are met, people are much more receptive to the Gospel. I was glad to be a small part of helping so many in an are in which I am not confident. Maybe that is why God could use me.

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Lavonna's notes

Everyday here in Ghana has had adventure, education, spiritual impact, and fellowship with an amazing team.

I knew a few folks on one team very well, a few I knew cordially, and a few I didn't know at all. All of these people have come together for one purpose, and we have all become very close.

I already have so many wonderful stories to tell -and get so little time right now to tell them. This is our last day in northern Ghana, where today we will be dedicating another water well and doing a medical clinic. And the joy! Wow! To see the faces of these people when the water flows from the well is hard to put words to.

With 324 pairs of reading glasses (donated by Don Kerr) we distributed a number of pairs in all the villages, including the chiefs and Apostle Odai's wife! The look on their faces when they put the glasses on and were able to read words without squinting -wow!

One of my biggest blessings was yesterday in the Tanoanu village. A father with 4 children (ages 4,6,8,10) came to the clinic. During the time they came through I was at the prayer station with Alicia. We asked if we could pray for them. The father said yes. Immediately the children all bowed their heads and clasped their hands. As Alicia prayed, I snapped an overhead shot of them - it was glorious to see! I will attach the photo later.

Though I am just an ordinary person, God called me to this specific place for His specific purpose. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my Lord has called upon me showing others how He uses an ordinary life to bring extraordinary blessing into the world!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tanoanu water well dedication

Tanoanu received a water well, mosquito nets, and our team was blessed with a ram. Really enjoyed the Spirit of the people. - Charlie Pennington

Judy, Phyllis, David, Denise, and Corrie demonstrated hanging a mosquito net in a home and while there met a woman who was blind. She had been to the clinic and heard the preaching outside. She told them that she wanted to receive Christ as her Savior. Denise led her in a prayer to receive Jesus as her Lord. Then Judy felt led to ask the son if he wanted to receive Christ and he said he did! What a double blessing of the Lord for both this mother and son to confess them as Lord! - Judy

A short stroll behind the Tanoanu village today revealed God's magnificent, creative beauty in the landscape, glorious!

I was blessed to attend a water well dedication in this beautiful village. It will provide fresh, clean water to 8 villages who had previously had to walk up to 3 miles in the bush to use a very dirty water source. While tasting this water I thought of something Alicia mentioned at the first well we dedicated. She said it reminded her of the story of the woman at the well in John 4. Just as Jesus met the woman at the well, He was meeting these people at the well, providing for a physical need, while satisfying a deeper spiritual need. What a gift this well is to the surrounding villages! -Andrea

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