Ghana 2009 - Day 4
Today the team went in pairs to several different churches. This enabled the word to be spread more widely about the work of ‘Wheels for the World’. Between the whole group, we experienced a whole range of churches across many different denominations. Some were livelier than others although I think all of them shared the practice of dancing while taking up the offering! I think our church was the only church that stuck to just one offering — the others all took up two or three!
In some churches, there were other unfamiliar practices, such as men and women having to sit on separate sides of the church, regardless of whether or not they were married - I think this came as a particular shock to Caroline, who was separated from both her partner and her male interpreter! At the church Mark and I went to, the service was based around the induction of the new vicar, and appeared to overrun by an hour and a half compared to their usual length of service! Still, it was a great experience and fantastic to be able to share in worship with the local Christians...even if I couldn't tell whether the vicar’s address was in English or not (apparently it was in English but with a very strong Ghanaian accent!!).
This afternoon some of the team stayed behind at the hotel to regain their strength, whilst others took the opportunity to explore a coastal town about an hour away. One team member even managed somehow to get invited in to a baby naming ceremony!
This evening, we went out to work alongside the Light Outreach team. They have set up the equivalent of a Sunday School on a Sunday evening for the street children. It was great to see the work Ellen and the team are doing there. In total there were 108 children and young people who turned out. The younger ones met in the community centre and the older ones had chairs set up outside. Between us we taught them a few songs and they attempted to teach some to us. At the end we managed to hype them all up by setting off some rocket balloons, which they loved! Before they went home, the young people were given a slice of bread and a small water bottle about a quarter full of tea. It was humbling to see how grateful the young people were for this and to see how several of them chose not to drink it there and then, instead choosing to take it home and share it with the rest of their family.
At the end I was able to talk with several of the children, who were fascinated with my fair skin and long hair — they wouldn’t stop wrapping my hair around their fingers! When I came to leave, particularly as the rain began to fall, it suddenly hit me that they were going back to sleep on the streets, some of them as young as four or five. Some of them were asking “Can I come back to England with you?” - I felt completely helpless. At the same time though, it put a smile on my face seeing their genuine faith in God. When teaching them ‘Our God is a great big God’, we sung how God holds them in his hands—we realised how much that was true! Still, it didn’t stop a few of us shedding some tears when we got back to the hotel...