From the moment you enter into Ghana through immigration at the airport you are always greeted with a warm “you’re welcome” or “akwaaba”(twi). Where ever you go, church, shop, restaurant, another’s home, “you’re welcome”. I love this phrase, “you’re welcome”. It’s just not the same as “come on in!” or “welcome”. It’s more personal, it’s about the individual. You are welcome here.
I’ve been here nine months now. Accra has become my new norm, my everyday, my home. Many times I forget how far I am from home, Colorado home. While at times I feel I completely belong, I am reminded where I come from and how different my life in Colorado is from life here with a trip to the market or the village. Squeezing through a sea of people speaking twi carrying produce in large baskets on their heads, or being ambushed by two hundred children in the village shouting obroni, obroni (foreigner) will remind you of where you come from pretty quickly.
However, even through these experiences, that for a moment make me uncomfortable, I am also filled with a deep joy; joy in the midst of discomfort, because God has called me to be uncomfortable. In the end, we are all obroni’s on this earth, all of us who are in Christ are foreigners. Just as he loves me, His daughter, I am called to love His children. And that means I have to step out of my comfort zone, whether I am in Ghana or Colorado. In these moments when I am reminded of my purpose in Christ, when I am filled with joy, God says “you’re welcome”. You are welcome, as an heir of the Most High King, as a servant of a loving Father. You are welcome to join Him in furthering His Kingdom. The more I lean into Him, worship Him, read His word, and listen to His will in my life, the more I feel welcome and am filled with peace and joy.
Life has been busy, its hard to sum up everything in one blog post so here are some highlights from last few months.
International Day: Over 20 different nations are represented in our school body at American International School (AIS). We were able to celebrate all the different cultures that make the AIS family unique. My class learned all about Togo and performed a traditional West African folktale and sang the Togolese National Anthem. They still burst into song in the middle of class every once in a while. Students dressed in their culture’s traditional clothing, we ate amazing food from all around the world, and learned about all the countries represented at AIS.
Spiritual Emphasis Week: Each year AIS has a week where we have chapel every day and really focus on what Jesus did for us. This year a group from the United States came in to host Spiritual Emphasis Week. We were able to use a church nearby. Students bused to this church every day and worshiped and learned about God’s word together. Many students hear about Christ for the first time when they attend AIS. This week was such a good week for us, as teachers and staff of AIS, to focus on why we are called to this school in the first place and to be very intentional in prayer for our students. My students are in third grade. They are at the age where they are starting to form their own opinions rather than listening to those around them. Many of them come from Christian homes, however after speaking with them throughout this week I realized many of them don’t actually know what they believe they just do because their parents do. I was blown away by their attentiveness during this week, and eagerness to understand God’s word. Each day they came in with what seemed like a hundred questions about God for me and for their classmates, and about what Jesus did for us on the cross. God answered our prayers in my classroom and across the school.
Spring Break: The principal at my school has lived in Ghana for several years now. Her and her husband started a school in his home village in the western region of Ghana about ten years ago. I was able, with a few other teachers at AIS, to travel to the village to help with teacher training for teachers in the village. We were also able to hike through one of the biggest untouched rainforests in Ghana, and visit Cote D’Ivoirve. There are many stories attached to this adventure and I won’t go into detail now. However if you want to know more let me know, I would love to share them with you.
End of the Year: The end of the school year is only three weeks away! These last few months have been packed with school events including a science fair, bazaar, art show, school musical, and more to come. Half of our little third grade family is moving away, which many have told me is a part of working at an international school. However it’s weird to picture school next year without them. They are all getting very antsy for summer break. Please pray for them as their families travel and for me to be filled with patience and love each day until the end of the year.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.”
- For students who gave their life to Christ during Spiritual Emphasis week and throughout this year. That they would continue to grow in their faith.
- AIS transition: Many teachers will come and go as well as students. Pray for unity among the staff and students next year.
- Hope City transition: The pastors at the church I attend here in Accra are moving back to England after planting Hope City seven years ago. New pastors will come from Sheffield to lead the church.