Abbie, AnnaBeth, and I have had our first holiday season on the mission field, and we have been so blessed! I know many missionaries find the holidays to be emotionally difficult, so I wondered how we would handle these major holidays without all the American trimmings and without extended family. Once again, however, we have seen the blessing of being on a team, as sharing Thanksgiving Day with the other families gave us a sense of sharing the holiday with family. Our family got an extra blessing for Christmas when Abbie’s parents came to visit us for two weeks. I’m sure that their newest granddaughter had nothing to do with the timing of their visit.
Christmas is one of the biggest holidays here in Kumasi, but Ghanaians do not celebrate it in quite the same way. We did not see Christmas decorations in very many places, but most radio stations played Christmas music. When we went shopping, many shop owners and cashiers would have a small, wrapped Christmas box with a slot in the top. They would ask you to put in some money as a “Christmas gift.” However, only “rich” Ghanaians have Christmas trees and get several presents. Most Ghanaians look forward to getting “Christmas clothes,” a special outfit they will wear to the Christmas service and for other special occasions throughout the year. Getting to eat well and to eat a lot is a highlight of the Christmas celebration for many people. It is also traditional here for churches to have a service on Christmas Day itself, and it is one of the best-attended services of the year.
It is also very popular to have a watchnight church service on New Year’s Eve, regardless of which day of the week it falls upon. The watchnight service is also one of the best-attended services of the year. The holiday season was a reminder of how Ghana is full of religion but empty of the Gospel. Thank you for your faithful support, allowing us to work to change that!
Fruit to Your Account
Ghana has only one international airport, and that is in Accra. So when Abbie’s parents came to visit us, I took a six-hour bus trip from Kumasi to Accra so that I could guide them as soon as they left the airport.
When I found my bus seat, I found that I was seated next to a young man who was very interested in his cell phone. I was waiting for an opportunity to catch his eye and introduce myself to him, but his eyes never left his phone screen.
Then a man got up in front of the bus and started to deliver some announcements. I thought he worked for the bus company. However, when he finished his announcements, he told us that he was a preacher with a certain church, and he was going to preach to us for the next half hour!
Unfortunately, this preacher believed in works salvation. However, the young man next to me listened to this preacher. He was not looking at his phone anymore. As soon as the preacher was finished, I introduced myself to the young man, Asamoah. I used what that preacher had been saying as a springboard into the Gospel, and about an hour later, Asamoah believed on Jesus alone for salvation!
Yours for souls,