My dear friends, I hope that you’re taking care of North Carolina for me. I’m definitely missing it about this time of year. The late summer evenings when the heat breaks after an afternoon shower moves through, and the sky is clear and the sun is shining; those are some of the more beautiful days in North Carolina that I love.
But I’m encouraged and enjoying my time here in Ghana, serving at AIS. Interestingly, we’ve had some days here when the weather has reminded me of North Carolina. The weather has been very nice, not breaking into the 80’s too often. But, as the seasons change back home, so do they here. Come December the dry heat and sand from the Sahara will push down into Ghana.
Let me give you some updates on my time and experience here so far, starting with my role teaching the Bible. I’ve been enjoying my time teaching Bible and Apologetics, but have encountered some unique opposition. Coming into this position I knew there would be some students who were from other faiths but attend the school still because of the quality of education. Most of those students are actually some of the best students I have. I think perhaps they feel the need to excel in the Bible classes out of respect, which I appreciate. The opposition I didn’t expect comes mostly from other professing Christian students. The opposition in particular concerns the claims of exclusive truth by the Christian faith. This is not to say that we as Christians don’t think persons of other faiths can’t have knowledge about the world or even moral truths. Of course they can.
But when it comes to God’s revelation of Himself and His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ alone, that’s when several of my students start getting uncomfortable. But even then, many of them are willing to say that if that’s what you believe, then good for you, but they don’t feel that it’s right to “force” those ideas on someone else. Of course, they don’t actually mean “force,” but what they mean is, it’s not right to tell someone else they’re wrong. In which case, with such a view, how could you ever share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? You couldn’t, because the Gospel by nature says that we were all wrong, that our ideas of good and right are actually evil. But that Jesus came to die on the cross for our sin. And that to follow Him you must put to death your individual claims of right and truth, and follow Him, the only Truth.
So, as far as prayer requests come, if you would pray with me that I would continue to share the truth with gentleness, giving a defense for the reason for the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). And that as I share that truth, that the Spirit would work in my students to illuminate God’s Word for them, those that are Christian; and that He would convict those who are not, for them to see their need for the Savior.
Secondly, pray with me as I serve in the Chaplain role for AIS. The Chaplain role is intertwined with the Bible teacher role, but it has further reach into the Middle School and Elementary School levels. With teaching 4 classes (9-12), and this being my first teaching role, I find that I’m already stretched pretty thin with time. I need to find a better way to connect with the Middle Schoolers in particular. Most of you who know me well know that being fun and relational is not my strong point, which makes the Chaplain role a challenge for me.
But all-in-all, I see God working here through me and through this role as I teach His Word and His truth. Many of the students who may not agree with me still have so many questions about the Bible and the Christian worldview that in some of my classes I find it hard to stay on track with the lesson plan because I’m constantly answering questions. I consider that a good thing!
Life in General
There are many things I could say about everyday life here in Accra that would make this post way too long, so I’m going to try and keep it simple.
Living Arrangements. I have my own apartment in a complex where other teachers from the school live too. It’s very comfortable and just a short walk from school. I walk a lot here in Accra!
Roads are pretty rough in some areas, and the drainage systems beside the road are open-top, so you have to be careful walking. There are no side-walks, so people walk up the side of the road. Drivers are very careful around pedestrians because so many people walk up and down the streets.
The neighborhood I live in provides many local restaurants. Most of the chain-style restaurants are in the larger shopping districts a short drive away. I’ve seen Burger King, Pizza Hut, and KFC.
Social Life. I’ve befriended many of the teachers here at AIS and have gotten to meet many great people here in Accra. There’s a very large Expat community in Accra, especially of Americans. On Saturday mornings I play basketball with many of the students, staff, and parents from the community. I’ve also found an Ultimate Frisbee game that I’ve been participating in.
There’s a lot to do in Accra itself, but I hope to travel up to the north regions sometime to see the wildlife and landscape. Ghana is a safe place. Honestly, you’re probably safer in Ghana than you are in most large cities in the U.S.
I can’t say the same for the neighboring African countries though, especially Nigeria. I follow an organization called International Christian Concern. Their website is Persecution.org. They frequently share stories of Nigerian Christians being targeted by Islamic extremist groups. I encourage you to follow an organization like this and pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ who face the kind of persecution that threatens their lives because they follow Christ.
I’ll stop here for now. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
Here are some photos of things.
Me imagining I’m captivating my students’ minds with some profound insight of mine
A little weekend pick-up basketball game
My best friend so far….no but really! This is Momo. He stays at our complex.
An ultimate frisbee group I’ve been playing with
Momo and I again!
Grace and Peace to you,