Sunday, May 20, 2018

This is the halfway mark in our time here in Ghana. I think we’ve accomplished a number of good things so far—

  • We’ve established positive relationships with a great number of Waala Christians, especially those at Faith and at the Bible college. If experience is any indicator, many of these relationships will continue through Facebook and other social media.
  • We’ve held 2 VBSes at Faith, involving more than 200 children.
  • We’ve carried out an evangelistic outreach in support of a church plant in another area of Wa, during which we saw 10 professions of faith. Admittedly, we’ll need to wait for follow-up to get any sense of confidence in their genuineness; it’s not uncommon for Africans to make a profession just because they like the white person.
  • We’ve immersed the team members in a culture very different from the one(s) they’re used to, and they’ve demonstrated some proficiency in that culture by
    • Engaging in daily life in ways that are hygienically safe;
    • Embracing the commercial and transportation options, using them effectively and safely;
    • Dealing with the inconveniences of the local lifestyle with dignity, a spirit of problem solving, and positive outlook;
    • Enjoying and celebrating the differences.
  • We’ve gotten along with one another, building team cohesion while under various pressures.
  • We’ve even had a chance to do a little wildlife tourism.

I’d say that’s pretty good for a week. This is a good team, despite the fact that they’re the youngest team I’ve ever taken.

This morning will stretch them a little more. I’ll be preaching at Wa Regular Baptist Church, the other main BMM church in the city, while they’ll be doing special music, in Waali, at Faith. Timothy will be the preacher in their service. More independence.

Pickup time is 9 am.

I head over to the house, and everything changes. Dramatically. Several pieces of living-room furniture have been moved over by the front door, and there’s water everywhere.

Tap water was dry yesterday. One of the taps turns the opposite direction, so when they turned the taps off, they actually opened one of them up. Since it was dry, they had no way of knowing.

Overnight the well pump came on to fill the water tanks. One tap was open, and the water started flowing.

The drains are clogged.

So the sink filled with water and then overflowed. When the girls got up this morning, there were 2-3 inches of water in the kitchen and the living room. And since all the water had emptied from the tank, the taps were dry again. They went to work cleaning up the mess, and when Cam showed up for coffee, he joined in. I was in the guys’ house, blissfully unaware.

When I got there, I was concerned about the coffee pot, which is kept on the floor next to its outlet. I didn’t think it was wise to plug it in until we knew for sure that the electrical works in the base were dry. I turned it over to inspect the bottom. It had half a kilo of water in it, which I promptly poured all over the just-squeegeed kitchen floor. The girls did some serious smh’ing for the next few minutes, let me tell you.

The girls didn’t have time to get ready for Sunday school, but they did manage to be ready for a pickup in time for the morning service, when they were scheduled to sing. Cam and I went in for SS, Cam to Faith, I to Wa Regular. When I was done preaching at Wa Regular, Aquila and I drove to Faith, where the team had delivered the special music as though this was just another ordinary Sunday.

Back to the house for lunch. The floors are now dry, and nothing close to the floor appears to have been damaged. After we dry out some of the cabinet drawers next to the sink, we’ll be in a better position to assess any possible damage there.

Remember how I said the team was “dealing with the inconveniences of the local lifestyle with dignity, a spirit of problem solving, and positive outlook”? Well, there ya go. In this case, the juxtaposition of the dry faucets and the clogged drains—and the reverse threading of one of the faucets—caused a major problem that wouldn’t have been a problem at all if only one of the factors had been in play. Life in the developing world. My missionary friends tell me that sometimes just the effort of dealing with it all wears you down. Pray for your missionary friends.

I think I’ve said that before, haven’t I?

We spend the afternoon on repairs. First, the kitchen. We pull the drawers, empty them, and put them out in the sun to dry. Then two of the girls—Audrey and Flavia—decide they want to take the braids out. You have no idea how big a job that is. Undo every strand, bit by bit, pull out the artificial hair, and wrestle with the real hair that’s been in a tight braid for several days. Cam compares someone to one of the teachers in the Harry Potter series; I’ve never seen it, but it doesn’t sound like it could possibly be a compliment.

Ivy sends over some rice balls and sauce for supper; we eat in a hurry and hustle off to evening church at Faith. Timothy does a review of his morning sermon there, and there’s a healthy interchange with lots of questions and answers. I’m sitting beside a couple of 12-year-old (or so) boys, both of whom have the notes they took this morning and are paying close attention. Cool.

After church the girls continue working on Flavia and Audrey while Cam works on his journal. The evening passes quickly and gets sillier as it goes along. Yikes.

They’ve had a rough day, and they’ve responded well. I suppose a little silliness is called for.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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