LOVE is such a powerful word. The image of love is powerful as well. The mother with her child and the grandma with her grandchildren immediately warms my heart.
Love also comes in many other forms. For children here in Ghana over the last week it has come with big hugs, encouraging words–even words they cannot yet understand, beautiful smiles and food to warm their tummies. For me, it has come with lots of laughs, wonderful images of young people from the US getting down in the dirt, digging in their pockets, sharing their water bottles, getting angry at the injustice of inequality and pure joy being shared with everyone.
When Zach Neumann, a teacher from Virgina Beach, first approached me about taking middle school children to Ghana, I was a little hesitant. We offer missions each summer and often take College students but teen? He explained that he wanted them to know love. Zach spent 7 weeks with me in Ghana in 2008 and he wanted to share the experience with his French students. He wanted them to learn how sharing love with others, changes your heart. We began planning this trip last summer. We were not quite sure how it would pan out. Everyone going on mission needs to raise $3,000 for GMH so we can afford to finance such a trip. Zach and the children worked hard all year to raise funds. Maria even asked her family to forgo giving her presents but instead donate to the cause.
Not everyone has a call to mission. However, I can say that the teens who arrived two weeks ago, had a call and they answered it. They not only changed the lives of 50 children in the classrooms, they changed the lives of the teacher, the other children who came by the school each day, Mercia and me. I wasn’t quite sure how we would do a reading camp with 14-16 year olds as part of the leadership but they were wonderful. The key ingredient was LOVE. The children needed LOVE more than anything else we could bring them or teach them. We taught them how to LOVE.
As I finish out my mission time here in Ghana, I am so grateful to the two teams: Beth Hester, Nicole Schmidt and Lisa Bornt from the Health Mission.
and Zach Neumann, Gail Huber, Maria Meacher, Haley Wilson, Sara Hall and Ian Mueller from the Reading Camp. You are all incredible and Ghana is not the same without you.
Tana is our photographer. You should check out her facebook page–Tana Lopez Younger or her website http://www.woveneye.com. The photos are amazing. Our new website in the fall will feature Tana’s photos.
Here are a few of my favorite “LOVE” images from this summer.
Hope these photos show you how much we LOVE Ghana!