Today was the day; it was the opening day of reading camp in Akramaman, and… my “Diamond Jubilee” birthday. Since 2007 I’ve travelled to Ghana 6 times, with each trip different from the others. What is it, In addition to the powerful call of God, that brings me back time after time?
The first time I came, although called to serve the children and teachers of Ghana, let’s face it, I came mostly for me. While it was novel to teach the teachers and see the preschool open, it was the excitement of seeing a different culture that fueled me each day. To see the street vendors selling goods from their heads, the abject poverty, the insane traffic, the beautiful smiles, these things were my daily motivation. But with each trip, I come more and more for the children. The novelty has worn off, the poverty is hard to see, the street vendors no longer a reason for amazement. Coming back to Ghana time after time is a process of dying to self, and more truly living the life Jesus calls us to live, a life that makes a difference in the lives of others.
Our presence here does make a difference, a profound difference, in the lives of these children. Today we were greeted by 100 boys and girls who “made the cut,” who had been selected by their teachers to attend “Readers on the Loose with Dr. Seuss.” The team, comprised of 15 Americans and a group of dedicated Ghanaian teachers, tested and sorted the children by reading level. Then the fun began!
Each class had a brief art lesson where they made a nametag for their desk. Poems were read and songs sung. Hop on Pop landed in each child’s hands, and children with no access to books were given a reason to read.
You helped to do this – to bring these smiles and giggles to these children, to put the dancing in their eyes and the hope in their hearts. Thank you. Thank you! Because you gave, these children are given a future and a hope, and on this, my diamond jubilee birthday, I received something far more valuable than diamonds. Jesus changes lives, he’s changing the lives of these children one moment, one book, one smile at a time. And, he is changing mine.