Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interesting year - Open Doors - Ask Seek Knock

It's been an interesting year.  There's that word 'interesting' that people use when they talk about my book or my life.  Makes me laugh... nervously.

I remember at the beginning of this year, a friend asking what vision God had given for the new year.  I thought about it for three days and came to the conclusion that there was no vision.  We had been toiling the soil and planting the seeds the previous two years and this year was one to watch God do His thing.

Our annual mission to Ghana was the largest to date.  In fact exponential growth by a factor of three.  Any time a ministry experiences increase, it's a good thing and we're thankful.

Some how in the aftermath of this growth, we've felt a gnawing for more.  Which is dangerous.  The last time I prayed for more (which I added and please don't send me to Zimbabwe, for fear of spending the next 30 years of my life in Africa) I went to Swaziland on my first mission to the African continent.

So, we wondered, do we tarry?  Do we just keep doing what we were told to do some years ago?  Be obedient to the last instruction until further notice?  Some what perplexing, but ask, seek, knock and you will be answered.

We were more than willing to continue but laid out a fleece and had some specific areas in mind.  One being Kenya, another being India.

Well, once again, be careful about what you ask for.  We were contacted by a friend who is a full time missionary in Kenya and that door has opened wide and we're going through it without reservation.

We see the door for India and someone is there doing research already and the way I see it will be our guide there a couple years down the road.

Does this mean the door to Ghana is shut?  Absolutely not.  In fact, we just today spoke with a gentleman that drills wells in Ghana and have requested him to contact our folks on the ground there and see if we can get some villages some much needed access to clean drinking water.

It may be that we have groups going to Ghana and Kenya alternating years, or simultaneous or one after the other in the same year.  We'll follow God's lead and timing in all of this.

We're excited and ready to expand our territories.  People every where need to be empowered to purify their source of drinking water.  To restore their health and have Hope for the future.

I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. Mark 9:41

I pray, you Ask, Seek and Knock.  That you are prepared to go where God leads.  I promise there is no better plan for your life.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Friday, August 13, 2010

Culture Shock

As we emerged from the plane into the busy Atlanta Airport, my senses were immediately assaulted by bright lights, flashy American advertisements, noise, and the usual US rush-rush hustle-bustle. I literally gasped in shock. Too much noise, too much "slickness," too much consumerism....

Driving home on smoothly paved roads, I don't feel any bumpy potholes. The other drivers stay in their lanes, come fairly close to maintaining the allowed speed limit, and don't blow their horns constantly. Quite a change from my experiences of the last couple of weeks.

Once home, I looked at our neighborhood. There were no high fences topped with constantine wire or broken glass to deter robbers as is common in the cities in Ghana. A neighbor, on his riding lawnmower, waved at us. I remembered seeing some men with machetes, hacking at the grass in front of a home in Tema...

I take a deep breath and smell....nothing, really. But the scents of acrid smoke, sweat, sea, animals, and fumes from vehicles all linger in my mind from Ghana.

I loaded the washing machine, added detergent, turned it on and walked away. Then I remembered Aggie and Maggie, sitting on low stools, scrubbing our clothes in a tub and hanging them across the fence to dry.

Ahhhh......hot water and a long shower, feels absolutely delicious. Though the tepid-cool showers in Ghana were a pleasure there, cooling my skin temporarily.

Gazing into the mirror, I suddenly realize that this was the first time I'd seen my image in nearly three weeks. Didn't have a mirror in Ghana; didn't need one. It didn't occur to me that it would matter what I looked like.

Taming my hair with hot rollers to make it conform to my "American standards"... why do I not think I can just let it go here, like I do in Ghana? The breeze blows it dry, the little bit of natural curl I inherited makes it wavy.

My husband comes in, bringing some groceries. We put things neatly away in cupboards and in our refrigerator. There's a gracious plenty of food -- we could live off of the food in our cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer for quite some time and not even have to go to the store. There is very little refrigeration in Ghana, even in the urban areas that have electricity. Most meals take a long time to prepare: peeling and cutting the fresh fruits and vegetables, slaughtering the goat or chicken or cleaning the fish, simmering the spices over a stove or a fire all take a long time.

On the counter, David places two ripe fresh plantains. Neither of us speaks -- but we both smile. We'll have a taste of Ghana at dinner, tonight, just to help us remember.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer in Ghana

I found the blog of a new friend I met in Ghana this past July.  She relates a couple of days in July at the following links -



I always hope GOD does to others what GOD does to me.  The Dump is a kick in the gut.  I hope you can experience it with me one day.

These student/teachers from Dartmouth College are a rare breed that have answered the call and are making a profound difference....

From Ghana_2010_Day 17
and I'm honored to know them, and call them friends.

Heres a link to some photos from that day - http://picasaweb.google.com/weministry/Ghana_2010_Day17#


You hear the wind, yet you do not know where it comes from or where it goes to; so it is with the Spirit.


David Lee Waters Sr.,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What It's All About

Our game plan was to spend Monday through Wednesday after the team left evaluating the trip, visiting with friends, and relaxing. However I'd begun to feel a bit bad over the weekend. Saturday I nursed a scratchy sore throat; Sunday found me sneezing and sniffling. What I *thought* was going to be a simple summer cold turned very ugly. By Monday morning I was in the middle of a full-blown "asthmatic episode" which left me literally gasping for every breath. As soon as a pharmacy was open on Monday, our friend Stephen took us to get some medication for me. It was pricey (about $90 USD) but at that point I'd have maxed out every credit card I had to get some relief. I spent most of the day doing absolutely nothing. By evening I was feeling MUCH better.

For me, Monday and Tuesday is sort of a blur. I'd get up and go a while, then nap a while. But David managed to get a good bit accomplished and I joined him as I could.

David took the time to go back to the dump, taking Bishop James with him to witness the conditions there first-hand. They discussed several options about ways to help those children. Besides the obvious issue of massive poverty, they face other problems. For example, often the parents do not care if their kids go to school or not; sometimes the kids have to work picking through the garbage for items to recycle. Another big problem is that the schools closest to the dump are still about a 2-mile walk that includes crossing a major 4-lane highway.

Ideas that we are considering include purchasing a van to transport the kids to schools in and around Community 25, or perhaps trying to get a school started at the edge of the dump itself. Given the transient nature of the residents, it can be difficult to keep track of the children themselves. It is a huge problem -- and a huge burden on our hearts.

Early Monday afternoon, we walked to Jerusalem Gates Academy, where donors helped us sponsor several children out of the dump last year. We took some candies to share with the children. We were sad to see that the number of students was significantly smaller this year; the headmaster indicated that since the school was relocating, many students were going to different schools. After more discussion and prayers, we decided to look for different avenues for the dump children's education.

We stopped by Manye Foundation Academy on Tuesday. There we met five volunteers, students from Dartmouth College in the US. We spent some time talking with them, and with the headmaster. The college students were about as excited to see us as we were to see them! Before we left, they'd agreed to stop for a visit on Wednesday, and David planned to take them to the dump for a look around.

We agreed to sponsor four children into this academy. Later I'll tell you their stories, so be watching in the coming days for information about Racheal, Comfort, Raphael, and Joseph.

Also on Tuesday, David pounded fufu with Mary and Emmanuel! He later feasted on that fufu at dinner! They also made my favorite fried plantains! YUMMY!!!

Tuesday evening, I met Joann, who is heading up the Christ Harvests Academies. I am very impressed by this lady's professionalism and drive to help provide a superior education to children, and I look forward to working with her!

By Wednesday, I was feeling pretty good. It was our last full day in Ghana; we were scheduled to fly out Thursday morning at 1 am. We had a lot of things we needed to catch up with before we left, so we hit the ground running.

A few years ago we met a young man named Cedric Emmanuel who had been badly burned on his face, arms, and hands. His medical bills were covered through efforts by Waters Edge Ministries. Recently a friend of ours saw the young man's photograph -- then contacted us that he wanted to help the young man with his education. This benefactor is a graduate student at USC who is from a different country -- and has a huge heart for children. With Richard's help, we contacted the headmistress at the school where he attended. We drove to the school where she serves, and she accompanied us to the junior high school that the now 13-year-old young man attends.

Upon our arrival, Cedric Emmanuel was brought to the office. He recognized us and gave a slight smile, but did not speak much. He wears a jacket all the time to cover his scarred arms; his hands are scarred and the joints of his little fingers are immobile and twisted. One of his ears was burned off; the other is partially gone.

The school headmistress told us that before the accident, he'd been a bright and happy student. When he returned, his scarred face frightened other students and they'd run from him. She expressed concern that he seemed depressed. (Who wouldn't be depressed???) She also shared some information about his home life -- he lives sometimes with his father and other times with his grandmother; neither send enough money for him to purchase food during the day. Usually he brings about 80 pesewas -- roughly 50 cents -- which would not buy a pittance of food. The headmistress often takes him home with her and feeds him dinner at night.

We explained that a benefactor wanted to take care of his educational costs, and he smiled as broadly as he could. My eyes teared up; it was obvious that he was grateful that someone wanted to help him, that someone cared about him.

This is what it's all about:
Connecting people through the Love of Christ.


The Dartmouth students came over for a visit; it was fun sitting on the porch and talking with them. David took them for a visit to the dump. It is impossible to see that place and not feel moved...

The rest of the evening, visitors were in and out to tell us good-bye, including Pastor Johnson, Chief Takyi, Ben, Christina, Victoria & the kids. We packed our bags, and shared a final dinner together. I tasted one more slice of fresh sweet bread to hold me over till next year. Gave one more giant bear hug to Bishop James -- also to hold me over till next year.

About 8:30 pm, we loaded Richard's Jeep Cherokee with our luggage. He, Victoria, Little Anita, Christabel, and Junior all piled in to drive us to Kotoka Airport.

At 1 am, Delta Flight 185 took off. We were headed home.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend wrap up

Saturday and Sunday, July 17 & 18

After the long week "on the road" in the Volta region, everybody slept in on Saturday morning! I think we all needed the rest; we'd worked really hard and accomplished a good bit. Along the way we built some relationships that are precious and priceless -- and help to show others the Jesus that is living in our hearts.

The Grace Team needed to make another trip to the Accra Arts and Crafts Market and they spent most of the day there. David and I ran some errands and made some visits in and around Tema.

We spent some time in the Tema market -- searching in vain for Kingsbite chocolate. That's one of our favorite treats. However, the factory had been shut down for a few weeks for maintenance, so we learned, and nobody in the market had any of the candies for sale. Pastor Paul drove us to the Evergreen Supermarket -- a large store fashioned like those in the USA. There we found Kingsbite, and purchased several bars to share with folks back home.

We enjoyed a long visit with Richard's wife Victoria and their three children Anita, Christabell, and Junior. Last year, they moved into a different apartment. It's outside of Tema, and as we drove there with Pastor Paul King, we were frustrated at how "far out" the place seemed to be. But when we arrived and entered, we were excited about how nice the place is -- bright, airy, spacious. It is by far the nicest place they've ever lived.

Later that afternoon, we walked around Community 11 a bit. I showed David a house I'd stayed in several years ago -- just a couple of blocks from where we were this year.
As we walked hand-in-hand, my mind wandered back a few years....my friend Rita and I walked along these same streets, laughing like a couple of schoolgirls, happy as we could be. I smiled with the memory; then remembering how our lives have changed since those times, I gave thanks.

The Grace Team arrived back home just as we returned from our walk. Everyone was excited about their purchases, and their excitement was contagious. Mackenzie modeled her new dress; John played his new drum; Sydney was thrilled with the carved birds she'd found. It was just plain FUN!!! I giggled to see the excitement among the group, and it was fun to share in their joy.

Sunday dawned and we all got up early -- we were to speak at two church services, sharing a bit about our experience with those who'd hosted and prayed for us. When we arrived at Christ Harvests the Nations in Comm. 4, the place was alive with singing and dancing and praise! We joined it, smiling and clapping. Praising Jesus whole-heartedly is one of my favorite memories of any trip to Ghana! Each team member spoke about the experiences that meant the most to them: the worship, visiting the kids at the dump, going to Potwabin, touring Elmina, worship at Kpeve, seeing village life in Adigbo Tornu, bringing pure physical water and the Living Water to Bame Atome, the wonderful people, the hospitality....we could share forever....

We left Comm. 4 and drove to the new church facility being constructed in Community 25. The building is nowhere near finished -- but that does not stop it from being used for worship and praise!! We shared once again, then left for home.

We had a late lunch -- it was our Farewell Celebration meal. The Grace Team made pasta alfredo and green beans -- I realized how much I'd missed green beans as I helped myself to seconds! Saturday night, Kristy sat on a low stool in the kitchen, teaching Ruth and Esther how to string the beans and prepare them for cooking. Their efforts paid off -- YUM!!!! Our Ghana hosts prepared jollof rice, fried chicken, bread, pineapple, kontumerie (sort of like spinach with smoked fish), goat stew, and a huge salad. We enjoyed the meal immensely -- and the company even more. We shared this meal with everyone that had helped us -- our cooks Aggie, Maggie, and Christina; Ben, Richard, Evelyn, Doris, and Bishop Godlly; Pastor Johnson and Chief Takyi; our drivers Kofi & Yaw. Other friends from Christ Harvests the Nations dropped by just to say goodbyes.

The Grace Team was flying out that evening, so they began packing up and getting ready for a long journey back to the USA. About 9 pm, goodbyes were shared along with hugs and smiles and they boarded the bus. We followed behind them in the car and helped them unload their bags at Kotoka Airport. One more round of hugs and farewells-- and they entered the airport terminal. We drove back to Tema.

They were headed home....or so we thought!
We hadnt even made it back to Bishop James' house when we got a phone call that their flight had been cancelled!!! The airline provided them with a room and some meal vouchers, so they stayed an extra day in Accra -- then flew out Monday night.
Well...actually Tuesday morning.

Ahhh Ghana time.... you just have to learn to adjust!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Retreat at Logba Tota

Friday July 16, 2010

I woke up in the coolness of Logba Tota, remembering a childhood hymn my mother taught me: "God's beautiful world, God's beautiful world, I love God's beautiful world. He made it for you, he made it for me, I love God's beautiful world."

Logba is a natural retreat; it is the perfect spot to relax and unwind after the busyness of the week. And it is a perfect place to reflect upon God's creation and grace, and commune with the Spirit.

There are several lovely waterfalls around the mountain. Several years ago, I made the hike down to the falls and back -- quite a workout! A few of the Grace team mates laced up their tennis shoes and headed out to see the falls.

I knew that physically I was not quite up to that trek this year (maybe next year!). David and I spent the morning in the village of "upstairs" Logba Tota. We first visited the new school built by some Dutch philanthropists. It is a good sized school; the facility is solidly constructed and is a "jewel in the crown" of the town. The person who donated a good bit of the money for the school is having a home built beside the school. We explored the partially constructed house, which is built into the side of the mountain. Breath-taking views will greet them each morning once they move into the place: the master bedroom has a huge window that overlooks a valley stretching several miles before another rocky mountain rises from the red dirt.

As I stood in that partially constructed home, looking out over that valley, I remembered a song from my childhood -- "God's beautiful world, God's beautiful world, I love God's beautiful world. He made it for you, He made it for me, I love God's beautiful world."

Nobody spoke for several moments as we basked in the newness of the morning, looking across the African countryside.

Eventually, we continued our trek through Logba Tota. We walked back through the town, where we had worshiped the night before, and then continued up the rocky path toward the church building. Christ Harvests is sponsoring a nursery school that uses the church building, and we visited with the 10 children. They had no teaching supplies to speak of: Children took their naps on old cardboard boxes that had been split and laid out on the dirt floor. The teacher did not even have a chalkboard; she used drawings on paper that she'd created herself, teaching English words to the children. David gave the kids toffees (candies) as we said goodbye.

Next we paid a visit to my friend Agben & his parents. They live even farther up the mountain!! Agben's dad is crippled --I think he may have had a stroke a few years back-- and rarely (if ever) leaves his house. Each time I go to Logba, I try to visit this family; it is an important relationship to me. We shared some photographs taken last year, made a few new pictures, and then bid them farewell.

Walking back down the mountain, through this village, then back to Fount Hill, I marveled at God's goodness! And I am always struck at the difference between "needs" and "wants" that becomes so obvious when I visit this place. Life is simple here; yet people give thanks and praise to God every day.

Back at Fount Hill, lunch was almost ready. The Grace Church hikers returned from their trek to the waterfalls -- most of them tired and maybe a bit muddy, but glad for the opportunity to see the beauty of God's creation.

After lunch, we packed up the bus -- which meant taking our luggage and all of the kitchen equipment and supplies back down the hill where the bus was parked -- and headed back to Tema -- about a three-hour ride.

Tired, but joyful, we were "home" again in Community 11. The "work" part of our mission was complete. We give thanks to God for the group, for the trip, for the things HE accomplished through us, and for the opportunities we've experienced in this journey.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monkeys and an Angel

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We left Ho this morning by way of Pastor Thywill's home. He is in 9 days of fasting and mourning for his wife; we did not stay long but we wanted to tell him we appreciated the use of the house for the team.

After fueling the bus and car, we were on the road to Logba Tota -- one of my favorite places on earth!

Every year we wind up our trip by a visit to the mountaintop village of Logba Tota. It is a wildly beautiful and spiritual place. As we made our way through the countryside, I noticed men mowing the shoulders of the road with machetes -- back-breaking work, for sure. Fields of corn and cassava dotted the hills.

As a surprise, Chief Takyi arranged for us to visit the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary. We turned off the main road and drove 5 km on a rough, dusty road through bush that was taller than the bus. At last we entered a clearing by a sign "You are entering the Monkey Sanctuary."

We gathered together as a young man introduced himself as Emmanual and said he would be our guide for the hike into the jungle. We began to follow him down a narrow path. We had not walked very far when he showed us a "strangling tree" -- a parasitic tree that was literally strangling a palm tree by growing around and over it. It almost looked like a giraffe's neck, along side the palm.

We followed him further into the jungle, listening as he explained the history of the village and the Mona Monkeys that safely live there.

The Tafi people migrated to this area from the Central Regino of Ghana by the Volta River. They were considered to be fierce fighters, and brought along their idols to worship. They built a shrine to the idol, then when they went to war, they'd leave their belongings in the forest at the shrine. Whenever they won the war, they'd find all of their belongings in the forest, safe and secure at the shrine, being guarded by the Mona monkeys. They decided that the forest was sacred, and made it a preserved sanctuary. The only trees felled were those needed to be removed for a roadway. The monkeys were not to be killed because they were considered messengers to their god.
In 1908, Christianity was introduced and they did away with their idols. Some monkeys were killed; some trees were cut down. In the 1980's, John Mason visited the area and began researching the monkeys. He advised the people of the benefits of conserving the forest and protecting the monkeys. Some non-governmental organizations got involved, creating an official sanctuary of 80-90 acres in 1996. At this time, five colonies of monkeys live here -- the total number of monkeys is about 300. Each colony has a leader.

As we followed Emmanuel deeper into the jungle, he began making a shrill noise to call the monkeys. Before very long we heard a rustle over our heads -- and suddenly there were several monkeys in the trees by the path! Their leader, Commando, was a HUGE fellow, and he kept his distance from us humans. Emmanuel gave us banana halves and we held them up for the other monkeys to peel and snatch the fruit from our hands. It was SO MUCH FUN!!! We laughed and took photographs until our bananas ran out. Then we heard a deep grunt: Commando was telling his "family" it was time to move along. And just as quickly as they arrived, they left us.

This was absolutely one of the coolest "treats" I've ever experienced! I want to return to Tafi Atome again!!

We boarded the bus and drove back out to the main road -- but crossed it: we were on our way up the mountain! Up, up, up we climbed; my ears began popping. About halfway up, the temperature noticeably dropped. The Kofi manuevered that huge bus around all of the hairpin turns -- except the final one up the driveway to Fount Hill, where we would spend the night. So all of the luggage had to be off-loaded at the base of the hill and we carried our belongings the last leg.

The views from Fount Hill are indescribable -- breathtaking African vistas; in one direction you can see Lake Volta in the far distance. Look in another direction, and you see high, rocky bluffs. Still another direction reveals the town of "upstairs" Logba Tota. Chief Takyi's family owns Fount Hill. There are two houses at the top of the hill; one is new this year and has three bedrooms with private baths and a living room. I learned it was built in just 3 weeks' time when family members needed a place to stay when their beloved aunt passed away.

We enjoyed the scenery, had some dinner, and then walked down the hill and up into the town for a worship service in the center of the village. The area was lit by some really bright fluorescent bulbs (we all know how stage actors feel -- we couldnt see a thing because the lights blinded us!). The drumming and dancing was rhythmic and many of us joined in the dance. Pastor John brought a message, translated by Pastor Bertrand; later Pastor Frank also spoke to the worshipers.

As the service ended and we started back to our home for the night, I saw my friend Agben. I always look for Agben; I met him at my very first visit in 2001. He has Downs Syndrome, and is in his late 20's -- Pastor Bertrand is his brother. We'd brought him a bouncy ball that lit up when it hit the ground. The pure joy on his face makes me smile, just remembering ....
He hugged me really tightly, and held my hand while we began to walk toward the house. When he left, he smiled again, then shyly gave me a kiss on the cheek. My eyes filled with tears -- what a sweet and gentle soul Agben is. I know that one of these days, I'll make that trek up the mountain and he will be flying with the angels. But for now, he's an angel here on earth and I am honored to be his friend.

Later that evening as we lay down to sleep, the misty fog turned in to a gentle rain, pattering on the leaves of the trees sheltering our Team 2010 in the house on Fount Hill.

(~~from The Silver Lining)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making Visits

Wednesday, July 15, 2010 -- from The Silver Lining

We spent a lot of this day on the road. We were invited to a couple of different church plant areas that are part of Christ Harvests the Nations. In these rural areas, wherever they plant a church they also start a school.

Our first stop was at Labo Labo, whose pastor is Ted Heavenway. (Yes, that's his real name! Often Ghanaian pastors will change their names to reflect their Christian beliefs.) Bishop James met us there, along with Chief Takyi. The pastor shared with us that the church school began with 10 kids but after 4 months they had 46 children enrolled. They meet under a palm-roof, seated on wooden benches on a dirt floor; the three classrooms are divided by tarps strung from the ceiling. This building doubles as a church building for services.

Pastor Heavenway explained that while 46 children were enrolled, they all did not always attend. Some days, the children are needed to work on the farms to help support their families. Another deterrent is that the church and school building are across a very busy road, and the people have to dodge heavy traffic in order to attend. Indeed, as we were visiting we saw several large trucks and cars speeding by -- it is indeed a hazard. Most towns have zebra lines and speed bumps to force people to slow down, but there are none in Labo Labo. Believe me, with Ghanaian traffic, you can be taking your life in your own hands trying to cross a busy road!

We asked the Pastor what his top three priorities were for the school at Labo Labo.
He said the number one need was the zebra stripes and speed bumps for the safety of the children. This would cost 200 Ghana Cedis (less than $150 USD).
The second need was for a more permanent structure. The concrete blocks would cost about 3000 Ghana Cedis (about $2100 USD). He indicated that the community would provide the labor to construct the facility.
Teacher salaries are also on the list; this school pays about 30 Ghana Cedis (about $21 USD) per month to the three teachers. Currently, their salaries are paid by fees collected from the students; but sometimes they are not paid because the families cannot always afford to pay the fees.

We talked with the pastor some more, and our team sang some songs with the students. Before we left, a team member had partnered with us to provide the money needed for the zebra stripes and speed bumps. We are thankful for this generous heart who now "has a speed bump in Africa" providing a safer walk to church and school for many people.

Since we had another invitation, we were not able to stay long. We boarded the bus and began driving to the town of Dzodze -- pronounced "jo - jeh" -- almost like a twangy "Georgia". We asked how long a drive -- and were told about an hour. An African hour is about ...oh.... 2 and a half, maybe 3 sixty-minute spans. You never know exactly how long you're going to be on the road, nor if you're going to be having regularly scheduled meals.

We stopped back by the house in Ho and ate some lunch, then continued toward Dzodze. Seemed to me like we rode forever! At last, we stopped by the side of the road. Bishop James wanted to show us a mango farm that Christ Harvests had recently established in order to raise funds to pay its pastors. The 17-acre plot of land had been cleared and a crop of corn had been raised; then they planted the mangos. The first harvest will come off in about 3 years.

Back on the bus -- the town of Dzodze was only another 5 minutes away. Christ Harvests has a church and school meeting in a more permanent structure here. The tin roofed, concrete building housed about 120 children in the nursery, kindergarten, first and second grades. Five teachers serve along with Pastor Wisdom. They serve one meal each day to the students. We noticed that this facility made good use of rainwater harvesting, with guttering and downspouts draining into a huge hand-dug cistern.

Chief Takyi introduced us and we visited a few minutes with the teachers and staff before going outside with the children. We gave them a soccer ball and some other supplies. The team again sang songs with the children. We learned from our conversation with the pastor and teachers that their single biggest need was appropriate toilet facilities. Their second need was for a vehicle to help bring children to the school. Third and fourth priorities for them were land and a permanent structure for a larger facility to serve as church and school.

Time was getting late; we waved good-bye to the kids as we boarded the bus and headed back to Ho for the evening.

Sometimes we face frustrations here. The time factor is always an issue -- we from the US tend to be very focused on using our available time, but our African friends are not that concerned about it. (There was an article in today's Ghana Daily Graphic newspaper about this very issue). And to them, driving 2 or 3 hours is no big deal -- but to us, it is almost an ordeal. And sometimes I feel as though we spend so much time traveling from place to place that we don't get to spend quality time with the children.
Another issue is with utilities. Electricity and water may go off, at any time and stay off for quite a while. This happened at the house in Ho: the water was off for about a day. While I can see that this is improving in Ghana, it does still occur. And to visitors it can be a real aggravation. (I am remembering the "rolling blackouts" they had a few years back. Electricity was off for 12-hour periods every three days. I'm grateful THAT practice has stopped!)

Back in Ho for the evening; we asked about going to a service at Pastor Thywill's church, but none were scheduled. So we relaxed and planned for tomorrow's trip to Logba Tota.

 - posted by Anita Tarlton

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A call to ACTION


As many things as we've seen and done while here in Ghana, and for that matter, for me, in my life, the experience I can not forget, the one that brings me to my knees sobbing is the children and people in the Dump.

From Ghana_2010_Day 03
(This is David and his mother and sister)(David who said he wants to be like me)

When I close my eyes, I see them.  When I listen to ONE by U2 with Mary J Blige sing, "one love, one life, one need."  I think of them.

I feel compassion rise up in me until I am dry heaving, I sob uncontrollably, I pray and I beg GOD to help me share this passion; to prepare hearts to receive it as an EMERGENCY!

I can have a hard time getting all dressed up nice and going to church to sing praises to Jesus while my brothers and sisters are in the Dump suffering all kinds of injustices, being denied the most basic of human needs, scraping out an existence that should NEVER be ignored!

From Ghana_2010_Day 03
(This is Esther, her scalp bears witness to her living conditions and her lacking necessary daily dietary needs)

How can we come to the altar without them heavily burdening our hearts?  Where is their Jesus?

Let yourself go hungry every now and then, and in that discomfort, remember them.  Wear the same clothes for a few days, don't bathe, remind your self over and over.  Try to close your eyes and not see your own children in that circumstance.

You would move heaven and earth to rescue your own children. You would rally people and motivate and beg and plead and barter and work tirelessly with relentless passion to save your children from an existence like this.  What about the least of these?

I am asking, I am begging, I am pleading, I am on my knees sobbing to our great, good kind and loving GOD to convict your hearts like mine.  To burden them until you feel so uneasy that you simply MUST DO SOMETHING about it.

From Ghana_2010_Day 03
(this is Esther, and she is Beautiful!)

A call to ACTION.  I ask, "since when, is children, any child, any where, living in and eating from a Dump NOT a state of EMERGENCY?  For the children who have had no choice in this.  Who have been born reaping seeds they did not sow.

Children who need a Champion

Children who need YOU!


Join us in caring for the least of these, in providing a Hope for the future, in shining the light within each of you,  into their lives.

Join us and come to Ghana and be changed for ever.

Join us and give $50 to sponsor one of these children for a year, into school, where they will receive an education, a uniform and a meal per day.


Now close your eyes, see the little ones who need you and ask GOD, "what do You want me to do about this?"

Do not quench the Spirit's urging.  You can not out give GOD, but it's incredible fun and there is no better life, than trying!


passionately -

David Lee Waters Sr.

The choice has been made
There is no looking back. 
have stepped over the line
I won't let up, back up, 
give up or shut up. 
My focus is clear.
My path straight
My GOD reliable


Friday, July 16, 2010

Ghana 2010 Day 11 & 12

So sorry I have not poured my heart out in these blog entries this year.  I have not had as much time with a group this size and Anita & I are sharing a computer this year.  I promise to reflect more when I return.  Until then, we press on.

Day 11 -

photos - http://picasaweb.google.com/weministry/Ghana_2010_Day11#

was a journey to Logba Tota where we stopped en-route and visited a Monkey sanctuary.  We got to feed them bananas.  The came across the jungly canopy to our guide's call and took the fruit right from our hands.

Then up to the mountain top (Tota means mountain top) where we were surprised to see a new building the team could use, right next door to where we usually stay.

We gathered for awesome primitive worship to the beat of drums and shakeres. (you all should encourage John Cromer to play Cunga's while Dottie plays a Shakere, for worship one day).


Day 12 -

We awoke to a cloud covered vista and but enjoyed the serenity of the place we love most, as the day slowly dawned.

Some of the team journeyed way down to a water fall, while Anita and I looked around the village at the changes, visited a new nursery and visited some wonderful old friends.  (you'll see pics of Anita's buddy Agbenyushia (Agben for short) the boy with down syndrome.  he is now 27 and one of the finest young men who helps his elderly parents day in and day out, you'll ever meet.

We scoped out a plot of ground offered to us by the chief for free.  We are awaiting a quote on building there, to stay when we visit and ultimately retire and live out the remainder of our golden years there as well.  For us, there is no place like Logba Tota on earth that we have ever encountered.  Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life or busy roads, with vistas that bring peace to your heart amidst prayers of thanksgiving.

We journeyed back to Tema and stopped en-route at a resort right by the Akosambo bridge that we didn't realize existed, for a short stretch / break.  We may use this in the future for teams as a retreat after the long days in the field up in the Volta region.

Photos - http://picasaweb.google.com/weministry/Ghana_2010_Day12

Love and Thankfulness for all of you,

David Lee Waters Sr.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Tuesday, July 14, 2010

What a great day we had!
After worshipping with Pastor Johnson's congregation in Kpeve and spending the night in Ho, the team boarded the bus and headed toward Adigbo Tornu. Pastor Johnson drove David and me to a hardware stall in Ho to pick up a few plumbing supplies and we met the group in the village.

We gathered in the shade with the chiefs and elders for a formal visit. John Cromer spoke for the Grace Church group, extending their greetings. Then we explained formally the reason for our visit. It was gratifying that the folks in the village remembered us. We had heard that one of the fellows we trained last year, Mr. Blackson, had passed away; we expressed our condolences to them at his death.

David had copies of several photographs we made last year, and we located the individuals to give them their pictures. That was a lot of fun for both the giver and the recipient!

Last year, Waters Edge Ministries installed our very first purifier in this village and they are our "flagship" effort. Pastor Johnson has been terrific as our "man on the ground" here, checking on the system and how the village has been using it. There were some cultural issues to be addressed -- the women would bring the water to the tank, but sometimes the men would not run the system in a timely manner. We determined that installing a pump might solve that problem.

When we arrived, we noticed right away that they had built a steadier foundation for the polytank, and constructed a ladder along side of it. Near the edge of the lake, a gasoline-powered fuel pump was installed. The villagers had also hand-dug a trench through the rocky soil and laid a pipeline from the pump up to the polytank -- approximately 600 yards. Impressive!!!

As David checked on the system itself and talked with the gentlemen in the village who were charged with running it, our team took time to walk through the village, talk with the people, and get an idea of what life in an African village was really like. Many of the children tagged along with us, taking our hands and letting us show God's love through our caring. I recognized Mary, a teenage girl, as one in a video we filmed of last year's "Water Dance" celebration after the installation was a success. She walked with me, as did tiny Allison -- who seemed a bit frightened at first, but soon was smiling and laughing as well.

We saw the kitchen huts, where the majority of the cooking is done using a clay oven. Young boys wove colorful kente cloth on looms that stretched many feet. At the edge of Lake Volta, fishermen were hauling in some of their catch of fresh tilapia as others mended nets. Ladies carried tubs full of freshly caught fish atop their heads back up the slope into the village, where the fish were dried and smoked and ready to sell in the market. Men were chopping the ground with picks, clearing away some brush so that more cassava could be planted. The thatch-roofed mud huts are clustered around neatly swept red dirt yards.

At the far edge of the village the kids attend school in a building constructed of mud walls and a palm-leaf roof. They sit on wooden benches as they recite their lessons. We spent some time singing and talking with the kids there; the Grace team also made some balloon animals to share with them.

Soon it was time to leave -- we were going to install a new system in the village of Bame. This system was provided through a grant from the Southern Baptist Association, via LifeNet, a Simple Church organized by our friends, Tom & Ashlea Dalik & family, who also sponsored many children last year and again this year.

We love, appreciate and are inspired by them and have witnessed a powerful move of GOD through their surrendered lives to many around the world. We pray they can join us and make the trip to Ghana some time in the future.

After a long drive (I think ALL drives in Africa are long!!!) we turned off the main road and onto a rocky rippled road that led into Bame. The yards were neatly swept around the mud huts in this village at the base of a mountain. Plastic chairs of blue and white were arranged underneath shade trees -- they were expecting us.

We met Pastor Zogli and hiw wife Georgina as well as the elders of the village. John extended greetings from the group, and then Pastor Zogli addressed us. "I cannot express my joy," he shared. There are about 600 people who live in this area, and when Pastor Johnson said we were going to install this system for them, he rejoiced. "It is one of the greatest gifts in my life, " he said. I got chill-bumps all over when he made that remark: that is exactly WHY we do this -- to show God's love through providing pure water an letting them know that it is the LIVING WATER of Christ that has placed this on our hearts. It makes me grateful, so very grateful, for Christ in our lives.

Dottie, Zach, Sidney, and MacKenzie sang, danced, and worked with the children of the village as we got to work on the water system.

A permanent well about 30' deep serves the community. The village had already prepared a platform, atop which sat the polytank, and they had installed a gasoline-powered pump with the pipelines already in place. They had filled the tank in anticipation of our arrival. It was obvious that they were willing to join in this endeavor.

Joseph, Emmanuel, and Komola have volunteered to work the system in Bame. These three gentlemen very carefully followed the instructions, interpreted by Pastor Zogli. His wife, Georgina and another lady, Senna also listened carefully. David, assisted by Sid, Bobby, John, Julia, and Christi explained and demonstrated putting the system together and testing the water for chlorine. They went over it several times, then stood back and allowed the men to try it. They quickly put it together a couple of times -- and then the two ladies wanted to try! They also had figured it out. So there are 5 people there that are able to put the purifier together and run it! AMEN!!!

They set the purifier into operation and allowed it to begin working. While we waited, we talked with Pastor Zogli and visited with some of the folks there. At around 6:00 the chlorine level read 5 parts per million -- BINGO!! A successful installation!!! Another "Water Dance" celebration, with candies for the children, and a prayer of praise!

Darkness was approaching, and we said our goodbyes and began the drive back to Ho. We promised to try to return next year -- it is not just about the water....it's about establishing the relationships, showing people there that we care and that GOD cares.

And as we drove home in the darkness, I smiled and said, "Thank you, God, for a VERY GOOD DAY!!!"


Christina’s Serenade

Christina’s Serenade -- July 12, 2010 in Tema, Ghana

Christina was our chief cook last year in Ghana, and she has catered for us some this year as well. I very much admire and love her. She has this gentle, sweet spirit about her; an amiable calmness that makes you feel cared about and welcome. When she dances at church she moves with a gentle gracefulness, swaying in the rhythm of the music -- and you cannot help but feel the Spirit is dancing with her.

Sunday evening, I was feeling a bit down, frustrated and hurt about some issues. As the Grace Church group went into the back room for their meeting after dinner, I began to help clear the table. I’d take a load of plates and empty dishes into the kitchen, and she’d take them from me and stack them by the sink where Auntie Aggie started washing them. When we finished, I sort of hung around in the kitchen a little while, and David joined me there. And then God used Christina in a big way to lighten my spirits. We simply sat and talked a while.

We discovered we were all three Wednesday-born people. In Ghana people are given a middle name based on the day of the week that they are born. So Christina and I are both Akua and David is Kweku. At this revelation, she nodded and said that would explain our feeling of connection.

We told her how much we like to see her dance at church. Honestly, it is as beautiful an expression of praise as I have ever seen. She shared with us, “As I enter the worship, I give my whole body, my entire being to HIM. I dance with Him, and I dance for Him.” She spoke of King David dancing so totally in the Spirit that he danced out of his clothing and his wife chastised him. Chuckling, she said, “You cannot be concerned with pleasing the world. Like David’s wife, the world is never satisfied. You only concern yourself with pleasing the Lord.”

Later she remarked to us that she thought David and I “matched well together.” She explained that he is boisterous and energetic while I am calm and more reserved. “You balance one another,” she said -- which is something we’ve heard often, from many different people.

Her eyes twinkled and she laughed. “I want to tell you some gossip about you.” I thought ohhhh kaaaayyyy…. She’s known me for many years and I wondered what she was about to tell on me! She then said, “When I saw you here two years ago, I asked my friend, ’Who is this woman with the white hair?’ I could not believe it! I did not even recognize you -- your happiness has changed your whole face, your whole posture, your whole being!” We laughed, then David and I shared our love story with her. Soon everyone in the kitchen was laughing and enjoying each other’s company, sharing bits about our lives.

“Me? I am still looking. But for now I just dream,“ Christina told us. Then she began to sing that old Everly Brothers song, “Dream.“ David pulled me into his arms and we danced in the kitchen to Christina’s serenade.

Anita <><


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ghana 2010 Day 10

Labo Labo and then on to Dzodze ( sounds like Jew-jha )  dz = j


I think the team is about wore out - no water last night - some digestive issues - long bus rides on rough roads.

Prayers appreciated.

 Tomorrow we share an intimate detail, Logba Tota - Heaven to us who know Ghana well.


David & Anita

Traveling to the Volta Region

Monday, July 13

We ate breakfast at 7, and were packed up and ready to go by 8 -- we’re heading to the Volta Region for several days! As of 10:30, we were still sitting at the house, waiting to get the trip underway. I was not surprised -- this makes my 6th trip to the Volta Region and we have never once left on schedule!

First, all of our luggage was loaded. We had to pack clothing for the week as well as bed linens, pillows, and towels. And then we waited.

The ladies in the kitchen were hustling more than usual -- I realized that they were packing all of the dishes, silverware, pots and pans into large tubs and laundry baskets -- I think they literally packed up everything but the kitchen sink! These supplies, plus 2 tanks of propane, 2 small gas stovetops, and a microwave oven, were loaded on to the bus. To accomplish that task meant unloading some of the luggage, shifting things around, and re-arranging. Still we waited.

A taxi arrived, loaded with several cases of water. Had to find room for that -- so once again, the luggage holds beneath the bus were unpacked, re-arranged, and re-packed. And still we waited.

Mary (Bishop James’ wife) and her mother Elizabeth left to purchase some vegetables at the market -- reasoning that those would be a safer choice for us than produce purchased off the street. Once they returned, those items -- and a picnic lunch of sandwiches and drinks -- were squeezed into the bus.

At last, at 11:00, we finally boarded the bus: our team from the US, Richard & Ben as Christ Harvest representatives, and Auntie Aggie and Maggie, our cooks. Oh yes -- also Kofi the bus driver, and his first mate Yaw!

We barely made it out of Tema when we were flagged to a stop by a police officer. Kofi opened his window; the officer said something and an argument ensued. Earlier we’d passed through a toll gate, and Kofi paid the 1.5 cedis (roughly 85 cents) but did not take the receipt (common practice). Since he could not produce the receipt to prove he’d paid, he had to turn the bus around and drive back to the toll gate. No amount of arguing convinced the officer otherwise, yet we SAW Kofi pay the the toll. In fact, you cannot get through the gate without stopping and handing them money. But anyway…we backtracked to the toll gate and pulled off the road. Kofi stayed with the bus while Yaw, Richard, & Ben went to pay the 1.5 cedis. They seemed to take an awfully long time, and I had a feeling they were having to bargain us back on the road. Sure enough, when they came back to the bus, Richard told us that besides the 1.5 cedi toll, they also wanted to assess a fine of 200 cedis. A busload of American obrunis with out a receipt apparently looked like a golden opportunity. After much arguing, a phone call to the district commander, (and I am sure an exchange of “dash” -- a small bribe), we were finally allowed to be on our way once again.

We stopped for a picnic lunch near the Akosambo Dam -- the views from there are spectacular.

At last we arrived in the city of Ho. Our first stop was to pay a visit to Rev. Thywill Oliver, a good friend of Bishop James. He recently lost his wife, quite unexpectedly, and we paid a condolence call to him. A member of Rev. Thywill’s congregation graciously provided a house for our team, so upon leaving Rev. Thywill’s home, we headed for the house. It is a comfortable place, with a large central room and three bedrooms available for us. Three bedrooms housed the nine members of the Grace Church team -- but David & I opted to find a room in town rather than crowd the group. The “silver lining” to that is that here I do have limited internet connections, so we can get some of our blogs posted.

We took some time to refresh and have dinner, then we traveled to worship at Pastor Johnson’s church in Kpeve. What an awesome time of sharing and fellowship! This church was rocking with worship, singing, dancing, drumming! I felt like my face just automatically moved into a smile of joy that I could not contain! I LOVED being there, feeling the beat of the drums down into the very center of my being, sweating, singing, clapping, breathing in the night air, and praising our God and Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ! The Grace Church team members each shared with the congregation -- some shared verses, others a testimony. Pastor John Cromer brought the message, translated into the Ewe (pronounced EH-veh) language by Pastor Johnson. At the end of the service, the worship rocked the house again -- and this time Pastor Cromer played the drums to the glory of God. I smiled as he began playing, because after just a few seconds, several men in the church grabbed their cameras and took photos of John as he played. It made me wonder if they’d seen an “obruni” that could carry a beat like that before!

As we drove back to Ho for the night, I looked out of the window. The stars twinkled in the black velvet sky -- so many that I remarked to Pastor Johnson that I believed Africa had at least twice as many stars shining above it as the US does. Now I am fully aware that since we have so many “permanent lights” outside many stars are simply not as visible to us in the USA. But a part of me wants to think that while the world looks to man-made things to satisfy their hunger for beauty and wealth….Africa has all of these glorious natural God-made wonders, all free for the taking! The stars in the nighttime sky, the explosion of wild colors and fragrances in the tropical flowers, the tastes of fresh fruits and vegetables…. And in Ghana, the abundance of human hospitality, warm smiles, and friendship.


Ghana 2010 Day 08

Travel to the Volta region, then late night worship at Kpeve ( sounds like Bev-A ).

Photos -



David & Anita

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday worship, then Labadi Beach

Sunday, July 12, 2010

I love worshipping at Christ Harvests the Nations. There is such joy in the praising of our Lord Jesus Christ; it takes me to the mountaintop as I participate in the singing and the dancing! This morning’s service was exciting and insightful. The Youth Choir sang -- accompanied on the drums by our own John Cromer! Richard sang, as did his wife Victoria. Our team took a few minutes to introduce themselves and bring greetings. Rev. James began his sermon with praise, singing “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”

It was a spiritually electrifying morning!!

After worship, we had lunch then packed up to spend the afternoon at Labadi Beach. We’d looked forward to this “day of rest.” very much.

The beach was absolutely packed -- we snaked our way between people, chaise lounges, tables, and umbrellas until we found an area where we could all sit down. We ordered some cold soft drinks, splashed in the surf (the rip-currents are very strong here and swimming is not advisable), and watches some of the entertainment. An acrobatic group of 3 men and two children tumbled, flipped, built human pyramids, and performed amazing stunts to the delight and applause of folks surrounding them. They passed the hat to collect tips, then moved on to another patch of sand and another group of spectators. Strolling musicians, with guitars and djembes did the same, sharing their talents with the folks on the beach. Several horses ambled along the beach; for a couple of cedis you could take a ride. A lady came by with a small basket of nail polish -- did we want a pedicure or a manicure? Only 3 cedis (5 if you wanted a design painted on your nails). Several of us ladies jumped on that bargain! Where else can you get a fresh pedicure for around $2.25? We ate plantain chips, popcorn, beef kebobs, French fries -- and could have ordered full meals from the restaurants behind us if we’d desired! Many many people, much laughter, entertainment, sun, sand, surf -- what more could you ask for?

The sun began to set so we boarded the bus and drove back to Tema. After dinner, we packed up for the week’s journey into the Volta region. The Grace Church group had their time of sharing while we uploaded some photographs and completed some other work.

Anita <><

Ghana Day 09 - Better than EVAH!


Just a quick blurb to say the team is well and we had a BANNER DAY today with a new water purifier installed in the community of BAME ( sounds like BAH-MAY ).

Tomorrow is Farm & school, then on to a night in heaven, uh for us that's be Logba Tota.  Then back to Tema on Friday, relax and do last minute stuff Saturday, say good bye to new friends, pray & give thanks and the team heads home Sunday.

I am feeling better than as they say in Ghana - EVAH!  I got to do the Water Dance today!

Will try to get photos up soon - Internet not great here.



David & Anita


Monday, July 12, 2010

On to the Volta region

Just a quick note this morning before we head northeast toward the Volta region of Ghana.
We may not have internet access there. So it may be several days before we can post pictures or stories again. Check back by -- we will post if we are able!
Anita & David

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ghana 2010 Day 07


Link for photos from Day 7 -


Sunday started with some AWESOME worship at Christ Harvest's the Nations (CHNM) with Rev. James taking us to the mountain top and not letting go until the Spirit was finished.

John Cromer drummed for some of the worship.

We came home to lunch and headed for the beach!  Labadi Beach.  My first time there, only Anita's second.

All had a good time.  We came home to chicken and fries.  Much needed change from all the Ghanaian spicey stuff we've been eating.

I'm very sad to report that I asked if anyone would like Fufu before they depart back to the USA, and not one cares to partake.  Hmm.... more for me?  Quite Possibly so!

I'm feeling better, thank you for the prayers.  Not all the way back, but getting there.  Pressing on for the kingdom, no time to kick back.

God told me to tell all you you : "THANK YOU and He really wants to be closer to you than ever before!"

David Lee Waters Sr.


Sharing Jesus with a soccer ball


I felt the pop beneath my feet more than I actually heard it. And by the sound and the reaction of the driver, I knew it was not good.

Kofi (the driver) eased the bus to a stop, got out, and took a look. The bus had blown a compressor -- needed to operate the brakes.

So there we were, stranded on a muddy, pot-holed road, right beside the Tema dump.

Why were we there? Read on….


It rained a lot in the night, and the skies this morning were overcast. An intermittent mist of rain kept the air and everything else quite damp. Our team slept in; our original plans to travel to Keta had to be changed. So after breakfast we developed “Plan B” -- we wanted to return to the dump.

Christine & Auntie Aggie packed a light lunch of pb&j sandwiches, bananas, and bottled water. We boarded the bus, and headed off across town. Many of our teammates play soccer -- a couple of them played in college -- and yesterday they had purchased some brand new soccer balls. It was time to try them out!

We arrived at the dump. Kids remembered our visit earlier this week, and began to cluster around. A few adults joined them. We all walked to the big field where the kids play their games. It didn’t take long before there were plenty of folks to make up two teams. GAME ON!!!

Soon the air was filled with the sounds of cheers, clapping, laughter, and pounding feet as the Americans vs. Ghana Mission Match was played! One particularly impressive player was a fellow playing goalie. He was deeply into the game, and worked hard to block the opposing team’s attempts to score. Julia & John asked if he went to school. He answered yes, that he attended Jerusalem Gates -- he is one of Waters Edge Ministries sponsored kids.

Final score: Ghana 2, USA 1. It was a great game!

Dottie drew a hopscotch game in the wet dirt and soon several kids were playing hopscotch, using a flattened plastic bottle as a marker. David & I talked with some of the residents of the dump (more on their stories will come at a later time).

David & John trekked over to take a look at the main dump area. People scrambled for the trash as it poured from the backs of the dump trucks. They grappled for items they might use or recycle as the garbage poured over their heads. Acrid smoke hung in the air. Goats and pigs rooted in the piles of refuse alongside the humans. Birds circled overhead.

Soon, it was time for us to go. The team shared lollipops with the children, then we boarded the bus to leave. As the bus doors closed, many of the kids who’d played soccer gathered around. They were asking us a question in Twi , so we asked Richie to translate for us. They wanted to know if we wanted the soccer balls back. When we told them it was theirs to keep, they cheered and waved.

Our bus lurched out of the dump village area, and turned back toward town. We hadn’t gone very far when the compressor blew. We were right beside the edge of one of the dump mountains. Kofi (our driver) put on a long jacket to protect his clothing, rolled out a mat underneath the bus, grabbed some tools and went to work. Richie flagged down a small van, and half of our crew got on it and rode to the church, where they ate some of the picnic lunch the ladies packed for us.
A youth meeting was in progress, and Christi and Dottie gave a program there on evangelism.

Meanwhile, back on the bus, the rest of us waited, hoping for another van to come get us. Kofi continued to work on the bus. We couldn’t open the windows because of the flies; it was really kind of hot and sticky. Each time the doors opened, flies swarmed inside the bus. Soon the guys began a fly-killing contest.

FWAP! “That’s 32 for me!” FWAP!! “No way! I’ve got 35” FWAP!! “Three in one! That gives me 41!” And so it went. For the record, John Cromer is champion fly killer, with a whopping 50 flies! Bobby Brown and Joe Chen were runners-up!

After a while, Emmanuel (another friend from the church) arrived with two taxis to pick us up. We got off the bus and into the cabs -- then Kofi let us know he’d repaired the bus! THANK GOD!! Off to the church we headed -- we wanted some pb&j sandwiches too!

Once Christi & Dottie finished their program, the group hit the streets to share about Jesus. Four people accepted Christ today in Community 4, Tema, and we are thankful for their lives and looking forward to seeing them at church tomorrow.

David, Richie, & I attempted to find a battery to purchase -- we need it for the new water purification system we are installing next week. However, many of the stalls and shops were closed and we could not get the kind we needed. We’ll just have to pick it up Monday before we head to the Volta region.

At the end of the day, we had Dinner for dinner. Yep -- goat and fufu, on the table when we walked in. Most of the folks tried the fufu. The ladies also served rice, salad, and fresh fruit.


As I think back over the day, I see many things that transcend the barriers of race, language, age, nationality, color, and creed:
  • A smile
  • A handshake
  • A rousing game of “futbol” (soccer)
  • The playful laughter of children playing
  • An appreciation for a job well done
  • Genuine interest in someone just because you want to know them
  • A sharing of beliefs and our personal “God stories”
  • A prayer in any language
  • A prayer request in any language

Each one of us has the potential to make a difference in the Kingdom of God. Each one of us has different talents and gifts; different ways of expressing our feelings and beliefs; different purposes ordained by God. We who are followers of Christ may have different ways, different tactics to accomplish these purposes, and sometimes we might even disagree about some things. But ultimately, we are all concerned and charged with sharing the Gospel with others. Sometimes we share with others who are also believers, in order to encourage them. And others, we share with non-believers so that they also might feel the joy and passion that a surrendered heart can bring.

In Jesus’ name, we press on….

(written by Anita, 7.10.10)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ghana 2010 Day 06

Link to the photos for today.


After a 1/2 day at home due to rain, we headed for the Dump, the team played soccer and donated a soccer ball to the kids and handed ourt candies as we left.  Anita & I did some research by interviewing people that live there, how they got there, why they're still there etc.  Details to follow via Anita's gifted writing.

We left the Dump and the bus broke down.  1/2 the team headed to the church in comm 4 on a van that passed by and we hired.  Two taxis showed up for the rest of us, just as our driver repaired the bus.  So back on board, we joined the rest of the group at church where Christi gave a class on evangelism.

The group went out street witnessing, and FOUR people accepted the Lord.  Angels in heaven are rejoicing!

John Cromer is playing drums in church tomorrow.  He & Julia bought Djembe's. (African Drums)

Thanks for all your prayers,

David Lee Waters Sr.


Ghana 2010 Day 04 - Silver Lining

July 8, 2010

UP AND AT ‘EM!!! BRIGHT AND EARLY!!!We have a road trip today, so we set our alarm clocks to rouse us out of our sleep. We are going to the village of Potwabin, then on to Cape Coast to tour Elmina.

After a breakfast of crepes, bread and jam, oatmeal, and fresh pineapple, we collected our backpacks and loaded up the bus. Our goal was to leave by 7:00 am -- while it is virtually impossible to “beat the traffic” in Accra…we hoped to at least get through with the least delay as possible! 

Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is a bustling metropolis filled with people, cars, noise, and exhaust fumes. Maneuvering through the heavy traffic there is harrowing -- but we have a terrific driver who snakes this big bus through some of the tightest spots you can imagine! 

Driving through I see lots of construction -- evidence of Ghana’s growth. We’re on a major thoroughfare through the city; yet there are patches of red dirt, huge potholes (I’m talking car-sized holes here!) and muddy ruts mixed in with the pavement. To describe the traffic with a simple word like “snarled” does not truly give the experience justice! If I had a dollar for every car I see on this road…I could probably pay off the national debt! 

One thing I love about Ghana is reading the names and slogans posted on vehicles and businesses along the way. It is not uncommon to see the words “Thank U Master” or “Jesus is Lord” or “Praise Jehovah” plastered across the backs of cars, busses, tro-tros, or vans! For example, you could buy a car from “Good Shepherd Motor Works” and fuel up the vehicle at “Paradise Service Station,” where an oil tanker from “Jah Alone Transport Company” is filling the underground tanks. If the car gives you trouble, you can have it repaired at “To God Be The Glory Brake & Clutch Repair” and catch a ride on the “Pentecost Fire” tro-tro to do your shoping at “MerciGod Enterprises.” You can get your hair done at “Who God Bless Let No Man Curse Beauty Salon” or if you prefer “God’s Time Barber Shop.” Grab a fresh meat pie from “Trust & Obey” vendor’s stall, buy a mattress at “God is Able Enterprises,” select a musical instrument at “King of King’s Drum Works,” pick out some furniture for your home at “But Seek First the Kingdom of God Construction Works,” learn a new skill at “The Lord is My Shepherd Computer Education Center.” When you need help managing all that money you’re making -- there is “Broken Yoke Financial Services,” ready to help you out! And at the end of your days, your family can select your casket at “Glory To God Coffin Contractors.” ALL of these are real businesses I saw as we passed through Accra!

A van passes us with “Count Your Blessings” painted on the side -- a great reminder, huh? There are also some words in Twi: Adom = grace; Ensuro = Do not be afraid; “Na asem pa endi wakyi” = God’s word is after me; “Yehovah Nissi“ = Jehovah is great and mighty. . Our friends Ben, Richie, and Pastor Johnson are quick to help us with translating and pronunciation (though admittedly my Twi is very sketchy!)

We eventually untangled ourselves from Accra’s morning traffic and drove westward toward Potwabin. Our driver turned off of the main road and onto the familiar dusty red dirt road that leads to the village. We emerged from the bus as Pastor Isaac greeted us, then busily set out chairs and benches for our greeting ceremony with the chief. We all sat under the trees, and exchanged greetings with the Chief and Elders of the village. We formally asked about the water purifier that we installed there last year. They recently installed a gasoline-powered pump with pvc pipes purchased through donations to Waters Edge Ministries so that water could be brought directly from the source to the purifier. Then explained that heavy rains had toppled their polytank and it had broken, but they appreciated that we had acquired another polytank for them. (We knew all of this -- it was simply proper protocol to discuss it formally.) They invited us to inspect the system, and to walk through the village. 

We walked through the village -- the familiar mud huts with thatched roofs were surrounded today with the laundry, spread out on bushes to dry in the sunshine. Goats trotted from one patch of shade to another; a few cur dogs lolled beneath the trees. I was happy to see Grace and her mother, Rebecca, again. We spent some time re-working the purifier. It took a bit longer than we had expected to work on, but it was ready to run by the time David finished. Meanwhile, the rest of the group played with the kids, making balloon animals and singing songs with them.

Before we left, the village shared fresh coconut with us, and presented us with a goat as a gift. (The goat, appropriately and perhaps unfortunately named “Dinner,” is currently tied to a tree in the back yard.)

We left Potwabin, and stopped to eat lunch at a café/service station. We actually brought our own food, and just went inside the café to eat it. Try doing THAT in the USA! 

We then headed to Cape Coast, where we toured Elmina. What a sobering walk through history; the place stands as a grim monument, reminding us of man’s inhumanity to fellow man. As we entered the women’s dungeon -- where the rocks still cry out in pain -- I noticed the words on the back of John Cromer’s t-shirt “Pray As You Go.” In my mind, I could suddenly hear the prayers of the thousands of people who endured this prison centuries ago. I am sure they did, indeed, pray as they went to an uncertain future in a strange, cruel world. It is impossible to visit that place and not feel moved.

The long drive home was made even longer by the traffic we encountered AGAIN in Accra -- only this time it was dark! We decided that Carowinds could develop a terrific new thrill ride: 3D IMAX Accra Traffic.

We were grateful for the delicious dinner waiting for us when we finally arrived back at our house. Our day was done. We learned a lot of history, we learned a lot about people, we made new friends, and reacquainted ourselves with old ones. We laughed some, and we shed some tears also. 

Thank you, Lord, for a very good day!!

Anita Tarlton


Friday, July 9, 2010

Ghana 2010 Day 05

Another day, another set of photos capture the images burned into our souls.


I'm not feeling well and wish I could spend the time to tell you about all of it.  Just need some sleep and a good cry.  A good friend, Bob Blackson died.  He was in the 1st village, Adigbo Tornu, we ever had a successful purification system installed in.  I brought photos of he and I, that I took last year.

We shopped today and there have been some changes to our schedule for tomorrow.  we are going back to the Dump and we are not going to an orphanage that is too far off for us to fit in evidently.

Please pray for Davi Trotti.  She had some dental work and got delayed to fly over with us and now she has made it to JFK in New York and had significant sinus problems on the flight there.  So she is turning around and heading home.  A willing heart, but not fully recovered.  We pray she mends perfectly well and quickly.

I know she is upset, but GOD has a plan and she will be in Ghana again with us.

David Lee Waters Sr.

Ghana 2010 Day 04

I am alive and well on the morning of Day 5 posting about Day 4.

Here's the link for a photo album of day 4   http://picasaweb.google.com/weministry/Ghana_2010_Day04

We hit the raod at 7am and traveled to Potwabin, in the central region of Ghana, West Africa.  We met with the chief and elders as is the formal custom to share greetings and state our intention, which was to visit with Grace & the rest of the village and follow up on the purification system.  They now have a gas powered pump to bring the water to the polytank for purification.

Grace's Mom Rebekkah, gave us a goat, some plantains and we all hasd some fresh coconut juice/milk and meat.

We headed down the road about 2pm GMT, and arrived at Elmina Castle, a point of no return for many slaves.  I despise that place and the crimes against humanity committed there.  Not a happy happy joy joy kind of place.  It kicks me in the gut, like the Dump does.  I know I'll lead teams there again in the future, but I pray oh GOD, please never let me become immune or numb to it's atrocities.  Let me experience the grief and pain each and every time aqs we vow to never turn a blind eye towards our fellow brothers and sisters.


Today, some street evengelism in Community 4, and some shopping in both the Tema market as well as the Accra Arts and Crafts Center.

Thanks for following and supporting us on the journey through prayers and encouraging emails.

Feel free to contact us with messages or questions at weministry@gmail.com

David Lee waters Sr.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hitting the ground running!

July 7, 2010
The photos from Wednesday's activities were posted earlier -- here's a bit of what we did that day! (I am posting this to both blogs, Silver Lining and Waters Edge Ministries.)

After a night of trying to sleep off jet-lag, we feasted on a huge breakfast of rice water (mmm my favorite!), bread and jam, and fresh pineapple. Our group’s morning devotion included some tips about evangelizing from Christi, who works with Campus Crusade for Christ.

Our first stop was at the Tema dump. Something new I noticed was a thick brick wall, several feet high had been erected around parts of the dump; We were told that families were being “discouraged” from moving there with small children -- but there are many kids living there anyway. Christ Harvests the Nations had requested permission for us to visit with some of the residents prior to our arrival. However -- someone contacted the local police when they saw a busload of American obrunis wandering around. Within minutes of our arrival, we were visited by three officers, clad in blue/gray camoflage. Richard and Ben talked with them a few moments, explained the purposes of our visit and that we’d obtained permission to be there, and they eventually waved us on.

It does not take long for children to give in to their curiosity and begin following us. A small sackful of lollipops or “toffees” brought smiles to their faces. Zach and Sydney helped the kids tear open the packages so they could enjoy the sticky sweetness of the suckers. I think they made some friends for life!

We recognized one boy as a child we’d seen at Jerusalem Gates, and we asked him about his mother. He shortly brought her to speak with us, with another small child holding her hand and a baby on her back. She said her son had attended school, but lately money and transportation to and from the school had been a problem. It is families such as this that tug at the heart. The little boy wants to go to school -- but they lack the resources to make that entirely possible.

Soon the group of children had grown into a fair-sized team -- literally! They led us to a large open field and soon a rousing soccer match was in full play! Our girls Julia and Christi were OUTSTANDING!! Soon laughter filled the air as the kids and our team members ran up and down the field, kicking the ball, cheering for each other whenever goals were made or blocked.

Our time at the dump flew by fast -- we made our way back to the bus, followed by a handful of the children and some of the mothers. The team brought long, skinny balloons and much to the delight of the kids, they twisted them into animal shapes -- dogs, elephants, giraffes -- and gave them to the kids. Pastor John Cromer shared some cookies with kids before we all loaded back into the bus and waved goodbye.

It is sobering to see the vivid evidence of “needs vs. wants” and as we leave, each of us carry in our minds images of the life we’ve witnessed here. Amidst the smoke, the grayness, the ashes, the piles of refuse trucked in from across the city -- there are yet touches of God’s grace. The laughter of children fills the air; a mother’s face shows pride in her children; a colorful butterfly drifts through the air. And I am reminded of God’s promise to give us beauty for ashes.


We drove to the home of Bishop James Godlly and his wife Mary. After lunch, we walked across the road to a local school, Manye Foundation. While David and Rev. James and I met with the headmaster to talk about educating some of the kids at the dump, our teammates spent some time in the classrooms, talking with the kids, sharing more balloon animals, and seeing what life in a Ghanaian school might be like. Joe soon had a couple of the classes shouting “GO GAMECOCKS!” and “WE WANT A TOUCHDOWN!” He drew a picture of an American football (as opposed to their “football“ -- which is a soccer ball) on the board for them!

The team spent some time in Community 25 with Emmanuel, evangelizing in the area. Sharing their testimonies, hearing other testimonies, helps us all to realize that we are all God‘s children no matter the circumstances of our birth, our color, our nationality, or our economic status.

Big bowls of spaghetti, rice, meat sauce, steamed vegetables, and fresh mangos were on the table when we arrived back at the house. Delicious!!! We ate, freshened up a bit, then headed to church for the Wednesday night service.

Christ Harvests the Nations is growing and moving. When they began worshipping together, they met in a field in Tema. After much prayer, they were able to begin renting part of a building in Community 4, sharing it with a small clothing manufacturer. Eventually, they leased all of the building. From this home base, Bishop Godlly trained many pastors, and as a result there are several small churches throughout Ghana that have been established . Again, after much prayer, they acquired some land in Comm. 25 Tema, and are working on erecting their own permanent church building on that site.

Tonight’s service was held in the old Comm. 4 site, and I was glad to see many familiar faces among the worshippers there. We introduced our teammates and each of them gave a brief greeting before our own Pastor John Cromer brought the message. He reminded us that God’s love is freely available, freely given, and available to ALL -- and that while the Gift of Love is wonderful, the GIVER of that love is even better!
We ended the service singing praises -- what a glorious way to wind up our day!
Blessings from Anita & David and Ghana Team 2010!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ghana 2010 Day 03 evening / 04

I don't know if I can blog tomorrow.  The Dump today ripped my heart out as usual and we hooked up with a new school to sponsor kids with a better education and environment.  GOD is in it and a little is a LOT!

Potwabin w/Grace, & Elmina tomorrow!

Long day ahead, appreciate your prayers.  team is awesome bunch of folks.  John Cromer preached at church service tonight.  Great stuff!  He talked about a lot of things but when he mentioned Lepers, I could relate.
The people received the word through him as a blessing sent directly to them!

David Lee Waters Sr.

Ghana 2010 Day 03

Link to photos from today's trip to the Dump in Tema and to a new school we are partnering with Christ Harvest's the Nations Ministry CHNM  to sponsor kids and bolster their infrastructure, with private stalls in a bathroom facility and capture rain water to flush the toilets.

Should be 81 photos (give it time to upload all of them, internet is slow tonight)


Headed to church service tonight and to Potwabin to see Grace and finish up on a purifier with a new pump tomorrow, as well as Elmina, a point of no return for slaves, on the Cape Coast of Ghana.

David Lee Waters Sr.