Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers to the Fatherless - Video should work now...

Below is a video of adoptive fathers that was shown at our church this morning...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

He's Ready for Eli!

Jon picked up every little guy under the age of 2 while we were in Ghana. Below are just a few examples!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Orphan's Grief

One of the things about our trip to Ghana that I haven't been able to shake was our experience at the orphanage. I've worked with children in schools in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. And, despite all of the reading I've done throughout our adoption process, I wasn't prepared for the difference. 

Orphans, no matter how young, have experienced a traumatic, life changing event - and they know it. The little girl I'm holding in the picture below was in her crib sobbing uncontrollably. Even after I picked her up (which calmed every other baby in that facility) she just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. (I had to put a heart over part of her face to not break any laws).

My initial thought was that in all of the chaos of getting 43 babies fed, she'd been skipped and didn't get her bottle. She was just hungry.

I approached the head "auntie" and asked for a bottle for her. The auntie's response let me know that it wasn't her tummy that was yearning for something, but her heart.

She had been dropped off at the orphanage only 3 days prior. And she was sad. So sad.

I don't know exactly what tragic circumstance brought her to this orphanage. But unfortunately, her experience is shared by 145 million orphans worldwide.

These children experience intense grief at such young, tender ages. I've not only read about it in adoption books, I've seen it in this little girl's eyes.

Pray for orphans worldwide - that God would heal their broken hearts, mend their little spirits, and put people in their lives to show them love.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Exciting Things in Ghana

One thing we talked about several times throughout the week was that we were engaging a people group, the Songhai in Ghana, who have not been engaged with the message of Christ. We discussed how planting seeds is part of the process and we probably wouldn't see "fruit"....

So, I was really excited when I read the missionaries report that he sent's a portion of it:

Monday of this week the team went to an area in Adabraka near the downtown area of Accra and handed out cd's with the Gospel on them and we gave out some dvd's with the Jesus video on them.  They played one of the Jesus videos while we were there and several were gathered to watch. 
      Now before I go on, I need to introduce you to a fellow named Mustapha Musah (pictured above with his family and our team), he is my friend here who helps me in this ministry.  He is a former Muslim, and his family is Muslim royalty, he was in the line of Chiefs and Kings in his family.  Mustapha accepted Jesus as his Savior just about three years ago and his life has never been the same.  He is a very soft spoken fellow, very family oriented, very easy going and very determined to follow Jesus!!  He has lost much since his becoming a Christian, he was thrown from his house, they tried to take his wife and son away, they have made his life hard, but Mustapha just keeps on praising God and going on with the life God has given him.  He lives now in an area near the guys in Adabraka the team visited. 
      Monday after the team left, Mustapha went home and found his water was not working.  So he went to the public toilets in Adabraka to shower for the evening, while there some of the Songhai we had visited earlier in the day saw him and called him over. "Why did the young white people from America have a video in the language of the Songhai?" they asked, Mustapha told them that the Songhai were the only reason the Americans had come to Accra, that they had come just to share Jesus with them!  They were so happy to hear this news, Mustapha said they could not believe someone from America would spend that much money and come all the way to Africa to share Jesus with them!!  They just could not quit talking about how much this meant to them, so much so they invited us to come to the area they live again one evening to tell them more about this Jesus that Loves them so much He sent a group from America to tell them of His love!  Praise God, He can do all things!!!
Songhai woman and children      
Men gathered around the tv and immediately put in the DVD we gave them about Jesus in Zarma (Songhai language)
Right after Mustapha told me of this and we had a time of prayer and fellowship together over God's working, Mustapha went to pay a bill and while he was out the Albasan guys asked basically the same question, "why did the young Americans come to see them, and why did they give them such wonderful gifts?"  Mustapha again told them that they were from God, to share the Love of Jesus and His Gospel with them.  They all then told him about listening to the cassettes and wanting to know more!!!!  I am so exited by now just typing this I want to Praise God, this is such sweet and such beautiful news to hear them say these things. 
Songhai Albasan (onion) boys...the one on the front in the red has the cassette player and tape we gave him earlier in the week.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Your Kids Were The First

 (Photo of our group with Dr. Theophilus and his wife. They run the school we worked in all week)

Gomer, the missionary we worked with on this trip has been in Accra, Ghana since January seeking to develop a ministry to the Songhai people. Many of the Songhai have come to Accra from Niger and Mali looking for work. They are a largely unreached people group and up until Gomer moved to town, there was no work among them in Accra.

Gomer has spent some time networking with churches and ministries in the area and no one in the area knows of any teams or groups that have worked among the Songhai here.

As far as we know, the FBNO youth were the first. I'm still processing this...these teenagers from New Orleans being the first group to try to engage the Songhai people in Accra, Ghana....

We didn't come here and plug into some system or established ministry. These kids hit the streets, striking up conversations with people - learning about the Songhai culture and worldview...sharing their CDs with the Gospel message in Zarma (Songhai language)...teaching English to meet a need and build a relationship....

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Today our only "mission" was James 1:27 - to care for orphans and widows in their distress. The orphanage we visited houses between 200 to 250 children on average. We weren't really sure what to expect.....Immediately upon arrival David had a drum line going. These little fellas had rhythm!  
We spent
 the morning helping out in the little baby nursery. There were 5 "aunties" who were responsible for 43 babies. Needless to say the babies loved being held. Our youth were great - they held and loved on the babies despite their soaking wet cloth diapers.
Probably the sweetest thing I saw today was Trey Gibson consoling two little babies who were very upset. He knelt by their crib for probably 20 minutes rubbing their backs and talking to them. At one point I walked by and he was singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" to them. I almost cried. (hopefully trey won't kill me for blogging this...pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, so don't tell him) Later, I asked the nurse if there was a bottle for those two little ones. She said that they'd already been fed and they were inconsolable because they were brought in only 3 days ago. I'd guess they were between 6 and 9 months old.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

 So today it pretty much rained all day long. The onion boys weren't out by the road with their onions so we didn't get to spend any time with them.  We were able to return to the school...above, Sophie being greeted by a kiddo and below, Megan helping some kiddos with a craft. After the school, we went again to teach English to some Songhai adults living nearby. Despite the rain it was a good day!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 3

Today we spent some more time teaching the Songhai "onion boys" English. They are so eager (read desperate) to learn. We also got to give them walkmans and cassettes about Jesus in their native language. They were really excited about these gifts.
 so when we arrived at the school today there was a little baby there who was crying and kind of fussy...he's much younger than all of the other kiddos. So, Trey, being the kind person that he is, scooped the little guy up into his arms...and, was a little surprised to find the boy was bare-bottomed..
Today we also got a chance to talk to several groups of Songhai adults. We gave away CDs that contained the gospel message in the Zarma language and set up some appointments to show the Jesus film tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seeking the Songhai

Today was our first full day of work. Early this morning our group divided into two groups and went to teach English to some Songhai teenagers who sell onions on the side of the road. These fellas pictured below migrated from Niger to Accra, Ghana because their traditional homeland is currently suffering a severe drought. Unfortunately, they lack the English skills needed to get a good job in Ghana, an English speaking nation.
we headed to a school to teach Bible stories and love on the kiddos. God has used a great Christian man to plant a school and church right in the middle of a Muslim neighborhood. The tuition for this school affordable for even the people in this poverty stricken neighborhood. Because it is an excellent school and affordable, many Muslim families send their children there.

If you look closely at this sweet little girl you can see that her parents have lined her eyes with black charcoal to ward off evil spirits.

Austin Lemke helping some kiddos with crafts. Today they learned that God created them and loves them!

Tomorrow we will head back to the school and then we have several opportunities to teach English to some Songhai people and show the Jesus film. Pray that our conversations will express the love of Christ.

This group of students is the first (of any denomination) to engage the Songhai in Ghana. Many of the Songhai have never been exposed to the message of Christ.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ghana - Day 1

Orientation. Songhai School Visit. Jet Lag.
...join us as we bring baby "Eli" home from Ethiopia and advocate for the 147 million orphans worldwide...