Newsletter Christmas 2006
January  sees us reach a significant time in our Ministry. It is the start of my seventh year in Tamale and in Exodus 23:10-13, God gives instructions about the Sabbath principle and the reason we should keep it Holy. The Sabbath law also applied to land, which had to lie fallow every seventh year. Gods law of one day’s [ or one year’s ] rest in seven is something which is beneficial to mankind. Jesus said “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” [Mark 2;27 ]. One year’s rest in seven was to allow land to recuperate and build up a good supply of nutrients which would then ensure a rich harvest in the following six years. I wonder how many of us would like to take a year out after every six? I have heard of pastors taking sabbaticals and Akua is always on to me about ‘slowing down’ but my ears always “fail me” to this demand!
SOWING IN TEARS
In the book of Psalms, it says “Those who sow in tears will reap with joy” We have shed many inner tears in our work on a daily basis, mainly through experiencing corruption in Government circles, but worse than that in Pastoral Ministry. We have endured this and more especially during the two years of constructing the ‘Malak Christian Book Centre’ and we thank God for the grace to have been able to endure.
The building is completed now both inside and out and we now look forward to total concentration on our Book Ministry. We trust God on His word that our labours will yield much fruit in our ministry.
An anonymous family at Bethesda gave a donation which enabled us to furnish the Centre library with bookcases and office furniture, we were also able to purchase a generator and 6,000 litre Polytank container for our water supply and build the 12ft platform for it to sit on..
Another family from Bethesda donated the cost of the floor tiles for the living quarters and master bedroom while “Book-Aid” provided the carpet tiles for the library and office. We are extremely thankful to God for these gifts to help carry out His work! I can hardly believe my eyes as I walk around the place. We have experienced first hand that God is so faithful to those who believe in Him, He will never let you down!
We are still without electricity on site and hopefully we will have this next year. In the meantime the owner of the house [ a Muslim ] I have rented for five years is allowing us to stay rent free until we leave for the UK early next year; he says this is in gratitude for the length of time we have spent with him. Because of the electric and Book-Aid container situations it is not certain how long we will be in the UK. Bob Hiley, the director of Book-Aid, will help us transport furniture from the UK to Ghana in our next container of books. Our living quarters are completely bare and a list of our requirements will be shown on the notice board at Bethesda. ( for others, please phone or e-mail Gordon Cleaver ). We would ask you if you have any of the items mentioned, and are thinking of replacing them with new stuff, to hold on until our return.
HUNGRY YOUNG PASTORS
Both our stores in Accra and Tamale and agent in Bolgatanga [ Bukina Faso border ] are doing well! We have many contacts all over Ghana and next spring will see us, God willing, receive our fourth container from Book-Aid. Each container holds on average 100,000 books, so this means we will have had around 400,000 books from Book-Aid.
Just a few weeks ago, at the start of November, ‘Seed Ministry’ [ USA] organised a week long conference for young pastors in the daytime followed by a Crusade in the evening in Tamale. Three Ministers of Gods word came over from America to lead a highly successful week. Akua who has worked and traveled tirelessly to other conferences, was asked to set up a book stall at the conference and the hunger for books shown by these young pastors only confirmed to us the call of God to provide books in these parts. Bob Parker [Seed Ministry director ] has planted some bible clubs near the Toga border and has mentioned to us the need for a book store there; we will talk about it on his return from America next year.
SOVEREIGN WORLD TRUST
As we progress in our work, more contacts are made and we received donations/offers from other publishers in UK and Trinity Pulpit Baptist Ministry in Montville, New Jersey, U.S.A
A few weeks ago we received a parcel from the U.S.A and two from Sovereign World Trust. They had been mailed in 2004 and of course both had been opened. We receive these books to give to young pastors or keep in our own library.
In S.W.T’s annual report of 2004, contained in one of the delayed parcels, it mentioned their achievements during that year.
One of the very best ways to reach people is through literature. Consider some of the reasons:
RESTING WITH GOD
I mentioned at the beginning of this letter of how the word of God speaks about the need to rest and of how some of us fail to be obedient to this. Its a natural thing for a man of God to want to work as hard as he can for His Saviour but I have found out the hard way that my wife [and God ] were right [ aren’t they always ] and I should have listened to them both!
Very recently at around 6-30 pm I came home to our rented accommodation from the site where I had been alone since 5-00 am. I entered the house aware that Akua was in the process of preparing our supper so I said to her “I will just go and work on the computer until supper’s ready.” Shortly after this, Sean started to bang on the door shouting for me and my initial response was to complain to Akua. Soon after I realised he had not seen me all day and he simply wanted to play with his Daddy. I stopped my work and opened the door to be jumped on by my excited little boy!
The following day I woke up with a severe pain in the bottom of my back; I hardly any feeling in my left leg and could not get out of bed. Akua went to a pharmacist in town to try and get some pain killers and later, although in much pain, I was able to visit a doctor. The next day, after an x-ray at the hospital, I was told I had a problem with my spine and the reason for the numbness in my leg was because of a trapped nerve. As I write this newsletter Akua has just phoned from Accra; she had taken my x-rays for a Cuban neurosurgeon to look at and he in turn has told her I need immediate surgery. Watch this space...as they say!
I believe that this has been allowed to happen by God and for some of us it is the only way to slow us down, as we fail to respond to sound advise from our loved ones and God! [ Sean the last straw ]. The amazing thing is that at the same time of this happening all the work on the building has been completed, the very last bathroom tiles have been laid; even in our disobedience God is still faithful. It really is amazing! What a God!!!
In chapter 18;17-27 of Exodus we can read about Moses being told by his father-in-law Jethro, “You cannot handle it alone”. Like Moses, some of us need to be reminded that there are some capable men out there who fear God and are trustworthy. I have just found out the hard way that delegating responsibility today, as in Old Testament times, is not only wise but right.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, I have experienced corruption on a daily basis since the day I arrived in Ghana even from pastors of churches. Gradually, you develop a lack of trust in all people, so we must pray that we can be led to the right cover for our work when needed. I have mentioned before that I would like to see young people from the West coming to Ghana to get a taste of mission work and even taking over for a time in God’s will eventually.
I heard about a man involved in the second world war who discovered that even machinery needed a rest. Those factories that went on continuous shift work and kept the machines working the whole time discovered that their total output at the end of the month was less than that of the factories where the machines had one whole days rest in seven. Even the machines broke down less often if they kept to God’s rules!
Akua, Sean and myself wish all of you a RESTFUL time during the Christmas period and would like to thank you all for your love and prayer/financial support during 2006 and to thank God for the completion of all the building work at the centre!
John, Akua & Sean Cartledge
Lounge area with kitchen door on the left and master bedroom door on the right
Lounge area, looking towards the library