Newsletter December 2007
Christmas Greetings from Tamale, Ghana where we are sad to report that the rains have stopped and we will see no more until May. Sorry about that as you are probably snuggled up by the fire or each other to keep warm but rain in Ghana is actually a mighty blessing.
After the inevitable corrupt dealings at Tema Harbour, Accra, plus six weeks waiting there for our container last July, we eventually got our books and furniture safely to Tamale. The 400 mile plus road journey to Tamale from Accra was a concern because it was at the time of the severe flooding and the truck carrying our container, we are pleased to say, was stuck on our site for two days and not elsewhere.
We are now reaping the rewards of all our hard work and dwelling in our new building having never been happier. On arrival in Ghana I had to travel to Tamale without Akua and Sean to get some important papers to send back to England.
When I arrived in Tamale I was told that the transformer for the village electric supply had been erected while we had been away. Instead of heading straight back to Akua and Sean in Accra I spent three weeks erecting the nine poles needed to carry the cable from the next building to ours plus nearly a thousand metres of cable. An anonymous couple from Bethesda donated most of the cost for this phase and for that we thank God yet again, who never fails to meet our needs and for yet another answer to prayer.
Shortly before we left England to return to Ghana, I [John] had a meeting with the elders of Bethesda to discuss our work and more particularly our future. The vision in 2001 was to provide Christian Books for the people of Northern Ghana and also to build a Centre for storage, accommodation, and a Library. We have been committed through God’s grace to see this coming to pass but also stressed that one day we would expect the Ministry to support itself. We have been praying about our situation for many months without us having any real desire to leave Ghana. The place of blessing where God locates anyone is really the only place any Christian should want to dwell.
I remember saying without hesitation at that meeting, “God would lead us out of Ghana in the same way as He brought us in”.
When the great missionary pioneer and founder of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor, went to Canada for a speaking tour, the first person he stayed with was very excited. At last he was going to meet a true giant of the faith! He was also very curious of how this Spirit-led believer was going to plan his itinerary?
The next morning he was shocked when Taylor asked for railroad timetables and simply sat down at the kitchen table to work out his schedule. Where was the prayer and fasting the host had expected? Hudson was surprised. God had already provided Canada’s railroads and the timetables. What more was there to ask?
The Apostle Paul’s approach to missions was similar. He had a strategy to select key cites and to minister when he reached them. Like Hudson Taylor, Paul went about ministry in a practical way. But the lives of both men show that they also remained sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. They would always be ready to change their plans or direction at the Spirit’s call and relied on the Spirit fully.
We don’t need to be mystical to rely on the Holy Spirit. We can rely on Him while using what God has provided from timetables to an ability to plan and develop strategy. After saying this, we should be open to God, ready to change our plans and decisions when He says “No” or “Go.”
After sitting down to address the Ministry itself, assessing all aspects of our own private family matters, finances, and responsibilities to some of these, health, education, etc, we have come to a decision about our future. We believe our circumstances have been engineered such that we plan to leave Ghana next year once everything is properly in its place.
We have a bit more work to do like a pipeline from the Centre to the roadside [200 metres] to connect to the main water supply - at present we have a ‘polytank’ container, which is filled every few weeks by tanker. We are actually in the process now of building a large gutter drain around the building for sink waste. We would also want one air condition system at least in one of the rooms before we leave [as a family] by next June at the latest.
We hope to lease our Ministry Centre to a Christian Organisation or N.G.O. for two years and this will enable one of us to return to Ghana periodically to oversee the work. The support we receive from our church and individuals can be then channelled through to other needy work for the Lord.
On speaking to Pastor Ray of our decision he quite rightly said “there is only one question anybody as a right to ask. Are you sure it is in the Lords will”? To change that slightly to “Are we sure we are doing the right thing?”, the answer is, “Absolutely not!”. There were no flashing lights, fire, visions or such like; we have simply assessed our situation [things change] and believe in faith that we have made the correct decision. The peace we have says we are not out of Gods will!
We are committed to the Malak Christian Book Centre Ministry and it operating normally in our absence. I have been in Tamale for seven years in January and Akua and myself have worked together for over five of them. We have learned through experience of what kind of Christian books the people here like to read and there will be a few changes [for the better] but that’s all.
The following letter was sent to us from Bob & Bonnie Parker ,directors of ‘Seed Ministry’, Indiana, U.S.A. As I am writing this newsletter, Bob & Bonnie run well over one hundred bible clubs and have planted many churches in the Northern Region of Ghana.
“Saying thank you is never difficult but how do we express our gratitude to you for the many, many books you gave to Seed Ministry recently? Your generosity to give through ‘Seed Ministry’ has created libraries in over 50 churches in the Northern Region of Ghana. The Pastors of these churches were completely overwhelmed and so very excited to be able to choose from so many books. It was such a special time for them because they did not dream that it would be possible for them to have a library in their church. We are also very pleased to report that many of the books and bibles have gone in the hands of children through the ‘Joyful Sowers’ school visits and through Seed Ministry Bible Clubs.
As I have said, saying “thank you” is not difficult but expressing the depths of our gratitude just cannot be done. What a blessing you have been to us to allow us to share in the giving of these books. May God bless you and your family and your supporters and church family.”
Bob & Bonnie.
We are committed to seeing these churches’ libraries being increased in size, whatever the future holds for us.
The sad part about leaving Ghana is something I wish every Christian could and should experience.
A man can preach about faith for fifty years, another can be taught about faith for fifty years, but there is nothing like learning to live by faith and experiencing the reality of God meeting your needs through prayer every day.
Although leaving Ghana will be a sad time for us we are encouraged in knowing that most of Sean’s influence in his young life in England will come from brothers John and Stephen and sister Jane and all members of his church at Bethesda. What more could we want!
Yours in His name,
John Akua & Sean
We thank everybody who has supported us and ask that you continue until such a time that we are in the UK, as a family. God bless you all.
John in the office
Akua in the kitchen doing John’s job
Akua in the dining room on the other side of the ‘L’ shaped room
One of the poles - notice the squatter on the light
The three of us outside Sean’s school with Sean not looking forward to whatever was in store for him
Sean in school looking much happier
A typical classroom
Some of the pastors collecting books