Newsletter March 2010
REBUILDING THE MINISTRY CENTRE
One of the great things about being a Christian is being able to apply the stories we read in the Bible to our own lives. The book of Ezra is the obvious one that comes to mind when thinking about our own situation in Ghana.
In Ezra’s day, and because God was behind it, everything seemed to fall into place from getting the right people to work and the supplies being provided.
We can praise God for the many similarities in our own situation, as everything seemed to go the way we wanted it to go in our rebuilding project. The workers, who were mostly Muslim, were great and committed and all the materials were acquired without any serious problems–this being completely against the grain in Ghana.
This phase of the work, which I estimated to take eight weeks, commenced January 5th and was completed on 12th February. It took less than six weeks to purchase all the materials from Kumasi and transport them over 200 miles to Tamale and the actual work itself.
A summary of the work is as follows -
We cleaned all the old plaster and building blocks and the floor tiles which we had knocked down from the building, filling two large skips, then rebuilt and plastered the walls.
We erected a complete new sheeted roof with all new timber supports and ceilings. We replaced the window and door frames ready for new louver windows and doors next July. We completely re-wired the building as well as replaced all the old plug sockets, lights, switches and ceiling fans etc.
The outside walls needed rebuilding and plastering in several places with a completely new ground drainage system and all new mosquito netting and window security bars replaced. The louver windows will be replaced God willing in July along with the internal and external doors (15 in total) and floor tiles.
About one hour after the final day’s work a storm started bringing thunder and lightning with torrential rain.
What’s wrong with that you might say?
We were in the dry season with no rain expected until May and it was now February 12th 2010. It really felt as though God was applauding our efforts and not only that but before I travelled to Accra on my way home the next day I was able to go and check the building for leaks …
– none !
WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM?
I suppose it’s one of our most common worries.
We need to build an addition to the church building, but where will the money come from?
I would like to go to bible school, but where will the money come from ?
I would like to help that missionary, but where will the money come from?
I feel God wants me to go into nursing, but where will the money come from?
The same question was surely asked in ancient Judah, as the people considered finishing the temple.
The prophet Haggai described the desperate conditions of that time “you have planted much but have harvested little…you earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it “ [Hag 1:5-6]
How could a destitute people struggling to make ends meet ever raise the funds necessary to complete Gods temple?
In his message urging Judah to give priority to Gods temple, the prophet makes this statement “the silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty [2:8]
How the people of Judah must have struggled. They were convinced they must complete the temple: but where would the money come from?
And then the decree of Darius in response to the challenge raised by Judah’s enemies arrived. There with the permission to rebuild were the words, “ THE COSTS ARE TO BE PAID BY THE ROYAL TREASURY” [Ezra 6:4]. The endless wealth of one of the world’s mightiest empires was suddenly made available to God’s poverty stricken people.
The incident teaches us an important lesson “ Where will the money come from?” Is an important question. But not knowing should never deter us from acting, if we are sure of Gods will. The message from God that Haggai shared so long ago is still true. The silver is the Lord’s and the gold is the Lord’s. When we commit ourselves to do His will God will provide. Lack of funds cannot keep us from doing Gods will.
In building, we need not act as people of the world do. They first procure the money and then begin to build, but we must do the opposite; we will begin to build then expect to receive what is necessary from divine providence. The Lord God will not be outdone in generosity.
When I estimated the costs for the first phase of our re-building project in August, the figure came to £8,000. This would be the amount needed to clean out the old rubble, hire skips, re-build and plaster walls, complete the new roof, re-wire the building, new fittings i.e., lights ceiling fans, sockets, switches, etc., timber for roof ceilings, door and window frames, transport and labour costs.
I travelled back to Ghana to commence the work with less than £4,000 but in no doubt, convinced the Lord would provide and the work would be done.
My original estimate for the work was not that far out as the amount of money used was over £7,000 pounds.
WHERE DID THE REST OF THE MONEY COME FROM?
Learning to live by faith knowing that God will provide for all our needs by offering what we have is all we need.
The woman couldn’t have her house filled with oil until she had gathered in empty jars [2 Kings 4]
The feeding of the four thousand couldn’t have taken place without the few small fish and seven loaves. [Mark 8]
The water could not have been changed into wine without first having the six stone water-jars. [John 2]
God could not provide the ram until Abraham gave Him Isaac [Genesis 22]
So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide” as it is said to this day “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided” [Genesis 22-14].
“I WILL BUILD YOU UP AGAIN AND YOU WILL BE REBUILT” [Jer 31-4]
The above scripture from Jeremiah is the word the Lord placed on my heart just days after the tragedy in May 2009. That scripture is now proudly displayed on the front of our re-built Ministry Centre in Tamale, as a testament to a God who never goes back on His word and is faithful to the end.
The building before the work commenced
My team of workers, most of them Muslims
Loading the truck at the timber market
Masons rebuilding the walls
Ashamblia, a preacher, rendering a wall
Removing the old roof tiles
The lounge area needs lacquer and varnish for the ceilings and paint for the walls
Part of the new roof
A testimony to the Lord
Moses, with the keys to his store
Hezekiah and Samson, our watchmen, filling the skip
We have been invited to many churches the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland to speak about our work in Ghana and it’s going to be a joy to testify of God’s faithfulness to us, in return for our commitment to Him.
We have just presented Moses at our book store in Tamale the opportunity to be his own master. We have decided to hand over all the stock to him on credit, at a special reduced rate so we can concentrate on other ministry. Moses has been in the ministry with us for five years and we are giving him the chance to develop his own ideas in the literacy field. We already have an agent in Bolgatanga, in the extreme north west of Ghana, dealing with our books and we are hoping to plant another store in Yendi,in the north east of Ghana.
Please pray for the following aspects of the work -
God Bless you All,
John, Akua & Sean Cartledge