Newsletter March 2011
CONTINOUSLY BLESSED BY THE FATHER
Thousands of letters sent each year to God end up in a sorting office in Jerusalem.
According to the associated press, the letters arrive from all over the world in the city’s undeliverable mail department..
“We have hundreds of thousands of letters either sent to God or Jesus Christ and for some reason they come to Jerusalem,” said post office spokesman Yitzak Rabihiya.
In one letter an Israeli man asked God for 5,000 shekels [$1000] to ease his poverty.
Postal workers were so moved that they sent him 4,300 shekels.
After a month the same person wrote again to God, Mr Rabihiya explained “but this time he wrote, Thank you, God, for the contribution, but next time please don’t send it through those postmen. They’re thieves; they stole 700 shekels.”
That’s human nature isn’t it, to look past the blessings of God and somehow to turn them into a source for complaint.
I met a man who had a number of things go wrong in his life and each time he said that God was punishing him.
He got a new, higher paying job and I asked him if he stopped to thank God for the blessing.
He said “No that just happened.”
So blame God when things aren’t going your way, but don’t pay any attention to Him when He blesses you - that’s the way many of us live.
Its ten years [January 2001] since I [John] first travelled to Ghana to answer God’s call in my life at Tamale in the more prominent Muslim region in the north.
I have learned through experience during those years that Africa has so many problems ranging from aids, malaria, poverty, heat, illiteracy, long periods without water and electric to name a few but one of the biggest problems is corruption. This is something I cannot ever see being solved, except by something supernatural like another biblical flood. Corruption is evil and done so openly in Ghana where even the church, in many cases, embraces it and it is so frustrating to live with this in our daily routines.
I have been falsely accused by the police several times with the purpose being for me to offer a bribe in exchange for being released from custody.
We have been robbed a couple of times, once as I was walking to the bus depot at 4:00am; two men on a motorcycle tried to snatch my overnight bag from my shoulder. bag contained clothes, money, travel documents etc and sample books in Braille for the blind school in WA, a town in the extreme north west of Ghana. managed to overpower the pillion passenger who had hold of the bag and tip the bike over, the outcome after a struggle and several cuts and bruises was that they fled empty handed. These people are skilled in their work and don’t usually fail, defending yourself would normally result in death or very serious injuries. It is yet another testimony of God being in complete control of our lives and protecting us in all our circumstances. We can recall many thefts which are almost on a daily basis and the list goes on and on but God has brought us through it all and we thank Him continuously for His faithfulness
GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN TRIALS
I remember being very concerned about some of the things I would have to face long term when I first travelled to Ghana in 2001.
I received a word from the Lord which has been my strength during that time, and I am constantly reminding God in thanks after a particular trial for His word to my heart ten years ago.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”.
In September 2010 I was physically attacked by about 30 radical Muslims outside our book store in Tamale while Sean and Akua were in Accra. The next day I took the police along for protection but it was worse than the day before and quite dangerous.
I was forced to flee the scene while the police locked the store up and it remained locked until January 2011.
I was falsely accused and summoned to appear in court on February 14th with the motive being money and the case was adjourned until July 2011.
It’s hard to understand in our humanity how we can win when the plaintiff accompanied by a court official goes to our store with the summons steals money and walks away with the court official. I was absent at this time but when I complained to the court in Tamale it fell on deaf ears.
The lawyer I asked to represent us smelling the opportunity to make money through the ‘white man’ asked for the equivalent of £1000 simply to ask for an adjournment. We declined, of course, and contacted the British Consulate in Accra for advice.
“ I WILL BUILD YOU UP AGAIN AND YOU SHALL BE REBUILT” [Jer 31-4 ]
The above scripture is a word from the Lord given to us after I looked at the devastation to our building caused through a Calor gas cylinder explosion in 2009; the subsequent fire also took the life of Mark Box, an American Missionary from Florida. That scripture is now proudly displayed on the front of our building as a testament to a God who is forever faithful to His word.
We can now rejoice that the Lord has proved Himself faithful yet again to His word and the Ministry Building is now completely re-built and ready for furnishing.
God’s word does not fail!
Isaiah 55:11 says “So is my word that goes out of my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
I have had the privilege of visiting many churches throughout the UK and Ireland to make a PowerPoint presentation of our work in Ghana. This has been a great ministry where we have had the opportunity to expose our work to other churches and the response has been really good and so encouraging. Most of these churches have helped us financially with our work and requested newsletters to keep them in touch in the future.
“THE DERRY JOURNAL”
Last April 2010 I went over to Ireland having been booked at churches in five different counties. The last church I visited was Fahan Presbyterian in County Donegal where I was very well received and supported and had a really great time. There was a feature story about my visit in the Derry Journal newspaper and this proved to be a real work of the Lord. A businessman who wasn’t at the Church meeting happened to be alerted by the article, as he had sponsored a child in Tamale for several years with his school fees, etc. He contacted me by email after I arrived back in England and explained how sad he was that he couldn’t get to the meeting to meet me. He also said that he wanted to send us a monetary gift for our work and a couple of laptops, one for the boy and one for us. I met the boy in Tamale and he is a credit to his sponsor and really justifies the investment placed in him.
We made an appeal in our September 2010 newsletter for financial help with the cost of floor tiles for the last four rooms and porch and 16 new doors. We received a cheque from the businessman in Ireland which more than covered the cost of the tiles and doors and the re-building project of our Ministry Centre was completed. I have more appointments in Ireland next April 2011 and I hope to meet the man of God from Derry then.
Another church I visited last April, I should mention, is Parkstone Baptist in Poole, Dorset. They made us the focus of their Mission Harvest for 2010 and we have just received through that enough funding to erect another building we have in mind for later in the year.
We want to thank all the churches I have visited for their support and also our own church in Warrington.
We have also been blessed by God with the opening in February of our new book store in Accra and we remember Martin and Sue Ashby-Smith from Mount Zion I.M. Church in Burnley who kindly made the signboards for the store. We thank God for all He has done!
Nowhere in the bible does it say our lives are going to be a rollercoaster ride once we become Christians. We are sure to encounter trials and sufferings to some degree especially if we are committed to serving God. Throughout this newsletter I have given examples of sufferings and blessings in our own work but whatever you have to face as you serve your Lord be encouraged by the words of Jesus
“I am with you always even to the ends of the earth” Matthew 28:20
God Bless you All,
John, Akua & Sean Cartledge