The village this weekend was amazing. I will write more specifics later - but I was able to experience real "village" life. We ate our chicken and rice (and noodles and an egg - don't know how I feel about those additions) out of newspaper:
And talked each night by the light of a real lantern:
It was awesome. I will tell more tomorrow - but here are some of my thoughts while visiting:
I think I have discovered the biggest difference between Ghanaians and Americans:
Ghanaians are used to life being hard. Ghanaians are used to things not working out. Ghanaians are used to doing manual labor for hours a day, for only a few pesewas (cents) pay – just enough to buy their dinner and then wake up the next day and do it all again. So – when something good happens – it is beyond appreciated. Someone’s disease is cured, and the village is in celebration, everyone is praising God and grateful to have each other. Their “hard” life makes the “good” seem so very much “gooder.”
Americans are used to life being easy and on schedule. We make our lists and files and plans. We plan and save for events in the distant future – sometimes so distant that we forget to spend or do or what we were “working” for in the first place. Someone’s disease is cured – we check it off the list and think “I can’t believe this doctor’s visit took so long” – and become angry about the inefficiency of our day, and possible tardiness to a task later on the list. Our "easy" and "convenient" life allows us to expect “good,” and become angry when even the smallest details seem difficult.
There is obvious “good” in both cultures – but oh so much that we can learn from one another.
Jesus, at the beginning of his ministry said, “ Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14) And then He follows it up with a warning against false prophets – “we will recognize them by their fruit.” There are plenty of churches here and in the states that preach about our freedom in Christ, or about the “blessings” we should receive from our relationship with Christ – but the truth is it’s hard.
If your life seems “good” or “easy” today – soak it up – enjoy it – take pictures – journal about it – because if we are truly following Christ a lot of our journey is going to be difficult, and we are going to need those moments and memories to get us through the tough times. Choose to soak up God’s promises while you have time, or motivation – He promises never to “never leave us or forsake us” (Heb 13:5), and He promises to “give (us) the desires of (our) hearts” (Psalm 37:4)…but in the same verses, he first commands us, “be content with what you have” and to “delight yourself in the Lord.”
I am not saying that we should make life any "harder" than it has to be - but to enjoy and praise God in the "good" and the "bad." The "good" is good and the "bad" makes the "good" even better.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good." Romans 8:28