MONDAY, JULY 08, 2013
Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2013
, through this morning, MONDAY, JULY 8
, I have not taken my usual
daily walk about. I did not say that I have not been exercising, just that I have not taken my
usual hour walk. I have still gotten plenty of exercise, however. I have been doing sprints to the
restroom. The doctors here call it, “Running stomach.” (Diarrhea) And do you ever run!
Being sick in Ghana is no fun. The causes for intestinal sickness can be many, ranging from
shaking hands or holding germ filled paper money to eating a food that has not been properly
prepared, washed with impure water, or has too many Ghanaian spices. It hit me in the wee
hours of Saturday morning. I think I slept almost all of Saturday. Sunday, our LORD gave me the
strength and energy to preach at the installation service for the thirteen new pastors. Then I
took a long nap.
That evening, SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013
, I had previously been invited to have dinner with Dr.
Hodasi. He is a medical doctor who is in the process of setting up a medical clinic in Ghana. He
is also a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Accra. I am glad that I kept the dinner
engagement. He and his lovely wife hosted Bob Roegner and myself to a most delicious dinner.
His wife is a Liberian. Since Bob spent ten years as a missionary in Liberia, working with the
same tribe from which she is from, they had a lot to talk about.
Dr. Hodasi and I watched the big soccer match between Chile and Ghana. It was the
quarterfinals for the regional World Cup preliminaries. Ghana scored first but by the half, Chile
was ahead 2-1. In the second half Ghana tied the score only to have Chile take the lead again 3-
2. With just under six minutes to go, Ghana tied the score. Then with just 13 second left in the
match, Ghana scored the winning goal! Soccer is very big in Ghana, as it is in many African
nations. You might remember that in the last two World Cup quarter finals, Ghana’s team
defeated our USA team.
After dinner and the game, as the good Doctor drove us back to the Triple Crown, he stopped at
a Chemical Store. (That is what they call their pharmacies in Ghana!). He got me zinc tablets and
Imodium pills. He told me to take these along with my antibiotics and Peptol tablets. Today, I
am feeling much better.
The big ordination service on SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013
was a wonderful service. First, it lasted
three hours and no one complained! (No more wise cracks when John preaches more than
fifteen minutes or I surpass twenty minutes!) The sanctuary was packed with worshippers. The
praise team kept the service a joyful expression of God’s grace. Their choir was magnificent and
got everyone rocking, especially during the second offering! (Yes, you read me correct: “second
offering!” The first offering is for ministry of St. Paul’s. The second is a designated offering: this
week the offering was designated to go to the seminary.)The actual Rite of Ordination Service
was very moving and uplifting. Over 20 Ghanaian pastors and 3 Lutheran Church Missouri
Synod and Lutheran Bible Translators missionaries participated in the laying on of hands. Just as
we began the sermon hymn the power went out! This is Africa! (Like Murphy’s Law, when
something simple to the industrialized world does not work out, Dr. Fynn always laughs and
says, “This is Africa!”) Neither the organ nor the electric key board worked. So the trumpeter in
the praise band played the melody for the hymn, “Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling.” I figured the
devil did not want the people to hear my sermon, since I was still weak from my running
stomach. But alas, God prevailed and the power returned just as I stepped into the pulpit.
When I ended, the congregation applauded. Since Dr. Fynn had arranged for the press to be
present for the ordination, as well as the leader of Parliament, I was on the evening news!
Before the sermon hymn, Dr. Fynn introduced me as, “The Rev. Dr. George Black who is really
white!” Then he added, “While his skin is white, his heart is black!” That got both laughter and a
round of applause from the congregation.
Today, MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013
, was another day of teaching the pastors and the seminarians.
Rev. Bob Roegner and I team taught a study on tithing. We learned many interesting things
about Ghanaian life, poverty, and desires to be faithful in their giving to the LORD. They all had
lots of questions on tithing, church worker salaries, and church expenses. Most of the pastors
here are “worker priests.” That means that they have full time or part time jobs in addition to
their responsibilities as the pastor of a congregation. Sadly, most of the village congregations
are so poor, they cannot pay the pastors. Yet the LORD provides through the generous heart of
Dr. Fynn, who as I told you in a previous update, personally pays for the living expenses of many
of the Lutheran pastors.
As a side note, I learned that over 30% of the pastors in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
are worker priests. Their congregations are much smaller than St. Paul’s. Many congregations in
our denomination worship less than 100 souls on a weekly basis. They cannot simply afford
paying for a full time pastor. Thank you St. Paul’s for your support for all of your church
Tonight, Bob and I will join Evangelist John Donkoh and his wife for dinner at the Lebanese
restaurant, “the Commodore.” You might remember Evangelist Donkoh because he preached
at our St. Paul’s a few years ago. Ghana has sure blossomed in the twenty years I have been
coming here in terms of eateries suitable for westerners. When Julie and I made our first trip
here, the only restaurants save enough for Americans to eat at health wise were Chinese and
Lebanese establishments. Now there are dozens of “safe” restaurants.
I think I will end now and review my material for tomorrow’s class. Thank you for your prayers
for healing! God answered your prayers! Give the glory and praise to Him for His wonderful
Until my next update, God bless you all!
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