Untapped Resources

We visited Ghana for ten days in June after some weeks in the UK on deputation ministry and before returning to Australia. For those of you who do not know, my wife was born and brought up in Ghana and still has family there. We have visited the country on a number of occasions over the years, but this visit was different in that we were there not only for family reasons. It was good to be back in the warmth and to experience again the bustle and cheerfulness of West Africa. We noticed many more cars on the roads and of course the ubiquitous mobile phone. Ghana has discovered oil and the place was abuzz with ideas on how to use the revenue from it. We saw no one in a grass skirt or leopard skin! Those who know and love Africa get weary of the condescending western media stereotypes which present it as corrupt, poverty-stricken and backward. Some people and parts of the country are like that, but this is also the case within parts of the western world
In the west of the country a Ghanaian friend of ours is planting churches, leading a ministry of mercy to needy social groups and organising conferences for pastors. We have taken a particular interest in the latter and during our stay planned to attend day conferences in five different areas. The main purpose of each conference was to give guidance on sermon preparation. A leading Ghanaian pastor led the sessions and I had an opportunity in each place to speak of Jewish evangelism and the work of CWI.

Most of the leaders present had little knowledge of Jews or Jewish evangelism, and what they had heard was all connected to the ministries of American tele-evangelists who focus on end-time prophecy and on supporting the State of Israel. They were very interested, and excited, to hear of gospel work to God's people, Israel, and wanted to be a part of it by prayer. It thrilled us to sense their genuine interest and their concern to cry to God for us. They were confident that this would make a significant contribution to our work. We are sure it will. We will be circulating our regular newsletter, via our friend Oliver, to the 150 or so churches that were represented at the conferences. We look forward to this fellowship in the work, and to God hearing them as they pray together with us.

Some years ago I was visiting the USA to meet the directors of a number of leading missions to learn from them and on one occasion he asked, "Why do you not seek to stimulate interest in African countries?" The answer was predictable, though spoken somewhat diffidently – "No money there". Have we perhaps neglected to cultivate in those countries an even more vital resource, which they appear to know more about than ourselves – prayer?

Paul & Judy

This article first appeared in the Winter 2008 edition of the Herald

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