HEARTBEAT FOR HOPE returned last Wednesday from another mission trip to Ghana. I always look forward to being back there to see our friends, and to see what path we are directed on that time. I wish I could express the feelings invoked by an experience like these. A stewed combination of joy, excitement, anticipation, anxiety, sadness, heartbreak, hope, fear, want, humility, selfishness, compassion, urgency, and love all mixed up together at, what seems like, one time.
Each trip I have taken has been different, but this year added a deeper emotional struggle for me.
Our organization has expanded in the past year to include assistance in a few different rural villages in greater Accra, Ghana. This trip included some physical work to improve a school and create a library space for Ayikai Doblo village (pics and more info to come on that).
It also involved the beginning of a sponsorship program for children in these rural villages to have the hope of attending school, which is not free even for public education. This meant meeting families, orphans, and single mothers to begin a relationship and gather their information. Our Ghanaian friend, Evans, is the headmaster of a ministry college in Accra. He and I have been working together for the past several months to begin this process. He was our liaison to find families and to translate. He is an amazing person.
We spent two days traveling and meeting children together, and interviewed a total of 76 kids in 2 days. I will honestly admit that I thought I had a grasp on what this would be like since, you know, I had been to these villages before. I was SO wrong. It was one of the very most emotionally draining experiences I have ever had. I had seen the hardships and struggles of the villages, but this was different. It was more. My heart was so full, but so sad all at the same time. I felt guilt for having to walk away from those kids leaving them to hope for help for what I pray will be just a short time.
But in their conditions EVERY. DAY. MATTERS.
I was unprepared for the true reality that I would face in their eyes, their malnourished bodies, and their stories that brought them to us.
On our last night in Accra a a single mother with three children showed up to the steps of the college where we were staying to ask for help for her children.
This is Deborah. Deborah is three years old and does not speak English. She began speaking to our translator in her native language with a shy, quiet voice. Our translator, Lawrence, then told me that she told him that all she wants is a friend. He asked her who she would like as her friend. She pointed to me.
I have no idea how I kept it together. I have tears through my typing right now as I write this.
This trip was busy, productive, challenging, and wonderful.
Mostly, this trip left me thinking,
"Where do we start?".
With so much thoughtfulness, I hope that wise decisions can be made, and progress with these new efforts can be efficient and best for those that it matters for most.
Please keep these children in your prayers.