Strengthening her faith in Ghana
Last month, Josette Matthew and other members of United Holy Church, journeyed thousands of miles to Ghana for a two-week mission trip. Once in the West African nation, they learnt the true importance of serving God with whole hearts and open hands.
Q: How would you describe your recent mission trip to Ghana?
A: It was the best trip I’ve been on so far. It was my first time in Africa, but definitely not the last. Every day was an adventure.
We didn’t have a set itinerary; which bothered me at first because I’m more of a structured person, but not having a schedule meant there was room for the Holy Spirit to direct us.
Every morning, we would be briefed on what we were supposed to do, and we regularly accomplished more than what we had set out to.
Q: What were your initial impressions of the country?
A: Well for starters, I noticed how friendly the people were. I was thinking we would have a hard time going through immigration and customs, but when we first arrived at the airport in Ghana everyone there was super welcoming.
They heard a group from Bermuda would be coming to do mission work, and they received us with open arms. Outside of the airport, however, it was another surprise as we saw a lot of poverty.
Some of the country is developed with highways and commercial buildings and development, but going into the rural areas, we saw people who did not have clean clothes or shoes. We also met people who lived in grass huts, without electricity and running water.
Q: What did you accomplish during your time overseas?
A: We spent most of our time in the Central Region of Ghana, in an area called Kasoa.
During our time there, we were able to build a borehole, so that the people in the village could get water.
We dug the hole in the ground, but ended up hitting salt water, so, we all donated some extra money, so that the people could treat the water and have access to fresh water, for drinking.
One of the elders from my church plans to go back to Ghana, to check on the progress of this project, as it wasn’t 100 per cent complete before we left. The other major accomplishment, was the clothing and shoes drive, as well as a food drive and health screenings.
In addition to this, we also donated school supplies, funds and feminine products for Bermudian Quinton Sherlock’s educational endeavour, Ace It Foundation.
It was a joy to actually see and interact with the children that we were donating to.
Q: What was the most memorable moment on your trip?
A: On our second visit to the village, part of our team facilitated a health screening.
We had doctors and nurses there taking people’s vitals and monitoring their blood pressure.
There were children, women and men lined up which, I thought, was so amazing because they were sitting so patiently.
After they had all been screened, it came to our attention the people did not have money to pay for their medication and prescriptions, so everyone from the Bermuda group pitched in, on the spot, to pay for their medicines.
That was a highlight, because the people were so grateful. Another moment was when we were donating the clothes, shoes and food.
All the volunteers had brought donated clothes and shoes with us, in our suitcases, to give away, but because there were people coming from near and far, we had run out of items to give them.
One gentleman, who came on the trip, broke down in tears, it was so emotional to watch people leave empty-handed.
But the people who did receive clothes and shoes, were so appreciative and grateful for our support.
Q: How did God show up on your trip?
A: This experience definitely strengthened my faith and taught me the importance of using whatever God has given you to bless others.
When we did the food drive, it reminded me of the story in the Bible, of the five loaves of bread and two fish.
We didn’t think we would have enough food to go around, but we ended up feeding more than 500 people that day, and had a little bit of food still left over.
It was a faith-building moment, because it showed that God could do great things, with what little we had. It also meant the people left with their bellies full.
Q: Did you get to do or see anything else while on your trip?
A: We visited Cape Coast Castle, which was a four-hour drive away.
It is an underground dungeon that was used to hold slaves before they were loaded onto ships and sold, in the Americas.
That was the biggest highlight outside of the mission’s work because we were able to see the conditions many of our ancestors would have lived through.
I felt faint in the short time I was in the dungeons. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like for people who spent weeks there. Another major highlight was the visit to [the] Dr Kwame Nkrumah Museum.
[The] first prime minister and president of Ghana, Dr Nkrumah led the then Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957.
We also went to various street markets, visited a place called Shai Hills Reserve, an area about an hour north of the capital, Accra. As I was climbing up that rock, God reminded me of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
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