Thursday, February 09, 2017
It has been nearly 7 years since we began sponsoring Ato Sam, a decision that changed our lives and continues to.

He is one of five children we sponsor in Ghana, and our most prolific writer by far.  In fact, it was through Ato Sam's letters that we were inspired to action in 2011 for the child slave rescue mission, and again in recent years for the provision of a library in his community.  

Over the course of the last few photos that Compassion has sent me of Ato Sam, I noticed a growing disfigurement in his left jaw area.  At first, I brushed it off as the possibility that he'd had a tooth pulled and was experiencing some swelling, but as I continued to receive photos from time to time, it was apparent that something was seriously wrong.  He was reluctant to mention it in his letters (I suspect he didn't want to worry me) so I called Compassion and asked for a report on Ato Sam's health.

We received the report a short while ago.  Compassion Ghana has officially confirmed that Ato Sam's disfigured jaw is in part due to a tumor and a growth/enlargement on his jaw bone. 

He has been brought to the teaching hospital in the capital city of Accra several times for tests, scans and consultations. His family and Compassion leadership are very concerned.  To proceed with a surgery in Ghana this point would completely disfigure him without guarantee that his health would be restored, in fact, the doctors are not willing to operate on such a complex case.  The doctors are instead consulting specialists from outside Ghana in order to form a plan of action if at all possible. 

We booked our flights a few hours after we received the news.  Although we were awaiting for confirmation about flying to Ghana to see the library progress in person, this provided all the confirmation we needed.  We look forward to spending time encouraging Ato Sam, praying over him, affirming his value and the love we have for him, his family and the Compassion leadership team who are doing an excellent job advocating for his needs.

He has nicknamed me "My lovely mother I love you" in his native Fante language, to which I respond by calling him "Son of my heart".  He truly is like a son to me.  My mama heart just aches for my boy. 

Please pray as we continue to prepare for the trip, for Ato Sam's strength as he endures the ongoing health crisis, for the funding to complete the indoor plumbing and other needs for the Greater Grace Community Library, and for God to provide the doctors with the skills that Ato Sam desperately needs.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Greater Grace Community Library

It has been a long, long journey.

For years, I have prayed until my knees were raw and my prayers turned to groans, fully feeling the weight of this library on my heart and in my spirit, all while wrestling with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness more times than I can count.

At times, I have crawled, weary and tired and poured out until empty for this, and at other times, barely been able to sleep from the consuming passion in my heart to see this through.

Can I also lean in close and confess that I have also felt out of my mind more times than I care to admit?  Mostly because I felt that's what people's perception might be.  Really, what kind of person signs up for this, empty handed and against all odds?  I still don't know the answer to that question, and I may never know.  It doesn't matter -- all that matters is hearing the invitation, and responding.

For every time I felt as though I had lost my mind, I felt a hundredfold more certain that this was the path that was chosen for me, regardless of how it felt or how it looked... and that's what kept me going.  I didn't choose this as much as I was chosen for this, although I'm half convinced that I was only chosen because I was the only one crazy enough to say "Yes!!".  

For all that He has provided, in spite of my shortfalls and failures, my inadequacies, my limitations -- and for all that is yet to come -- I am grateful beyond measure.

Had I known how hard and sacrificial it would be, and how long it would take, would I have still said yes?   Even knowing what I know now, I have never been able to imagine saying no.  I would have been whimpering and on my knees, mind you, but the yes would have been there, because I know deep down that the cost of saying no would have been immeasurably higher than my yes every cost me.

The people of Enyan Abaasa would have missed out on this blessing...

And none of us could have watched this unfold out of His mighty hand and into reality.

He has done the seemingly impossible.  He has built this out of dust and dreams, mercy and grace, prayers and faith, sacrifice and surrender.

Dust and dreams breathed into life have never looked so beautiful.

It is an honor to introduce to you the Greater Grace Community Library, nestled in the heart of Enyan Abaasa...

The Grand Opening was held February 2nd, with the assistance of our friends from Books For Africa Library Project, who helped provide the more than 2200 books that currently line the shelves.  These God filled people with servants' hearts have been a tremendous answer to prayer, not only for books, but for support, prayer, encouragement and for bridging the communication gap between Canada and Enyan Abaasa throughout the past few months.

We will be bringing 600+ children's books with us when we travel to Enyan Abaasa in early March to see the library in person, meet Collins the librarian, and obtain a full progress report on what's been done and an assessment on what there is left to do (running water, washrooms, technology lab).  Stay tuned.

On behalf of Ato Sam and the people of Enyan Abaasa...  Thank you... thank you for your support and prayers.

Your will, Lord, for Your glory!