Three of our pastors arrived at my room right on time at 9 am. Since there are only four of us total, it made no sense to rent a meeting room at the hotel or someplace else for our discussions. The four of us can sit comfortably in my hotel room. I do have to turn off the a/c when they arrive, because not being used to having air conditioning, it is too cold for their comfort. That’s OK, I may sweat a little, but it doesn’t get too bad. This time of the year it is warm, but not the extreme heat of other times.
I have not seen Adonijah Blay and Joseph Baah since last January, and it was very good to see them again. Adonijah immediately told me that my hair is more gray than last time he saw me. “You look like old grandpa, not young grandpa.” In this culture the elderly are looked on and treated with respect, so perhaps this was meant as a compliment. Yeah, I’m going to go with that…
We spent almost all morning on updates from the pastors on their areas. We spent longer on this than I had intended, but I didn’t want to cut anyone short. Since it has been so long since I was last here, I feel it is important to find out all the details I can, to get as clear of a picture of the state of the Church both positive and negative as I can. A common theme throughout was the terrible impact of the governmental restrictions because of COVID fears. The actual impact of the virus on Ghana has been very small, but as in other parts of the world, the fear has been hyped. But it has had an impact on the brethren and their ability to earn a living.
After a break for lunch we were able to have a lengthy discussion on the plans for the upcoming International Leadership Program in Ghana, scheduled for this coming January. In 2019 we had what we call ILP 1 here at this hotel. In 2020 we were scheduled to hold ILP 2 here, but that was completely derailed by COVID, so classes were recorded and the men were expected to watch them online. However, internet connections in Ghana are not stable in many places, and most of the men don’t have computers. So the media department at headquarters was able to dub all the classes for the first two sessions over to flash drives that I brought along. The pastors will make sure all of the men are able to go through each class on the drive before the January meetings.
One of the things we have to do is narrow down the group. ILP 3 will be a more focused set of presentations, and more time will be spent with each man attending. Mr. Franks wants to spend some individual time with every attendee to get to know them at least a little. This kind of relationship is very important, and helps a great deal in the process of mentoring further growth. So we carefully went over the list of names, doing our best to determine who would be best served to invite to this next session. This does not cut the remainder out, they will simply be in line for future sessions like this.
I had a class prepared on a pitfall a minister can fall into – frankly a devastating problem ANY Christian can fall victim to. It is most likely the very first sin, and something everyone must battle, and that is pride. It started with Lucifer whose “heart was lifted up” in pride and vanity. And the examples in scripture are numerous, like Korah, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzer and many more. In contemporary times we’ve seen the destructive impact of sin in public figures and fellow Christians as well. I had some points to help each of us identify and combat pride in our own minds, which I trust will be of some help.
Toward the end of the day I adjourned a little early, because I want to be able to spend some one-on-one time with each of the men. I’ve already had that with Reuel Dima before the other two arrived in town. So this afternoon I was able to meet with Joseph Baah.
Mr. Baah pastors in Winneba, Akim-Oda, Kuntanase and a small group that has developed in the western part of the capital city of Accra. So his area of responsibility ranges from smaller town to the biggest city in Ghana. Distance and the varied education level of the membership add some unique challenges to his workload.
After he left to get some dinner and return to his hotel (they are staying nearby), I went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. They had a buffet with fried chicken, fried rice, steamed vegetables and some Ghanaian dishes. As the lady behind the counter served my plate she noticed I passed over the various pepper sauces. She obviously couldn’t understand why I would want to eat my food without being properly seasoned! But I’ve had my experience with them before. They range from mildly warm to hot enough to burn a hole in your tongue and leave you gasping for air like a fish out of water. Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll pass…After dinner and talking with my wife, I’m going to go to bed a little early. Tomorrow I’ll get another half-day with the pastors before they have to begin their journey’s home.