Sabbath Services in Mile 9

Saturday, January 25, 2014
Obuasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana
Last night was a rough night's sleep. I was struggling with the time change anyway, but a floor below me some kind of Pentecostal group was having a prayer/sing/chant/play REALLY LOUD music most of the night. They finally wound it down somewhere after 4 am. Needless to say I didn't leave the hotel feeling well-rested this morning!!

Daniel Bottah and three of the Amanfo family arrived at the gate shortly after 7 and we started off to the village of Mile 9 .  Daniel and his wife, Dorcas, have purchased a small used Toyota, and they are always anxious to take us wherever we need to go. We have to go south to Obauasi, a major mining town, and then go west 9 miles off the paved road.

The mine has begun strip mining in the surrounding countryside, so large portions of the once beautiful jungle are now all torn up. I only hope they will reclaim the land when they are done, but wouldn't hold out much hope in this part of the world.

Because this is nothing but a dirt road, and they now have heavy trucks and equipment going back and forth over it, the road was the worst I've seen it. In fact, I'd have to say it is about the worst road I've ever had the "privilege" of traveling! The final 9 miles took us almost an hour, and the same coming back. If it weren't for the fact that we are still in the dry season, Daniel's small Toyota would never have made it. Many of the pot holes are so large and so deep that when we crossed through them the sides of the potholes  were level with the bottom of the windows on the car . Full of water it would take a big 4WD or one of the large mining vehicles to get through this way. As careful as we were, there was no way to cross some of those sections without dragging something (sounded like the exhaust pipe) at times. We all cringed every time, but there wasn't much we could do about it.

For services we use a room of the Mile 9 school building. We had about 39 present, and all seemed happy to see me again. Out in the rural areas the level of education is much lower, so there are far fewer of the brethren who can speak English. But we can smile, shake hands and play charades a little bit. It is fellowship, although on a rather limited basis!

I gave a sermon on what it means to be a disciple. In Matthew 28:19 Christ commissioned the Church with the responsibility of making disciples of those the Father would call. The current disciples would then make disciples of the next generation, and the cycle continues to us today . That means all of us have to become disciples at some point, and I pointed out that never stops. No matter how long we've been in the Church, no matter what position or responsibility we may have gained, we never stop being disciples. That job requires learning, imitating Jesus Christ, enduring struggles and setbacks, bearing spiritual fruit and loving one another as Christ loved us, among other things.

After services they occasionally will provide a cold drink and some pineapple for everyone, and today was one of those days. Cold drinks are such a treat for them that I passed one by and just stuck to the small bottle of water I'd brought with me. I did have a little of the pineapple, and it was absolutely as fresh as it can be! My guess would be that pineapple was growing in the field until sometime yesterday afternoon!  

Just before we left I was attempting to communicate with one of the oldest ladies in the congregation, with only very limited success. She kept asking me something I didn't understand. From the laughter of those around I could guess maybe she was asking if I could help her find a husband. I've had that happen before, but I always explain that airline regulations do not allow me to check potential husbands in with my luggage - and since I've been spoken for a long time now, I'm unable to help with that request!  (The regulations apply to taking potential brides back to the States with me too...)

Daniel is still a pretty new driver, and was struggling a bit with the traffic on the highway. So partway down he asked if I would take over driving for him, which I did. On the way back, once we made it back to the paved road we turned north toward Kumasi and everyone else in the car promptly fell asleep. Oh well, once we get close I can wake someone to direct me which streets to take to reach my hotel.

As it turned out, there was no need for me to wake anyone. I slowed down to cross a very large set of "rumble strips", and once over started to accelerate when the gas pedal just went all the way to the floor and stayed there. The engine was just idling smoothly, so I coasted us to the shoulder to get out of the traffic flow.  

This Toyota has a throttle cable that runs up and attaches to a pulley on the outside of the throttle assembly. I quickly found that much of the plastic coating on the cable was gone, the cable was fairly rusty and now was broken. No friendly neighborhood "mechanics" nearby, so I asked if he had a pair of pliers and any wire. He got the pliers and scavenged a piece of wire from something in the trunk that obviously isn't working any longer (at least it isn't working now...). As I started trying to figure out how to attach it, unbeknownst to us, Daniel grabbed a taxi to go in to find the nearest mechanic.  

After maybe 10 minutes I had jury rigged the wire so the throttle assembly would function again. As many times as I watched my grandpa jury rig things on the farm with bailing wire and duct tape, I think grandpa would have been right proud of my "engineering" feat!  

So I started it up - and we discovered Daniel was gone. When we tried calling his phone kept ringing from the seat right beside me, not good.  Busy traffic on a major highway coming into Kumasi in a jury rigged car whose owner has taken off into town. Could be interesting!  

Ofori Amanfo, the pastor I was traveling with, suggested we just go on up the highway and we'd find him. As many people and vehicles as were out, that would take some doing, but we decided to try it in faith. We stopped at one mechanic shop, and they hadn't seen him. So we went about two miles further on, and were about to turn around and go back when we saw another mechanic shop a little off the road. And who should be standing there - but Daniel! We waived him over and continued on into my hotel.  

I tried to be very gentle with the throttle, but my completely unconventional fix held the pressure and worked like a charm!  With the right part it will be a pretty simple fix, and Daniel felt sure he could get that done tomorrow.  

After getting back I went for a slightly early dinner. Unfortunately, I just lost a crown off one of my lower molars. Rather inconvenient timing, since I'm about 8,000 miles away from my dentist and I don't have a bottle of super glue with me... But I think I can work with this. It is a bit sensitive to temperature, but I believe I'll be fine with it until I get back home to have the guy who put it on to begin with put it back on.
Later this evening I'll meet with two of the pastors, and I'll also finish prepping for the classes I want to present tomorrow. Provided we don't have another loud musical revival below me tonight, I should get a good night's sleep and be ready to meet with the Ghanaian pastors and elders beginning at 9:00am.

Photos & Videos


Clyde Kilough

Just your average Sabbath circuit! Had the same experience with a religious group in Zambia, except they started the singing and music at 4 a.m.--no sleep once it starts up! Take care, and have a good meeting tomorrow.

Larry Caldwell

Oh! what an adventure!! It is definitely a different world.


Believe it or not, toothpaste might hold your crown on temporarily. :)


Toothpaste - thank you for the suggestion! It is holding it in place, and by doing so makes it much less sensitive to temperature. That helps!!

Tess Washington

Mr. Clark, rest up and have a good night sleep tonight. Hopefully, all things will be much better tomorrow. Hopefully, your tooth will not bother you while on this trip and hopefully, Daniel's car can and will be fixed tomorrow.