February 2013 Update
Benjamin Ward (2008)
Dear Prayer Partners,
Here are some praises and prayer requests.
• I made it back to Ghana!
• I had a great time at home seeing people and visiting my family over the holidays.
• Our team as we continue working on ministry vision and strategy in order to be as effective in the country as we can be.
• Safety as I travel back and forth between Ghana and Togo.
• March 22-27th as we will travel to the north of Togo to share evangelism films and the gospel in a couple of villages.
Christmas at Home
It is hard for me to believe that I have been here for a month and this is the first letter that I have written to you all! Time has this tendency to get away from me, as I am sure many of you can relate! haha. Christmas was really good this year. I was able to get home for the holidays and for some meetings in Pennsylvania. While I was at home I was able to see my whole family and to even babysit my nephew. I was able to enjoy lots of good Canadian food and fellowship, and “Home Sweet Home” as we call it, will always be just that.
My OTHER - “Home Sweet Home!”
But today marks one month from the day that I left Canada to come back to Ghana, my OTHER “Home Sweet Home.” I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it has already been a month, and there is so much that has happened that you don’t know, what I need to tell you about is how I almost didn’t make it here!
On January 15th I had my sister in law drive me to the airport in Calgary, AB, all my bags in hand, packed to 23.5 kg and praying the airline staff wouldn’t want to weigh my carry-on bags... When I got up to the ticketing counter and handed over my passport, the attendant asked to see my return ticket. I said, “I haven’t got a return ticket,” and they proceeded to tell me that without a return ticket, they were not going to allow me on the plane because Ghana’s policy is that everyone entering the country needs a return ticket and the airline didn’t want to get fined for sending me there without one... I proceeded to show the attendant my Ghana drivers license and to explain that I have lived in Ghana and Togo for the last year and a half, and I would be traveling the border, but the manager she called wouldn’t budge. Funny enough, when I mentioned that I had my own motorcycle there, the person who was helping me had to go and passed me onto the next attendant, who called the manager again with the “new information.” They collectively agreed that they would only send me as far as London, UK, where I would have to collect all my bags and re-check in with the other airline (let the other airline deal with the guy who doesn’t have a return ticket...). NOT wanting to get stuck in London, I frantically started calling ABWE administrators and presidents trying to have letters written that might help in the case of a refusal to let me fly to Ghana. Eventually I just decided that if it became necessary, I would buy a refundable return ticket from Ghana to London, and cancel it once I arrived in Ghana. Funny enough, after I arrived in London, went through immigration, collected my bags and went to the ticketing counter again, I stood there for less than a minute as they checked my bags and hardly said, “boo.” I even nervously asked about the return ticket ordeal and the person helping said she didn’t know anything about it. I quickly said, “Thank you.” with a smile on my face and no grass growing under my feet. I am so glad to be back in Ghana, and I am looking forward to all the great and awesome things that God is going to use me here to accomplish for His glory. Once I arrived, I waited in the line at airport immigration for more than an hour, got up to the booth, and was on Ghana soil in less than 15 minutes. All the taxis wanted to charge me white man prices (overpriced and outrageous), and so trucked my bags 6 minutes down the sidewalk and got a much more reasonable quote for the trip to the guest house. The next day I bused up to Ho and started settling in! Love it!
Back and Busy!
So what has been happening since I have been back? All kinds! Over the last month I have continued to work as the administrator of our ten acre property as I have developed the budget for the next year, worked on staffing security guards, complied a more thorough contract for them to sign this coming week, burned a lot of the elephant grass on the property so we can see the neighbors and don’t live as much in a jungle, etc. I also had the opportunity to go to Togo last week to be the photographer for a friends wedding, and while I was there I was able to visit my Togolese family (who I lived with during my language study) and see the chickens that I bought for pastor back in September. You might remember seeing a couple of pictures of the chicken coop I was building back then, and it is really exciting! I bought them 50 chickens, and up to now, only one died, so they are left with 49, eight of which are laying eggs every day as of Tuesday, and within the next three weeks, will be laying between 40-45 eggs every day. This is very exciting as these 49 chickens will provide, Lord willing, 75% of pastor’s salary, which will mean that he won’t have to do as much farming and can dedicate that much more time to the ministry. If this proves successful, then maybe I will be able to start something like this for more of our pastors, since eggs are always in demand. Our pastors frequently struggle with not having enough for their families and not having sufficient time to dedicate to the work. If this is a viable option down the road, maybe some of you could support a pastor here by starting him off with a chicken farm! That would be really neat!
Thank you again so much for all of your prayers and your support.
Born to be a slave of Jesus Christ,
Psalm 27:1-4, 27
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