This week Katie tells us a bit about the work she’s getting up to in Ghana at the moment. This is the first of a few posts. so be excited for more to come!
My day began at 5.30am when I was woken by a chorus of frogs croaking noisily outside my window. Rainy season in Gushegu, Ghana means breeding season for frogs, and an early start for me. School begins at 7.30am so I was feeling pretty bleary eyed by the time I got to Project Share Primary School in time for assembly. I’m spending an hour each morning with two 8-year-olds, Naziru and Latifa, helping them read in English. It isn’t always an easy process; I can’t speak any of the local language and their English is very basic, but we get by communicating in smiles and nudges, and the occasional drawing or diagram. When lessons finish I bike over to the Neesim (which means ‘light’) Nutrition Centre, also run by Project Share. Malnourished babies and their mothers come to receive treatment and education on how to eat a healthy diet in order to get their kids looking nice and fat again. I come here every day to check on the children’s progress, say hello to the mothers and give the nutritionist a hand with things that need doing.
This daily routine isn’t my normal every-day life; I’ve travelled thousands of miles to spend time with Project Share in Ghana, and ever since I began planning the trip I’ve been asking myself ‘why?’
I’ve always shied away from the term ‘mission’ as I tend to associate it with the cliché of a white missionary woman frogmarching people to church to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus. I’ve also spent the majority of my life not being 100% sure of what Jesus’ mission really is, so avoiding the term altogether has become the easy way out. But since being in Ghana I’ve been struck by what Jesus says in Matthew 25 verses 35 and 36: “for I was hungry and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me…” These things are what bring the Kingdom of God to Earth and this is what I understand mission to be, giving our lives to loving our neighbour. We don’t need to go to Ghana or some other far-flung country of the world to find people who are hungry and in need of friendship, but it’s been an incredible experience to serve those who are more needy than I could ever have imagined from the comfort of my sofa in the UK. I’m pretty sure that I will be better able to serve those in my friendship group, my university and community when I’m home as a result of what I’ve been part of here.
What I find most compelling about the story of Jesus is the extent to which he loved people. He was crucified for claiming the good news was for the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the poor and the outcasts. “Whatever [we] do for the least one of these people, we do for [him]” Jesus said. As followers of Jesus we are taught to do the same, to live lives that are open to our neighbours, whether they live next door or in Ghana.