This trip was fantastic because God was very good to us...in everything!
- Our travel was smooth, and even when we had a really close gap to make our flight in Istanbul, God made a way for us to make it.
- No one got horrifically sick. Imodium was taken, yes, but did it stop anyone from taking part in activities...no. This is massive considering last year pretty much everyone was really ill by the end.
- Everything was so laid back. We had a timetable that I had drafted before we got there and confirmed things on the first night. From there we just followed it; there were a few slight adjustments but we did everything we said we would do and yet had time to stop for roasted plantain/ice cream.
- Relationship building was at the centre of what we did and it was so positive. We built relationships with the students at Jubilee School, the congregation at Juaso Church, with the women who cooked for us, with our translators, with kids all over the place. God made a way for us to be able to connect with people quickly in order that we were able to learn from each other. We were SO blessed by relationships - a special one for me was building on a relationship I had started last year with a girl called Mary.
- Mary is in her final year at Jubilee School (the school that XLP have helped to build). She is SUCH a joker! Totally has a gift of leadership and also has a pretty good gift of organisation - she is the "dinner-hall prefect" so has to make sure everyone sets up the hall and cleans it well. I was really blessed by getting to know her a bit more - I see a lot of similarities between the 2 of us. She wants to study business administration at university and so it was a privilege to be able to take her and the other final years to an open day at the local university to let them see what its like. Hopefully it has inspired them to work hard and pass their exams.
This trip though was hugely challenging. I don't know whether God was hitting me with a lot of stuff or if I was just in a place where I noticed things more but yea it's had me thinking.
- MY OWN ATTITUDE - I really noticed how selfish I am. In a culture where people share everything and look out for each other and where extended family means you have a responsibility to them, I realised just how independent and self sufficient I am. Not that that in itself is a bad thing; but when it comes at the expense of others it is. I noticed that I was more worried about my own comfort than of the people around me who had so so much less.
- MY FUTURE - Some of you may know that I have always felt like God has called me to overseas mission of some nature and I guess I have no idea what that would be, but this trip really cemented for me that it is a possibility. God was challenging me on him being my sufficiency, and I don't know if it will ever happen, but I could picture myself living in a community like Dampong (where Jubilee School is)
- MY GIFTING - Growing up I have always seemed to fall into leadership. Like it has never been difficult for me to wind up in a position where I am leading something, whether it be a Christian Union, a sports team, a school or a youth group. But I think more and more God has been showing me the depth of that gifting. If I'm honest I don't "try" to lead. It's not like something that is an effort for me - it seems that my personality is one which seems to naturally lean towards leading. But I think God has been challenging me on how I do that in a more humble way.
I met up with my friend Annie today and was talking to her about how I don't want to forget these lessons - I don't want to just fall back into the same patterns I was in before I went to Ghana. I want to adjust my actions accordingly. So here are some actions...
- Do 1 generous thing for someone else every day.
- Purposely go out of my way to speak to someone I think is lonely
- Pray/fast about what God has for my future
- Spend time reading a book on leadership
- Speak to a leader I respect to ask if they will informally mentor me
I would appreciate any other ideas as to how to put into practise things I have learned - comment away!
Ghana take 3 was different to any trip before, but totally immense.