Below is the sermon that Rev. Christiansen delivered at Chilmark Community Church on Dec. 5. To contact him re. his work or how you can contribute email DGCatBCC@aol.com or phone at 860-751-0791. Also posted below is a list of the work Carol and David did in 2010.
December 5, 2010 – Endi – Good morning in the language of the Ewe people. Good Morning –
It is a privilege to be here on this Second Sunday in Advent as we prepare for the celebration once again of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. In the lesson read today from Matthew’s gospel we have the familiar story of John the Baptist proclaiming the word, calling for the people to change repent and be ready for the coming of one who is to the Messiah- the Savior of the world. God has a plan which is going to fulfill and John is urging them to change their ways and turn from self toward the ways of God.
Today, I bring you greetings from the people of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana West Africa and from my friends in the villages of Takla and Kpenoe and the city of Ho and other communities in the Volta Region of Ghana . I want to thank you for your continuing support, as we set up annually at the Chilmark Flea Market with goods and crafts from Ghana . Thanks for the leadership of Phyllis Conway, Pat Lynch , Anne Dietrich and others throughout the years for making this venue a possibility for local crafts, merchants, artists, and all. Thank you for allowing me to share the ongoing story of a wonderful and mutually beneficial mission partnership which Carol and I and those who have traveled with us have been blessed by and been a blessing to..
“ Unless God builds the house , its builders labor in vain. In Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
In Ghana , the people truly know the truth of these words from the Psalmist.
God is good all the time and all the time God is good! The Psalmist writes as was read this morning, “ When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed – our mouths were filled with laughter- our tongues with songs of joy . Moving from a time of slavery through colonialism and now into a period of nation building . the people of Ghana feel God is building them into a nation, In worship , as a communal society, they strongly identify with the Hebrew people as God forged them into a nation through the centuries.
Each congregation has an Israel group remembering the Exodus and the national government encourages unity, and while recognizing diversity seeks to discourage ethnic identity.. Joyful songs fill the air and they praise God for they believe “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” They recognize that is by God’s grace that they live and move and have their being. Carol and I truly believe that God working out Hs plan for and there are no coincidences. God has gone ahead and prepare the way to this very day for indeed God knows our every need and through payer God in God’s time fulfills them and afterward we often see the evidence. As we travel and share our work in Ghana, we see this so often. We have come to call them God winks- like an approving grandfather watching the grandchildren and protecting and guiding them. For example,
We were traveling between Ho in the Volta Region and the Capital, Accra. The road is long and there is very little on the road but walking paths to small villages. There is no AAA road service, no tow trucks, and very little places to stop for mechanical services. Our 25 year old vehicle came to an abrupt stop and the driver determined the clutch had failed. AS we looked around just 200 yards away was the only repair place for miles around. The driver went to get aid and the man at the repair place came with a wrench. Together they worked under the van diagnosed the problem, went to a shed nearby and came back with clutch fluild and an O-ring, the only they had. It fit and we were on our way in less than half an hour. God will make a way.
In Ghana , we ask what can we do to help and have ended up basically teaching and preaching, among other things. Generally we call our time, “ a ministry of presence, asking what we can do to help the folk already working there.. Most recently, we seem to more involved as bridge-builders between United States and world resources and Ghana needs We work with the leaders of the villages, the church elders, the District chiefs and ministers of Parliament of the country `to help facilitate the process of getting safe drinking water to our partner villages which are now supplied only by several major hand-pumped wells and lack sanitation. We continue to work in collaboration with Rotary International and the Ho Municipal Water and Sanitation Commission to come up with a comprehensive plan to enhance the water delivery system to these remote villages. This project has been in the works since July of 2002. Recently work has begun to bring water and sanitation programs to life into as many as 20 rural villages including Takla, through Rotary International and USAID to Africa.
We also were able to find a licensed pharmacist at the Volta Regional Hospital willing to do the necessary paperwork to receive pharmaceuticals from a major drug company in Florida.
Education and agricultural development also are projects of the church and we have helped to help the teachers in the church sponsored schools. Funds have been used to pay the school fees and keep schools open, in feeding people at the Leprosarium. We support programs at the Women’s Activity Center and mixed with other mission partners, including Church World Service help sustain the work of Ho Farms and encourage micro- loan businesses.
We bring school books and tee-shirts, eye glasses, and medical supplies. They are looking for classics. Exams are based on reading certain classics- and other important information. Suitable to age, We had been given some works by Shakespeare to give to the only Girls High School In Ghana they uses the British system. We had many books and so decided to share with Mawuli Junior High. We invited an English teacher tp come and choose some books. We laid them out for her choose a few. She looked them over and began to cry as she picked up “Much Ado About Nothing” . Marian said she had been looking for the book for two years since there were questions on the grade eight exam and there were none to be had in Ho. We asked her how she would use it and she said they would copy it and distribute to groups of eight students to read and share. Now when they take the exam they will have a better chance of passing. God knew the need and by His grace, we were able to deliver a gift from the United States.
This year in addition to helping out and doing follow-up in all the previous places and projects, we are expanding our work We were able 100 pairs of eyeglasses to needy people through the EP Church. We distributed funds, educational material and clothes as well. Our bulletin insert gives a more detailed listing our 2010 group activities, projects, and gifts.
Alfalit International, based in Miami Florida, with a grant from USAID to Africa, has asked us to find someone or group willing to oversee and initiate their program in Ghana. To that end, the EP Church leadership is currently considering this new venture as we seek to continue to build bridges across the world Our 2010 team included 2 nurses from Christ Congregational Church, UCC, Miami Florida who shared their gifts and skills.
The people of Ghana praise God, trust God and are doing all that they can to help
themselves. They trust God, believe God’s word – and are honestly and with great integrity pressing on knowing it by His grace, that we all live and move and have our being. For this reason Carol and I believe so heartily in what we are
doing. Their faith, honesty and integrity bless us so much.
God sent John to prepare the way and each time we return to Ghana, we see evidence that God is making a way where there seems to be no way. By His grace. God has allowed us to be part of it. Pray for us and our partners in the EP Church
-Together let us prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight paths for Him as each and everyone of us discovers his or her mission in life for indeed we are blessed to be a blessings.
Shared at Chilmark Community Church, December 5, 2010 by the Rev. David Christensen, Ministries in Ghana West Africa.
2010- Ghana Up-date
We greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Carol and I want to thank you for your prayers and continuing concern for our mission and ministry in Ghana. This summer we were able to return to Ghana for three weeks and were joined by a group of nurses from South Florida. In addition to sharing in a pastor’s funeral at Kpalime –Duga EP Church, we lead worship and preached 6 times in Takla, Kpenoe, Dzogbefeme, Alavanyo Wudidi, and at Mawuko Girls School and administered Holy Communion at Kpenoe. Thank you!
By God’s grace and your support, we were able to accomplish the following:
Share in teaching in primary schools in Takla, Kpenoe, Akoefe, Ho Heve, Ho Dome, and Elmina Itura and left educational materials at these schools .
Our nurses from Florida spent 5 days at Volta Regional Hospital, some time in schools as well. Met with Regional Director to initiate process of receiving donated pharmaceuticals from the United States through Americares.
We delivered funds and /or materials to Ho Farms, the Leprosarium, the Evangelical Church Headquarters, the Women’s Activity Center, the EP Church. Men’s Spiritual Center, the Clinic at Alvanyo, and rural clinics through EP Church headquarters as well funds to build-up the secondary and primary scholarship funds in Takla and funds to Ho Heve Primary School for all orphan attending that school.
We delivered clothes to the rural clinics through EP Church Head office and through the pastor to the widows and orphans in Takla.
In addition we were able fund cataract surgery for a needy Kpenoe village member. We gave partial funds toward a future hernia operation for an infant.
We funded two scholarships for secondary school students through the office of the Executive Presbyter of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Funded the salaries of the Executive and support staff of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church for one month.
Paid for a term of university education for a Kindergarten teacher continuing her education.
Bought slates for Kindergarten at Takla
Purchased 130 mathematical kits for Mawuli Junior High and 140 mathematical kits for Ho Kpodzi Junior High. And 46 mathematical instrument kits and 20 t-squares for Takla Junior High School.
Met with the Executive Leadership of 800 member churches of EP Church to assist them as they do ministry and to initiate work on Alfalit..
Visit two crèches in Klefe and Alavanyo to assess need.
Followed up on water projects with local chief s and water committees, in continued partnerships with Rotary Clubs in Ghana and the states in conjunction with US AID /Africa..
Delivered additional funds and met with building committee for the Dr. Robert Everson Memorial Library at Mawuko Girls School where he visited and taught in 2006. A one year scholarship was also granted to a brilliant but needy girl at Mawuko. Another girl’s studies were covered to save her from selling herself for school fees.
Visited and distributed eye glasses to the Shepherd’s Center for the Ageing, Ghana, an inter-faith based coordinating center for Ageing and EP Seminary at Peki-Blengo.
Peace and Blessings – David and Carol Christensen
The Ghana Mission Project
All profits from the sale of this item and any donations are to be used in Ghana to support projects operating in con- junction with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana or existing government programs. Continuing and recently initiated projects receiving support in the Ho, Volta Region:
Educational grants for Primary and Secondary School students
Grants to the Women’s Activity Training Centre for unwed mothers
Micro-loans helping initiate small businesses by village women
Grants to primary and junior secondary schools
Well and water distribution system projects, including bore hole, solar pump, storage tank, and plumbing through villages in conjunction with Rotary International and USA Aid Africa
Scholarship grants to students pursuing Associates Teaching Degree
Medical supplies and grants for rural medical clinics
Food and clothing for members of the Volta Region leper colony