This month is my five year anniversary in Ghana and in Lawra. I have seen and done so much in these years. God has truly blessed me. Lawra has changed and so have I.
Now, in Lawra, there are more than two paved roads! And street signs! The internet connection is so much better. I can use a VPN. I can use FaceTime and Skype. I can download a music CD in less than six hours. The Methodist clinic where I worked when I first came has grown so much. There are eight or nine trained medical staff. The client numbers have gone from maybe ten a day to sixty a day. Agamal has arrived! They spray the inside of your house each year to kill mosquitoes and prevent them from feeling welcome. NGOs have arrived to help with development...small business grants, farming helps, and more. People have been expanding their businesses. There is an ATM machine at the bank. (Trips to Wa for money are no longer necessary.) Pre-paid electricity meters have been installed on the houses in Lawra town. The OA bus comes through Lawra, so it is possible to travel straight from Lawra to Accra. The DKM bus comes through Lawra, too, and travels to Sunyani. Green peppers are available almost all year! Non-dairy coffee creamer can be bought in town! Special needs children are accepted and seen as blessings and valuable members of their families. The nursing school has expanded. A new fuel station has been built and will soon begin to sell cooking gas! Lawra has a radio station. The Home Touch Restaurant has arrived with excellent food. Alas, not all has improved...now we only receive mail once a week instead of three. The Metro Mass busses don't come through Lawra as often. Cases of bottled Coke are no longer sold in Lawra. As you can see, the improvements far out weigh the things that aren't as convenient as they once were. I'm good with that!
Change hasn't only affected Lawra. It's affected me, too. That's a little harder for me to see. I came to work with small children who were at risk. I am now taking care of village churches. I preach most Sundays. I drive a motorcycle! I am "Maakum" or "Grandmother" to many. I know how to properly dress for a funeral. I know how to properly eat according to the customs here. I know greetings and other words and phrases in Dagaare. (I understand more than I can say, but, I can't speak well enough to preach.) I can read Dagaare. My hair has gotten lighter because of the strong sun. My weight is harder to loose because of driving the motorcycle. But, in the big picture, that all doesn't really matter, does it?
The things that matter - change there is harder for me to see. Yes, I say I trust the Lord. But, do I really? When I am afraid, what do I do? I pray. So, that's good, right? I have had to depend on the Lord more and more since I have been living here. There are dangers here in Lawra, although they are mainly health related. But, there are also battles, spiritual battles. Because of this, I need to be prepared. I need to keep my eyes and ears open because the deceiver (I learned the Dagaare word for "deceiver" this past week!) comes in a variety of ways. My quiet time with Him becomes more precious and more important everyday. I believe my walk with the Lord has gotten more personal, stronger. But, the closer I get to Him, the more I realise how much there is yet to allow Him to change in me. It's all good. Five years of change is just a beginning. I pray He allows me to stay for many more. There is more change to help facilitate...for HIM!
Follower of Christ, Cross Cultural Worker, presently serving Christ in the Lawra area of the Upper West Region of Ghana.