Esther is a member of the Kunyukuo Methodist Church. Recently, she received word that her daughter had died down south. The daughter, who was not yet 20 years old, had left the village to travel south hoping to find a job carrying things at market.. Esther traveled to the south for the burial and funeral. But, there also needed to be a funeral in her home village, too. Her culture requires this to happen.
Esther is a follower of Jesus. Her ex-husband follows the Traditional relion. So, when the time came for the Traditional rites to be performed on the parents of the deceased girl, Esther refused. "I am a Christian. I will not take part in these rites." she said. The community elders were not happy. They wanted both the mother and father to participate and, among other things, have their heads shaved. I was notified of this situation. So, I hopped on my motorcycle and traveled to Kunyukuo to meet with the family and some of the elders of the community. A compromise was made, one that was satisfactory to both parties. On the same day and at the same time as the Traditional rites for the father of the girl, the mother, Esther, would meet with us and the pastor. We would have a Christian counterpart to the Traditional rites.
Saturday, the day for the ceremonies to take place, had arrived. We drove out to Kunyukuo and met at the house of Ester's ex-husband. Chairs were set out. Water was offered. Greetings were made. And then, the service began. The pastor preached an appropriate sermon. Songs were sung. Hands were laid on Esther and we prayed for her. And, soon, it was finished.
I had been touched by Esther's faith. She did not compromise in a difficult situation. Her faith held firm. I don't see that very often. Most times, a little bit of both traditions is done. But, Ester held onto her convictions and was not afraid to speak up. I asked if I could speak. I commended Esther for her faith. And, then I did something that I didn't plan. It was most likely an American thing, totally against culture, but people didn't seem to mind. I took off my cross necklace that I had been wearing since I came to Ghana. It has the word "faith" written on the side of it. I put it around Esther's neck and told her to continue sharing her faith. This cross itself has no power, but, Who it represents does. I encouraged Esther to tell her story of faith in the One True God when people asked about the cross she was now wearing. Then, I sat next to her, and we grieved together. I pray that the Lord will continue to keep Esther's faith strong until the day she sees Him face to face.
Follower of Christ, Cross Cultural Worker, presently serving Christ in the Lawra area of the Upper West Region of Ghana.