Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts

The still of night took me by surprise. There were few places lit, few noises at all. All I could really hear was the breeze blowing softly through the grass outside. Still, I could feel the peacefulness rising up inside of me, and I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I wrote this the morning I woke early to attend a morning service with MPU (Methodist Presbyterian Union). I was unsure of what to expect, but because the service was at 4:30 am, I was ready for anything. The morning worship went peacefully and I realize that in that moment, worshipping with the body of Christ was exactly what I had needed since my arrival in Ghana.

It even hit me the night before when I was attending a bible study with a bunch of international students. Upon reflecting on that night after bible study I wrote,

We crammed into a small room and talked about fellowship, Jesus, and the community we are looking for in Ghana. More importantly, we talked about building relationships with those at the night market. No, not going into the night market looking to convert; rather, going to the night market and listening to those providing us with goods. We want to build relationships; we want to treat the workers in the night market as friends and come to know them as our brothers and sisters. This makes me full of excitement—this is what fellowship is all about—just loving one another. This is what Jesus is all about.

It was such a great feeling—to know that I had found a spiritual community here in Ghana. We sang songs at the beginning, introduced each other, read over the Word, and got in smaller groups to pray together. Ever since my plane landed I have been relying on God more than ever before, and it was good to share my heart with other people. This entire adventure is testing me, challenging me, and I can feel myself more and more relying on God. This is good—great even—because it has always been hard for me to follow God's plan for me. Instead, I have often chosen to go my own way, forging my own path, and making my own plans. I have decided that from here on out, I want to allow myself to be more vulnerable. I have already stepped outside my comfort zone so much, but I want to be pushed a little more. I want to follow God, going where He wants me, and to do so, I think I need to put myself out there, and see what happens.

I am around the right people who will be there every step of the way as this journey unfolds.

I am experiencing a great fellowship of believers, something that is described in Acts as,

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. (Acts 2: 42-46)

Ghana is very much a Christian nation. Practically every vehicle has a bold display of "God first" or the common symbol meaning "God" embellished on the front of the cars. Many of the people we are meeting are nice, caring, and welcoming. As we intermingle with Ghanaians, and I meet more people from this beautiful country, it is my hope that this fellowship I am lucky to be with does not stick only to each other, but reach out and give thanks to this new environment. Part of being a Christian is to love, and it is important to love our fellow Ghanaians. It might start with listening to a woman at the night market, or maybe smiling at the cab driver, or even striking up conversation with those you pass by on the streets. I don't really have a particular way of envisioning what it looks like, but I know it is possible.

Let's break bread and share our hearts.


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