From Scowls to Smiles

While we were in Ghana God opened the door for an outreach in a “town”.    Ningo lies on the coast, is a fairly large town and its people lie under the bondage of the enemy.  Once we arrived it did not take long to realize that this town was not like others in Ghana I have visited.  Ghanaians are very friendly people by nature, but this day our friends were few and far between.

Pastor Fred is a man of God that has taken on the calling to preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of this oppressed community.

Our dear friends and partners, the Beebes have been attending his church in Ningo for a time and one night God kept Pastor Fred awake for hours, burdening his heart for an outreach.  A community wide outreach to share the gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the needy, heal the sick and ultimately “Save a Sinking Soul”.

On Saturday, September 15 we (Pastor Fred, O’Leary’s, Beebe’s, GMI, and FTO volunteers) gathered in Ningo to worship and pray over the day.  We then divided to walk through the town and invite people in the community to the outreach.

Sydney, Keenan and I went with John Nyavor and Richard Wendo (our partners at GMI) to witness to the people and invite them to hear about our Jesus.  We came upon 5 children helping their mother do laundry.  As soon as the mother saw us, she scowled and ran off leaving the children to finish the work.  We spoke with the children and asked them to join us for the outreach where they would receive new clothing and a hot meal. They told us that their father saw the bulletin announcing the program earlier in the week and told them not to go anywhere near the outreach or he would beat them.

We left the children and moved onto the main street where the villagers were holding a funeral.  Thousands were gathered and were worshipping their false gods.  The Lord spoke to me in that moment and told me to purchase some credits for my phone, and as I looked, I was standing right next to a small hut that sold them.  I bought some credits for my phone and realized why the Lord told me to do so.  You see, the man working there was the father of the 5 children we had just left, the father that told his children to have nothing to do with us, the outreach, or Jesus.  The man spoke little English and John started telling him about Jesus and how he needed him.  Within a few minutes, the man prayed to accept Christ right there on main street in front of the funeral where all the attendees were wearing their colorful garb representing the evil which they serve.  Praise God!

As John was praying with this father, I saw another man standing there and started to engage him about Christ.  As I walked toward him, he SCOWLED at me with hate and disgust in his eyes.  I tried to tell him about Jesus, but he spoke no English at all.  John walked up and realized the man did not speak any of the 4 languages he spoke either. However, Richard did speak this man’s language of Dangbe, so he translated for John.  The Spirit of God was moving and within 30 seconds of John simply telling this angry man that he lovingly needed Jesus – everything changed.  God drew this man to Christ and he eagerly prayed to accept Jesus as Lord right then and there – again in front of the whole town to see.  Then the man asked if he could follow us wherever we were going – so we all walked to the outreach together.  Walked together to worship a God who loves all, understands all and saves all.

As we walked up, we were amazed at what the Lord had done.  Over 200 children were already there singing to Jesus, the King who they would soon hear about.  And a really cool thing – the 5 children of the father who said he would beat them if they came, they were there because their father had an encounter with the one true God!  He had gone home to get them!

After the gospel was presented, there was an opportunity to come forward and accept Christ.  The first one out of his seat and moving forward was the man that came with us, the man who scowled at me in the begining behind hate filled eyes. Because of his boldness to stand for Christ, others followed him forward.  The man that looked at me initially with disdain in his eyes, was now beaming and smiling ear to ear filled with the hope and love of Jesus!

I asked Pastor Fred to look after and disciple him as he would be attending his church now.  Fred prayed over him right there and prophesied that this new believer would be a great man of God and lead many to Christ.  John had no idea of this prophesy, but that night he had a dream that this same man was traveling throughout Ghana into many oppressed towns and leading many to Christ as a great evangelist.  God will certainly use this man in mighty ways!

What struck me most about this day of outreach to a town captured in darkness was the power of the name of Jesus.  We say that, we sing about that, but to personally witness the power in His name moved me.  As American Christians I think we try too hard to explain/understand/rationalize the Gospel.  We are saturated with “knowledge” of the Gospel, but far too often miss the true simplicity and love of the Good News.  All we need is Jesus, He truly is enough, He truly is THE answer.  With just hearing the name of Jesus and feeling Christ’s love through John, this man’s life changed forever and as a result many more lives will be changed and the bondage of the enemy WILL BE broken.

The generosity of many of you poured in and we were able to feed the masses, bring many pillowcase dresses, clothes and bibles with us for the outreach.  God used you to share the gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the needy, heal the sick and ultimately “Save a Sinking Soul”.



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