Update by Elder Danny Chandler on the work in Ghana:
GHANA MISSION TRIP 1/17/2017 – 2/1/2017
On Tuesday morning January 17, 2017 six of us Brothers met at the Nashville airport to begin a two week Mission trip to various areas in Ghana, West Africa. Brother Charles Patterson from Gladdice MBC in Jackson Co. TN, Brother Joe Armfield from Dover MBC in Scottsville, KY., Brother Danny Chandler and Brother Ken Legge from Sulphur Fork MBC in Sumner Co. TN; Brother Tony Day from Maple Grove No. 2 in Lafayette TN who was accompanied by his long time friend Brother Bo Leslie, also from the Lafayette area. Brother Bo had just been saved this past September and had a great desire to be a part of this trip.
We arrived in Accra, Ghana on the morning of January 18th where we were met by Brother Samuel Sekyere and three other brothers from Mt. Zion MBC in Kumasi. Brother Tony Day, with some financial assistance from others supporting the works in Ghana, had previously purchased a 15 passenger van here in the USA. He rebuilt, refurbished, repainted and shipped it to Mt. Zion church, arriving there just a few months ago. The van was loaded with 13 suitcases, 6 carry on bags, 4 brothers from Kumasi and us six brothers from the USA. To say it was full would be an understatement. Thus loaded we began our six hour drive from Accra to Kumasi. The fellowship was sweet during the long drive, but the most appreciated part was the Air Conditioning in the 100+ heat of Africa. THANK YOU Brother Tony!!
In July of 2016, Brothers Brad Hicks, Brother Jeff Elliot and Brother Jonathan Elliot had assisted Mt. Zion church in hosting the first Missionary Baptist Ministers and Deacons School in Ghana. That session was well attended and enjoyed by all involved. I believe it was the beginning of a much needed training and uniting of the next generation of Pastors and Missionaries that will continue the work begun by our Ghanaian Brothers Samuel Sekyere and Paul Owusu nearly 20 years ago. This second two and a half day session was again well attended by over 30 Preachers and Deacons representing the 5 churches and 3 active Mission works currently ongoing in Ghana. Although the primary teaching lessons were developed and presented by Brothers Patterson, Day and Chandler, the open question and answer times were participated in by all and were in themselves great opportunities of learning for all participants. We have encouraged those in Ghana to continue these most important sessions and for them to begin to take on the teaching rolls while we from the USA move into the background.
After the last session of the school on Saturday, all the Preachers and Deacons returned to their various locations. Sunday morning Brother Joe Armfield went to Ebenezer MBC to preach, Brother Tony Day went to preach at a Mission point in a village close to Kumasi named Humane (sp?), and Brother Legge, Brother Patterson and myself (Brother Chandler) went to MtZion. We were told latter that day that one had been saved at Ebenezer that morning. After good services in all locations we split up for the rest of the trip. Brother Ken Legge and I headed 3 hrs North to Atebubu with Brother Paul Owusu and his family to hold revival services further up north at Trinity MBC in Prang. Brothers Patterson, Day and Armfield remained in the Kumasi area to hold revival services at Ebenezer MBC and the Mission point in Humane.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights Brother Legge and I met with Trinity MBC in Prang where folks from the Mission point in Beposo were also transported in. The church was pretty full each night and many were on the Altar seeking almost from the time I began preaching. On the final night there, one lady was in such distress and crying out to the Lord with such passion that I could hardly preach loud enough to be heard over her. I was not surprised to hear the next morning that she had been saved. There were a total of four who gave testimonies of salvation at Trinity during our 3 nights there. On Wednesday morning we were also privileged to preach to all the students at the New Covenant School in Atebubu where there were approximately two hundred students, with the greater majority of them being from sixth grade through twelfth grade.
While Brother Legge and I were in Atebubu and Prang, Brothers Tony Day and Charlie Patterson were holding services down in the Kumasi area at Ebenezer MBC and at the Humane Mission. The services were all well attended and we had reports of three being saved at Ebenezer and four being saved at Humane mission. During this time, Brother Joe Armfield accompanied by Brother Nathaniel Sekyere (Brother Samuel’s 20 year old son) took a bus 4 hours south to Cape Coast and preached in the new Mission at Amosima on Tuesday night. Amosima is a mission work started last June out of Faith MBC in Cape Coast where Brother Frank DeSouza is pastor. Brother Victor Onai is the young preacher doing that work and he is a member at Faith in Cape Coast. Brother Steve Skinner and I were able to preach a series of revival services in Amosima back in 2014 and it was a great blessing to hear that a mission work had begun in that area. Brother Armfield was also privileged to preach on Wednesday morning at a Methodist School there in Amosima in which about four hundred students were in attendance.
On Thursday we switched areas of work because Brother Legge and I needed to be in Cape Coast on Saturday night to preach at Amosima mission. Cape Coast is a good 8 hours drive from Prang south through Kumasi. So Brother Patterson and Brother Day drove north from Kumasi and we drove south from Atebubu meeting them half way. Brother Patterson and Brother Day held services in Beposo on Thursday night where two were saved and then on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning held services at the New Covenant MBC there in Atebubu where Brother Paul Owusu is pastor. There were eight reported saved during the three services at New Covenant. They also had opportunity to preach again to the two hundred students in the New Covenant School. Meanwhile Brother Legge and I stayed in Kumasi holding services on Thursday and Friday nights at Mt. Zion MBC. Although none were reported being saved, the services were Spiritual and the fellowship sweet. Brother Joe Armfield preached Friday at a nondenominational school there in Kumasi where another four hundred students were in attendance.
On Saturday Brother Legge and I took our leave from Kumasi and were driven four hours south to Cape Coast where we were met by Brother Frank DeSouza and taken to our hotels to get ready for services at 6:30pm at the Amosima mission. Amosima is about a 40 minutes drive from where we were staying. We were warmly received and had a really good service in the little rented room that the Mission is using. Knowing some of the internal situations at Amosima, and Faith church in Cape Coast, my message was much more of a teaching nature to the Mission than an evangelistic message to the lost. The message was well received and hopefully will be of help to them in addressing some of those internal issues.
On Sunday Morning we met at Faith Church in Cape Coast and all the people were brought in from the mission for a joint service. Again, knowing some of the issues that were on the hearts of people both at the Mission and at Faith church, my message was Doctrinal and Instructional rather than Evangelical and many questions were generated in an open Q and A session. I feel a great responsibility to be open and honest with those of you who read this report. At this point, the difficulties at Cape Coast are deeply seated and that entire work has seemingly gone backwards rather than forward. They are in great need of help from the Lord to resolve those issues that are dividing them. Like all the works in Africa, finances are always needed as the poverty of the people in general prohibit easy transport, structural advances and many of the comforts we enjoy in America. But money from America will not resolve these issues. Our Baptist people are very generous and always step up to a real financial need in order to strengthen and advance the work of the Lord. That has been the case in Cape Coast as well as other works in many other areas, but there are some issues that money cannot fix. The issues at Cape Coast have no bearing upon the other good works that are ongoing in Ghana and I have recommended to Faith Church, Brother Frank and Brother Victor that they reach out to the other Churches in Ghana for help in stabilizing and advancing the work at Faith Church and the mission work at Amosima. All have pledged that they will work together to resolve the issues that the Lord’s work be not hindered. Let us pray mightily to that end.
Meanwhile, Brother Armfield preached on Saturday night and Sunday morning at Mt. Zion in Kumasi and although there were no reports of any being saved, there were reports of very good and Spirit filled services. On Monday, January 30th, Brothers Armfield, Day and Patterson along with four Brothers from Mt. Zion brought the van to Cape Coast where we enjoyed one final combined service with the Amosima mission at Faith MBC. Brother Patterson preached a powerful sermon laying down the essential doctrines that must be present in order to establish and maintain fellowship among churches. He went on to promote the need for that fellowship among the churches in Ghana and that many of the cultural non essential differences that they experience must be viewed through eyes of love and a spirit of toleration. Another Q and A session ensued and many underlying concerns were addressed, hopefully to the advancement of unity among the people themselves and all the Churches at large.
Although we are not about numbers, sometimes numbers can help put larger pictures in perspective. While in Ghana for 12 days, 38 sermons were preached at 5 churches, three Missions and three schools. There were 21 who told of being saved and the Preachers and Deacons School was attended by 31 of our fellow laborers in the various Ghana works. The Lord blessed us with safe travels and sweet fellowship. We serve a great God!
NOTE: With regard to the various works ongoing in Ghana, specifically, there is an effort underway among well established churches in Ghana and in the USA to try and more effectively manage the dispersal and accounting of funds. Currently there are three different funds organized and sending money to various works in Ghana. Additionally many churches and individuals are sending funds directly to preachers or churches in Ghana. A lot of money is being spent on electronic transfers, moneygrams and other means of getting funds into Ghana. Sulphur Fork Church, where I pastor, has been doing electronic transfers directly into Faith Church’s bank account in Cape Coast and it cost us $50 on this side and $27 on the Ghana side just to do the transfer. That is money that is not well spent and could be better used by the churches and missionaries if we can get it into their hands. I know this is also the case in other situations. Due to the internal issues at Cape Coast mentioned above and this high cost of moving money, Sulphur Fork has suspended transferring any money to Ghana and will instead accumulate our monthly mission support here until a better and more accountable system is in place.
The objective here is to simply provide a managed “clearing house”, under the authority of a single Church on each side. Earmarked funds from churches and individuals can be centrally collected and sent to Ghana in a single transaction monthly. Mt. Zion church in Kumasi has agreed to authorize a Mission Account to receive those earmarked funds, set up a committee to oversee the work, and simply distribute those funds internally in Ghana as directed by each church or individual from the USA. That committee would also transmit regular reports back to the USA of monies received and to whom they were distributed. This is NOT intended to be a Mission Board that in any way determines where the funds go, it is simply to be an aid in efficiently moving money to Ghana and getting report information back to the US in a timely and inexpensive manner. This is just in the planning stage and more information will be provided as details emerge.