Another Perspective- Brother Justin Farris (Blog 1)

As a preface to these series of blog posts from myself, I feel it is important to note my experiences are that of a first-time traveler to Ghana, as well as a first-time international traveler.  There were things that I have never experienced back in the States, a few of which I will share with you. 

As I reflect back on the Mission Trip, I will try to describe my thoughts and perspectives as they were perceived by me at the time.  I have learned so much about the Ghanaians and their culture, as well as things about myself that came to light during my travels. 

In preparation for the trip, my wonderful wife Adrianne did so much leg work for me on gathering info regarding the things that I would need to pack.  We had everything packed in two large bags and a backpack.  They were full of clothes, food, shoes, medications, etc divided between them.  I was all set to go on Saturday July 1st.  Sunday arrived and I preached that morning at my home church, Upper Spotsylvania MBC and had great liberty.  My family and I headed home for me to change clothes, eat and then head to the airport for departure.  I was flying out of Richmond, VA to meet up with Bro. Hicks, Bro. Jeff Elliott and Bro. Jon Elliott in Atlanta before heading to Amsterdam, Netherlands that night.  My mind was going wild thinking about what the flights were going to be like being on a plane for so many hours.  Had I made enough preparations for my physical needs?  What was it going to be like in Ghana?  Will I be able to keep up with the demands of this trip, physically, mentally and spiritually?  I then thought about how this will be the first time that I won’t be able to celebrate on July 4th our country’s signing of the declaration of independence in my own country.   Knowing that our physical independence or freedom of this country had its roots in a soul’s freedom from sin, I realized that I would have the honor and privilege to preach in a foreign country the greatest message ever told.  I can bring the good news of the gospel of Jesus, that can save from sin and bring a soul that is in bondage and enslaved to the greatest freedom one can experience.  There is nothing better than what I will be able to do to celebrate freedom for the July 4th holiday than to preach Jesus!  Praise God!

I met the brethren at Atlanta and was greeted with a warm welcome.  I haven’t seen these brethren since last March in Bowling Green, KY.  We exchanged hugs and then headed for the international flight section of the airport.  We had a little time before boarding so we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to our gate. 

The overnight flight went well, and we arrived the next day in Amsterdam a bit tired.  We had some time to kill at the airport before our next flight to Accra, Ghana so we found a spot to sit and chat.  Close by was a piano that was open to play.  Brother Hicks jumped on and played a beautiful hymn.  It was great to hear such tunes that filled the area and the playing got the attention of a few people that were passing by. 

We made the trip to Accra and arrived around 8pm on Monday July 3rd.  Several planes landed about the same time which caused a long line to get through customs.  We waited about 1-1.5 hours until we made it through to the baggage claim.  Thankfully, we all secured our bags and headed out of the airport. 

We met Brother Samuel Sekyere outside the airport in Accra who escorted us to a van which took us to the bus station.  We loaded up on a bus and began the approximate 4-hour drive to Kumasi where we would be staying.  After a few stops along the way, we finally reached our destination and were met by Brother Kojo Ampong, the Pastor of Ebenezer M.B.C. and Brother Nathaniel Sekyere, Brother Samuel's oldest son. We all loaded up in Mt. Zion’s church van to head to the place we would stay.  I wasn’t able to see much detail traveling through Kumasi at night but I did see a lot of run-down buildings, vehicles and such.  The dirt roads off the main paved roads were in horrible shape.  I was later told that water erosion has caused a lot of damage to them.  Pot holes and small ditches were carved all throughout these dirt roads.

Upon arrival at our residence, we met another young man Bro. Andrew Sekyere, Bro. Samuel’s youngest son.  Brother Kojo and Brother Andrew both stayed with us each night at the house we stayed in.  We gave it the nickname of “The White House”.  The house was a 6 bed- room apartment style house that had a common living room, small kitchen and bathroom.  The house was surrounded by a concrete wall that had two gates, a smaller gate for pedestrian entrance and another wide gate for vehicles to enter through.  We settled in to our rooms and I made my bed, sorted my bags a bit and then went to sleep sometime between 3-4 a.m.  I slept very well for it was so nice to actually lay flat after having been in a plane and buses for the last 24+ hours.