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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thoughtful Thursday: Thankful for Sundays

Written by Brooke Williams, Missionary wife serving in Ghana
Sundays come and go. Some Sundays I'm not so thrilled to get up, get bags packed and make the journey to church. Some Sundays I want ever so much to have an excuse to stay home, for I don't want to brave the heat with a tired 18 month old, a rambunctious 3 year old, an energetic 5 year old.
Some Sundays I'm just plain tired and spending three or more hours immersing myself in another culture and language, walking up and down the mountain.  Dealing with tired, hungry children is quite daunting and I simply lack the desire to do it all again, but .... I go.  Oh what joy thrills my soul and makes me ever so happy that I did and that I get to go to church here! Happy faces greet us when we arrive at the schoolroom that is the holding place for our services.  We all take turns making our rounds and shaking hands in the friendly Ghanaian way. The room has been well cleaned and set up prior to our arrival. We choose our seats and the service begins, as Nicholas leads us in song. The sound of people lifting their voices in praise to God stirs my being.  We sing, loudly and wholeheartedly; we pray, quietly and reverently. A different language than my mother tongue is spoken here, but the Lord understands and it is precious to His ears I'm very sure. We applaud those that are receiving their baptism certificates and the enthusiasm strengthens my weary mind. 
We sing some more and take up the offering. I watch dark hands placing their hard-earned coins in the basket. This is their church and they are proud to honor God with what little they have. Announcements are made and more songs are sung.  The last one is slow and prayerful. This is my cue.  My husband will begin his message soon. I go with the young children outside to our place under the extended roof. We sit at our benches and color Bible story pictures, all sharing the few crayons I have brought. No scribbling will be seen here. Even the youngest ones take great care and time to make their picture look beautiful. They are careful with the crayons, they don't want to break them. One by one they bring their finished pictures to me.  Their eyes look up to mine and search my face to see if I am pleased. I look at them and my heart melts... 
"Suffer the little children to come unto me...", Jesus said, and I believe I understand why. I tell them their picture is lovely and that they have done well. My Twi is broken, but they understand and huge smiles light their faces. We cut hearts out of construction paper and one by one we write their names on them...Florence, Blessing, Matilda, Samuel, Prince, Adua, Jonathan, DavidJesus loves each and every one. We talk about giving our hearts to Jesus. Soon, it seems, church is over and we are saying goodbye to one another. My family is given a bunch of plantains and a bag of palm nuts as gifts. After most everyone has left, I find a place to sit down. I'm hot, tired and hungry but I must wait for my husband to finish a meeting. I curl my legs up under me and look around. The village is quiet and peaceful. My children are playing happily with some of the children.  They race from tree to tree; they play tag; they toss rocks across a line drawn in the dirt.  My youngest chases a baby chick while two older ladies watch him and laugh. The young teenage girls from our church come and sit by me and we talk about life. A lady brings us oranges to refresh ourselves and I'm so thankful for I am very thirsty. We eat; we joke; we laugh as juice runs down our chins. Little Mary brings flowers and puts them in my hair and I feel like a princess.

Days like this make all the tough times so worth I ever so glad I didn't miss this day! 
Yes, I'm very thankful for this Sunday...very, very thankful!

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