I have taken an extended “eddying out” from my posts on Walking on Water due to limited bandwidth…both for the internet and myself. I have spent the last week in Ghana, west Africa. This is my first trip to Ghana and Africa so it was all new and different for me. I have been reflecting on my trip and all the new people and places I have seen and have simply not been able to carve out time, or bandwidth, to continue my walk with water in the bible during my trip.
I have been looking at many water-related things in West Africa. I am here preparing to lead 15 students on a summer abroad trip this summer. We will be working in three main areas for our service learning: 1) students wanting to do medical service learning will be working with Ghana Public Health; 2) students who want to learn more about child slavery and contribute to the work of an organization called Challenging Heights which was the subject of a previous Eddying out called “Eddying Out – A Purchased People“; and 3) students who want to contribute their time and energy to a new NGO called ISHEW that will be working on providing sustainable water and education solutions in rural communities.
I have learned much during the last seven days in Ghana, both about Ghana and about myself. It seems there are times when I will be called to “walk with water” in a tangible way. That is what was happening this week. There are many stories I could share but the one that is most vivid at the moment is my visit to a rescue shelter for child slaves. The children, ages 4-16 were rescued from child slavery on Lake Volta near the capital. The families of these children often either cooperated with the traffickers or were deceived by them to give up their children for the equivalent of a couple of dollars.
The extended family structure in Ghana contributes to this dark trade as “relatives” will often come to family members and children and offer schooling and work with an “uncle” on Lake Volta. Many times this relative is not in fact related and proceeds to overwork and abuse the child for many years.
Part of the reason I was visiting the shelter was to test their water sources to make sure they were safe. I discovered that some were safe while others were in need of attention. I was able to make recommendations to the staff so that they could provide safer water for these children who have seen many years of hardship. The last thing they need is for their water to make them sick. Many of them already feel betrayed by the very family who was supposed to protect and nurture them.
There is a take home message here about the body of Christ and how we relate to one another. We are all brothers and sisters in christ and thus tend to trust one another. Sometimes people abuse this trust and lead people away from God (they fail the Meribah Test). We should all be careful that we honor our close kinship with other christians and that we do not harm those God calls us to love.
Prayer: God be with the children of Challenging Heights as they learn to trust again, and be with us so that we can trust one another.