Adinkra are traditional symbols that pass on the wisdom
of Ghana and West Africa.
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July 7 - August 1, 2005
On July 7th we will embark on our annual campaign and our 26th year of work in Ghana. We would like to thank all who have participated with us in the work—both past and present.
This year we will be taking over the largest group (seventeen) that we have had in sometime.
We will be joined in Ghana by George Amuasi (Tema); Ernest Apeadu (Tema); Edward Owusu-Ansah (Kpone); Edward Quansah (Boadua); Paul & Matilda Addo (Ashaiman); Emmanuel Cobbinah (Takoradi); Niipaak Laar (Saboda). In addition, once we arrive in the north we will be joined by several brethren from the Yendi Mission Clinic who will assist us in conducting the mobile clinics.
This year we will be flying Lufthansa through Frankfurt. Lufthansa was the only airline that had enough available space for our entire group to fly over together. This will be a new route for us. We will all meet up at Dulles International in Washington DC. From there we will fly to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt we will fly to Lagos, Nigeria for a short stopover before flying on into Ghana. We will arrive in Ghana at 5:25 pm on Friday, July 8th. (Ghana is 4 hours ahead of us here in the EST.) After our arrival at Kotoka International Airport we will have about a 30 minute drive to Tema.
We are fortunate to have a number of young people in our group this year. Trisha, Beth, Martha & Chris are students at Freed Hardeman University. Troy, Lauren, Kristen, Max & Tanika are High School students. On Saturday, July 9, we will be conducting a Youth Seminar for the churches in Tema vicinity. In addition to the Youth Seminar we are arranging for our young people to visit a number of schools while they are in Ghana. This will give our young people a chance to teach and interact directly with young people throughout Ghana. (@ 50% of Ghana’s population is under the age of 20!)
First thing Sunday morning, I will be off with Paul Addo to preach on the church of Christ radio program. The program is on the popular Adom FM from 5:30-6:00 every Lord’s Day. This program reaches millions of people throughout southern Ghana. This has encouraged hundreds and hundreds of people to visit churches of Christ in their area—many of which have subsequently learned the truth and have been baptized into Christ. With the new budget in Ghana we have recently learned that the annual cost of the radio program has gone from $5,200/year to $10,000/year. Therefore we are needing $5,000 to finish up our current year and will have to raise the additional $100/week to keep the program on the air.
Following the radio program we will divide our group up and worship with a number of churches in and around Tema: Vertical Centre, Accra Rd, Kpone, Haana & Dawhenya. I first met with the church at Vertical Centre back in 1980. The Accra Rd. church was started back in 1982 and the Kpone church began meeting in 1985. Since that time the Kpone church has established the churches in Haana and Dawhenya. (As we meet with various congregations there will be an opportunity for all to work. Our young people can teach classes for children, our men will be teaching and preaching, and there are ladies classes planned for our ladies to teach.) In the afternoon we will meet for a fellowship meal and orientation. Sunday night we will again visit area churches.
Monday, July 11, we will begin our trip to the Northern Region. This year we will be renting a bus for our campaign group and a truck to haul the couple tons of supplies we will need while in the north (food; medicines, equipment, etc.). It is a hard 12 hr trip from Tema on the coast to Yendi in the Northern Region. We will spend the night in Yendi.
Wednesday through Friday we will be conducting mobile clinics during the day and street preaching each night. Wednesday we will be working at Gbetimong. We will also be visiting the local chief and the well that is being drilled this month. (Note: there are hundreds of villages in northern Ghana without safe drinking water. For $4500 we can provide a community with pure safe water to drink.) Thursday we will be working in Tojing. Last year we had scheduled a clinic at Tojing but due to a heavy rainstorm the clinic was cancelled. So we want to make sure to work this area into our schedule this year. On Friday, we will be conducting the clinic in a village a few miles from Gbetimong. They recently contacted bro. Niipaak and asked if we could come and preach Jesus to them. In addition to the clinic, we will also conduct street preaching there Friday and Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, 17th, we will divide ourselves up and worship with the various churches in that area. In the evening we will be conducting street preaching.
On Monday, 18th, we will be driving from Bunkpurugu to Saboda. Recently bro. Niipaak moved to Saboda to work with the churches in that area and be a bit closer to the work in Bunkpurugu. After meeting with the church Saboda we will drive on to Yendi.
On Tuesday, 19th, we will have another long day of travel and will drive from Yendi to Mole (@ 10 hrs). We will spend two nights here and on Thursday morning we will get up early and drive back to Tema (@ 9 hrs).
On Friday, 22nd, we take the group into Accra for some shopping and to help some of our group get ready for their return trip to the States. Friday night we will meet with area churches. On Saturday, eight of the group will head back to States.
Sunday, 24th, we will be worshiping with churches in the Tema area.
Monday-Wednesday, 25-27, we will be traveling to and working with churches in the Eastern Region. On Thursday, we will drive back to Tema.
On Friday, 29, we will drive to Feta and visit the Village of Hope Orphanage—overseen by the elders at Vertical Centre (Tema). In addition to providing homes and schooling for orphans—VOH also provides assistance and counseling for a number of “street children”. Recently they have added a clinic to help care for the medical needs of the children. On Saturday, we will be packing and getting ready for our departure on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, 31, we will worship with the Tema churches before departing for home late that afternoon.
Below is a list of estimated expenses for Campaign 2005. Our tickets are purchased (and most of the funds for air travel have already been raised) If you would like to help with this year’s campaign please send all contributions and or packages to:
Thank you and God bless.
Ted & Renee Wheeler
I am writing to thank you for supporting us in the work in Ghana, Africa and to update you on your efforts in carrying out the great commission. We were able to do much good in sowing the seed of the kingdom of Christ. It is rewarding to be able to go and to do the work. The five brothers who made the trip to Ghana were: Bob Bauer, Chad Tagtow, Brian Kenyon, Jim Hall, and myself. After 18 days abroad, we returned to our families.
I want to assure you that your monies were put to good work. Besides the funds to conduct the various campaigns, we were able to leave funds for a yearlong radio program in the Ada region. This is an important effort to strengthen the church in these areas. The two ministers (Addo and Albert) conducting the program are grounded in the faith and will make sincere efforts to teach the lost in their own language.
The first Sunday we witnessed four souls being baptized into Christ at various congregations. The Ghanaians work hard at personal work and we are grateful to witness the baptisms.
Pram Pram Leadership Lectureship
Monday, May 23, started our Leadership Lectureship in Pram Pram. Ministers and elders and those who lead in other aspects of the church were present for the teaching. In Ghana many churches, in fact most, do not have elders. The church is relatively young in Ghana. The people are very evangelistic and many start sending men to start new congregations before they have elders. The way they conduct business without elders differs from the way congregation in the US conduct business. Whereas we would have a business meeting of men in the congregations, the Ghanaians appoint certain male "church leaders" who function in various capacities. A congregation without elders may have a finance leader and other various types of leaders. These various leaders meet and work through certain decisions of the congregation. While the "church leaders" mentality may serve the young congregation well, we made a point to emphasize that God chose elders to lead the local congregation. We emphasized that congregations should not be content with "church leaders" to the neglect of appointing qualified men.
The lectureship was well received by the brothers.
Often missionaries come and emphasize needed first principles.
First principles are vital to the church, but as congregations
age and hunger for spiritual meat, lectureships
In the evenings we would meet with the brethren for a lesson from God's word. We were able to conduct Bible Studies. One brother came to me for a request to study with a lady (Bridget) on instrumental music. She was Methodist and we were successful in showing her the more perfect way concerning instrumental music.
We also had an opportunity to meet with another lady (Francis) to teach her the plan of salvation. Francis is the mother of Doris, a young lady who helped out in the kitchen. The conversion of souls in personal work sometimes occurs one soul at time. There are challenges that all face in becoming Christians. We have to teach them more perfectly some of those things that they have been indoctrinated with denominationalism. We pray for their conversions.
The Clinic in Dawa
Thursday, May 26, we began our work in Dawa in the mobile medical clinic. A Ghanaian sister, Helen Marfo, is a prior nurse and practicing midwife. She was integral to the success of the clinic. We employed the services of another nurse and a physician to help in the treatment. Medications were purchased from a brother in Accra who allowed the purchasing at wholesale prices. Several hundred patients over the two-day period. Malaria, intestinal worms, "waist pains" (inflammation disorders), upper respiratory infections, and ear infections were treated. Many are farmers and masons working with their hands. Their bodies hurt - "waist pains". Many of the villagers drink the water from the river and develop various disorders. The doctor observed many eye disorders that she believed could be attributed to the water. Several important public health issues were addressed. If the people had a deep well source they could get sanitary water. Perhaps we can fill this need in the future. For now, we emphasized boiling the water to prevent various water borne diseases. It is now the rainy season in Ghana, so we emphasized the need to eliminate standing water, use mosquito netting, and sprays to reduce the incidence of Malaria. Malaria kills many children.
Many of the patients that were seen were Muslims, but they are not militant. These individuals would be preached to as the clinic would go on and we would address the community in the evenings via street preaching in the village. Chad, Jim, and Brian each conducted the services in the evenings.
Sunday May 29, we were at various congregations preaching. I preached at Bediku and we met back at Aveyime for lunch. That afternoon we traveled to a village to meet with a fetish priest that Bob Bauer has been working with for several years. Bob discussed with him the difference in his god verse the true God. Enclosed you will find a picture of the idol that is part of his worship. This is a concrete structure with a bucket and a knife in the middle of the bucket. They pour libations to the idol. The room smelled of alcohol. Ironically, in the rear of the room on the wall was a calendar with a depiction of Jesus.
That evening we were able to meet with the church in Dawenya. We left funds with the congregation last year for purchasing land for a building. They currently meet in a school house. I preached that evening with the aid of three kerosene lanterns. Brian Kenyon pointed my flashlight (what Ghanaians call "torch light") at the chalk board as I wrote various points.
Evangelism in Adafoah
Monday, May 30, began our work in Adafoah. We continued the work that Bob and Jim began last year. The congregations need to be rooted and grounded. The work is so rewarding. Fifteen men from various congregations joined us to aid in doing personal work in the daytime. In the evening we set up a PA system in a common area and would show a portion of a Jesus film and then one of us would street preach. Monday we were rained out. Tuesday and Wednesday night we preached and Thursday evening we met with the new converts. We estimate that there were 160 contacts made with many bible studies. Follow-up will be important to stabilizing the new converts and teaching those who are lost. There are hungry men who will follow-up on many of these contacted. We wished there was more time to follow-up on studies with specific individuals we had.
Personal work is so rewarding. The imagery of the parable of the sower was so vivid. I worked with Christopher Letsa. Our studies initially started with a young lady in a small market kiosk. She was conducting business but welcomed our presence to study the word of God. She realized what she needed to do to be saved, but wanted to discuss it with her father before she obeyed the gospel. Following this, we had a study with five individuals of differing backgrounds and faiths. Our wish is that we could have followed up with them more. The local brethren will have to continue what time would not permit. John, one of the five we had met with earlier, we met for a second time. He understood the importance of being added to the one true church, but wanted to wait and think about it. As we left John, one man in the village (Bismark) pulled us aside into a corridor for a Bible study. He spoke English well and was sincere about studying the word of God. Two more men walked in while the study was proceeding. God be thanked, as we witnessed all three of these men being baptized.
Thursday, we attempted to find Cynthia, one of the five we had contacted on Tuesday. We walked all over trying to find her. We were persistent in finding her. While we walked a man joined us (Chris and myself) to help us along the way to find where she was. There were some problems with the house numbering she had given us (apparently the houses are transitioning the numbering system). As we waited for a cab, I told Chris we should study with this man. We did so under a tree and Gideon was baptized for the remission of his sins.
From our best estimates through the efforts of many 160 contacts were made and 14 souls were added to Christ in Ada-Foah. There were 20 total baptisms among the areas we preached while we in Ghana. There were numerous contacts made, bible studies started and studies that need to continue. Our prayer is that this small group will continue to grow in the faith and that they in turn will teach others also.
Village of Hope
On Friday we visited the Village of Hope. The Village consists of an orphanage, school and clinic. It is supported by churches of Christ. We donated the remaining medications from our Dawa Clinic to the clinic. Their efforts are impressive. The orphanage receives no government funding and the churches in Ghana are not able to provide much cash for them, but they do provide food, soap, and supplies. Currently, there are 78 children in residence. This is not a nationally advertised orphanage. They receive the children either from the police or from congregations of the church throughout the country. For a child to be accepted into the orphanage, need must be established and they must have sufficient space for them. The orphanage was started in 1989 and folded. It was started again in 1996 and moved to the current location in 1999. There are 51 foster children who receive food, clothing, medication and education. There are 80 street teens that are cared for receiving two meals four times per week. They have house parents that stay on the grounds. Currently, two more houses are being built to accommodate the children. They go to great efforts to make their lives similar to other Ghanaian children. They shut off the tap water from time to time to make the children gather water similar to other children in the villages. The children are responsible for planting and harvesting crops. They have chores that are assigned.
It was evident that the leadership goes to great distances to cut cost and be good stewards. They grow food; raise chickens and sell the eggs; and have their own system for making block for the buildings (instead of purchasing the block).
The school has an enrollment of roughly 260 students. They come from nearby villages and receive 30 minutes of bible study in chapel daily and one hour on Wednesday. Souls have been added to the church through these studies.
We had concern as to the quality of the teaching that goes on at the home. People visit this orphanage from differing congregations and educational institutions in the US. With the liberal leaning of some our Universities we wondered if the children were being indoctrinated with false teaching. They informed us that when missionaries come they are not placed in a primary teaching role. My impression was that anyone may come and observe, but one must be proven before they are put them into a teaching role. This shows their good judgment.
Our trip concluded with a trip to El Mina Castle. This was once the largest center of slave deportation in Africa. The horrible conditions and treatment were sobering. What the Pyramids are to Egypt, El Mina is to Africa.
Saturday we went to the cultural center in Accra for some souvenirs. Our day ended with a Bible study back in Pram Pram. Chad and I wanted to give Doris a net ball (basketball). We took it to her home and on the way back we stopped at Bridget's (the one we had studied instrumental music with). Chad and I had one last study with her on the one true church and the need for baptism (not sprinkling) into that one church. She was baptized into Christ that very night in the ocean with 2-4 foot seas.
Sunday, the day we left, I preached in Dawa, where we had the clinic. The people were few due to the rains. We summonsed the brethren for Bible study and worship. The fact that the Bible was written for all people for all times was vivid that morning. One individual asked how do I answer people who want to know the whereabouts of our earthly headquarters. We emphasized that they had nothing to be ashamed of in the fact that the headquarters of Christ church is in Heaven. We attempted to emphasize that Christ's kingdom is not of this world; and that he is the head of His church; the one that He will save; those whom He adds. They struggle with the same issues we do. We say we are the one true church, yet our buildings are smaller and our funds are limited compared to large denominational infrastructures. The truth is we are converted to Christ, not the buildings of this world and fickleness of man. The world would say the one true church should be housed in a large elaborate structure. Jesus says His kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). We can never loose sight of the truth that we are committed and converted to Him, not to people, not to things. If we remember this truth, it will not discourage us when the next denomination builds a bigger building and the next denomination builds a bigger building. Eventually, these structures will fall. His word will last forever (Mt. 24:35).
Let me conclude by thanking you for making this trip a reality. First Samuel 30:24 (NASB) states, "And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike." There were many, including you, that shared in carrying the baggage in the US and in Ghana. The Ghanaian women and others worked relentlessly in laundry and food preparation. Our loyal wives stayed home and took care of children and things at home. We thank you in sharing our burden and look forward to heaven when you can meet these precious souls face to face.
In Christ, Daniel Stearsman
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
In Yendi, the group visited the leprosy center where we have four brothers in Christ. One had recently died and they distributed some food and money to help them out.
They were then able to visit a church run clinic and see how it operated. This is also where they picked up all of the medications, that had been purchased, that would be needed for the mobile clinics to be conducting this week.
They then visited a center for malnourished children and were also able to go over and talk to the well drilling team.
They then left Yendi for Bunkpurugu but along the way were misdirected and ended up headed for Togo. They corrected their course but because of the heavy rains, the bus slipped off the road and got stuck in the mud. All had to get out and push, along with the help of some twenty villagers.
When finally arriving at Bunkpurugu, they were pleasantly surprised to find very nice accommodations (for the area). The "motel" had been updated with a toilet, a shower and a solar powered fluorescent light in every room. They had two or three people to a room and although there was no running water, at least they could take a bucket bath in semi-privacy.
In the evening, they headed out to do street preaching but heavy rains forced them to cancel. They turned around and started back to the motel, but in the rain, the clay road had become very slick and they lost control of the bus, ended up sideways on the road and stuck in the mud again. They all had to get back out into the rain and mud, and push the bus most of the way back.
They did make it back safely though and everyone was getting ready for bed; exhausted, but doing well. Tomorrow, they get up and start all over again.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Ted called and said they had a good day. No getting stuck in the mud.
They visited a school and interacted with the children and made a donation to their building program. Later they showed the Jesus film and Patrick Ford (Renee's brother) delivered a sermon. Four responded and requested baptism but there was no water available at that location. They are coming tomorrow to the compound and the group will take them for baptism.
Daniel Stearsman isn’t feeling well, upset stomach and a low grade fever. Malaria’s incubation time is a minimum of eight days but they decided to go ahead and treat it as malaria just in case. It could be just the good ol’ American flu.
Thursday- Saturday, July 15-17, 2004
We thank Renee Wheeler for forwarding this report she received on Saturday morning (July 17).
Ted called and reports that they have been very busy and running on three hours of sleep a night. They are having problems keeping all of their battery operated stuff charged -- which also includes their satellite phone.
Since talking to me last, they have gone to the well that the ladies from Orange St. sent money for. They poured the concrete to finish it off and met the chief of the community. The group offered the chief, who is over 90, a seat in the air-conditioned bus while they were there and gave him a baggie of trail mix. He really enjoyed that.
The next day, yesterday, they had a clinic where they treated @ 150-200 people. The chief showed up again and asked Patrick for more trail mix. There was another chief there and so the two of them had trail mix and peanut butter crackers. Such simple things and yet so meaningful.
There was a Ghanaian sister bitten by a viper and she was taken to a hospital a few hours away to be treated with the anti-venom.
Last night they had street preaching after showing the Jesus video. Brother Daniel Stearsman preached and Ted said that he did a wonderful job. There were 34 responses. They went a mile or two and dug out a place where there was shallow water to make it deep enough for baptism. What a wonderful day!
Daniel is feeling all better and everyone else is well. Today they were supposed to have another clinic but it was rained out. They will use the day to mingle with the townspeople and introduce themselves to the local marketplace and the people there. This morning Ted and Niipak went to check on the sister who was bitten by the snake and to pay her medical bills. Anti-venom is expensive and thankfully God provided help for this Christian sister, not only physically and spiritually, but also monetarily. The sister was one of seven snake bite victims and was doing better than the others and is expected to be fine.
God truly watches over us. Thank you all for giving so generously this year. Things like this come up every year and sometimes we had needs that we just could not meet. With all of us doing what we can and being willing to help when able,we glorify God and Jesus and the church that he died for.
Please continue to keep them all in your prayers.
As reported by Daniel Stearsman on his return home. Ted is still in Ghana.
Monday, July 19, 2004
This was the second of our clinic days. Saturday the 17th
got rained out. This was a far better experience than the
first clinic. We wisened up a little in our procedure.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
We spent Wednesday in the game reserve at Mole. We were greated by baboons in the morning, who are not shy of coming up to you and taking any food items you may have. We observed multiple elephants, gazelle, wart hogs, and many dearlike animals (where hunters like Ted salivated). The proximity to the elephants (and our guide cocking his gun, while telling us to retreat) was most exhillerating. We were in their home.
Thursday, July 22, 2002
We traveled back to Tema where we stayed at Earnest Apeadu's house.
Friday, July 23, 2002
We went to High street in Accra (the big market center for souvenirs). I got to spend much of the day with Bob and Jim and enjoyed the fellowship and sharing war stories. I thought Bob was going to beat up his navigation crew!!
Saturday, July 24, 2002
We traveled to Elmina castle (a center for slave trade from the mid 1600s on) and to the swinging bridges. Elmina was a humbling experience as 2/3 of the slaves died. The only hope a woman had of being free was to be impregnated by the governor, to have the child, and then she would be set free. Refusal of the governor's sexual advances placed the subject in the courtyard where they were made a public example by being chained to a canon ball for 24 hours. Men who attempted to rebel were often put in solitary confinement where starved to death.
Sunday, July 25, 2002
We divided up and went to various congregations. Ted let me do the radio program Sunday AM. That was first for me. He said that there could have been 1.5-2 million Ghanaians listening. The FM station reaches far throughout the country. I was sent with 2 other sisters to the Lebanon Rd church of Christ. The singing was amazing. Many of the questions that the brethren are likeour own. They asked about the impact of culture on worship. Irony peaked when one brother asked a question about the final state of those individuals in the villages of Ghana who had never heard the gospel or who had heard and obeyed a perverted form. I tried to teach them that God's provision of salvation exists only in Christ, that all are ameniable (even those in the villages) to Christ and His teaching, that Biblcally ignorance does not excuse a person, lest one be saved by a means other than Christ (thus God let Him see corruption when salvation was available by other means). The irony was "thick" in that here (in to us -- are the remote regions of the earth) they were asking the same question. While those who have perverted His gospel are numerous, this question makes me wonder if the "remote regions" are more places in our minds than in reality. It is comforting to know that although these brethren are 8000 miles away from us, they are not that different from us in the questions and struggles they have. My appreciation for our brethren of Christ has grown immensely. I do not hesitate to say that the greatest individuals who walk this earth are members of the Lord's body, His Church. I am thankful to be associated with them. While to the Ghanaians we are a tremendous source of encouragement and strength, we were the ones who seemed encouraged most. Our association with the Ghanaians and their great warmth made us long for eternity-- to know them better, to enjoy there fellowship, and to endlessly commune with God.
What a blessing it was to be in Ghana!
"Thank you", to all who encourage us, pray for us and support us in this work. As we work together - it is my prayer that God will bless our efforts richly to His glory and the saving of many souls.