In July of 2019, six high school youth and seven adults from my church, Calvary Chapel, spent ten days in Ghana, West Africa. Our mission was to encourage some of Ghana’s Open Bible Church Planting Academy graduates who have planted churches, twelve in all, and to help the church plants with evangelism outreaches and small neighborhood style outreaches.
No one besides Brian, one of the adults, and I had ever been to Africa before, so it was quite an interesting cultural experience.
When we first arrived in Ghana on July 12, we were met by Kofi Gyansah, the director of the Church Planting Academy, and Rev. Okai Commey, the general superintendent of Open Bible Churches in Ghana. The next morning we began our mission to visit all the church plants. Currently there are two major regions where most of the new church plants are located, Accra and Kumasi.
While in Guana, we also visited an orphanage, a regular school, and a training school for the intellectually disabled and gave away school supplies, toys, and books. Perhaps the part of our ministry that interested the audiences most was a short three-minute skit performed by the youth that demonstrated how Jesus saves us from our sin and sets us free. It was powerful. At each school and outreach event where we ministered, the skit brought cheers and handclaps from the kids and staff alike.
Before the evening services, the team would go out into the neighborhood and visit homes and businesses, sharing the Good News. I was overwhelmed by people’s willingness to embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior and deeply gratified by God’s grace and mercy. We ended all the church services and outreach events with the skit, followed by an altar call.
The trip was not without its challenges. Anyone who has traveled to West Africa knows that things don’t always go as planned. Several of the team were visited with Montezuma’s revenge (traveler’s diarrhea). One of the youth leaders sprained a foot and spent most of the trip on crutches. Our rented van broke down on the third day, and unfortunately the rental company provided us a van without a luggage rack. As I explained to one of the youth leaders, I’ve found mission work is often 25 percent planning and 75 percent troubleshooting! We ended up tying the luggage to the roof of the van, which caught the attention of the police who manned the many roadblocks between Cape Coast and Kumasi. After a slight “fee,” we were allowed to continue, but it made for a long journey.
Empowered by God’s grace, we accomplished all of our goals and more. Many received Christ during our door-to-door evangelism ministry, and many more accepted Jesus at the evening services. We had twenty come forward to receive Jesus at one service alone. We handed out ten Bibles and left enough money to purchase forty more Bibles for all the new believers.
Even though this was a cultural adjustment for our team, our white skin proved to be a blessing. Kofi Gyansah said, “In Ghana, the white skin draws more attention and every Ghanaian wants to speak with a white man. This gave an advantage for more crowds to be pulled in to the church where the team was ministering. For example, at Pakyi in the Ashanti Region where a new church plant is located, we recorded no fewer than 150 people present to see the white [people] share the gospel and also sing to the glory of God.“
Kofi added, “Words cannot express our sincere appreciation for these wonderful opportunities we have had from this team. At Calvary Open Bible church, where I pastor, ten people were won to the Lord and four are active converts now. We are still following up on the remaining. Praise the Lord!”
Kofi summarized the results of the trip:
- Approximately 40 people were won to the Lord.
- Each of the churches visited has been revived.
- The communities now see the new church plants not as feeble, but as having a stronger force behind them.
- All the pastors were blessed with the seminar and the biblical information shared with them.
- Ghana Open Bible knows we have not been neglected!
We hope to start a new academy next year in Liberia and later in Sierra Leone. If your church is interested in learning more about this novel approach to training church planters, I would love to share the vision with you.