Today, I experienced church like never before. We attended the local Methodist Church with Dr. Anderson. The church was easily 150 years old, and made to comfortably seat 300 people. It was shaped like a T, with pews on the side of the pulpit as well. Today, there were easily 400 people in the church. The pews were packed and some of the people were even sitting in the isle on the side in lawn chairs. There was a funeral yesterday, and today for a female member of the church, so the people were dressed in the traditional Ghanaian funeral colors of black. Almost everyone in the congregation was wearing black and white. The service was filled with music, dancing, reading scriptures, and preaching. The service lasted 3 ½ hours, we didn’t even attend Sunday School. I only recognized one of the hymns – It Is Well. The other hymns and scripture reading was in English, but the preaching and other talking was in the traditional dialect of Mampong. I was reminded why, the bible was written in the language of the people. The gospel wasn’t for the rich, or well educated religious leaders. The gospel is and was for everyday people – the tax collectors, the liars, the thieves, and sinners just like me.
After church we came home, changed clothes, and headed out to lunch for Tyra’s birthday celebration at Palm Hill Grill. (Tyra’s a fellow student who turned 27 today. She’s a PhD student studying public health.) I just ordered hot chocolate, since it was 3pm and we eat dinner at 5 o’clock. The hot chocolate came out and I had an entire tray. I was given the coco, sugar, cream, and hot water to mix together and make the hot chocolate. It was actually very delicious. Others had fried rice with chicken, but by far the most interesting was the cow foot soup that Gene ordered. It was hairy and looked strange. Gene did NOT like it, he said too spicy and weird for his taste. (Mine too!) He was a good sport though and just ate the broth off the soup. While at Palm Hill a local named William invited us to join him while he ate. He was very friendly. We learned that he is the leader of the first college ever established in Ghana.
Tomorrow we head to Accra (the capital) for orientation about the health care system here. Then on Tuesday we travel north to Mole National Park for the safari. This is the longest and most dangerous drive – 12 hours by dirt road with the occasional robbery at gunpoint. We are leaving by 4am so that we will arrive before dark. Here in Ghana it gets dark by 6pm. Please pray for safe, uneventful travels.