“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
This question is simmering in my mind with new insights into its profundity. I am more and more convinced that Western Christians have lost sight of God’s imprint on their own soul. It’s been squelched by “stuff.’ But more on that another time. For now, back to what’s happening here in Africa.
The above pic is of some children in the slums of Cotonou, Benin (one comes to our Orphans First children’s club; the other is his neighbor).
Seems like years went by since I last wrote my blog. Time in Africa is a different dimension. And so much has happened since we first got here, I could write another book. We’re now back in Ghana. Tonight I’ll teach the women at a church in Tema. But for now, I’ll share a few highlights of our trip thus far.
It took way longer to get to the border for Togo. Five hours actually. We did stop by at a small, Christian school but still . . . the trip was way too long. And then another hour or so through the borders into Togo—an experience I have never enjoyed on any of my trips to Africa.
The children in the school were beautiful, happy and taken care of, and I’m not going to talk about them here. Rather, I want to tell you about a little boy whose solitude tore my heart apart. (I’ll post his pic sometime once it’s downloaded from camera.)
I noticed him watching the school kids, wandering around in rags, scrawny and dirty. I tried to talk to him, but he looked at me blank. (Of course, I don’t speak Aiwai, but still, I figured he’d something.) Concerned, I inquired about him. He’s deaf and dumb. That’s why he’s not in the school. I’d like to do something about that. Please pray we can get this boy in school.
Going through the borders – Ghana, Togo, Benin, then Benin, Togo, Ghana – is like a trip into Hell. So much grime, pushing, bullying, poverty . . . and yet you can’t possibly help everyone. One old lady (looked to be 100 years old) walked with a huge, heavy basket of stuff on her head (that’s how women transport here, and often with babies on their back). Her flip-flops were ridiculously worn and she was skin and bones, draped in rags. The guards pushed her and bullied her as she tried to get through the borders. Louis told them, “Stop that. Let her through.” They did.
I wanted to catch her up to give her my flip-flops. I couldn’t get to her with the crowds pressing in. Oh well. My flip-flops probably wouldn’t have fit her anyway since my feet are small. I’ll find a kid here who needs them before leaving Africa.
African children are precious beyond words. The poverty is extreme and I pray we can step up the support and help many more children here via Orphans First. Some of the slums – I mean broken wood shacks maybe two & a half yards square – house families of seven. We visited several such slums and took photos which I hope to show on the website before long.
In Benin, we had to ride on the back of motorbikes to get to the slums. I knew my younger days as a motorbiker would come in handy some day. God wastes nothing. Anyway, the bikes were sort of fun in a scary way. I mean, they drive like they want to kill you. I knew we could die but then our lives are in God’s hands. But the most scary of all was to ride through filthy water left by the floods. Typhoid water. I can’t tell you how many times I wiped the splashes off thinking I might not live till the end of the week. But I did . . .
Louis preached in several churches in each country we were in. We ministered to hurting pastors and their wives, all very poor. I worked with kids, families, women. Much work to do here.
That’s all I have time for today. More later. Thanks for your prayers.
Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © July 2009