A few months ago I was invited to participate in Lighthouse Chapel International's inaugural French Camp held in the small town of Akropong, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, the Presiding Bishop of LCI, was hosting a teaching camp for pastors and leaders of the LCI churches in French speaking nations.
|Johannes Gottlieb Christaller|
Basel Missionary to Akropong
One of the most striking things about Akropong were the cold temperatures in the evening. I was surprised with the fog and cold temps. I was actually feeling cold and in need of a sweater while there... in TROPICAL AFRICA!! While it's true that you adjust to the tropical temperatures, I never thought I'd be yearning for a sweater.
I learnt that Akropong was known for being the first town that Christian missionaries from Switzerland and Germany settled to spread the Gospel. I wondered how they managed to travel from the coast that far inland, albeit on top of a mountain. It's not like there were paved roads or cars. It was definitely a sacrifice! No vehicles, no roads, couldn't speak the language, had to adapt their diet, no running water or electricity and little to no contact with family back home, etc. Couldn't have been easy.
The camp with Bishop Heward-Mills was charged and very interesting. I walked away with two significant spiritual deposits... sorry I won't share those here. The French LCI members, leaders and pastors were receptive and excited to receive much needed teaching from the father of LCI. Unfortunately, it seems that the French world hasn't had the same exposure to Christianity, outside of Catholicism, that the English-speaking world has It is rewarding to see Bishop Heward-Mills making a strong effort to reach out to the Francophone world with Jesus Christ through the establishment of churches, translation of his books and investment in the development of Christian leaders.
Before I leave Ghana I plan on taking a week or so to see Ghana as a tourist. Not as one of those foreigners who get sucked into seeing tacky tourist sites, but to really go deep and see the country in its natural state. I believe I've seen a lot of the country through visits to different churches all over the country, however, I want to visit with an intent to soak it all in and to learn as much as possible. I believe that everyone has something they can teach you and everday you live is a classroom in which you can learn.
Akropong was an interesting town and one with a rich history of Christian missionaries giving their lives to plant the gospel in sub-Sahara Africa. It brings it home as I recently returned to full-time ministry work to also spread the good news that Jesus Christ came, lived and died that we might be saved from an eternity in hell!!