We concluded our classes Friday afternoon despite frequent power outages, some water outages, and the intense West Africa heat. The final session was a model "Day Camp" complete with practical demonstrations of puppet shows, outdoor games, Bible studies, and Ranger advancements that could be done with the 5, 6, and 7 year olds of the local churches. We were also visited by the Men's Fellowship Director of the Ghana Assemblies of God and his staff.
|a very hot Africa Coordinator|
Friday night we held our dedication council fire. The staff silently led the trainees to the fire and one by one a staff member lit a torch and recited part of the Royal Ranger Code as the trainees formed a ring around the fire.
Dressed in a cowboy outfit, I shared a Royal Ranger story known as "The Most Valuable Horse" and then proceeded to talk about a Royal Ranger leader in my home church in Fredericksburg, VA who has faithfully served in our local outpost (and even in our district) since the early 1980's. I told them about this leader's effectiveness and how many boys have been saved and have gone on to serve the Lord or even into the ministry because of him, and I challenged our trainees to commit themselves to reaching the boys and girls of their nations. I also explained that it was no "accident" that they were present for this conference, but rather that God had a plan and purpose for their lives. I challenged them to come forward and throw a green leaf into the fire if they accepted the calling into the RR ministry.
I threw my own leaf into the fire to symbolize that I was continuing on in Rangers until God called me home or He called me to something else, and every trainee came up and followed suit. We had a moment of silence and then I offered the opportunity for anyone to share a testimony of the ways God had touched him or her in the camp.
For a few moments no one moved, and then one brave soul stepped forward and shared he was extremely happy to have been in this conference and God had showed him many things.
Another person shared that he had been to many camps in his life, but none with a spiritual emphasis where God was so honored and worshiped. A young woman shared that she finally understood how to work with the boys and girls and make Rangers interesting. Yet another trainee shared that he had been trying to sell a car for many months and that he was also very discouraged with Royal Rangers. He had no money to come to the conference and was considering dropping out of the ministry, but told God that if he was really to go to the conference, please let him sell the car. The Friday before the training began someone miraculously came and bought his car and he used money from the sale to pay for his registration fees and other expenses - he shared that he now knew why he was supposed to come and was committing himself wholeheartedly to the ministry and was ready to use the training he had received from us. In all, about 25 or so trainees came forward and shared that God had given them a new vision and breathed new life into them for reaching children.
The next day was graduation. Graduation is a big deal in Africa and the graduates sang and danced and celebrated for about 3 hours - it was hard to settle everyone down long enough to hold a ceremony! One of our graduates was the Children's Ministry Director for the Ghana Assemblies of God, by the way.
A group of young boys from the community was hanging around on the outskirts of the camp and had been watching all the activities. They came up afterwards and asked if they could join Royal Rangers, so we connected them with a local leader that had an RR program in his church.
Mathias, Stephen, and I left the conference center feeling tired but knowing that God had done a powerful work among the RR leaders of Ghana. On the way back to Accra, our host's car went in to a really deep hole and knocked the muffler loose. We had to stop by the side of the road and remove it completely and then tie it and the exhaust pipe to the top of the car to get back to town. In town, we went to a guesthouse and got showers and had one more spicy meal before going to the airport to return to our families in East Africa.
We thank God for making this training possible and for sending more laborers out into the harvest fields of Africa!