|With the local pastor and his family|
We were hot and it was midnight.
|Our rooms under the iron roof|
We were guests at this village in Ghana doing short term mission work and seminars. The previous night one of our team had been bailed up by these dogs. He had left his room to close an incessant, slamming shutter. Going out in the briefest of sleeping gear, for no one seemed to be around, he succeeded in closing the shutter. Unfortunately for him, his only door felt the pull of a wind gust and slammed shut. This created a few problems. He had no key on him. As he wondered what to do, in the starlight he noticed the two guard dogs eyeing him with suspicion. There was no smile on their mouths. Fortunately, the minister of the compound was sleeping on a bench in the courtyard. At the urgent whispered pleas of our team member he awoke. What he thought as he saw the ghost like ‘statue’ is unknown.
Knowing all this we didn’t venture out tthat extremely hot night o face the dogs, or whatever else might be out there. That didn’t help our skin. It felt like it was on fire. Even splashing it with our precious drinking water only made us feel better for an instant. Being a nurse, Mary understood the possible consequences of this condition. Prayer didn’t cool us down. It certainly strengthened our spirits. We asked the Lord to see us through the night and equip us for the day’s ministry load. Sometime early morning a zephyr of wind caressed our room. It was, to us, the cool breath of God. The outside temperature did not drop dramatically but the breeze allowed us a couple of hours fitful sleep on our floor mats.
It’s during moments such as we faced that you appreciate the promise of God’s grace for the task ahead. We felt like deflated soccer balls being thrown onto the field for a game. What was experienced was the sense of God taking our deflation and inflating our spirits by His Spirit. Physically tired we were inwardly refreshed. God in His mercy ministered through us to the beautiful folk who came to share in the open air seminars and workshops.
As the day faded we recuperated a little in the shade of a tree. It was a pleasant evening with our hosts. Night came and without electricity, only torch light, there was every incentive for an early night. It was cooler. We were very tired. Sleep beckoned. But….!
Beside the courtyard and next to our room was a fowl enclosure. Well, was it really enclosed as the fowls and rooster freely roamed in the daytime? For some yes. For others no! The previous night they slept while we suffered. Did we disturbed them? Not being able to converse with hens or rooster I’ll never know. What took place does, to my mind, have a sense of revenge.
The rooster must have had a sense of danger. He responded to this by flying up to the ridge of our tin roof. No hassles, we thought. There probably wouldn’t have been if that feathered fiend had stayed awake.
As we retreated to under our mosquito net the rooster must have dozed off. No troubles you would think. Wrong! He didn’t sleepwalk. He slid down the tin roof with the screeching sound of claws on tin amplified in our room. When he hit the gutter it woke him up. So, he crawled and scratched his way to the top again.
Silence reigned. But not for long or so it seemed to us as we sought sleep’s embrace. We didn’t keep count of the repeat performances but there were many. Another night of fitful sleeping!
In the morning we were due to travel to another village to hold a seminar and workshop the following day. However because of a communication breakdown this had to be changed. We saw it as God having mercy on weary Australians. So our hosts took us back to the regional centre a couple of hours drive away. We were to stay at ‘The Chalet.’
|With some of our brothers |
and sisters in Christ in Africa
Did we get any more sleep? Not really. However we did have time to relax and be physically and spiritually re-energised. The next day we went to fulfil the reason for our being there. Our sixty year old (plus) bodies did find it was more of an effort to get moving than at the start of the month’s adventures. Once we got underway, God in His mercy seemed to ‘oil’ the joints. We discovered time and again that the Lord ministered to us through those to whom we had come to share His Word. It was evident to us how the adrenalin of service kicked in and over-ruled the reluctance of the bones and muscles.
Over all of that and in all we experienced, we tasted the unseen nectar of the prayers of God’s people far and near praying for us on this short term mission trip. That makes any night under a tin roof in an African village more than worth it.