When I returned home from the trip in 2004, my tail was tucked firmly between my legs. The seizure and fear of not getting home had messed me up. Yes, I may have received a vision, but I buried it. I rarely thought about it, and I had no plans of ever going back to Ghana. After the seizure, I was afraid to.
Almost two years went by.
That Fall I was meeting with a couple of guys regularly to pray. We met on the top floor of an old building in downtown El Dorado, Kansas. Both of these men have an assignment from Heaven to go to the nations.
Apparently, praying regularly and seeking the Lord with like minded people can be disruptive to one’s agenda.
One of the men I was praying with is my Uncle Rick. I am pretty sure at that time he was still pastoring the church he had been leading for twenty years. I think this was just before the Lord propelled him into international ministry. The other is Sam Mcvay, who is the pastor of the church I was attending. He has since traveled on mission trips as well and his church has become a major launching pad for missions.
As we shared our hearts with one another, my vision on the airplane was brought up and prayed about often. Over the course of time it became clear that this vision was ready to be born. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it was growing inside me, getting heavy, and starting to kick.
One afternoon we were praying about my vision, and the Presence of the Lord came on me in a way I had never felt before.
I had experienced the Holy Spirit many ways in my life: incredible peace, sometimes amazing joy, usually feeling like the air was suddenly warm and effervescent, and my insides were somehow carbonated. When God called me to Ghana the first time back in 1999, the Holy Spirit came on me and shook me for a long time.
This time was different. I felt the warmth, I felt the effervescence, but this time I felt the kabod. a Hebrew word which is usually translated as glory, but literally means the weight. My arms felt like they were encased in lead and I could not move them to save my life. My body felt like I was in some sort of a gravity chamber.
I stayed that way a long time, not sure what God was doing, but I knew it was time for the vision to be born.
I was afraid to go back to Ghana. That’s the truth. I also knew this baby was mine. I couldn’t let it go.
I said yes.
I remember walking up North Main Street in El Dorado, Kansas. It was cold and windy. I pulled out ol’ blue, my trusty Walmart flip phone (which I still have and cannot bear to part with.) I called Matt, my partner in all-things- Ghana from day one. I told him the Lord was saying it was time to build an orphanage (I did not know what else to call it) over in Ghana.
Matt’s response was “Huh?”.
I had never told him about the vision. Remember, I thought it was something I might do when I retired.
Looking back, Matt’s response was spot on. In all our time there, in all our conversations with David and Celestine, orphans were never seen, or mentioned.
The Holy Spirit is strong in Matt. And it’s a good thing, because what I was suggesting made absolutely no sense. After his initial reaction, Matt was all in. Crazy.
The two of us decided to fly David and Celestine back to America to discuss all of this, and pray with them. Do a few weeks later, they flew to Charlotte, and spent some time with Matt, Tammy, and their two kids, Sarah and Andrew. Then we flew them out to Kansas.
After everything had been presented, our African friends said this vision was good. David said “Oh. The need is very great.”
All I could figure was there must be homeless boys hidden somewhere in Ghana, because we had never seen any.
We had prayer times in that same upper room in El Dorado Kansas with the Baninis. One in particular was very powerful. Celestine and I began to weep. I did not know why. My analytical mind is often left out of what God it doing in my heart.
Celestine started singing, “I have decided to follow Jesus”, and we all joined in.
There is a verse I love in Acts 15 where the apostles made a decision that, seemed good to them and the Holy Spirit.
That is where we all found ourselves. This vision, and the plan we had, seemed good to us, and the Holy Spirit. We sent the Baninis back to Ghana to find land we could build on.
Rick and I had visited the village of Dawlo. He thought that would be a good place to build. Matt thought Akatsi was the logical choice. He and I spent much time there, knew the people, and it was well situated.
Since David was now assigned to the church in Keta, he thought the area between Keta and Akatsi was a good place to look. All three made sense.
I said “Guys, it’s all good to me. But I know one thing: when I saw this thing, it was right by the sea.”
Now, even in poor third world nations, ocean front property is hard to come by.
Commissioned to find land, David and Celestine flew back to Ghana. Two days later we got a phone call from David and he was laughing like a small boy. When a man with such a kingly presence calls from Africa giggling, you listen up.
He told me an old woman, whom he did not know, recently donated several acres to the church. A church she did not attend.
It was on the ocean.
The land is about 4 miles up the beach from the old slave trading fort, Fort Prinzenstein, on the Slave Coast of Ghana.
God had provided our ocean front property.
To be continued . . .