Thursday, 19 February 2015

PATRICIA A. HENAKU (Part 2)


PATRICIA AKUFFO-HENAKU





Patricia has served with Meaningful Life International as an intern for a month now and the time is up for her to go back to school. We have really enjoyed doing ministry with her and we have been so blessed by her stay with us! 

Here is the concluding part of her journal...

"...Work started out very well on my first day. During my first week, i worked with the Administrator. The work here involved finance & day-to-day accounts, HR and Administration. I did a lot of inventories and filing of payment vouchers (basically paper work) throughout the first week. The work here was a lot, and the pace at which i worked was different from the pace here. So for the first week, that was my major challenge. Soon, i got used to the flow and quickly adapted.

Next, i moved to the Projects Department to assist the Projects Director in charge of Operations. I was really challenged here because the work here had a lot to do with Social Works. I got to know more about MLI's ministry activities in the rural communities of Ghana, the strategy MLI has adopted in working with these different people groups and the impact they have had on the people in these communities. We had long discussions about projects, and i was given the opportunity to draft a proposal for the first time; and it was good.  From the Projects Department, i moved to the Front desk.

The most exciting part so far has been my time in the Executive Director’s office. I was his protege personal assistant for a week. Rev. Dr. Godwin Ahlijah is fun to be with. I had the opportunity to interview him and learn about his ministry as a Reverend Minster and his involvement with Missions over the years. My time with him made me appreciate service to God more. He always emphasized that God is the secrete behind his success, and i agree with him. Only God can sustain someone with a lot of positions like Rev. Dr. Ahlijah. Through him, God has shown me that i can trust Him (God) to lead and control my life.

Slowly, the period for my internship was coming to an end. The thought of leaving this beautiful family made me teary. I spent my last week at Meaningful Life International in the Executive Project Director’s office. He is in charge of Media & Graphic Design, IT, Public relations & News Updates and Summer Teams. He is such an amazing person to work with. I had the opportunity to put together PowerPoint presentations, write ups for their weekly blog and Monthly newsletter, and a New Year’s message for their Ministry Partners. I also helped to design some flyers and create subtitles for a Documentary Video he was working on. I have learnt a lot of things outside my field of study, and they are skills that are definitely going to be helpful and instrumental in my profession as a social worker.

All in all, my internship with Meaningful Life International has been exciting, fulfilling and totally amazing! One thing that stood out for me was their Morning Devotions and Prayer Sessions. In general, i would say that it has been a great blessing to have had this opportunity to intern at Meaningful Life International. Though there were a few challenges, it is a great place to work; wonderful people and a peaceful Holy Spirit-filled atmosphere. I have enjoyed my time here and I hope to be back for another internship."

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

PATRICIA AKUFFO-HENAKU

(Part 1)




Meaningful Life International believes that EVERY individual has the potential to fulfill their God-given dream when given the right opportunities, direction and support. In that light, MLI runs a system where Students from the University would come and serve with us for a period of time as interns.

This year, we are very privileged to have Patricia Akuffo-Henaku, a second year Social Work & Sociology student of the University of Ghana, Legon, serving with us. Patricia believes that MLI has the perfect Spiritual and Professional environment that is grooming her for her future career as a Social Worker. This she believes will empower her with the right tools to go out and make a positive change in the lives of people everywhere she goes.

This is her story...

"Before gaining admission into the University, i had no idea about Social Work. Whenever i saw people working with NGOs or Non-Profit Organizations, i always wondered what they studied back in the University. However, i have always had a keen interest in issues on human rights, women and children, health and international relations. In connection to this, i participated in the 'Model United Nations’ as well as a 'Mock AU Conference' which were organized to mark the celebration of the Day for the African Child. These platforms exposed me to so much as a teenager. I read about international issues, learnt how to make sound arguments, learnt the rules of procedure used in these international organizations, how to negotiate, how to prepare position papers, do research, and so many other things.

After gaining admission to the University and doing a little research on what i was going to study there (Social Work), i felt strongly that God was directing my path and giving me a chance to develop myself in my field of interest.

I heard about Meaningful Life International and about their ministry in the rural communities of Ghana through my mother. I have a personal believe that God gives everyone an opportunity to make a change everywhere they go, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to learn more and have some experience and practice in social work. So i decided to do my internship with Meaningful Life International

I started work as an intern on the 5th of January this year; and i must say that i have really enjoyed working here so far. Before i joined Meaningful Life, i thought the working environment was going to be the typical very strict and busy working environment. I expected to have strict supervisors and colleagues who simply did not have time for any other thing apart from work. I thought working here was really going to strain me. But no! Rather, every one was so down to earth and lovely. Every one here is like family..."

We will bring you Part 2 of Patricia's profile in our next publication... Stay Blessed!!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Hard Ground

Two nights ago, our Meaningful Life International team had the privilege to visit Aburi (a-bree) at the invitation of a pastor there who heard about one of our recent outreaches. He wanted our help to reach as many people as possible in his town. This pastor has been serving there for over 15 years and like so many places in Ghana, it is "hard ground," a spiritually dark place.

This isn't always obvious because you will see lots of churches in Ghana and many of the businesses (roadside kiosks) have biblical references in their names and often refer to a Bible verse - even the bars or "spots" as they are called here. There is the appearance of a Christian presence but quite frequently the people who confess their devotion to Jesus mix their Christian worship with their traditional forms of idolatry. (This happens back home in the US but it is even more subtle there.)

The drive into Aburi from Accra is beautiful. It reminds me of a drive into the Smoky Mountains. The road is narrow with frequent switch-backs as you climb the mountain. This particular road looked very modern. It was clean and well paved with attractive developed areas on either side of the road. We passed the presidential lodge, which has a stunning view of the valley below. With just a bit of daydreaming, I could forget that I was in Ghana and imagine a place of much greater comfort. The visions of comfort didn't last long. Soon we were in the center of Aburi.


The heartbeat of the town is the chiefs palace. It is an old structure with a more modern building next to it where the chief holds his council meetings. Downtown is congested with people and structures. The roads are very narrow and difficult to pass because of the open gutters that line both sides of the roads.

We found just enough room in the parking place by the chief's quarters to set up our projector, screen, computer and speaker. The power was out, so we had to use a generator. The only problem was, it wouldn't start. We quietly waited and prayed while someone from the town made some repairs. Just before the light of day vanished the generator started and we finished checking our equipment.

Smoke began to flow from the projector and we quickly unplugged. The generator was running but in a way that the voltage was spiking. Again we worked and prayed and waited but we were unsuccessful in getting the generator to function properly.

By God's grace, the power came back on and we had a backup projector. Now it was completely dark and a crowd began to form, curious about what we were up to.

We showed a film about four people that had died and were on their way to final judgement. Satan was there making his case that they all belonged to him. The people were riveted to the screen as the pastor added his commentary and gave everyone the opportunity to receive Jesus. From this "hard ground" about 50 people responded and provided contact information so the pastor could do follow-up with them later in the week.

We were thrilled to see the Lord move in the lives of these people. The thought of one young man has stuck with me - he was broken and frustrated by his addiction to alcohol. He wants to quit but can't seem to win the battle. He appeared sober but I could smell the truth of what he was telling us. We prayed intensely over him and trust that he will find complete freedom in Jesus.

In the last picture above, you will see a portion of a round, white structure in the bottom left corner. This is the shrine where the chief and villagers pour out their drink offerings to their idols. The middle portion of the shrine is filled with fragments of the glass bottles used in the offerings. You may think the generator and projector problems were merely equipment issues. I am convinced it was spiritual.

Satan works to keep those who are his and he wants to frustrate the work of God's people because it is through our work that the Lord redeems His children from Satan's slavery. In every village that practices idol worship at shrines like the one above, we have had serious equipment challenges when these shrines are the film show.

As we drove out of town, our vehicle drove extremely rough - as if the tires were horribly out of balance and the brakes were struggling to do their work. We prayed and gave thanks to Jesus for His victory that night and as we came down out of the hills to the valley floor, our car once again drove as smoothly as it had earlier in the day.

We praise God for allowing us to see His work and victory over the darkness!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dedication of Deti Borehole

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19


The people of Deti have been yearning for clean potable water for many years. The people have had to endure the unbearable challenges that the absence of good drinking water subjected them to. If there was ever one thing that the people of Deti desired most in life,  it was obviously access to good drinking water.

As if a divine answer to their cherished dream of clean water, the community cached the attention of MLI. We were deeply touched by the plight of the people when we visited there for a survey and quickly began a process to raise funds to construct a borehole to provide clean water for the community. With financial support from Feeding The Orphans in the U.S.A, a borehole was constructed in Deti in June, 2012.



On Friday the 14th of September 2012, a joint team of M.L.I staff, the founder of Feeding The Orphans and his team from the U.S.A went to dedicate the borehole in Deti. The Chiefs and people of the community could not hide their joy as they poured out in their numbers amidst traditional drumming and dancing to grace the occasion. The resident pastor of the Assemblies of God Church in Akatsi, the district coordinator of the district assembly and some assembly members were also there to grace the occasion.  It was a very colorful event.


By the time we got to the village around 12:00 in the afternoon, the people were already seated waiting for us. In their own small way, they had beautifully arranged and decorated the grounds for the program. Without much to be done on arrival, the program quickly took off. In a welcome address, the chief expressed his gratitude to God and the two organizations for such a great act of benevolence. He said that the people will forever be grateful to M.L.I and F.T.O for the borehole they have provided for the village.





Mr. Righ O’Leary, who did a presentation on behalf of Feeding The Orphans, expressed his joy at the warm reception of the people and encouraged them to embrace Christ also in the same manner. He explained further that it was very important, because F.T.O was motivated by the love of Jesus to provide funding for the project. He encouraged the people of Deti to not only drink the water from the borehole which could quench their natural thirst, but also to seek Jesus Christ who is the source of a living water that can quench every thirst.

Mr. Reid Beebe, the executive projects director of M.L.I spoke on behalf of the Executive Director of M.L.I. He re-echoed the mission and vision of M.L.I, explaining that MLI exists to demonstrate the love of God to the less privileged in society, and to empower individuals achieve their God-given dreams and aspirations. He also said that MLI will continue to partner with well-meaning organizations to provide clean water for deprived communities across the country. He thanked Feeding The Orphans for their kind gesture and the willingness they had to give in support of the project.

Mr. Wahab Adams, the projects director of MLI also charged the people to adopt proper maintenance practices to enable the borehole last longer. He encouraged them to also observe environmental hygiene especially around the borehole to avoid any contamination of the water. 

Righ, Reid and the Chiefs cut the tape to unveil and commission the new borehole.




The joy in the village was so tangible, as the inhabitants rejoiced over their new source of water. The delegation took a walk round the village after the unveiling ceremony.




Feeding The Orphans also donated medications to the villagers. The children, pregnant women and lactating mothers were given medications including de-worming drugs, anti-malaria and malaria treatment drugs, skin lotions for skin rashes and treatments for ring worm.


After the event, the team waited to do a Jesus film show in the evening. This was to introduce to them the living water we talked about. During the film show, about 94 people from Deti and a nearby village came to watch the Jesus Film. About 20 of them gave their lives to Christ at the end of the Jesus Film. What a day it was!

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Continue to mention us in your prayers; praying that the Lord will continue to open doors unto us for us to be a blessing to people across our nation! God richly bless all those who are continually praying with us. Your labor of love will never be in vain.

To DONATE to support any of our ministries (Digging a borehole for a deprived community, Sponsoring a Free Medical Outreach to a deprived community, Church Planting, Donations to Orphanages...) Please visit our WEBSITE on www.MeaningfulLifeInternational.org

"Open Your Mouth Wide and I will Fill It..."

NEW SURVEYS (Villages that lack CLEAN Water)
Our headquarters received numerous calls from village counsels and various district assemblies during the early part of the first quarter of this year. These were request brought in on behalf of very deprived villages that were lacking in the area access to portable drinking water. As a matter of fact, some of the stories we heard were very sad.

The projects department therefore scheduled some dates to  embark on survey trips to these rural communities to do a needs assessment, confirm the situations on the ground and also to have a better picture of the actual needs of the people. The communities were Amanase-Borketey, Kwafokrom, Akofokrom, Paulkrom, Hayiborkope, Korfedeke and Mafi-Adzorkpo.

These trips were made on the 8th of June, 8th of August, 13th of August and 2nd September 2012 respectively.

During the trips, our projects team saw for themselves how the inhabitants of these communities were drinking from muddy ponds, streams and hand dug wells infested with frogs, algae, mosquitoes and parasites. From the interviews our survey team conducted, they realised that most of the health cases in the villages were water related.

Our hearts were broken when the projects team brought in the survey reports from the field.

These are profiles of some of the various villages...

AKOFOKROM VILLAGE

Akofokrom is a farming community in the Akwapim-South District of the Eastern Region of Ghana and located about 150 meters eastwards of the main Accra-Kumasi highway. It is has an average population of approximately 1800 people.

The phenomenal positioning of this community between mountains gives it a very beautiful scenery and also provides the right climate for the inhabitants who cultivate maize, plantain and cassava.






The people of this community get their water from a dug-out well that was provided them around the 60’s. In 1986, the government made an attempt to provide a mechanised version of the same type of well, but they couldn’t dig through the rocks due to the unavailability of the appropriate technology. The well, which is now 25% filled with algae, serves the entire population. The water in the well is continuously polluted because it is not covered; so it collects rain water, dust, leaves and any forms of rubbish or contaminants that are blown its way by the wind.They locals have been appealing to the District Assembly for a borehole for years now, but that request has still not been honored.




KWAFOKROM VILLAGE

Kwafokrom is another farming community in the Akwapim-South District of the Eastern Region of Ghana and just about a 15 minutes ride from Nsawam. Long ago the community used to be one, but it was divided a few years ago when the main Accra-Kumasi highway was diverted through their community, dividing it into two. The main crops grown by the people are maize, cassava, plantain and banana. There are close to 2,500 people living in this community and the population is made up of mostly women and children. There is one basic school with a kindergarten in the village that serves all the neighboring villages as well. 



A borehole was provided by the government that served the entire community before its division; but after it was divided in two, the people on one side of the highway could no longer benefit from the water because it became very dangerous for their women and children to cross the highway just to get water. As a result, that side of the community which happens to be the largest side, uses a small stream that flows on the boundaries of the community and an open concrete tank as their source of water. The concrete tank has been constructed deep into the ground to collect rain water. 




PAULKROM VILLAGE

Yawboame or Pualkrom, as it is popularly known, is a very small village located in the Kraboa-Coalta District of the Eastern Region of Ghana. The village lies south-east of Teacher-Mante, a major commercial town along the main Accra-Kumasi highway. Paulkrom is a distance of approximately 4 miles from Teacher-Mante. The village has an average population of 300 inhabitants who are mainly farmers. The village has a basic school but has no clinic.

The only source of water for the entire village is a huge hole the locals dug using farming tools to collect rain water, which has now become a pond. This pond dries out completely during the dry seasons, and the villages have to walk miles to neighboring towns for water. The water in this huge muddy hole is infested with frogs, tadpoles, mosquitoes and other insects. When interviewed, the locals said they do not boil or treat the water before drinking. As a result, the children suffer illnesses like worm infestation, ringworm and diarrhea. 

An Assemblyman tried to provide them with a descent source of water a few years back, but due to his inability to pay for a rig, he contracted the locals to dig the well manually but they could only dig 7fts deep. A locally manufactured hand pump was installed on the well, but due to its shallow nature and the inferiority of the hand pump, that project has become a white elephant now. The locals ardently appealed to us to help them with a borehole before the dry seasons set in.





HAYIBORKOPE VILLAGE

Hayiborkope is a farming community located in the Central Tongu District of the Volta Region. It has a total population of about 320 people. The people here are peasant farmers who grow crops like cassava and maize. The cassava, which is the main crop grown in this community, is processed into Gari and transported to other nearby towns like Awudome, Ho and Adidome for sale. 

Their only source of water is a dam located about 4km away from the village. The people share this water with cattle and other animals that urinate and defecate in the water. The cattle are owned by "Fulani" herdsmen who come to graze their cattle near the village.   This dam dries up during the dry season, worsening their plight and subjecting the people to extreme water water related challenges. When this happens, they have to travel over 5km in order to get drinking water from some of the surrounding villages.

Bathing during these periods becomes a luxury. In an attempt to address the water problem, the community leaders mobilised the people to construct another dam using their local farming tools, which they call “the land of milk”. They gave this name to the water because the water in the dam is as white as milk. Most of the people prefer this water because they claim it does not contain animal excreta; perhaps they are faced with the challenge of choosing the lesser evil.



KORFEDEKE VILLAGE

Korfedeke is situated just a few kilometres from Hayiborkope in the same district. Because of their closeness, they drink from the same water source and share the same predicaments and difficulties. The population of this village is approximately 285 people, and the locals here engage in farming and trading of farm produce (vegetables, fruits, etc).


This village lacks a lot of basic infrastructure like electricity, school, clinic and potable water.  Accessibility to both Hayiborkope and Korfedeke is very challenging during the rainy season because of the deplorable state of their roads. The people managed to put up a structure a few years back to serve as a school. This structure now serves as a primary school for some of the very young children who cannot travel the long distances everyday to attend school outside the village. The older children however still walk more than 3km everyday to attend school in nearby villages.

These people are very much expectant of a Savior someday, who would provide them with good drinking water. We are praying that through your support, the Lord will help us meet their needs.


MAFI-ADZORKPO VILLAGE

Mafi-Adzorkpo is located in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region of Ghana. The village has a population of about 300 inhabitants and surrounded by two other communities, Tsive and Aformanorkofe


The people in Mafi-Adzorkpo are mainly Ewes. Farming is the main economic activity where maize and cassava production dominates. There is a very high illiteracy rate of about 85%. Despite the fact that the people are very hard working, the poverty level in this village is still very high.

The entire village drinks from a nearby river that dries up during the dry season. Cattle owned by Fulani herdsmen and other domestic animals in the village share the same source of water, making it very unhygienic. This water is a great threat to their health although the villagers themselves seem unaware of the health risks associated with drinking from the river.



Thursday, 13 September 2012

Impact Assessment of MLI Projects in the Asuogyaman District


MLI runs a system of three months periodic checks on all projects to assess the impact of the project on the community and take progress reports from the various management committees setup in the various communities. Following this, the MLI projects team and some partners embarked on a usual periodic visit to selected operational areas in the Eastern region.

Areas visited included; Apegusu, Aboasa and Akwamufie. The team was met at Akosombo by Rev. Wontomi, the district pastor of the Assemblies of God Church who led the team to these communities.



The main purpose of the visit was to find out the state of the projects (Boreholes and Church) provided by MLI and its partners and also to sensitize these communities ahead of a massive Jesus Film outreach in September.

IN APEGUSU


The first community visited was Apegusu. Apegusu is a commercial community located in the Asuogyaman district of the Eastern Region of Ghana. There were two old boreholes serving the over 13,000 people in Apegusu and its environs (Asempa-Neye and Quarters). With support from Cornerstone Fellowship, we drilled this borehole for them. They were very appreciative of the project. 

Although our visit was impromptu, the people were very welcoming. We noticed that the environment where the borehole was sited was not being kept clean enough by the people and the plaque on the borehole had also been damaged. However, the people were very happy with the borehole and they gave very good testimonies of how the borehole had eased their living. The community members who were around at the time of the visit were full of praise for the provision of the well. They enumerated a lot of benefits which includes; Women and children did not have to travel long distances for water any more and lateness to school by the children had also been curtailed.







IN ABOASA


The team’s next point of call was Aboasa. Aboasa is also located in the same district as Apegusu and has a population of about 11,000 people. As a result of the borehole MLI provided them about 4 years ago, they invited MLI to plant a church there. The church has survived challenge of inconsistent membership grow because they've had to change meeting places several times. It is doing well by God's grace and we hope to get more resources to support the efforts of the selfless men of God who are in charge of the church.





In assessing the borehole in this community, we realized that the committee that was assigned to manage the project was more organized, and the surroundings of the borehole was also very clean. We were informed by the caretaker who was a woman that, it costs 5 pesewas to fetch a 34cm bucket or an equivalent size from the borehole which was the money being levied for the maintenance of the borehole. According to the her, the maximum amount she collects daily is 3.00 cedis and the minimum is 1 cedi 50 pesewes. The committee accounts to the people through periodic meetings every three months. The people however complained that the water was a bit salty.





AKWAMUFIE

Akwamufie simply means "Home of Akwamu". According to a woman from the royal family, Okomfo Anokye (a very powerful fetish priest who existed many years ago and founded the city of Kumasi) hails from Akwamu. This, he said contributes to the inhabitants of the town being predominantly traditional worshipers. MLI planted a Church in this community some 4 years ago. Our visit was to do an assessment on the Church, assess some of the needs of the community and also sensitize the community ahead of a Jesus Film outreach in September.

In an interview with the pastor, this is what he had to say,... "The church is doing well by God's grace because our current membership is 32, but we're facing a few challenges. Our current place of worship was given to us temporarily but is now being demanded back by the owner’s son. The church made an attempt to purchase a land to put up a permanent structure, but its going for GH¢1,500 which we can't afford. We also don't have musical instrument, thus our services are not lively enough to attract people to fellowship with us."