I grew up in Ghana. I was privileged to grow up in Ghana, a country, smack in the middle of southern sub-Saharan West Africa. A country where temperatures ranged above 80, cold was like 60 and there were two seasons- dry and rainy. The city of Accra as we knew it, was still yet to see major development, its roads were potholed and streets littered with trash and hawkers. But some of its prettiest buildings were churches. Churches were everywhere. It was a country where every child regardless of who their parents were, would have the chance to hear about Jesus Christ before the age of eighteen, even fifteen. Where the mornings at school were not only filled with pledges to the nation, but morning prayers and possibly hymns to God. Where Christmas and Easter were real and the Friday before Easter was Good, so good that we all wore black and on the previous Sunday we cut palm branches. We’d even bring them to school. Yes I grew up in a nation where water didn’t flow from the taps always and power cuts were often but we attended church services at times that didn’t need expensive electric equipment to praise God- we’d clap our hands and drum on a conga and occasionally stamp our feet to step on the devil. We’d raise our voices loud and sing and it was all I knew. We’d hear about the rapture and watch movies about people being left behind. So each time there was an altar call, we’d rush to the front and repeat the prayer with the preacher man. We needed Jesus because we knew about heaven and hell. We didn’t even really understand Christianity. But we accepted the Jesus who had died on the cross for us. We had blue copies of the New Testament in our pockets and school bags; they were continuously distributed to us along with other magazines by missionaries from America. We kept them close and they belonged to our school uniforms just as much as our school crests did. Regular TV had a lot of preaching on it, several radio stations would play Christian music even if they were not dedicated to it. We prayed over our food constantly. We learned the Lord’s prayer and Psalm 23. This was our daily bread. And it might not have been perfectly sliced bread with lush fillings, it might not have been freshly baked delicious Panera bread but it was good bread. It was a good life for which I am thankful.
My parents separated when I was five. We lived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and having been born there and visited Ghana just once (at age three or so), I can remember my mixed feelings when my parents announced we were moving to Ghana permanently. I was going to miss my school mates and especially my teacher, Miss Felay, who was getting married at the time. Nevertheless, I was excited to explore this new home of mine-to-be however and my friends were pretty happy for me too. To myself and them, “Ghana” held so much mystery and glory because we were ignorant and young. I did not know my dad would return and leave my mother and the two kids they had together. I did not know the life I was yet to live in Accra, the schools I was about to attend, the people and the God I was yet to meet. But looking back today, I am so grateful my mother made the move. Perhaps I could have found God in Port Moresby, but perhaps not. Perhaps God knew what He was doing when he sent us on a 4 day trip back to Ghana through Singapore and then London. My mother started her life all over again, building a business from scratch and raising her two children on her own. Nothing came free of course and she struggled at times, desiring to keep her children as comfortable as they were when they lived with their father overseas. Feeding us fries and chicken at home because she had never made yam and kontomire for us before and didn’t want to change our eating habits? She paid a high price. She turned a blind eye to our lack of domestic skill, because we were used to having a help when we lived with dad. We had a help for way too many years, to my chagrin actually. I never did chores. She took us to church however. And in all honesty, there’s nothing more significant that she did than that. She had us wake up every Sunday and follow her to her Nigerian church. She had sermons playing at home and filled our silences with Nigerian praise music. She taught me to be thankful and to praise God and it’s no wonder how much I love to praise today.
So that’s my story. I just felt like giving thanks to God for growing up in a way that brought me close to him from an early age. I received Christ when I was but eleven. I even took a vow on my virginity at thirteen. I joined the church I am currently in, at eighteen, making a decision to be a permanent member. Now I no longer live in Ghana but 23, we still here, growing in the things of God and believing God to do great things in ministry. All glory goes to God. He wrote this story and I’m excited for the rest. I give all praise to the Author of my salvation 🙂