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Ghana Revival Trip
GHANA TRIP USHERS A NEW ERA IN
BLACK MISSIONARY WORK
The distance from the missionary groups center on Chicago Southside to the African church near the Ghanaian capital, Accra is very long, but there is a direct human link now. It is the outcome of three years of effort by the Chicago-based Africa Resurrection and Restoration Ministries (ARRM) and the Transit Pentecostal Church in Ghana. Aimed at boosting Blacks involvement in the Great Commission of Christ, the effort became a reality recently when the Chicago groups first family made its maiden missionary trip to Ghana.
It was a very humbling experience sharing the gospel of the Lord with our people on the continent. Our trip was a tremendous success, both from the spiritual perspective as well as cultural and historical linkages, said Minister Nicholas Okaijah Thompson, ARRMs executive director.
There was so much outpouring of love for God; scores lost souls were won for the Lord and hundreds reaffirmed their faith in Him. We were welcomed with open arms wherever we went. Our success is generating calls for annual mission trips to the motherland.
Min. Thompson, a Ghanaian by birth, is also the secretary of the Council of Ghanaian Churches in Chicago. His wife, Minister Dorothy Thompson, ARRMs secretary, is an American and an educator. Their daughter, Natalie Thompson, an event planner, is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Being their first visit to the motherland, the two were overwhelmed by the hospitality accorded them.
We were very touched. A warm welcome was accorded on our arrival at the airport in Ghanas capital after our long flight from Chicago. Members of my husbands family and churches affiliated with our group enthusiastically hugged and embraced us. Kente stoles with the inscription, Akwaaba, meaning welcome in Ghanas main language, were placed around our necks, said Dorothy. After a grand welcome the following day at the Transit Pentecostal Church, the host church group, we felt so much at home at a joyous family reception. Natalie and I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face members of my husbands family, some of whom we had spoken with on telephone.
The highlight of the trip was a three-day Jesus crusade held at Apenkwan, near Accra with the theme, Come unto me all ye that labor. (Matt. 11:28). Jubilating crowds of people responded favorably to keynote address by of Min. Nicholas Thompson. Urging the people to heed Christs call, he said Jesus is the only one who gives true rest and freedom. All powers in heaven and earth have been given to him to liberate people from the spiritual and emotional bondage of Satan and lead lives of contentment, he asserted. Such a life will not come to Africans when they look upon nations abroad, but only by their reliance on Christ and the Holy Spirit. On the second day of the crusade, hundreds defied rain and disruption of electricity to hear the minister. His wife made a powerful presentation on the last day on, Returning Your Heart to God.
The presence of the Holy Spirit was strongly felt during the crusade. As the gospel was preached punctuated by worship, singing of praises and prayers, many people were saved, and several others were healed or reaffirmed their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Some people were overwhelmed by tears while others danced joyfully to music provided by the areas United Praise Choir and Transit Singers, and a dazzling performance by Sampson Annor, a leading guest artist.
Several local pastors participated in the crusade including Apostle Richard Appiah, head of the Transit Pentecostal Church and ARRMs Ghana chapter leader, Rev. Ernest Joy Quaye, Head Pastor, Word Center Church International, Rev. J. O. Sarpong, pastor of Roving God Bible Ministries International and Rev. Best Danso, pastor of the Christ Pentecostal Church.
Apostle Appiah expressed gratitude to the Thompsons for their significant contributions for the success of the Ghana crusade. He also thanked the New Hope Christian Missionary Baptist Church and the Fairfield Baptist Church, Ebenezer Presbyterian United Church and the Royal Diadem Pastoral Center, all based in Chicago, for their monetary and spiritual support. The apostles church, Transit Pentecostal Church and the New Hope Christian Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Ernest Baker, Sr., are sister churches. Rev. Baker is also the board chairperson of the Africa Resurrection and Restoration Ministries.
Minister Nicholas Thompson lauded the crusade as important linkage between Africans and African Americans in helping to fulfill the Lords call to spread the gospel to all parts of the earth. He, however, appealed for both increased spiritual and material support to help the poor and the needy. In keeping with the Lords caring for the need, the minister presented a large quantity of clothes to needy children at the local church.
The Chicago group also donated school supplies to the pupils of the New Blessed Assurance Preparatory School in Accra, which is a sister school of the Parkside Community Academy in Chicago. Addressing a student assembly in her honor, Min. Dorothy Thompson, who is also Parksides principal, urged the students to study hard to become productive leaders of their country. She noted the energy of Ghanaians as they went about their daily tasks, and said it reminded her of similar energy among African Americans in the sixties.
Also included in the trip was a visit to Kumasi, capital of the powerful Ashanti Empire whose soldiers gallantly resisted British invading forces. In a sermon at the All Souls International Church, Min. Nicholas Thompson hailed the gallantry of the Ashantis, and he hoped that Christians among them would now use their energy in spreading the gospel amid challenges by rival religions. He spoke of the three main challenges of Christ by highlighting the great commandments, the great invitation and the great commission.
In the past, others came to us with the gospel; it is time that black people get more involved in missionary work for Gods glory and in the interest of their people.
He urged Ghanaian ministers to evangelize rural Africa, and take the gospel world-wide including China, in the same way that the Chinese are making economic inroads into Africa.
There is going to be major transfer of technology and capital from China to Africa, which will help the continent to regain its past glory. This will be similar to what happened to the Jews when they were leaving Egypt, he said.
Africa, your day is coming. But Africans must be spiritually strong and be guided by the lessons of your history to resist another foreign countrys plan to exploit you. You must also not give in to the claims of a false religion that has also been creating unrest all over the continent.
Members of the ARRM delegation were later observers at the annual meeting of the Ghana Pentecostal Leadership Conference in Accra, which was attended by more than 200 pastors, bishops and ministers. Rev. Dr. Micheal Tawiah-Ransford, head of the Secretariat of the Ghana Pentecostal Council, lauded the work of the Chicago group and indicated the need for continued communication between Africans and African Americans in spreading the gospel.
As a country that holds a leading place in Africa, Ghana afforded members of the Chicago a glimpse of the cultural and historical bonds with Africa, the ancestral home of black people. The group toured the historic castle at Cape Coast which houses The Door of No Return through which millions of African slaves were shipped to the New Americas under the most inhumane conditions.
The tour was a moving experience for me. It is rather very unfortunate that millions of Africans died or were enslaved for few others to profit so much, said Dorothy Thompson. Our cheap labor as slaves built America and Europe into the great continents they are today.
The group also visited Akosombo, site of nations biggest hydro-electric dam and largest man-made lake. Members of the group were overwhelmed by the areas scenery.
The scenery at Akosombo, with the vast Volta Lake set against the beautiful mountains, is breathtaking, said Natalie Thompson. Here, you get real leisure at a peaceful location. The area has the potential of becoming one of the finest recreational sites in Africa with further investment and development.
In addition to sharing the gospel, the Africa Resurrection and Restoration Ministries, founded three years ago, aims at encouraging people to become self-sufficient. Its emphasis is on helping the poor and the needy in Africa, Caribbean and the U.S. ARRM is organized to cater for churches or individuals that may have interest in international missions, but have no vehicle to achieve their goal. It could be a desire to have a sister church relations, minister the gospel and provide relief items or just simply support by monetary means or other donations. Through missionary trips, the group organizes revivals, crusades, church and school partnerships, and helps to meet the spiritual and material needs of people, stated Min. Nicholas Thompson. With the opening of the groups chapters in the U.S. and Africa, plans are underway to open a branch in the Caribbean for the spread of the gospel. With the formation of ARRM, a people scattered around the globe are being reunited for Gods work and, in the process, being re-awakened to their past glory, the minister added.
ARRM is currently accepting applications for its January 2012 trip, as well as Christmas donations to make a difference in the lives of the poor and the needy. In connection with any of the projects, you can contact ARRM at (708) 339 6626.