The #TTtravels series (Teacher Training travels) documents my journey with Martin Momoda, PoP Laos Teacher Training Coordinator, to discover ways of establishing a similar program in Ghana.
Understanding the culture I live in is more than a personal mission, it’s part of my job. And it is rapidly becoming part of Martin’s job as well in his quest to improve teaching methods and materials in Ghana. So today we visited the most prominent and visible element of culture here: the Christian church.
My neighbor, Pastor George, is a tall and welcoming man with dark skin and a brilliant white, boy-like smile. He’s also the Christian missionary pastor at the Ho branch of Triumphant Global Ministries.
I goaded Martin into coming, which he was gracious enough to do, and in our discussion afterwards it seems we both learned quite a bit. Services are long – like most African ceremonies involving speakers and music – and the congregation is so joyous in its worship. I noticed some stark differences between the message preached here and the many I have heard back in the western world, however. It was revealing about the priorities of people in Ho, perhaps in Ghana as a whole.
Martin was more focused on the style and behavior of the people attending service. He identified the prevalence of call-and-response, the high level of adult literacy and understanding as members of the church body were called to read aloud from their Bibles and the assembly would cry out their “Amens” and “My Gods.” The many children present may not have actively participated, but their parents bring them to service every week and this is a big part of life for them.
A visiting preacher today, Pastor Frank, had driven in from Accra to deliver his fiery testimony about the acts required to capture the attention of heaven – namely prayer and almsgiving. He dipped into a bit of mysticism at one point, with heavy ritual and what could be misconstrued as exorcism outside a proper context. The original Ewe practices surface in small ways.
While I can hardly keep up with all the “Hallelujahs” and “Praise the Lords,” I’m glad I went this morning. It’s nice to know what all my neighbors are doing on Sunday mornings, even if I may need to inform Pastor that I am so terribly sorry but I’ll be traveling every Sunday from now until I leave in October.