(This continues Greg’s blog about his mission trip to Koforidua, Ghana. Read Parts One and Two for some backstory on the trip.)
As we began to settle into life in Ghana, we met more and more young Catholics who were passionate about Christ. The house we were staying at, the Otoo’s, also had some Ghanian young adults staying for the summer to serve in ministry. As the week progressed, I got to know two of the guys a little. Padua and Collins are both college students, studying computer science and linguistics. These young men fiercely believed in God – basically, they were a lot like the guys I’m friends with back home. I probably asked them a thousand questions about Ghana; about language, food, history, politics, economics, food, culture, religion, dating, and food.
As we became friends, the thing I began to realize was that deep down, we are all the same. Maybe ‘realize’ isn’t the right word, because this wasn’t a total shock to me. But in the same way I wrote about Christ’s universal salvation last week, this was a point that God drove home through my experience. Talking to Collins and Padua, I realized that these guys had the same struggles I had; the same dreams, the same challenges, the same desire for the Lord. Although we lived on different continents and grew up with different languages, we were all one in our spiritual adoption by Christ.
Of course, seeing how universal the Catholic (which means Universal!) Church truly is was an experience in itself. But more than just going to Ghana, being at Mass, and walking away talking about the similarities of liturgy (that’s the Church word for Mass), I was able to see the beauty of the Church in people. Through these two young men, these two peers and brothers in Christ, I had community 5,000 miles from home.
And you know what makes this possible? The fact that God is always the same. God is unchanging – the unmoved Mover, the uncreated Creator. God’s love may reach out to each of us with different words or experiences, but at its root is the same person throughout eternity. Our relationship with Christ is just that – a relationship! No matter how many people have relationships with God, He is still the same God. When we know Him, we can recognize Him in the hearts, minds, and lives of others.
I continue to pray for Collins and Padua (and talk to them on Facebook – gotta love technology). They are my brothers in Christ, just like my brothers back here in the desert. So the next time you’re at Mass, or praying your rosary, or just talking to God remember to pray for those all across the world. We are one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church – and one universal family.
Back next week – AMDG