Erik and Bridget Martin

Life Teen Ghana Mission 2010

THE FACE OF CHRIST

Our Life Teen Mission trip back to Ghana this year was incredibly blessed.  We took 12 missionaries, 3 of which were with Family Missions Company (http://fmcmissions.com/).  The greatest blessing this year for me was seeing all the people we built relationships with last year, and having the opportunity to go deeper with them, from all the young adults we worked with, to the people and the children in the village, to Rose Mary and all the children that lived around the house where we stayed.  I was also greatly impacted by the formation we received prior to our departure.  One of the speakers shared how we are not Americans who are Catholic, but we are Catholics who happen to be American.  Because of this statement I had a different perspective on our Catholic brothers and sisters who were African.  It was beautiful to see and take part in their different styles of worship and participate in the Mass which could last up to three hours, where the people would dance up to the altar to give their offering.  The American Church holds only a sliver of the face of Christ.  This is one of the many graces of missions. I have had the blessing to travel and see different cultures and how they worship, from Jamaica, to Nicaragua, to Haiti, to Mexico, to Ghana and how they all make up a portion of the face of Christ.  With each culture we encounter, we obtain a fuller image of the body and face of Christ.

HUNGRY FOR LOVE

Another strong message that I was able to take away from this mission is how hungry Christ is for our love.  This came to me through all the children we encountered.  Every day when we would arrive at the village for our work project, the children would come running, waving and smiling.  Every day upon our return back to the town where we were staying, the children would be waiting for our arrival.  As soon as we got out of the van they would literally leap into our arms, hungry for love and affection.  So many of them just wanted to be held.  One day I was praying about this in the chapel, and I came to the realization that Christ is just as hungry and thirsty for our love.  Each day He waits for us, He runs to us wanting to throw his arms around us.  When we go to work, He is there dwelling in our fellow employees.  When we go to school, He is there in our teachers and in our classmates.  When we come home, He is there in our families, hungry for our love.  It’s easy to love Jesus in the cute little Ghanaian kid who jumps into our arms.  For many of us though the least of these where Jesus dwells is in our family, our fellow employees, our teachers and our classmates.  Mother Teresa would always say the greatest poverty are those hungry for love, and we don’t have to travel to India to serve in the slums of Calcutta.  There are Calcutta’s in our own homes.   I pray that we all can feed the Jesus who is starving for love in the world closest to us. Matthew 25:35-46. Below are some pictures from the mission. All glory to God!

Last year we built a house for this woman, her name is Ama. She is blind and is 102 years old.  Last year she was taking care of her son who was paralyzed from the waist down.  Unfortunately, we found out that he passed away about about a month after we left.  My blessing came when we went to visit and pray with her this year and she remembered my voice and with a big smile on her face, called me by name.

We had the opportunity to go through the village and do home visits, like this one with Francis.   During this time we would see if there is any way we could meet their physical needs and pray with them.

In the village we had the blessing to pray with this gentlemen named  John who was struggling with alcoholism.

Singing and praising with the children in the village. “On the lips of infants and children you have found perfect praise” Psalm 8:2

Playing with Thomas, one of the children that attends the Little Flower Pre-school.  The missionary family that we stay with, Paul and Bernice, operate a free pre-school on their front porch for children in their neighborhood who cannot afford to go to school.

Little Flower students and their teacher.

This is Rose Mary and Broda.  They live across the street from Paul and Bernice, and are very close to my heart.  Rose Mary is the most beautiful young girl you will ever meet.  She would take us on guided tours around their little town.  She is also in need of a laptop for her school work, if anyone has an older one they would like to donate she would greatly appreciate it.  Her brother Broda, is the cutest kid ever.  These pictures do not do them justice.

Rose Mary carrying mud at the work project.

Rose Mary had one of her big end of the year tests the next day, after the soccer game we prayed with her that God would grant her wisdom and peace. She ended up doing well on all her tests!

We had the opportunity to play soccer with some of the young adults in the town where we were staying.  The obroni’s (white people) pulled off a narrow victory over the locals.  After the match we gathered together for a time of prayer.

One of the great blessings this year was going back and following up with the people we helped last year.  This is Cecilia, in the background is the house we helped renovate last year.  She was so happy to see us back!

Walking through the village to our work site.

The first phase of our work project, putting up the frame.

Attaching bamboo to the rest of the frame.

Loca, one of our amazing foremen!

All the bamboo is up, ready for mud!

Our missionaries made a trip down to the water hole with all our little helpers to make some mud.

The girls mixing and making mud.

All our little helpers carrying mud to the house that we were building.

More little helpers making mud bricks

Missionaries building the walls by placing mud bricks in between the bamboo.

Working on the roof.

Finishing up the roof.

One of the two houses we built.

Cleaning up from the work project in the village with all our little helpers.

Praying with the children in the village.

Walking through the village, we were able to jump into this pick-up game of soccer.

We went and visited a children’s hospital and brought them some donations.   We had an amazing time praying and singing with the children.

Loving more kids in the Children’s Hospital.

Walking through the town we came upon this woman, whose name is Patience.  After speaking with her for a little while, and hearing the struggles of her family, we asked if we could pray with her.  With an excited look on her face, she literally threw down the objects in her arms that she was holding, threw her arms in the air and with a huge smile she welcomed us to pray with her.  This was probably one of the most memorable moments in the mission for me.  This woman in the moment dropped everything to pray.  I hope that in my busiest hour, when asked to pray with or for someone, I can drop everything and do it.

Our mission team!

Erik and Bridget Martin

About the Author

Erik and Bridget were married in April of 2011. Bridget was a missionary with Family Missions Company for 10 years and Erik became a missionary with Life Teen in 2007. They currently live and serve at Life Teen Covecrest, located in Tiger, GA focusing on local outreach and leading short term foreign mission trips for college students.