Displaying items by tag: Ghana
Wycliffe Bible Translators are launching New Testaments in three different languages in Ghana over four days, and Christians across the nations can join the dedications live on Facebook. The Tafi, Logba and Nyagbo peoples receive their New Testaments on 25, 27 and 28 February respectively. The events, which start at 10 am each day, are hosted by a local organisation partnered with Wycliffe. You can watch the celebrations at facebook.com/gillbt.org. Also, on 25 February Ghana became the first country to receive a shipment of free Covid vaccine doses. This is a historic step towards an equitable distribution of vaccines to the areas where those most at risk live. It will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, which will continue in the coming days and weeks.
Recently the Ghana police, working with the department of social welfare and IJM, rescued nine children and arrested five suspects. We are thankful to the resilient and brave team who made this rescue possible. Please pray for further Ghana rescues. Four Filipino children were also rescued thanks to another multi-agency effort led by the Philippines Women and Children Centre. One suspect, believed to be a child’s relative, was arrested. Finally in South Asia ten people, including children, were rescued from bonded labour at a brick kiln.
Thousands of children work in Lake Volta’s massive fishing industry: many are slaves. Children as young as 4 are abused and malnourished. Their work is dangerous; drowning and other hazards are a constant threat. Victims rise before dawn to go out and dive down into the dark water to untangle fishing nets. IJM estimates that nearly two-thirds of children working on the Lake are trapped in slavery. Since 2015, 164 victims have been rescued from the lake’s fishing industry, and 31 suspected traffickers have been arrested. Today thousands of children are trapped there. Before the lockdown IJM were about to launch rescues. Pray that these children will be found and saved now that lockdown is lifted. Pray that IJM will be able to access communities and offer support where needed.
Spiritual warfare and the mission of the church is woven into Pentecostal / charismatic Christianity as a form of pastoral care. Supporters of spiritual warfare call themselves charismatic prophets and create ritual context for dealing with the problems of life related to education, marriage, promotion, etc. Witchcraft, in particular, may be blamed for both personal and communal problems. It is not uncommon for Ghanaians to explain alcoholism as the result of the wickedness of family witches who seek to bring victims to ruin. Mental health and human reproductive problems are similarly explained as the work of evil spirits. In Pentecostal traditions, unless deliverance occurs through warfare prayers, the influences of evil are believed to continue until people’s lives are completely wrecked. This teaching does not call for ‘victims’ to be personally responsible for their actions.
Thousands of children aged between three and seventeen live in slavery on Lake Volta, working up to 18 hours a day in the fishing industry. They are paid in daily abuse and threats, and the only way out is to drown or be rescued. Praise God for two convictions when the accused men pleaded guilty to human trafficking. One of them, who used the children for labour on his fishing boat, must also pay a fine or spend an additional year to the five-year sentence if unable to pay. While IJM has previously seen convictions for child labour in Ghana, these are their first for human trafficking, and a significant step toward ending slavery in the fishing industry.
The risks journalists take when reporting on corruption continue. Ahmed Hussein-Suale, an undercover journalist working on an investigation with the BBC about corruption in Ghana’s football leagues, was shot and killed after a politician called for retribution against him. In Turkey, journalist Pelin Ünker was found guilty of ‘defamation and insult’ and sentenced to thirteen months in jail for her work on the Paradise Papers investigation into offshore tax havens. Turkey has the world’s worst record for jailing journalists - 68 in prison at the end of 2018, all of them facing charges of crimes against the state. Journalists play a vital role in exposing the corrupt and their methods; but they face threats, violence, arrest, and death as a result. Since 2017, over 190 journalists have been incarcerated worldwide for reporting on corruption. See also
Praise God for the rescue of an 18-year-old woman in Ghana who had been enslaved for years on Lake Volta. Forced to work in the fishing industry seven days a week, Elinam (not her real name) had endured physical abuse and was denied food if she did not work. She attempted, unsuccessfully, to escape several times, but last week police and International Justice Mission (IJM) were able to find her and bring her to a safe aftercare home where she can recover and heal from trauma. Pray for her continued healing and wellbeing.
Kofi was eight years old when his mother introduced him to a nice man who told them he would take Kofi to live with him and enrol him in school, giving him the future his mother couldn’t give him. It was all a lie. For two years, Kofi was a slave to a boatmaster on Lake Volta in east Ghana. He woke at dawn to dive deep into the lake, holding his breath as he used his small fingers to untangle the nets caught on underwater tree stumps. He knew some boys drowned doing this. One day a strange boat pulled near. He knew it was different from others he’d been on when someone handed him a lifejacket to ensure he was safe. The boat was filled with police and IJM workers. Pray that IJM fulfils its plan to ‘eliminate the slave trade everywhere’.
Indigenous people are being reached in northern Ghana. The Komba people have demonstrated an exceptional openness to the gospel; many villages have openly invited Christian missionaries into their communities. Seventeen 17 national and international ministries are partnering to see Christianity reach this generation of unreached people. With a focus on local leadership training and evangelism, they are seeing a movement to Christ begin: 368 Komba leaders have been trained in disciple-making and church-planting, resulting in 63+ new churches. Missionaries are working side-by-side with local leaders, equipping them to do what God has called them to do. However, nominalism and self-absorption are rampant in this area, and 18 other people groups have not yet even heard of Jesus, while Muslims are launching an aggressive outreach, making significant inroads. There is a spiritual divide.
In April a group of boys in Ghana was rescued from slavery on fishing boats run by traffickers. While this was an occasion for rejoicing, some of these boys have ongoing medical needs. One boy has a serious heart condition that requires surgery, and another has a kidney and bladder condition that requires further testing. Please pray for the physical, emotional and mental healing of all the children, and for wisdom and strength for the aftercare team which is supporting the boys and their families through to restoration.