Vicarious Voyage... Refuge Chapel
February 13, 2012
By Courtney DeSchepper
On the first day in Ghana I had the opportunity of a lifetime. In
Greenville, First United Methodist Church has sponsored a village
called Aworesu in the bushes of Ghana. This is an area far outside of
any major city. The roads are nothing but dirt and rocks that leave an
eroded, dangerous, unsafe path to a village of about 500 people.
Through the help of some church members back home I was able to meet a
church member and friend in Tema to go and visit this church.
Joe Sevor is a minister at the Refuge Chapel in Aworesu and brother to
Ishmael, native to Ghana but now living in Ohio. Joe met me at the port
where I docked and took me on the one and a half hour drive to Aworesu.
On the way he told me a little bit of information about this place that
I was about to visit. He told me that the church serves about fifty
members at any given time, the structure has been up for about three
years, and that the village loves their new building. At first, I had
no idea what to expect when I arrived to the village. On the way we
stopped and picked up the Pastor. His name is Eric; he has been a
practicing pastor for five years but has been at the church since its
As we drove up to the church a flood of emotions began to fill my
heart. Once I actually stepped outside the taxi I was overwhelmed by
what I saw. This cinderblock and tin roof building was beautiful. The
church had this overwhelming feeling of the Holy Spirit present. This
made the building absolutely breathtaking. I could really feel how the
Lord was using this building. I instantly began to ask more and more
questions about what the church does and the types of services it holds
on a regular basis. Joe and Eric were so kind in answering every
question I asked. After a few minutes at the church Joe asked if I
wanted to enter the village and meet some of the members.
I was able to meet about fifteen members that day. Everyone was so kind
and welcoming to me. In their broken English each of them thanked me
for coming and wished me an enjoyable stay in Ghana. Although it was
difficult to understand their English, I had never had such a clear
understanding of what they meant. I could not help but smile and thank
them for their words of kindness and well wishes. One man in particular
that I met was the original pastor of the community named Pastor James.
He is the one who sold the land that the church is on to Ishmael to
build the church. Before then, he would hold sermons at a very small
area of the village for anyone who wanted to listen. He told me how
much easier this building made it to teach the word of God.
I was actually given the chance to attend a bible study they had on my
third night in Ghana. Every member immediately came up and shook my
hand and once again welcomed me to their village. Even though I could
not understand the sermon, it was in Ewe the language of the village, I
was able to feel the presence of the Lord. I was even invited to
participate in their songs and dances in the service. Needless to say,
I should leave the dancing to them. Everyone giggled as I tried to
participate in their native dances. At the end of the service everyone
embraced me and said their goodbyes. It was one of the saddest moments
in my life. As I pulled away for the last time I could see the faint
outlines through the darkness of the members waving goodbye.
Greenville’s First United Methodist Church helped make a dream for this
village a reality. Without the sponsorship from FUMC this church would
probably not be as far along as it is today. So many people in
Greenville think that a small town cannot make an impact. However, my
time in Ghana illustrated the opposite. It is because of the love and
support of this small town that Aworesu has a church building that will
stand tall for many years to come. When I return to Greenville, I would
like nothing more than to tell anyone who will listen about this
experience in the bushes of Ghana.
I left a part of myself there. I left a piece of my heart and soul in
Aworesu. I cannot wait until the day that I get to return and visit yet
again. I have lifelong friends in Ghana and I already miss them. I know
that there is so much more we could do for Aworesu. I look forward to
coming back to Greenville with this new information and passion.