Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February, 2011 - Togo

One Sunday a few weeks ago, I crossed over the border from Ghana to Togo, to attend church in a village called Badja.  The congregation there, part of the Eglise Evangélique Presbytérienne du Togo, has a friendship with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, congregation in Nima, Accra, 150 miles to the southwest.  Nima is the closest congregation to my house, and I often worship there when I’m not pulled elsewhere for work.  As a result, I had met some Badja church members in Accra, and I was now looking forward to seeing them in their home village.

I have to say, I was amazed by this small church and its congregation of about 75 people. Their deep faith, the hospitality they extended to me, and most of all their wonderful worship and music, gave me a renewed sense of peace and hope that I really needed at that moment in time.

The youth choir of the congregation.

Throughout Ghana and Togo, there is something I really like about small rural and urban congregations, both of which are perceived as insignificant within their denominations. In these congregations, people are so grateful to see visitors from far away. They express a gratitude and affection to those who simply take time to visit them. It’s as if just showing up is enough to make you a saint.

I’ve also especially come to like the Togolese Presbyterians for their commitment to justice and compassion ministries. This past year, the EEPT chose as its annual theme, “Life in Abundance: Preserving Human Dignity.” The denomination seems unique in West Africa, for the central focus it places on this aspect of Christian faith and practice.

As more and more churches in West Africa are influenced by a hollow charismatic prosperity gospel, let’s pray that the EEPT can be a model of something different and better. Pray that others will follow their lead, being faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, who live joyfully, trusting in the promises of God, and who serve others with Christ-like love and compassion.

It surely is a striking contrast to what has become so common these days – those who shout Jesus’ name loudly, who make empty promises of wealth and prosperity, and who do everything in their power to appear as a strong “man of God,” claiming to predict the future and perform “miracles and wonders.”

Members of the Badja congregation, greeting one another after worship.

1 comment:

  1. Josh, Such good news and also uplifting videos. Thank you for posting this message of renewal, hope and service to others from this exceptional small congregation at Badja. I will encourage our Presbytery Churches to view this blog as well.Our greetings and love of Christ to this shining church of Light and to you dear friend, our ambassador! Blessings on you and yours, Rev. Dr.Teresa Roberts, Mission and Witness Chair, PTCA