April 1997

Dear Friends,

To you all I send my warmest Christian greetings in the most blessed name of Our Redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ, from the land of Ghana, a land rich in gold and ancient history. It is the birth place of one of Africa's most illustrious sons, Dr. Kwame Nkruma as well as the current United Nations Secretary General.

Ghana, which was formerly called GoldCoast, was first visited by Europeans of Portuguese nationality in 1471. They came to trade in the abundant gold found and mined here, hence the name "coast of gold." The country is about the size of the United Kingdom and is relatively flat.

The name of Ghana was not coined out of political expediency. There have been centuries of empires and states in this part of Africa long before 1471. According to Verstraelen, Camps, Hoedemaker and Spindler, there was a Kingdom of Ghana in the ninth century (whose name modern Ghana adopted) that traded in gold and was known for her abundant gold. This kingdom was succeeded in the eleventh century by an even greater empire called Mali which extended to most of what is now northern Nigeria (1995:65).

It was during this period that one of the first known universities was built at Timbuktu in Mali, a city still known by that name in modern Mali. This university was known for its Islamic scholarship. The most famous of its scholars, Usman Dar Fodio, founded the present Sokoto caliphate, or dynasty, of the Islamic Kanem Borno Empire. From the thirteenty century on in this region the Yorubas developed a new political system. Their art in terra-cotta and bronze is among the best in the world and shows continuity with a much older culture, the Nok culture, which was present in the region centuries before the Christian era in Europe (Davidson 1996:23-36).

Organized missions, both Catholic and Protestant, began in the nineteenth century. Missionaries came to Ghana not only from Europe but also from North America. Americans of African descent were in the forefront of taking the light of the gospel to this land of gold. In J. K. Agbeti's words, their missionary contribution reached beyond Ghana to the other British colonies in West Africa (1986:113-19).

Today there are in Ghana, besides churches founded by missionary enterprise, some five hundred independent groups. These independent churches are often called "healing churches" because of their emphasis on healing. They are also called spiritual churches because of the power people experience in these churches in their struggle for life and in their yearning for the expansion of their lives. These facts supplied by D. B. Barrett (1968) and Beckmann have since been altered by further growth and development of Christianity.

I flew in here with Jim Gillett of Ireland Outreach, International from Lagos. We came on April 14 and Jim will leave 20th April for Europe. I will leave on a later date on the next available flight to Lagos, Nigeria.

While here, we will introduce the Emmaus Correspondence courses as an active tool for evangelism and discipleship. We will therefore hold seminars, workshops, Bible conferences, counseling, speaking engagements, and personal witnessing. After the introduction of the Emmaus focus in Nigeria, the German brothers and Ireland Outreach have born the very heavy financial burden of supplying 300,000 courses printed and shipped free, and over 20 cases of Bibles for those who asked for them in Nigeria and Ghana. In addition, valuable and needed books on various subjects are suppplied to reinforce the Bible teaching. Pray that the increased demand that will be caused by this visit to this place will not be grounds for some well-meaning beleivers to criticize the method being used to meet these needs. Pray for Jim Gillett and Ireland Outreach as they seek to help in this program.

Our host and hostess are Alfred and Esther Addison. Esther is the Nursing Officer in charge of Lever Brothers Clinic in Accra. Alfred, who was formerly the regional director of S.I.M training program and prison chaplain, now runs a church at the University of Ghana, Accra campus, called Accra Chapel. It is an independent evangelical church. Pray for these two for they have assisted in coordinating the follow-up program in this country.

After 1994 tract distibution in Los Angeles during the World Cup finals, many responses came from Africa. Two of the nations where the responses came from were Nigeria and Ghana. At the request of Richard Yarrall my family and I undertook the follow-up and coordination of the responses from these two countries. For the past three years this couple has worked closely with us to do just that in Christ's name.

These tracts offered free Bibles to respondents. As of now, Jim Gillett and Ireland Outreach, International have adequately met these offers by sending in the needed Bibles. When I was back in the States, I was told that Bethel Chapel in Gardena, CA has also been sending Bibles directly to the requests that they receive. Please let us know those who have been helped so that limited resources are not unwisely utilized.

Those who stand in judgment against those who make known their needs and those of the work must remember that God's work involves human financial input. In John12:3-6 we are reminded that false spirituality in such matters always grieves the heart of the Lord of the harvest. If Paul lived in our day, many would have put him out of our platform because he made needs known to the assemblies and asked for help ( 2 Corinthians 8:1-18).

We are all called to live by faith, the more simple, if more difficult part of dependence on God for guidance and supplies. Living by faith shold be true of every child of God, whether working with a society, or in business, or in any vocation of life. We all need to experience and know His faithfulness.

Lovingly in Immanuel's name,

T. Cyprian Kia

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