As our time wraps up here and we get ready to go back to the ship I look back over the past 6 months and am filled with thankfulness to God.  What started off as a trip home to have our baby, turned into more than I could have ever imagined.  Reconnecting with friends, hanging out with my family, getting back involved with my church, working on visa papers with Greg, and recently taking part in a missions conference.  All of these events have enriched my life and blessed me beyond what I ever deserve. 
For all of you that didn’t know me before I left for the ship, I love being home.  I was the daughter that was never going to leave Massachusetts.  So when I left to go to Mercy Ships everyone, including myself, was surprised.  But I listened to His call and have not regretted a single day.  “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” --Frederick Buechner.  This is where God had called me and I found a deep joy and peace that I had never felt before.
So this past May when God opened the door for Greg and I came to the US, I was happy to come home and see people and of course have Hailey but I was also very excited about getting back to Africa. After having Hailey and seeing how wonderful it was to be around family and friends especially as she grows up my heart started to change.  With that realization, Greg and I decided not to apply for additional visitor visas but to go ahead with the green card.  Our lawyer explained that due to us being married for less than 2 years the process would require  that we would not be able to leave the country during that 2 year period. 
Becca’s reaction in June:  Ughh!
Becca’s reaction Now: Yipee!
Well God knew exactly what He was doing when He let us come home last May.  We went ahead with the green card but asked for an exception that would let us go back to Mercy Ships to finish our commitment with them and also say good-bye to our ship family.  Then we’ll come back next summer to finish the rest of the 2-year green card requirement.  :o)
God truly knows what is best for us even though we may not feel like He does or realize it yet.  My recent bible study stems from the verse “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; Indeed I have a beautiful inheritance.”  No matter what we have gone through or are going through, both good and bad, God has a purpose.  As children of God some things we will inherit while here on earth and the rest are being stored for us in heaven.  “Indeed I have a \beautiful inheritance.” 
Thank you God for your control over our lives and that your thoughts and ways are always higher than our own.  May we trust you more and obey you with our whole lives.


The power of words

Spreading the good news.  Bringing the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus.  Sharing the love of Christ.  While working on the ship we were able to spread the love of Christ in a tangible way as we worked with people in need.  At times we had the divine opportunity of sharing verbally the love of Christ to those we served and ALL the time we had the amazing opportunity of showing the love of Christ through our hands and feet.  After being on the ship for three years God has formed a passion to share the love of Christ in this way.  I would talk with patients, parents of patients, day workers, and even crew members about the love of Christ.  Last May when Greg and I found out that we were coming to the US I was soooooo excited but I was also really nervous and unsure about how God would use me while at home.  Could I be as effective for Gods kingdom?  Could God use me at home?

The following are some short stories about how God has been at work through my time home.
Appointment Testimonies:  Two days after we returned to the states I had my first prenatal appointment.  From that point on I met with the doctors (6 total) every 2 weeks and then every week for the last month of my pregnancy.  Each visit the doctors would look through my chart and ask something about the ‘boat I came from’.  Two of the doctors and I went into deep conversations about the work done in West Africa through Mercy Ships.  Then during my 3 -day stay at the hospital, after giving birth to Hailey, I was able to talk with all the nurses that took care of me and also the nurses aides and even a housekeeper.  All of these interactions were initiated by the staff, which made each one even more special.  A few of the nurses were so interested we would end up talking for 30 minutes or more which for a nurse is a VERY long time.  They asked for Mercy Ships website and also my email.  I pray that during these particular conversations that God was able to open eyes and soften hearts to his love and care for his people around the world.

            Gregory’s memoirs:  As I mentioned in my last blog it has been great being home not only to have Hailey but also for Greg to get to know my friends and family more.  I have told Greg many times that I think he should write a book about how faithful God has been to him throughout his entire life.  Keeping him safe during Liberia’s 14 years of civil war, getting him through a tough family upbringing, connecting him with Mercy Ships and making a way for him to become crew, and of course bringing us together in marriage.  Because of our extended time home Greg has been able to share stories with my friends and family about God’s faithfulness to him.  Not every person or friend of mine will have the opportunity to go to Africa but through Greg’s stories a little bit of Africa has come here to them.  I pray that through these times of sharing a better understanding of Africa will be created for all who haven’t been there.

            Ms. Hailey Faith Kulah:  So this is my first time having a baby but man o man do I feel blessed.  It has been so wonderful being a mom and loving and caring for this little life that God has entrusted me with.  Since having Hailey (4 weeks ago today) I have been able to have some of the most amazing conversations with friends from all parts of my life.  High school, college, Mass General, church, Mom’s college friends, Dad’s coworkers, the list goes on and on.  With about 3 months left here in the states, I am grateful for these times reconnecting with people I love.  Hailey has opened up a whole new ministry to my family and me.  

God can do more than we could ever ask or imagine (Eph 3:20) and he has proved that to me once again during this time home.  Recently I have been reading through Acts and also thinking about how Paul shared the ‘good news’.  I saw that time and time again Paul would use his testimony to help convey the love of Christ.  What a powerful tool that is.  God has shown me that I have that same tool I can use as well, sharing the many stories of God’s faithfulness to me. Whether in West Africa or Chelmsford God has shown me that if I rely on Him he can use me anywhere.    


The US so far.

We've been in the US for two months already?  Crazy right!  

Our time home has been such a blessing.  In the past three years of being on the Africa Mercy whenever I have been home it has been like a sprint to see friends, family, to fundraise, and update churches.  This time home is more like a marathon.  I/we have been able to spend quality time with friends, family, churches, and each other.  We've also been able to do a bit of traveling.  Trips to Virginia, Ohio, NH, New York, and our course all around Massachusetts.  Greg and I have also been blessed in being able to spend time with our church family and really connect with old friends and also make new.  Blessings upon blessings.  

We put this slide show together to give you a glimpse of the many amazing friends and family that we have been able to see and catch up with over these months.  We don't have pictures of every event or friend but this will at least give you and idea.  

*sidenote: Thanks ESPECIALLY to Mom and Dad for letting us live with you, eat your food, take your car, and drive you crazy at times.  We are so excited to be able to spend this special time with you as we visit with friends but also prepare for the arrival of our little one.  We love you.  May God bless you in everything you do for His Glory!

At this point we are about 2-3 weeks away from meeting our little girl and are SUPER excited (and a little nervous) about her arrival.  I/we will update as soon as we hear or FEEL more.. hehe 

Ephesians 1:3 ~ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms, with every spiritual blessing in Christ


Baby Kulah kicks again...

HELLO It’s me again.  I’ve been bugging my mom at least 5-6 times a day to write again but she said I had to wait til I was over 30 weeks old in my water home.  Last Friday I had my 30-week-old birthday so here I am, Hoorayy!! 

For my 28-week-old birthday my Mom and Dad brought me flying.  I thought it was going to be really hard and scary but instead I just sat in a seat for a REALLY long time.  It was pretty boring so I decided to work on my kickboxing moves to pass the time.  I especially loved to try my moves on my Mom’s punching bag (bladder).  My Mom seemed to like it because she kept waking up my Dad so he could feel my new moves.  I can’t wait to come outside so I can really show off my new moves.

FINALLY by the time I had hair on my head we made it from my Dads country to my Moms country.  Our first stop was to meet my Mom’s family.  My Mom and Dad haven’t stopped talking about them since I was a small zygote.  I met my Nana, Grandpa, Auntie, and Uncle and it made me sooo happy.  They were all really nice and I could tell my Mom and Dad were really happy too.

For the past 2 weeks my parents and I have been staying with my grandparents in some place called Chelmsford.  Once we got here my parents and Nana brought me to see a new photographer to take pictures of me inside my water home.  This photographer wanted to take pictures of EVERYTHING.  She took pictures of my heart, my hands, my legs, my head, my tummy, my face, and my feet.  Then the photographer asked my parents if they wanted to know if I was a boy or girl.  I was SOOO embarrassed but I told them it was okay to find out.  SURPRISE, I’m a girl!!  I haven’t told them yet what I want my name to be but I like to leave my parents in suspense.

Over my 30 weeks of growing in my water home I have continued to leave my parents in suspense.  Since I grew eardrums, I have heard my Mom and Dad praying to God about me and all the unknowns ahead, (Ugh they worry about me so much), but like usual God continues to show them that everything is going to be okay if they will just continue to put their faith in Him.  I keep trying to tell them that but you know how parents can be. 

Anyway I should probably get back to working on my kickboxing cause my Mom is starting to get ready for bed but I am excited to meet you all when I come out of my water home in 10 weeks. 

Love you Mom and Dad.


One of my sweet moves, Hiya!


God is full of adventure and surprises!

Good bye Mercy Ships! (see you in a few months)

Hello Ghana!

or... Change of plans!!
Hello USA!!

Love you Jacobsen's!

God decided 3 weeks before we were suppose to leave for Ghana to bless the Kulah family with a visa to the US.  God is a god of adventure and surprises!!

Guess who's coming home?

Thanks Rob and Denise.  Now time to surprise the Annie and Greg.  

Surprise again! 
Actually my parents knew we were coming home (especially since we'll be living in their basement for the next 5 months) but my mom still looks exceptionally surprised. 

Now for the real surprise. 

She had a small inkling that we were coming 5 minutes before we rang their doorbell but that may have been due to the fact that my parents rented a car and that no one ever rings their doorbell. heheh!

First stop: Virginia for Annie's graduation.  Great job Annie we are so proud to have a doctor (JD) in the family!! 

Not even one month prior to this picture being taken was the thought of being together with all these lovely people even a possibility.  Thank you God!

Next stop: Home!
Baby Kulah is still getting ready to enter this big world but because of God's love and faithfulness I am so excited to announce that he or she will be born in the US surrounded by our amazing friends and family.  

"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; 
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through 
all generations."  Psalm 89:1


Grace at work

             As of April 21st Mercy Ships has done about 600 surgeries here in Togo plus many other procedures and programs.  These are the specifics: 161 maxillofacial surgeries, 19 cleft lip and palate surgeries, 66 plastic/reconstructive surgeries, 151 general surgeries (hernia, goiters, lipomas, etc), 19 VVF surgeries, 13 palliative care patients, 474 cataract surgeries. And there is still another 6 weeks left of surgeries.  In outpatients we have had over 1200 wound care visits in eleven weeks.  Some days are manic while other days are just ‘busy’ but all days are an adventure. 
The other day while working on a plastics patient and trying to deal with their complicated wound, one of my day workers said to me “It is all about God’s grace.” I then asked, “What do you mean? The surgeries, the healing, the wound care?”   He said, “All.”
This really got me thinking about grace in the context of Mercy Ships.  As I looked over the numbers stated above I know that God’s grace was upon each and every person touched.  Even the thousands that we had to turn away God's grace was still at work.  But as the day worker said this to me I started thinking about the many graces God gives us all as we work for Him here.  Whether it be the surgeons performing complicated operations, the deckies working with heavy machinery in the hot sun, the 50 children on board who have teachers and a curriculum to prepare them for the next step in life, and in outpatients where each day we view the intricacies of the human body and how it heals.  There are times when i leave work and get down or upset as certain patients wounds arent healing the way they should or in the time they should.  But the other side of grace is it is all about God's timing and his purposes and not our own.  There are some wounds that we look at and cringe knowing that it will take weeks before it heals and then by Gods grace they come back and by the next week their wounds are beautiful.  For some of you this may not mean to much but for any nurse out there (happy nurses week by the way... MGH girls, love ya) you can appreciate these things more.  To watch somebody who has had their body so badly burned that they are unrecognizable and hindered from doing basic activities, to see their skin come anew after a basic plastic surgery is truly Gods grace.  As we work with each patient trying to decide which product to put on their slow healing or infected wound, it is only by Gods grace that these troublesome wounds heal. 
So yes we have troublesome wounds but truth be told we also have troublesome patients and caregivers.  Mercy Ships looks for and works on physical deformities but as we care for these patients we come to see wounds that are seated deep inside.  Some of our patients aren’t healing the way they should because their parents choose not to obey the directions we give them.  Where as others are dealing with alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, trauma, and/or domestic abuse.  A lot of times these are the patients that stay with us day after day, week after week, and (to be honest) these are the ones that you are hoping will just heal so you can get a break.  But again, it's God's grace that knows when the person will heal but it is also God's grace working in my life as well to rely on his grace and strength and not my own.
In conclusion, after working in Africa for about three years, I have found that the western world and Africa can be SO different but also SO alike.  One of the ways that we are SO alike is in regards to our brokenness.  I have found that our brokenness is the same no matter where we come from.  Our struggles may not be exact but the feelings can be the same.  So no matter where you go in the world you will see broken people with not only physical problems but social, spiritual, and emotional ones as well.  Each one in need of a personal Savior that can make them whole again and heal whatever brokenness is in their life.  His name is Jesus Christ.

“Grace, grace, Gods grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, Gods grace
Grace that will save us from all our sins
Grace that is greater than all our sin”
            Written by Daniel Towner

Prayer: As Mercy Ships finishes up its last few weeks of surgeries, I pray that Gods grace would be upon the crew, day workers, and patients.  I also pray that as outpatients continues to work diligently on these patients, that Gods grace would flow around and through each one of us here. 

2 Corinthians 13:14~ May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


I love my job...

Colossians 3:23-24~ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is Jesus you are serving.

Have you ever had a job that you just loved? You wake up in the morning and get excited for 8am to come. You finish at the end of a long hard day and still say “I love my life”. Well if not then please don’t be envious of me because that is the kind of job I have.

Last September, after finishing the Church Leaders Conferences, I switched back over to the Hospital to take care of patients again. My boss asked if I would be willing to work in outpatients doing wound care. Outpatients is the place that patients get discharged to once their wounds are manageable (i.e. no narcotics needed for dressing changes, wounds aren’t too badly infected, only once a day dressing changes, etc.). At first I was pretty nervous due to the fact that throughout my 7 year nursing career, most wound care had been done by ‘wound care nurses’. But in talking with my boss she explained that due to my Mercy Ships nursing experience with all the different specialties that she believe that I would be able to learn and adapt quickly with some mentoring. So going into outpatients I knew I needed God as my guide and helper to have wisdom and discretion with the variety of wounds I would see. After the first few weeks of working there I came to LOVE my job. At the end of last year my boss asked if I would be willing to stay in outpatients for the Togo 2012 outreach and I of course, accepted.

So here I am, Togo 2012, wound care nurse and LOVING it. We deal with facial tumors, cleft lips/palates, hernias, goiters, lipomas, plastics, and a few other surgical procedures. On average, right now, we see about 170 patients a week. But as the weeks continue and more surgeries are performed we will be seeing between 250-300 a week. Besides doing the wound care (which is sooooo fun) the other reason I love my job is because I get to do a lot of teaching. We do malaria teaching, hygiene teaching, mouth care teaching, nutrition teaching, and even sometimes wound care teaching. Its like I have found the best of both worlds for the giftings God has given me, nursing and teaching. Also since we are the last stop before the patients are sent back home we also have a lot of opportunities for the patients to share with us their thankfulness and joy to God and/or Jesus (depending on if they are Christian or not) for all that has been done for them. Being able to talk with and pray with these patients has been an amazing experience as the Holy Spirit moves in and through these each one. God is soo good!

Some patients’ wounds are extremely difficult. Some patients’ personalities are extremely difficult. But all patients are a joy to serve. In February of this year we had a screening day where over 3500 people came to be assessed to see if they would be chosen for surgery with Mercy Ships. So even though some patients are harder than others I know how special each one is because God chose each one.

Joy. Throughout my life I have found joy whenever I am doing what the Lord has called me to do. I have found joy during hard times and I have found joy during the most amazing times. I have found that you can be happy doing a lot of things but to be joyful that comes from the Lord.

As we finish out these next two months of surgeries please continue to pray for these patients to find that joy that only Jesus can supply. That they would trust in him and that their hope would be restored.

Romans 15:14~ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


My first blog...

Baby Kulah’s debut:

SURPRISE!! Hello to all my Mom and Dad’s friends and family! Right now I am growing inside my mommy’s belly. I turned 15 weeks yesterday and my mom and dad said I am big enough now to be in my first blog. I had some photographer come and take some pictures of me inside my water house. I heard her talking to my mom that she wanted to measure my head to my bum so I decided it would be fun to play a game with her. So I kept kicking my feet, moving my arms all around, and even flipped over to my belly just for fun. But then after about 20 minutes I was too tired so I decided to let her see how tall I was. She said I was 6 cm, but now I am about 4 and ½ inches. I’m not sure yet if I’m a boy or a girl but the doctor said he would tell me on my 20 week birthday (by then I’ll be 6 and ½ inches tall!!).

Right now my parents live on a big water house (not as nice as mine) but when I hit my 28 week birthday we need to move to a cement home. So my parents told me that we will be taking a road trip to Ghana. We will live here for a few months until I am born. Don’t worry my mom and dad have prayed a lot about this and are really at peace about this being the right decision. I may even be able to meet my grandma and grandpa while there!! The doctors say I leave my water home around the 17th of August. Yahoo!!

Then as soon as my Daddy gets his special golden ticket (US visa), we will all be able to come and meet you! I am even MORE excited about that day!!

I hope my mommy and daddy let me write again but either way I know they will do their best to keep you all updated. Please be praying for me as I get ready to come into this world. I’ve never been to Ghana before (actually I haven’t been anywhere) but please be praying that all the details come together and everything goes smoothly on my REAL birth day.

Love you all.

~Baby Kulah


One small thing..

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Mother Teresa

James Adoukpo grew up in a family made up of voodoo worshipers. All the way up until the age of 30 he was enjoying all the worldly pleasures of money, women, drinking, and drugs until he saw the love of Jesus. Once committing his life to Jesus he turned his life around and started living the way God wanted him to. Then in the 1990s Mercy Ships came to Togo and he began working on the ship as a day worker. Since then the ship has visited Togo 5 times and each time James is one of the first people they call to hire. Throughout his time with the ship he became close friends with one of our crew leaders, Lawrence. Lawrence pushed James to follow Gods calling on his life and to start a church. Soon the ship left and James was left this call upon his life with no money or resources. So he decided to go start preaching at the fishing port with the same type of guys that he once was. Throughout the week he would stop by and preach and offer prayer to these fishermen. Through his preaching a few people cam to know Christ but he knew that he must persevere on. I wont go into all the details but over some time James went to do some training and continued his evangelistic work and soon became Pastor James. Also as part of his calling he felt God wanting him to go and start a church in the middle of one of the poorest places in Togo, the fishing village. Getting to know Pastor James and his family and the struggle and heartaches that they went through during this time and since this time will bring tears to your eyes and renewed faith to your heart. At one time, James and his wife with 5 of their children, were living in a one bedroom palm leaf hut with a leaky tarp roof that connected to the fish smoking stacks. All day and night thick black smoke would fill their room and cover their clothes. After hearing this story and many others I asked James if there was ever a point in his ministry where he had felt angry at God or as if God had forgotten him and his family. He replied saying "I serve a good God that is loving and kind and has provided me and my family for all our daily needs. It is an honor and privilege to serve such an amazing Father." Another missionary came to know Pastor James through his preaching at this church and also through the outreaches he did in the northern parts of Togo. After being friends for some time this missionary came to Pastor James house and saw the abject poverty that him and his family were living in. He quickly decided to help them and was able to find them a healthy place to live. Pastor James continued to preach, do bible studies, disciple other ‘pastors’, do missionary work in northern Togo, support both women’s and children’s ministry, and prayed fervently throughout it all.

One Sunday in 2010 after the ship had arrived in Togo I found myself in a car filled with Mercy Ships crew heading over to this ‘fishing village church’. Driving down the dusty uneven road my eyes scanned the poverty that played out before me. I saw rows of shacks made from palm leaves and tarp roofs, with smoke pouring in and through them. I saw children playing in piles of trash wearing little to no clothes. As we drove closer to the church I saw yards and yards of fishing nets spread out on the beach with men all working busily to patch up holes and reinforce their nets. The land rovers continued to bump along the road that soon turned into pure sand. We slowly plowed through the thick sand and I was astounded at the many chocolate faces that popped out of their leaf houses to take a peek at the ‘yovos’ (white people)passing by. But unlike other places in Togo, many of these faces were not full of the smiles and teeth that I am so use to but instead saw blank faces and arms stuck to their sides. That is when I realized that this place was like no place I had visited before on my Mercy Ships journey yet it brought back memories of some of the places I visited while in Haiti. We continued on and soon found our car parked in a sand pit next to a bamboo stick church. The driver exclaimed “Okay we’re here.” As I got out of the car I was quickly surrounded by bright smiles and little dirt covered hands all trying to inch their way into my own. I plodded my way through the thick hot sand towards the bamboo church and felt a sense of peace and joy pouring out of this little place. The church soon filled with fishing village people and a few Mercy Ships crew. As we went to sit on the wood benches, Pastor James quickly approached and brought up right up front and center (a common African church tradition for guests) and placed in one of their luxury plastic chairs that included a back. During the first hour of the service I felt pretty uncomfortable due to being 'front and center' but by the end of the 3 1/2 hour service i was SO happy I had the luxury seat compared to the wooden bench.

Pastor James spoke that day and talked to us about spiritual darkness. He went on to tell us that the fishing village that surrounded this church was full of idol/ voodoo worshipers. Each house had a idol, each family made sacrifices, every night there was chanting. As he spoke my thoughts flashed back to the blank faces that stared at us as we drove in. These men, women, and children, were stuck in this way of life. This bondage. My heart hurt for them and was angry that the devil had tricked them into thinking that this was the only way they were going to live. My mind then raced through all the different aspects of poverty I had seen while driving into this poor village. Human and animal feces everywhere, trash piles in every open space, the water well area uncared for and falling apart, drunken men and women laying on all sides of the street, babies crying sitting in the sand with no mother in sight, children with bellies that looked as if they were 9 months pregnant, a 2 year old sucking on a rusty piece of metal, little girls picking through trash to find some food to eat… I am crying as I write this knowing that these are the things I saw just in a few hours. I cant imagine what I would see if I were there throughout the day and night never mind living there. As we drove back that day my heart was heavy and overwhelmed by all the physical and spiritual oppressions that surrounded that place. I then thought on God and the fact that these are His children and that he feels the same way i am feeling by 1000x's more. I wanted to help, but how.

During those next couple weeks my heart could not settle or forget the things that I had seen and the words in which I heard Pastor James preach. I felt God asking me to do something about it but what, how. Then the next Sunday I decided to go back to this same church. The drive hadn’t changed and the faces still remained expressionless as we drove through the village. But as we approached the church I could feel that darkness lift as the light shone bright from that little Jesus church. Again we came and were seated up front in one of the luxury seats. Then the dancing began, then some singing, then some more dancing, oh yea and more singing. As we all wiped the sand from our skirts and our foreheads (we were dancing really hard) the sermon began. This time Lawrence preached and talked about using our skills that God has given us. At the end he asked us to bow our heads and pray that God would show us more. As I prayed I thought about the poverty that surrounded me. I prayed, asking God to show me how to help. I felt God telling me to use the skills he has given me. "But how?" I pleaded. And as I opened my eyes I looked up and saw the congregation praying and praising God with pure trust and dependence. "Start here."

Okay what skills do i have. Well I'm a nurse. I know about health. Okay I'll do that. I then went and talked with Lawrence and James about starting up a health education class with the congregation. I would go once a week or every other week depending on my work schedule. I would teach from a variety of subjects like malaria, wound care, clean water, immunizations, infection control, etc. I would then challenge them to go out and teach the same lesson in their community or at least to their families. It started off a little rough but grew into a beautiful thing. And by the end of our Togo outreach I was so sad to say goodbye to this little fishing village and all the amazing friends that I made along the way.

After the ship left I decided to go back to Togo not once but twice. Both times I was able to meet up with Pastor James and his family. The second time I stayed in their home for 10 days and was treated like a queen. My main purpose on going their the second time was to specifically help this fishing village church. Myself with three CHE trainers (Community Health Evangelism trainers) did a health assessment of some of the children after getting approval from the 3 chiefs and over 10 elders of the village. On that day we screened about 60 kids but had 100’s that we were unable to check out due to limited time and resources. The results of this health assessment was ridiculous. (refer to old blog for more info). We had high percentages of almost every disease we tested or checked for. After doing this assessment the church formed a CHE committee who would be trained to train people about different health lessons and also to do community projects to help improve their area. Two days after the screening I returned back to Ghana to continue my work over there. I was so sad saying goodbye to this family that I had grown to love in so many ways. I wasn’t sure if I would ever see them again in this world but I was so excited to see all that God would do through this amazing family and the fishing village church.

About 6 months after leave, while in Sierra Leone, there was much talk about which country we would go to next. Liberia, Congo, Guinea, Benin, Togo. Then one evening it was announced that we would be returning to Togo. My eyes widened and my heart jumped and i may have actually screamed out loud. Opps!

So after leaving Sierra Leone and taking a quick break in Ghana we arrived back in the lovely country of Togo. I, of course, have been attending the fishing village church each week and was so happy to see the amazing changes already happening since one year ago. We no longer worship and dance in sand but instead are in a cement building with walls AND a roof. One of the Mamas came up and said to me in Ewe (the local language) “we now can worship and praise God with rain, wind, and storms because we know this building has a firm foundation.” Pastor James vision is to change this village into a Jesus loving village by helping the community and even building a school on top of the church. This is just one of the many visions and desires he has for the future.

After talking with Pastor James on and off for the past two years and seeing his heart and his church i was surprised this year when i returned that attendance was about the same if not lower than when i was here before. So last weekend while at James house for a meal I asked him why his attendance was still the same if not lower. He went on to tell me that all the villages surrounding and including the fishing village are made up of fishermen and jobs attached to fishing. "So you are either a fisherman, a net fixer, a fish smoker, a fish seller, etc. and many of these families are from other countries (mainly Ghana). So they come here to fish, make money, and then go home. Because of this the village is ever changing and those that have been living here long have fallen into idol worship." I then proceeded to ask him about how CHE was doing working in his community. He went on to tell me that they needed 100$ to start the program but due to the incomes of the church members that number has not been reached. Time and time again different hardships, and barriers have held back this church from moving forward and i KNOW that this is nothing short but the scandalous work of the devil and his love of poverty. But then I remember back to a time we were talking in 2010 and he said that all he has ever needed was God and he trusted that everything else would work out according to His plan. He went on to talk about that no one could do what he was doing or continue dealing with all the hardships that he has dealt with if they weren’t specifically called to do so. He has said time and time again that he KNOWS that God has called him to this voodoo loving, poverty stricken, village to bring the light of Jesus to those in darkness. Getting to know him over these past two years and hearing all the ridiculous stories that he has been through he has definitely counted it all JOY and gained everything by his perseverance. Pastor James is a man who has shown me what true servanthood to God looks like.

So here I am back in Togo and feeling a deep urge to want to help again but this time in a new way. This time I want to have you guys help as well. Pastor James is a man of God and his life is a testimony to that. I would love to raise some money for his church and the vision that he has for it and I would like you to join me. I do not think it is by chance that I am back in Togo. I do not think it is by chance that I have gotten to know Pastor James, his family, and is church over the past two years. And I do not think it is by chance that God has put this on my heart to help this church not only with prayer (which it needs a lot of) but with our finances. I feel very strongly about only giving when the Spirit prompts and to those I really feel like God has put on my heart, and this is one of those situations.

We are here in Togo until June at which time the ship will be leaving. But I believe that our blessings can go well beyond June. I personally have had friends supporting me from before I left Chelmsford almost 3 years ago and I thank God for each one of them and their willingness to give. I would not be here today if it wasn't for their sacrifice to me and a calling i felt upon my life to join Mercy Ships. In that same spirit, please join me in supporting this church and the vision that God has put on their hearts to increase His kingdom.

If you have any questions please email me. To give you an idea of how helpful even the smallest gift can be, most families in Togo live on around 2$ a day. So if you feel God leading you to give 2$ then you have just supplied a family with their daily bread.

Corinthians 9:7 (NLV) Each man should give as he has decided in his heart. He should not give, wishing he could keep it. Or he should not give if he feels he has to give. God loves a man who gives because he wants to give.

If you would like to donate money you can put money in my Mercy Ships account OR write me a check and send it to my parents. Either way please write me a note or them so that we can keep track. I am hoping to be able to give the church the total amount by the middle of April. Then over the next 2+ months I will hopefully be able to take some pictures and send some updates of the continued work and ministry provided by your blessings.

Thank you for reading and please keep this in your prayers.