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Reflections on a Visit to Ghana

We had the opportunity to interview Bishop Ray Veira from House of Praise, Church of God of Prophecy, following his trip to Ghana. Here are Ray’s reflections:

Question: Can you tell us briefly how you were impacted by seeing Compassion’s work in action?

“What I saw and experienced in Ghana, was truly beyond description. I will never forget this experience. I was deeply touched by the kindness and love that was shown by all the groups we visited. It is a reflection of the hope that Compassion brings when churches and whole communities are determined to overcome, in spite of their circumstances.

“To see the extent of poverty that exists was quite challenging for me – both emotionally and mentally. No one can prepare you for that, but it provokes you to do more because it makes you realise how privileged you are."

church trip to Ghana

Question: Was there a specific event from the trip that particularly moved or challenged you?

“We went to this lady’s house where she lived with her son. They lived in a little room and when the rain started, it just poured in through the corrugated steel. That really did challenge me.

“Her husband had left a couple of years back, and here’s a mother trying to do her best for her son with rain pouring in through the roof! Then she says she has to pay to use the facilities, and she pays for the electrics and she pays for the water and the rent. I thought ‘how can you manage this?’

“The sheer intensity and faithfulness of this woman was amazing. Her son wants to be an accountant and is currently in the local Compassion programme getting support with his education. It was wonderful to see.”

Question: Were there any other highlights from your time in Ghana?

“It was inspiring to meet three tremendous young people who had come through the Compassion programme and graduated. They met with us the night before we left and I was absolutely blown away by the eloquence, ambition and determination of these three giants. I can only describe them as amazing, absolutely amazing.

Compassion graduates in Ghana

“I was blown away totally by the sheer determination and ambition of these young adults – what they said about their journey of being released from poverty, what they are doing now and what they are planning to do. They are training for politics, journalism and business. For me, it cemented my trust in Compassion.”

Question: What impact has partnering your church with Compassion had on your church?

“I’ve actually changed since that trip. I’m very rarely within the four walls of the local church now and encourage my Church congregation to do likewise. I’d say Compassion triggered a need for me to change direction in terms of my ministry.

“It’s impacted upon real situations, not just preaching about love and preaching about compassion but preaching about actually being able to do something practical. It has made me more aware of what I need to do as a Pastor, as a community leader and in my local area as well. For the first time this Christmas we did more than 40 Christmas boxes for local families. Every family had a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. We’re also now looking to open a soup kitchen on a Friday and a safe area for mothers with children who need a meal.

“So, as a church we’ve experienced a culture shift that partnering with Compassion has awakened; a realisation that we can make a difference in our local communities and around the world. It started by giving an opportunity for our local congregation members to sponsor a child in poverty and help to see them released. Compassion has helped us to focus more on the needs of people outside the four walls of our church building.”

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