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July 28, 2009

Bono’s Hope in ‘Rebranding’ Africa

Filed under: Changing Lives,Ghana — TimMc @ 7:50 pm

“Amid poverty and disease are opportunities for investment and growth — investment and growth that won’t eliminate overnight the need for assistance … but that in time can build roads, schools and power grids and propel commerce to the point where aid is replaced by trade pacts, business deals and home-grown income,” said Bono, lead singer of the band U2 during a recent interview prior to President Barack Obama’s visit to Ghana.

June 29, 2009

Ghana, a Country Profile & Prayer Guide

Filed under: Country Profiles and Prayer Guides,Ghana — TimMc @ 2:17 am

ghana

With over 100 ethnic groups residing in this beautiful country, Ghana is truly a melting pot of African cultures. Traces of the country’s rich history can be seen everywhere, especially along its palm lined beaches and lagoons. Ghana boasts 42 European forts and castles, UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, including Elmina and Cape Coast Castles—poignant reminders of the Ghana’s importance as an unfortunate way station for African slaves.

Ghana has a rich natural heritage too. It has a narrow grassy plain that stretches inland from the coast, widening in the east, while the south and west are covered by dense rainforests which are being developed into nature parks, such as the national park at Kakum. In spite of Ghana’s national parks and game reserves being relatively small compared to other African countries, species of antelope, monkeys, lions, and elephants can be seen here. Birds and butterflies are particularly numerous in Ghana’s forests.

A few interesting facts about Ghana:

  • There are 72 known languages spoken in the country. The official language is English and there is a 70% (very high) literacy rate.
  • There are 8 languages with full versions of the Bible available, 20 with the New Testament, and 26 other versions that are “works in progress.”
  • Ghana is a secular state with religious freedom.
  • There are approximately 26 million people living in Ghana. The capital, Accra has a population of 2,250,000. Other main cities: Kumasi 992,000, Sekondi-Takoradi 400,000 and Tamale 270,000.
  • Ghana contains Africa’s largest man-made lake, Lake Volta which covers 238,000 sq. kilometers.
  • Its main exports are cocoa, gold and timber. Early government overspending, mismanagement, and corruption reduced this once-prosperous land to poverty, thereby greatly reducing living standards. Since 1984 there has been a slow, but steady improvement through greater government discipline.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Ghana:

  • For years, Christianity has had a large following in the more developed south. Over 64% of Ghanaians call themselves Christian, but only 40% have any link with a church and only 12% attend a church regularly. African traditional worldviews and practices have gone hand-in-hand with the claim of being Christian. The deadness and formality of many older churches have stimulated rapid growth of the African Independent Churches, which offer excitement, involvement and miracles, but not always salvation by faith. The number of these denominations may be in the thousands! Pray that the true gospel may shine into the hearts of those who call themselves Christian but who are not born from above. Pray that a decisive break may be made from all fetishism and occult bondages, and true liberty in Jesus be found.
  • Over five million Muslims and followers of traditional religions still need to be reached.
  • Plant new churches for northern peoples in the East and West Upper regions, the Northern region, and for northerners in the South. This goal has yet to be attained, but at least eight churches and agencies are actively and vigorously planting and multiplying churches in each of these regions.
  • Develop and foster active, witnessing churches in villages, towns, urban centers and ethnic communities.
  • Mature Christian leaders are in short supply in this time of rapid growth, economic stress, and doctrinal confusion. There are two diploma-awarding schools – Christian Service College (CSC) in Kumasi started by WEC and Maranatha Bible College (SIM). Trinity College awards degrees predominantly for mainline churches. There are over 30 other accredited denominational and inter-denominational Bible schools as well as a range of TEE and lay training programs run by different denominations and agencies.
  • The vision for missions by the Ghanaian church has grown, with agencies and workers increasing in numbers. Gradually the reluctance of more sophisticated southern Christians to go to the ‘backward’ north is being overcome.
  • Young people are in the forefront of the move of the Spirit. Praise God for the impact of SU on the secondary schools; GHAFES(IFES), Navigators and CCCI on the universities and colleges; and CEF with a number of workers among young children. Pray that the influence of converted young people may be decisive in church, mission, and national affairs. May many hear God’s call into full-time service. Very few churches have an effective program for young people or children. Youth under 15 comprise only 30% of the church-going population, but 45% of the total population.
  • Missionary personnel to serve as Bible teachers, translators, media experts, and pioneer evangelists are still needed. A key area for prayer is that there might be healthy, helpful partnerships between indigenous church leaders and missionaries. Pray for missions serving the Lord in this land; the largest organizations being SIL, SIM, IMB-SBC, WEC.
  • The less evangelized peoples of Ghana have generally never been so receptive as now. Ghanaian and expatriate workers are needed for the reaping. Of the more than 35 peoples of the north, only one is even nominally Christian. In the remaining people groups, less than 2% are Christian of any variety. Churches have often been small, weak, and largely illiterate with many leaders having basic training only. (Continue reading…)