My baby is crying

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family love quotes (18)

Okai( a young boy of about four years) walks up to me crying. I ask him “what is wrong with you?” and he says, “my baby is crying”.For an entire minute I stood at the door of my Sunday School class completely puzzled. His baby is crying? Why is he really crying? Does he have some psychic abilities which allows him to detect when his little brother or sister is crying? I finally ask ” which baby?” and he turns around and points at his little sister ( of about two years) who is heaving and crying as if she had been beaten. I just shook my head and walked him to his seat and then tried comforting both of them. That was just about one of the sweetest scenes I have ever seen.

Family is an amazing thing, its amazing to know that there’s a pack of people who love you crazy and feel your pain as if it were theirs. Okai couldn’t stand to see his little sister cry so much that he had to cry for her, and actually left her to get help. I know my people don’t cry they see me cry ( they’ve all gone past four). But I see the despair on their faces and I know they’ll move heaven and earth to see me smile again. Sometimes family situations tend to be very sour but I pray we all find family members who will move heaven and earth to see us smile.I pray we do same for them!

Kids are gems-Musings of a Sunday School Teacher.

 

 

 

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The Housemaid – By Amma Darko

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I was a bit surprised at the mention of a witch as the book ended but then I remembered that it started with one and I thought it was a great reminder about the myriad of socio-cultural problems which we face as Ghanaians. 

Amma Darko points out in her book the devastating effects of the greedy search for money and material things on the family unit. Parents consistently run after money supposedly in the name of providing a better life for children. They eventually lose these children and let loose an unloved, selfish and embittered group of people into society. 

She also harps on corruption, focusing on sexual corruption especially when women are involved. The view that women are sexual objects and in certain circles cannot attain success in their careers until sexual favours have been traded is clearly depicted in the novel. 

Amma reminds us that the rural-urban rift and its twin sister-“rural urban migration ” must be addressed. In my opinion making housemaids out of these young ladies from our villages, as Tika sought to do,  is not the solution to this menace. Quality education and other poverty alleviation schemes would be more effective in tackling the problem. 

One last social issue I noted from the reading is deceit and get rich schemes. We see the sad ending of Efia ‘s family and it’s a reminder that when someone reaches out to help us we should not grateful and not envious. 

A quick read, simple but suspense-filled plot. I’d recommend Amma Darko’ s “The housemaid” for anyone who needs to do some light reading. 

Angie’s response: Bruised reed

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​Response

A bruised reed He will not break; He was bruised for our transgressions.

On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people, he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

He who knows the stars by name and has counted every hair on my head.

He invites me to cast all my cares upon Him and reminds me I am worth more than the ravens and so should never worry.

Even though He seemed to have cast me away, He promises joy in the morning, the oil of gladness for mourning, beauty for ashes and praise instead of despair.

Wonder of wonders, He delights in me and rejoices over me with singing.

Through my pain, He tells me He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold that has been refined.

Like Job, though He slay me, yet will I trust; for I know my redeemer lives and that at the last He will stand upon the earth.

So through my sorrow, pain and rejection, I will rejoice with all my being as daily He conforms me to His image.

I will be hopeful!

Angela Azumah Alu, 6/12/15

Bruised reed

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​Hopelessness sears my heart 

Despair descends on me like a swarm of locust on a green field 

Eating away all that has grown over the years

I stare in awe and cannot recognise myself

The enemy has seemingly gained territory

Talk of your efficacy at my rescue frightens me

I am but a bruised reed eaten away by despair and hopelessness

Through out all the drama there’s one thing I try to convince myself about-“a bruised reed you will not break; a bruised reed you will not reject. ”

Esther Afoley Laryea, 5/12/15

Vain conceit

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So it’s almost July and it’s time to train the Bible Quiz team. Last Sunday I went to church and met them.

Since I have a very bad memory for names and there were new members in the team, I asked that they introduce themselves. They were to mention their name, age, school and class. I wasn’t too surprised to find that all those from the well to do private schools were clustered in one area while those from the local public school also sat in another. The division on the basis of wealth and class was obvious to me . At the end of the introductions I urged all if them to mix up and get to know each other emphasising that it was only Christ like so to do. I also warned that I wanted to see a fairly mixed up seating arrangement next week. 

Towards the end of the lesson,I had an unpleasant experience with one of my little ones. Our Sunday School lessons take place in the classroom of the local public school and the deskes in the classroom,  are rather uncomfortable to sit on for long. (Let’s call her Charity) Charity, an eleven year old, gets up from her seat, stretches and says  “these seats are uncomfortable papa. (Pointing at those from the local public school) Those people are used to it, as for us we sit in proper chairs in our school.”

Truth be told, I gave her a good scolding there and then.After I dismissed them, I called her and explained to her why her attitude was not right. Pointing out to her that it smacked of pride and disdain for others. 

I believe the desire to consider ourselves as being better than others is an inherent ill we all  struggle with. I particularly like the way Chinua Achebe justifies it “Even in heaven…… Archangels are senior to common angels”. Unconsciously, on a daily basis we see others whom we belittle and treat with disdain. From the beggar in the street, to the cleaner in our workplace, even with colleagues. This is contrary to what Paul admonished in Philippians 2:3“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves “. 

I pray God grants us grace to carry out this task at all times,  so we can serve as bright examples to our little ones. 


I’ll write my way home 

I won’t  tell my story to the wind. I’ll pen it down. Until I know its ins and outs I won’t relent. I’ll write because it brings me joy. I’ll write because it heals. My soul needs to hear my voice recorded on slate. The sound of the scratching is medicine unearthed. The clarity of thought is surprising. It’s as if the slate rearranged the mumbo jumbo that spilled out. I won’t tell my story to the wind. I’ll pen it down. 

Slow days

      They crawl                                                           Clock watcher                                                     I tick mechanically                                           Waiting for another to start                            Slow days

They  crawl                                                           Snail like                                                             I watch quietly                                       Hoping to learn some patience             Slow days

They swirl                                               Tornado like                                                         I feel a turmoil within                         Making it hard to be calm                       Slow days. 

Afoley  6/6/16

Beautiful girls do not cry

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I was tasked with preparing some of our Sunday School kids for an annual Bible Quiz. The quiz was made up of three components – memory verses, bible lessons and children hymns in one of our local languages (Ga). 

One Sunday, I met the team so we could learn our selected hymns. Twenty selected hymns, each hymn has an average of four verses and the language was colloquial in some cases. The children were expected to commit all the verses of the selected hymns to memory and to sing each hymn word for word. It was quite a daunting task for kids aged between 8-11.

My teaching style was to explain the words of the hymn, sing a line or two and get them to sing after me  in turns, until they could sing an entire verse on their own. As we learnt the hymns what struck me most was the different personalities of the kids. I  will focus on two extremes I observed. 

Mary-Anne was a nonchalant and sly little girl. She didn’t pay too much attention as I taught. Now, as each girl sang each verse in turn, it got closer to her turn. She walked up to me with a very intent look on her face and asked to use the washroom. I knew immediately she was trying to outsmart me and skip her turn. For her, the learning session was not a do or die affair. It was just another activity in her very busy life. Her slyness made me smile to myself. 

Then there was Sabina, a very sensitive and serious little girl. When it was her turn to sing she sang the first two or three lines of the verse and then her voice began to tremble. The next thing I knew she was crying and heaving as if she had been beaten. For a split second I was terribly confused. It however didn’t take too long for me to realise that she considered her inability to recall the words of the verse a failure – thus her tears. Her tears, her sensitivity and how serious she took life broke my heart because I had been there before. I feared for all the heartbreaks and curveballs life would throw her way as she grew and worried about how she would handle them. As I comforted her and tried to explain to her that she need not take everything to heart so much, I repeatedly said ” Beautiful girls do not cry”. 

May He who gives grace,  give us grace to handle what we consider to be our greatest trials and failures with wisdom and strength. May He constantly remind us that what seems like our greatest challenge is but a blowing wind that will pass. 

Kids are gems-musings of a Sunday School teacher. 

NB:All names have been changed. 

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When your mum is your best friend

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This year I’ll be counting my blessings all year round. One of the little-big blessings God gave me is a mum-best friend. Every time I think about our relationship, I cannot help but smile. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have one really wonderful person who’s got your back at all times.

One thing I really treasure in friendship is a friend who knows how to give. I’ve learnt a lot from my very close friends about giving to the point where it hurts. My mum is my biggest giver, of course in a financial sense primarily. When I finished with my first degree and hadn’t found a job yet, her most famous questions were “do you have money?” and “are you sure you have money?. She didn’t have much but if it meant giving me her last GHS 20 cedis, she wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Although I don’t go to her these days with my financial burdens, I learnt loads from her in terms of giving within a relationship.

There’s something remarkable that marks my friendship with my mum- our different personalities. I am a bit laid back and not such a great conversationalist. Not my mum, she will talk your ear off. She can chit-chat about anyone, anything and everything under the sun and I have sat many a times wondering in amazement where her inspiration for conversation comes from. My disposition coupled with my ever-lasting awe at her conversational skills means most of the time I am listening and she’s talking; which doesn’t deter her at all. It still feels really good, to know that at any time when I want to have a conversation and can’t find anybody after scrolling through my phonebook twice I can call her and end up chatting for at least 30 minutes.

I love to tease my mum and she’s a great sport about it. She will tease you right back as soon as she has the opportunity. It could be a word she mispronounced, terrible computing skills, a concept she can’t wrap her head against or some funny quirk she has. She falls within the class of people who cannot watch a movie without running a commentary. While running a commentary on what has is happening in the movie, she keeps asking everybody else about what is about to happen. It’s one of my favourite teasing points. I know I am really good friends with my mum when I can tease her about anything and know she won’t get mad about it.

My sounding board-sometimes you just need someone to listen to all the weird business ideas you have. Someone to share your dreams with and she’s there every step of the way. Although we are always fighting about her risk aversion towards business, her tenacity once it takes off is unquestionable. Yes, so like real friends we have our fights too, not many though but we do. The joy that there is in having a friend pay attention to what is going on in your life and following up on your progress with every endeavor you undertake, my mum provides beautifully.

I could go on and on if I were given all day to  write about my prayer-warrior, my confidant, my central bank, my shopping partner, my kokonsa(gossip) partner , but I will stop here with a smile on my face as I count my blessings this year.

Kim; A Gift from Vietnam-Frank W. Chinnock

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Touched by the war in Vietnam and the contribution being made by American soldiers ;Frank decides to pluck one little child suffering from the devastating war and to make a difference in the child’s life. 

This true story chronicles the struggle of the family as they go through the process of adopting Kim. Red tape, fear, trepidation, tantrums, health struggles and lots joy mark the remarkable journey of the Chinooks in adopting and integrating Kim into their family. 

Personally,  I loved the book because I adore children. I thought the desire of Frank and his family to make a difference in the life of a shattered child amazing. Even more so the tenacity they showed as they waited two years for the adoption process to go through. Would you be willing to travel to a war torn country to adopt  a child, just so you can make a difference in the world?