Archive for June, 2017


Day Eight: Friday

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana

Note: It is now Tuesday. It has taken me this long to process all that occurred on Friday. After this post I plan on writing one more day as a summary.  Today and yesterday we have been at a new location in Prampram that is on the ocean to recap, recoup and process before we head back to the US. We get to stop in Paris tomorrow for 6 hours …I might even get to go to the Eiffel Tower!  Thank you for those who have followed this blog. Thank you for coming on my journey, forgiving the misspellings and the break in sentence structure. I value your thoughts, friendship and partnership. Your notes, emails, prayers, texts and encouragements were all very vital to me.



  • Witch Village in Gambaga (Northern Ghana)
  • Staying the night in Tamale

Purpose: To visit the Witch Camp and bring provision & hope

Tomorrow: Traveling back to the Ponderosa & then travel to PramPram for R&R

Highlights from today:

  • Driving to the airport
  • Witch Camp
  • Meeting with Joseph Asara with Radach Inc.

Quote of the Day: “Not taking a risk is the biggest risk of all.” ~ Joseph Asara

William the Driver

We have an amazing driver here.  He weaves in and out of traffic, drives on the opposite direction of traffic, and cuts people off with a sinister giggle. He must stand about 5’4” and drives as if he was driving a Nascar.  I, of course, love it.  I have even sat upfront and video taped him driving through the town, back roads, and dirt roads with hopes I can use the footage and play it back with my VR goggles (virtual reality). Well today we were planning on leaving at 5am to catch a 6:30am flight to the Northern area of Ghana. The van that William drives did not get dropped off to him on time and therefore he was late picking us up. Instead of 5am, he arrived at 6am. It takes 35 mins to get to the airport. William dogged cars, ran lights, moved through traffic as if he was a missile with a gps targeting system. We arrived at 6:25am, ran to the gate and …it was too late, we missed our flight. But man…was it a fun ride for the Ghana Nine to the airport!  We caught an 8:45am flight, thank God, and it all worked out.


The Traveling to the Witch Camp

When arriving in Tamale (pronounced Ta Ma Ley, not Ta Ma Lee), Monday Amoak was waiting for us.   Ghanaians often get named after the day they were born. True fact!  Monday is another amazing person. He & his wife works with a non-proft organization that is 90% self-funded and employs over 150 people. They develop micro-enterprises, lend out micro-loans, and train people to start businesses. More on this later. Monday took us to our hotel to drop off our things and then we jumped into a van to head to the witch camp.  In total, there are about 9 witch camps in Northern Ghana. There were more, but Monday works hard on helping train the women to do textiles or another business and ultimately closing the camp.  Tamale had to be 105 degrees that day with 110% humidity. Our van’s a/c spitted blasts of warm air and having a window open was our only relief. Remember, we have 10 people in the van and we are all sweating.  The 2.5 hour drive was intense. In addition, there were many things we saw on the way. 5 hut configurations. Strange beetle shaped homes. Shea trees. Terminate hills. Extremely thin cattle. Crops of yams. Most people in this area are farmers and sell their crops when at the market.  There are many villages of people. Each area of villages has a Chief. The Chief then has Elders that oversee each small village. The Chief holds an important role. For instance, before going to visit the witch camp we had to meet with the Chief and get his permission. We brought him a gift and bowed before him to show him respect.  Whatever the Chief says goes. If the Chief is Muslim than everyone in the villages are Muslim.  Muslim represents 95% of the faith in this area compared to only 5% Christian.  In the Muslim faith, men can have up to 4 wives.  Therefore, many of the huts in the villages are in groups of 5 hut configurations. One big hut for the man, and smaller huts for each of his wives. This ensures many off spring to help with the farming. The woman in the villages take the leaves of the Shea trees and make Shea butter used in many skin nourishing products. Yams, watermelon, papayas, pineapples, mangoes and corn all grow in this region.  There were also strange beetle shaped domes scattered in between the villages. The beetle dome huts are built by the Nomads who are moving cattle from one area to the next to feed on the grass and build this temporary living beetle looking huts. The cattle look so thin.  I have no idea how they eventually get them fat enough to sell. We also saw many kids. Many would be in a mud pond to swim and play seeking relief from the heat. But when they saw our van coming up to the pond, they would jump out of the dirty water and run into the Shea trees or the crops. When the kids see a van they think that these are kidnappers who want to steel them away for sex trafficking.  We even saw a mom carrying things on her head (they all carry things on their heads. Huge things.), with a baby on her back (another common thing here) and two little ones in tow.  When she saw the van from a distance she immediately started walking the opposite way.  The life of a woman here is truly heartbreaking. You are born into deep poverty. You work hard to make butter from the leaves of a tree, get married to a man who has 3 other wives, he dies from disease as well as one of your children, your other child is stolen from you and forced into sex trafficking, then another woman in the village accuses you of being a witch. So then you are forced out of the village and your only skill you have developed now is tainted since no one will buy from you since you are a witch. Who is there to tell these women that they are still valuable? That they are here for a greater purpose. That they are loved.


The Witches

We stopped at the main village to meet with the Chief and get his approval. I was expecting a harsh and mean man who was going to look at me cross-eyed and yell something in a language I could not translate but easily understood that he would want us out of there unless we give him money. Thankfully I was completely wrong. We first were greeted by dozens of beautiful smiling children, who loved getting their photos taken and then laughing when we played the photo back and showed them what they looked like.  Everyone …even the adults, wanted a photo.  In the U.S. we are so image conscience; we can’t image living everyday with no idea of what we look like. No mirrors in villages. No cameras either.  Then a messenger came to us saying the Chief is ready to meet.  We walked up to a large hut, took off our shoes, walked up to a matt that was rolled out across the floor and knelt on our knees. We then proceeded to follow protocol of bowed head thanking him to see us. He spoke through an interpreter and then told us we can sit on the benches that were provided for us.  In his hut he had a motorcycle, straw since I think his horse that was outside sometimes comes inside, grain, and a platform where he must sleep. He was sitting on the platform when we spoke to him.  We brought him a gift of towels and candies.  He seemed very pleased and not only welcomed us but also asked that we would not forget about him or the villages. He appreciated that we were going to go visit the widows as well.

We then got back into the van and headed to the witch’s village which was about 10 mins away. Upon arriving the ladies and some children met us at the van. We walked to a meeting area where the ladies were waiting for us and the Elder who oversees this witch camp was there as well to greet us and tell us how much they appreciated our visit.  We brought the ladies eye glasses that a friend donated, soccer balls that were donated from Wendy’s swim team she coaches, beautiful handmade quilts, and Bibles in their language.  We tried to also bring grain but since we missed our morning flight, we ran out of time to stop and buy it.  The ladies were so happy they began to clap and then bursted out in song. One lady stood up and began dancing, then another, then another.  Betty joined in then the rest of us and we were all dancing & clapping our hands. When people sing in Ghana …they put their whole heart in it! The kids (some of them were grand kids) loved the soccer balls and as we passed out misc items we had in ziplock bags, the kids would grab the empty ziplock bag as if it was a silk purse. Pastor Abraham, who came with us said you would have thought it was Christmas.

There are many reasons why these women are here. They have all been falsely accused. Without a husband, a lady can be accused of putting a curse on another woman. All it takes is for a woman to say, “I have had a stomach ache for 2 days, and I saw you look at me strange, you must be a witch.”  The lady probably just has indigestion or lactose intolerance. Or if a lady has had a child die of disease, or she is too old cause only really old people are witches, or maybe her skin started to flake, and the list goes on.  If she has a husband or if the Elder or Chief speaks up for her, she will be ok and the accusations will stop. But if no one stands for her she is excommunicated from the village. Destined to die in the witch camp with a very sad existence. One lady whose husband died, had teenage son who accused her of being a witch. There was nothing she could do. She was banished. Monday Amoak works to help these ladies. To bring dignity back to them. Show them a trade like sewing, buy their products and restore them to their village. He has closed a few witch camps and is working on more. We are here to support his cause, connect him to Pastor Abraham who can bring more volunteers, and plead with the Mayor to see this cause as important enough to either ignore the help or calm any Chiefs that come to complain or allow the help from the US to get to Monday.

Being exhausted from the early morning, the frustration of missing the flight, head ache of the long ride on the really bumpy dirt roads, the blistering heat, puddle dripping sweat, & putting our fears aside were all worth the end result of seeing the smiles on these ladies faces.  You could see in their eyes the pain and cavernous hearts they bear. They need soap, they need clothes, many were barefooted and could use simple sandals or flip flops …but more than anything, they need to be loved. To be told, you are accepted. To be told, you are invited.


Monday Amoak & Rev. Asara

Raddach is a company that employs over 150 people here in Tamale. Rev. Joseph Asara leads this non-profit. Monday, his wife and an Oklahoma guy named Donny (we were so shocked to see a white guy with a red haired pony tail on the top of his head with a southern draw, open our van door and say welcome!), work with Joseph Asara to train, create businesses and build infrastructure for the less fortunate in Tamale. Asara’s non-profit makes 90% of the needed income for the business; only 10% comes from donations. Muslim business people will hire the Raddach group to train their employees and develop interns. Asara then takes that money and promotes Christianity to the villages and empowers woman by training them to run their own business. Monday said, “Empower the woman …empowers the family.”  They hold a yearly conference that attracts 400 people each year and also run programs for kids and teenagers. Asara and Pastor Abraham shook hands and committed to work together for those in this area.


Thought for the Day

Walt Disney is famously quoted, “It’s fun to do the Impossible.”  As I reflect on the past days, I feel as if we accomplished the impossible.  Find a person of influence that is selfless and truly wants to help Ghana …Pastor Abraham. Train him and his team of crusaders, then pull in his community and have them discover the main problems. Have those people meet in groups to discover the root of the problems, the fruit those problems produce and reach how can those problems get fixed within this community. Then connect Abraham with a mission that is beyond his own community  …the witch camps. Connect him to key people who are already running with the cause but could use help ….Asara & Monday.  And have a meeting with the one person who could stamp this all for approval or put a road block in the way …the Mayor.  He will allow the U.S. to provide the know-how, just as we have helped Rwanda and their president with the PEACE plan.  We work with Pastor Abraham and he gets to be the hero to this community (not the U.S). And all this done with a group of nine volunteers.  All I can say is Thank you God!  Miracles happen every day.  It requires taking risks. It requires striving to do the impossible. It requires empowering others and taking one’s own ego out of the way. I am honored to have been part of this team. I have my cynical side that worries it will all be in vain. But EVERYTHING has come together. And perfectly. I am proud of the Ghana Nine, Wilson who introduced us to Pastor Abraham, Pastor Abraham & his team, Monday, Donny, Asara, the Mayor, and Saddleback to give us the PEACE plan. This journey has stretched my heart and gave me hope for mankind. And …it was fun!  Disney is right, it is fun to do the impossible.


A work in progress

Witch camp no more

Today I get to leave

I was banished to live here

And in my anguish, grieve


You see, I was falsely accused

On my behalf, no one spoke

Thrown into a prison of my sorrows

Doomed to live under this shameful cloak


Then one day came a person

With a loving embrace & a helping hand

Told me I was made for a purpose

And for me they’d take a stand


With tears of joy

And a trembling hand

I grabbed ahold and

Walked out of this forgotten land





Day 5-7: Tues-Thursday

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana


  • Latter Rain Church
  • Village of Akotiaku
  • The Mayor’s Residence

Purpose: Train key leaders who want to have an impact on the health & well-being of this community

Tomorrow: Visit and bring provisions to the “Witch Camp”

Highlights from Tues-Thurs:

  • Training
  • Meeting the Mayor of Ghana
  • The Team

Quote of the Day: “I want the people of Ghana to feel empowered.” The Mayor


The last 3 days have been devoted to training.  For a full day we taught on the key principals of growing a healthy community and the action steps the leaders of the community will need to take to implement change. The second day we taught a Road 2 Health system that enabled the leaders to discover their greatest problems, the root causes, the results of those problems and then finally discuss solutions that they can implement from the community.  We started with about 50 key leaders, some drove over 2 hours to be here for the 3 day conference. We then also invited the community to join us for one of the evening sessions and had about 100+ people, many of them were college aged.  The training was a huge success.  I had the opportunity to lead most of the training and do what I love in regards to thinking on my feet and generating energy by engaging the crowd.  At first my jokes were not landing.  They didn’t understand baseball nor the analogy of baseball. But by the end I got them to laugh and understand a model they can adopt. I was very thankful to our leader of the group, Betty.  She prepared ALL the trainings, the schedule, the videos, the system, and much much more.  All I had to do was talk and engage others. Which was the easy part!  In addition to Betty, the rest of our team (The Ghana Nine) were AMAZING!  As I was teaching, I would get a whisper in my ear on something I was about to miss, or get a suggestion that would make all the difference. When the participants were asked to break into small groups, the team would join the small groups, facilitate discussions, take notes, and put people as ease.  I left feeling exhausted as if I played a football game and left everything on the field. But I also was invigorated on how well the team worked together. We had a very successful conference, and I was able to perform at my best because of this amazing team. We needed each person to do their part and commit to giving their best …and they did!  Betty laid an amazing ground work and then we all worked in our strengths.  This morning, day 3 of the training, was focused on putting what they learned into practice.  We loaded two vans and headed out to a remote village. The dirt road there was so full of pot holes it looked like the dimples of a golf ball. Luckily we have a very skilled and funny driver William.  We arrived at a village that I have only seen in movies. In this village, the people lived in mud huts with thatched roofs, had no electricity nor any running water or pluming. There is a chief in this village that approves all and anything that goes on or any outside influence that wants to come in to help.  We pulled over on the side of the road and began to work. The leaders did an amazing job and they were excited to get started.  We observed and supported as they instantly engaged the community, listening to their needs, and began building new relationships. It was hard to see people living with such little. Yet, after talking with them, they were just normal people like you and me. Yes they live in different conditions that you and I do, but they live life, have joys and problems like the rest of the world and appreciate a new friendships.


The Mayor of Ghana

One of the major things we were hoping for was to get a meeting with the newly elected Mayor of Ghana.  Betty has been corresponding with his office before we left and as of Tuesday this week we still did not have confirmation if we would be permitted a meeting with him or not.  Well, we heard back on Weds and after moving a few things around on his schedule and ours, we were able to come to an agreement for tonight at 7:30pm at his residence.  This meeting was crucial to the development of the PEACE plan that we have initiated in Ghana. If we were to develop the leaders, the leaders then empower volunteers and then the government not approve, all the work would be halted.  The contrast is also true.  With the government’s, namely the Mayor’s support, things can move much more freely and development in these cities can begin and the system that Saddleback and the President of Rwanda created can be readily adopted for Ghana.  Meeting the Mayor was an honor and very to the point.  Betty prepared an excellent PowerPoint presentation, I spoke on the alignment of the system and how all three-key people have the same goal; to empower the people of Ghana to better enhance their communities. That this vision is shared by Saddleback, Pastor Abraham of Latter Rain Church (who also came with us) and also you the Mayor. He responded with, “Thank you for recognizing this.” There were so many things that were perfect for this meeting.  Betty’s presentation, Lisa (part of the Ghana Nine) knew the Minister of Finance from previous missions’ work and ultimately arranged the meeting, Wilson (the owner of the Ponderosa, who also came) has done similar work in another area of Ghana and knew of areas in this district that were doing some of the work we recommended, and that Wilson & Pastor Abraham both live in this district.  Basically, it wasn’t white America, trying to bring aid.  It was proven systems that were created when Rick Warren went to Rwanda, these systems plus a leader in the community (Pastor Abraham) that has a proven track record of helping the community through the years, plus empowering Ghanaians to take pride in their communities and work hard to enhance them together.  All that is needed is a willing Mayor to say, “Let’s do it.”  We left the meeting very excited with a confirmation that he will greatly consider this and would like to speak with the key people in Rwanda.  Betty is already arranging the meeting!  We walked out of the meeting screaming with joy!


The Team

I really feel blessed to be part of this amazing team.  All of us are so different and our individual gifting has complemented each other. Wendy brings joy and a smile to everyone she meets, she is our photographer.  Mario is funny and is always in a great mood, he is our I.T. guy. Roylene, is quick with a complement and supportive word, she is Mario’s wife & our first aid/nurse. Sandra, a social worker with a heart of gold, keeps us singing on the bus. Kristy, who works with the homeless and those recently out of jail, handles all our finances. Lisa, assists Betty with logistics and planning and keeps everything behind the scenes working. Greg, Betty’s husband (he used to play for the Raiders), keeps us laughing and my ego in check.  And our fearless leader Betty, who handles planning, details, training, logistics, cares about the team like a mom, and keeps me on a short leash (an extremely difficult task).  This team, the Ghana Nine, feel like 9 gears of a watch. When one moves the rest move.  And even with the sleep deprivation, we have been in support and care for each other.  It is evident that everyone is valued and respected.  We have sung, laughed, played, and succeeded together. Each person has pushed out of their comfort zone and found new gold in their life because of it. And each one has impacted my heart.


Thought for the Day

The leaders that we trained and then let loose to do the work were beaming.  They were excited that we flew all the way from America (I am hearing those words in their voice as I typed it), to train them and give them a solid system for a successful and healthy community.  When they popped out of their vans, they took to the work like a kid to a candy store. It made me think about how powerful is a strong vision. And how often we are simply looking for a road map for life.  I too often look for a road map for my own life. A simple system that someone can teach me and then let me loose. It sounds so easy and yet for a vision to work it takes more than just will power.  It takes others to be there to support, encourage and run alongside with you.



Day Four: Monday

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana


  • Elmina Castle

Purpose: Visit the place where slavery trade existed for over 500 years.

Tomorrow: Training 50 leaders

Highlights from today:

  • Slavery
  • Rain
  • Ride home


Quote of the Day: In Ghana, we have a saying, “You are invited.”


Elmina Castle

Today we got up early and drove about 4 hours to visit one of three castles that exist in Ghana. The Elmina castle was built in 1482 and was originally used as a barter / trade station for sugar, alcohol and spices. But the original purpose was quickly changed to the dark and horrific place that housed thousands of slaves for trade for over 500 years.  At any given time, 600 men and 400 women were imprisoned, tortured and stripped of every ounce of dignity they carried with them. The men would be packed into the dungeons by the hundreds with minimal space, little food and water, forced to live in incomprehensible conditions in the heat of Africa with the thought that they would eventually be sold, washed like a commodity and then boarded a ship to be sold yet again.  The women were often chained in groups of 5. Often these women were from different areas of Africa and often did not speak the same language.  Then the random group of 5 were put in a dungeon with 20 other sets.  These women 100 women often would die in the tight corridors from the methane gas that resulted from their excrement. As if that was not disgusting enough, wealthy men would peer on from a 3rd story balcony that over looked the woman’s courtyard. They would choose a slave woman they wanted to violate and if she refused or ran away, she would be stripped in the courtyard while her legs were chained to an extremely heavy cannon ball and left in the sun to blister without food or water. If she did not protest, then she would return after her assault to the claustrophobic dungeon with the shame knowing everyone knew what just happened to her. I really don’t know how to grasp the depth of the sorrow nor swallow the truth of this disgusting catastrophe that this existed for over 500 years. There were many ‘Freedom Fighters’ who tried to stop slavery or break in and free the slaves.  Their punishment was imprisonment, torture and often death. In fact, we saw two cells that were side by side. One cell was for those non-blacks who were caught stealing or overly drunk. This cell had a window and was fairly spacious. But those non-blacks who were Freedom Fighters were put in a small dark cell with cross bones above their door. Left with no food and minimal water. Yet as harsh as that may have been it seems so minor compared to the black slaves and the complete harshness they were treated. The castle has a very haunting feeling and as you walk the original slaved walked grounds you can almost hear the cries and screams, smell the rotten mix of feces, blood, bacteria and decay, and see the walls marked from loss of all hope.  How could this be part of our history? How could humans enslave each other & treat each other with such horrific acts of violence. I can’t find a word that would express the depth of the devastation. I was reminded that even today there are people who enslave girls as sex slaves. This is too much for my heart to handle. I don’t want to know this existed nor that things like this still exists.



We drove to a nearby outdoor restaurant that was on the beach. The place was beautiful yet a tropical storm was brewing.  I didn’t feel like eating and then someone said, ‘Dean, didn’t you want to jump into the ocean?’ And …Oh yes I did!  I immediately ran down to the sand, kicked off my shoes, and ran into the ocean. My feet were in the Atlantic Ocean!  More specifically the Gulf of Guinea. The sand was more course than at home and appeared as if there were bits of glass sparkling in the sand that had been made smooth through the years of washing back and forth over the sand and through the waves. And as I began to go a bit father out on the slippery rocks while the waves became more wild, people called me back in.  I was just about to jump to the next rock…bare footed of course.  What were they so worried about?  Strong undercurrent they said.  I didn’t see any strong undercurrent.  Just a few crashing waves and I’ve been in tons of those before.  As I walked back on the sand the bolstering clouds broke free and released a downpour. I stood on the sand, in the warm rain, letting it wash the yuck I was carrying with me from the castle and taking it back out to sea.


The Ride Home

We had a long ride home in the tropical storm. Traffic was bad, the roads even worse. The team (we are calling ourselves the Ghana Nine, more about us tomorrow) sang songs, played games like the Ellen DeGeneres iPhone app game (I’m sure you know the one), and spent time sleeping or just in silence.  I reflected on the day.  …I have heard it said that God often breaks before He blesses.  I remember the story of how Jesus took 5 loves and broke them and it then multiplied and fed 5000; that a seed must die first before the new plant or tree births, a muscle only grows if it is first torn, that adversity often creates extraordinary jumps in invention, we only appreciate the warmth after the cold… You get the picture. Even broken pieces of glass thrown into the ocean and washed over and over again with the sand and salt water become smooth beautiful jewels over time.  But what about the black slaves?  Or the Jews in the holocaust, or the Indians that the white man stole their land and introduced them to disease or the Japanese that were imprisoned during WW2, or the young girls who are currently being used and discarded?  How do these broken people get multiplied, how do their broken pieces of their lives become sparkling jewels? I can only hope that one day, as they walk around in Heaven, they sparkle with beauty for all eternity.


Thought for the Day

In Ghana people say, “you are invited.” Which means, “Please join me.” And yet it holds a deeper meaning. “Please join me and let’s talk about life, I want to be your friend and hear about you, I want to care about you, let’s laugh and smile together, and I would very much like you to be part of my family.” …would be a more accurate meaning.  The Ghanaian’s have much to be depressed about, their dollar (cedi) is dropping very fast as compared the value of the US dollar, this area was the epicenter of the transatlantic slave trade (it hasn’t even been 100 years yet since slavery has been abolished), most of the roads are dirt, part of Ghana is in the heaviest of diseased areas in Africa, the heat & humidity, high unemployment, etc; and yet the people smile and love to laugh.  They are the first to give a complement and build each other up. “God will bless us or He is good to us,” they often say.  Recently there was oil found off the coast of Ghana.  It was a find that could mean billions of economic growth for Ghana in the range equal to what pours into Dubai. I have my doubts that the money will ever hit the shores of Ghana but that is the American in me talking.  The Ghanaian would say, “If God so wishes …it will come true. That we have life and know Him is more blessing that we could ever imagine. I am simply blessed enough knowing God said to me, …I am invited.”



Day Three: Sunday

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana


  • Pastor Abraham’s Church

Purpose: Teach and connect to the needs of this church

Tomorrow: Heading to a Black Slaves Museum of Tolerance

Highlights from today:

  • Color
  • Latter Rain Church
  • Light


Quote of the Day: “The beauty of Ghana is in its people.”


Ghanaians, as with most of Africans, love color.  It is in their clothing, on their cars and in the brightness of their personalities.  The countryside is filled with unfished buildings, dirt roads, and depravity. Yet on Sunday, you see people dressed to the nines. They walk through the dirt roads, pass forgotten construction, and around the filth, with hope gleam in their eyes dressed in the brightest of colors that are only dim compared to the smiles on their faces.  They are friendly people with joy in their hearts and friendship in their embrace. The canvas of their lives against the dirt and often forgotten roads is one of beauty and colorful art. In the US, we have so much and often feel as if we don’t have enough. Here they have much less but act as if they have much to be thankful. It begs to wonder, if we didn’t have the backdrop of Hollywood flash to compare our lives with, would we be more thankful?


Latter Rain Church (Not associated with Latter-Day Saints)

One of the main purposes of this trip was to partner with a center of influence in this area of Accra. To find an organization or a church who already loves this community and then support them to help their community.  To come in to an area and act like the US is here to help is arrogant. Our goal was to find a local person who wants to help flourish the economical and spiritual lives of others and let them be the heroes. Yesterday we met Pastor Abraham and his family. I gave his sons a beach football and Abraham’s family joined us for dinner last night.  He and his wife serve a very large community where there are slums, witch camps, and many widows.  He started caring for this community in 2003 and since then has been effective in closing witch camps (more on this in a future blog post), providing food and resources to widows, providing hope in the slums and helping the community at large with teaching & practical life assistance. He and his wife Joanna are truly amazing people.


We were guests in Pastor Abraham’s church today. I wish you could have been there to hear them sing!  We were all dancing in the isles! To say that the worship team brought the roof down would have been an understatement. At one moment, I swear there was a conga line!  I was offered the opportunity to speak. I spoke on being light to others. That light gives warmth, takes away fear, brings peace and is attractive. Even the smallest light can push darkness away. And that light lives in each of us. And is the perfect answer to a cold, scared, and lost world. I then had everyone point to their neighbor and say, “You are light.” Then I had everyone stand up and say boldly, “I am Light” as I repeated “Yes, yes you are.”  I referenced Matthew 5:14. It was a charismatic moment in this African church of 200+ people. Abraham has been teaching his congregation that they are all called to help others. The night before at dinner he asked if I could speak on a topic that would continue and align with what he has been teaching. If more people helped others in the community, the community would be changed that much faster. After the service, he gave me a huge compliment and with a huge boisterous hug told me it was the perfect message.   I am feeling humbled and thankful.

Thought for the Day

So many thoughts are running through my mind today; I feel as if I am on an emotional roller coaster. At one hand, I see the depravity; on the other hand, I see bright colors and joy. The light and the dark. Poor and the rich. The haves and the have nots. At one point today (mind you it is like 100 degrees here and the humidity is around 85%) we drove past a golf course. I first said, who in their right mind would be playing golf right now (I saw at least 5 people playing). Then, like a 2×4 to the head, I thought …a golf course? To the right were slums and to my left an 18 hole course.  The dichotomies in Ghana are many. There are wealthy here and there are those who are extremely poor. The middle class is small. The highs and low of emotions are beginning to be a bit much and tomorrow I head to a museum of tolerance to see and be impacted of what it was like to be a black slave. Yet I end today with a thankful heart, visualizing over and over again the joy in Pastor Abraham’s eyes. He is the light on a hill for those in this community. Helping him help others will be our goal. For light, when fed with the right fuel can become a beckon of hope, healing and love for miles and miles and miles.



Day Two: Saturday

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana


  • Ponderosa Inn

Purpose: Rest & Preparation

Tomorrow: Teaching at a church and hanging around town

Highlights from today:

  • Sleep
  • The Ponderosa & Wilson
  • Christy the seamstress

Quote of the Day: “In Ghana …the weather is hot and the food even hotter!”



After yesterday’s travel and finally getting to bed around 3am. I slept in till 11:30am. I would have even slept longer but the rest of the team were already up.  I am very fortunate to have my own room. All others on the team are sharing a room.  The team, for the most part, hung out at the Ponderosa and relaxed.  We did some prep for tomorrow, but the focus was rest and I am excited to say I took full advantage of it.


The Ponderosa

We are staying at a wonderful B&B.  This was a huge surprise to me since I was prepared to sleep under a mosquito net and wake up to small critters scurrying off when the lights turned on.  I have an air-conditioned room with a small fridge full of bottled water and my own bathroom.  I feel very spoiled. The Ponderosa has a pool, a nice eating room, and a balcony that overlooks the city. Wilson is the owner of the establishment and has been our wonderful host. He has arranged our daily transportation, has a team to prepare our meals, and has built a beautiful B&B here in Kwabenya (near Accra, Ghana).


Fitting In

So one of my big highlights today was meeting Christy the seamstress. This week we have a few meetings with some key people in Ghana (the mayor is one of them) and it will be important that we dress appropriately.  For me, that meant I needed a Ghanaian shirt or male dress.  Wilson arranged for a seamstress to come to the Ponderosa and meet with the team to take measurements and for us to choose fabrics.  She happened to come with a few shirts already made which worked out perfect for me since two of them fit perfectly!  All the Ghanaian women kept saying, “Ohhh look you soooo nice!”  I also teach tomorrow at a church in front of about 200 people and to have a shirt ready for me was …a miracle. It will take the rest of the team a few days before Christy can finish their clothes.


Thought for the Day

So often there are blessings and gifts given to us and we might overlook: the gift of a beautiful sunset, the joy we are given to laugh with a friend, the opportunities that await us simply because where we were born in the US. Before my journey began on this trip, a friend told me to be open to all the ‘gifts’ that will be coming to me; gifts that require nothing on my part. Two days in a row this has come true. Yesterday, after a long flight, we went to a nice restaurant in downtown Accra. The place was super swanky. As I was walking upstairs the chef was walking down. I complemented him on the restaurant. He said, “Let me show you around.” He gave me a tour of the most amazing place. An open-air patio with walls created by ferns, a speak easy bar with a secret door that opened up to a 2nd floor cat-walk and a one-of-a-kind wine cellar, to a private Hollywood style circular room whose windows opened up to the room below, to the ‘this is the place to be’ disco-tech, and eventually to the main floor and a private room for our party of 11. A few minutes later the waiter came to me and said the chef would like to provide our appetizers. Now these were not chips & salsa. No, no, no. We are talking Top Chef Richard Blais type of appetizers. Later that night I was given the gift of the Ponderosa & my private a/c room; and then today, to receive two shirts that are already made and fit for me. I am in awe and feel extremely thankful.  I came here to serve and I feel abundantly blessed



Day One: Made it to Ghana

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana


Made it!

What occurred:

On this first day of adventure:

LAX to Amsterdam 10 hours + Amsterdam to Accra, Ghana 7 hours.  Flight 17 hours

Travel to and from airports, check-in, security, customs, finding the shuttle in Ghana = 8 hours

Total of 25 hours of travel.  Little sleep, I think a total of 90 mins.

It is now 2am here.  And I am finally crawling into bed after 32 hours of this journey.

I will post pics and add more commentary tomorrow.  I am still unsure about the amount of time I will have internet access.

First impressions:  People are genuinely nice & friendly; and it is very humid and hot. Even at 2am in my room.

Today’s Quote: “without great risk … no one can see the world through the eyes of another.  True in love and all adventures worth living.”

Tomorrow’s Goals:  Rest and prep for Sunday

Below is a photo of our team.



Heading to Ghana

   Posted by: Dean White    in Ghana

Here we go again!  This time Ghana, Africa.

Which meant getting a lot of shots!  I am looking forward to a few weeks of rest from my 1st world problems and seeing life from a new perspective.  I will try to blog every day so you can join me on this trip, meet the Ghanians, feel their joy and discover who you are in the midst of another culture.  Thank you in advance for being part of my journey.