In July 1998, a team of 4 from CVC led by Rick Duncan visited Jim Haney, IMB missionary to Ghana. We toured the central, northern, and western regions of the country, visited the hospital at Nalerigu, encouraged and trained pastors near the hospital, visited the Baptist Seminary in Kumasi, showed the Jesus film, and did personal evangelism. We also visited Cape Coast Castle. The purpose of the trip was to identify ongoing missional opportunities to reach an Unreached People Group in Ghana.
In 2000, a team of 6 was led by Rick Duncan to evangelize an Unreached People Group called the Nzema people, who lived on the southwest coast of Ghana. We evangelized using the Jesus film. The purpose of this trip was to see if God was calling CVC to adopt this people group. The clear answer was “yes.”
Nzema People Group
In January 2002, Frank Archer, a Ghanaian from Prestia was appointed by the Ghana Baptist Convention (GBC) to be a home missionary to the Nzema people group. CVC has been supporting Reverend Archer’s salary since that time while the GBC has been supplying additional funds for things such as housing allowance, travel expenses, etc.
When Rev. Archer began his work only three Baptist churches were in existence serving over 300,000 people in the region. After 12 years, there are now over 50 Baptist churches. To God alone be the glory!
These churches, as one can imagine, are at various states of health and growth. Some have pastors; some have leaders; and some are served by traveling pastors and evangelists like the early Methodist circuit riders in the US. Some churches have property. Only a few churches have buildings (Half Assini, Esiama (a structure), Edu, and Elubo). The churches range in size from 60 members (in Elubo, Half Assini, Esiama, Nkroful, and Ainyase) to as few as five newcomers at Anwiafutu, a place where a new church was begun on April 25, 2010. Well over 500 people have been baptized as member of Nzema Baptist churches.
Pastor’s Training School
In addition, we helped to start a pastor’s training school in the Nzema region. Teams To The Nations and CVC gave support for the theological education by extensions that took place in Half Assini. Professors traveled from around the region to Half Assini and taught classes to train pastors and leaders at a Certificate level. In May 2010, thirteen Nzema leaders will travel to Tamale to receive their officially recognized Certificate of Theology. Following graduation, they applied for ordination as pastor by the Ghana Baptist Convention. This training of indigenous leadership has been vital for the continued growth of the gospel in the region.
CVC has also raised money to invest in the overall health and well-being of the region through the drilling of water wells. We raised money with our Advent Tree to fund the drilling of the wells. Eight wells have been drilled. One is in Nyamebekyere. CVC worked with the Ghanaian well-driller, Thomas Semenu, a Baptist deacon in Accra who owns Water Health Care Limited. We sent Josh Cleveland on a mission to finalize the process.
Since many churches have been planted in the Nzema region, the GBC has given the churches the permission to organize as a recognized association of the GBC. So, in July, 2009 the Nzema Baptist Association was formed with Emmanuel Ofori Teiko, pastor of the Esiama Church, serving as the chairman of the association.
The Nzema people are now no longer considered by missiologists an Unreached People Group which has less than 2% of the population as evangelical Christians. Instead, are now classified as and Under-evangelized People Group. It’s been fulfilling as a church to be used by God to help that transformation take place.
Building a Hospital
We have also purchased land near Nvelinu (10 acres) for a much-needed hospital. One of our elders, Ron Cleveland, who runs the pathology lab at Metro Hospital, has been to Ghana 6 times. And God has given him a vision to start a hospital there in Nzemaland. Construction has begun on an ideal spot on the main highway near a fork in the road that leads to Cote d’Voire to the northwest and to main village, Half Assini, in the region to the southwest. Local chiefs donated the land. The GBC has helped with legal documents and take ownership of the land. All will be welcome at this hospital. And we believe that the love of Christ will heal their bodies and their souls. We are currently helping to raise the money
Christmas in Ghana
Here are a few words from Frank Archer about how Christmas is celebrated in his region.
Tell us about how you celebrate Christmas in Ghana?
Our Christmas celebration begin from 24th night where we have half night vigil from 7pm to 1am at church and 9am worship service on the 25th. FromDecember 26th to 30th Is family reunion. December 31st In the evening is all night church service program where Christians and none Christians go to church to pray to God for protection towards the end of the year ahead.
Christmas is a period of family reunion, a moment of sharing, giving gifts to loved ones, setting of family disputes and thanksgiving to God for bringing us this far.
How do you say Merry Christmas?
In our language Merry Christmas is “Afihyiapa.”