An Open-Letter to the President of Ghana

Dear Sir,

I saw you celebrated your 76th birthday a few days ago and we are grateful to God for your life and giving you good health. How are you doing? Genuinely? I am concerned about how you must be feeling in these time because the past few weeks have been very challenging for the citizens of your country. I suspect you’ve also not had it easy as this global pandemic has brought everything to a standstill and now, it’s almost impossible to predict how the next few weeks or months are going to be like.

As a Ghanaian who has been observing you and your government in the last three years or so, there are a number of plans and policies that you put in place that did not sit well with me at all. I have gotten angry at some of the news headlines and as a floating voter, I get convinced that you are not one of the people I will be considering in the next elections.

In the past few weeks, however, I think the number of people who have fallen in love with you have increased tremendously. Like many others, I have watched how you seem to calm a lot of nerves with your addresses in the wake of the covid-19. I see admiration and love for you and your government and your last address to the nation, which you called for a partial lock down and also stated that you knew how to bring the economy back to life but do not how to bring back the people of this country has really caught on with the masses. You also pledged to give your three-month salary to the fund that has been set up to fight the virus. Not forgetting the National Day of Prayer and Fasting that was held a few days back. They have been impressive and from our various lock down locations, we watch on to see how you and your government will stop this virus from ravaging this country.

Sometimes I wish protocols will be put aside and more laboratories set up to test for the virus. I wish there could be a mass testing for all the citizens who have been contact traced and I would also love to know if there is the community spread of the virus.

I continue to pray for you each day and I hope God gives you the wisdom to govern and that, this period passes on without causing too much damage to lives and the country’s economy. May God continue to protect and remember to read Psalm 91.

Yours sincerely,

This post is the first of the 21-day lock down blogging challenge asking bloggers to write a letter to someone, anyone.

5 Reasons Online Church Services may not be for All

All of a sudden, Sundays or Saturdays do not imply wearing one’s favourite dress, leaving home and finding a physical location where we are ushered to a seat to pray, sing, dance, listen to a sermon and fellowship. In the last couple of days, attending a church service, for a lot of people, has a whole new meaning which implies turning on your Facebook or Youtube or Twitter and watching your Pastors preach, thanks to the Covid-19.

Even though a lot of people are quite excited about ‘churching’ online, there exist some challenges or conditions that make this mode of worshiping not suitable for everyone and here are some of the reasons:

  1. Internet and Smartphone Accessibility: This is the truth. A number of us in Africa do not have access to the internet or the electronic device that enables us to access the internet (now powering our church services). Internet accessibility /usage is mostly common in the urban areas and quite limited to a specific age group (usually the youth). According to the Africa Internet User Stats, only 37.8 % of Ghana’s population has access to the internet. Out of the population that has access to the internet, 5 million are Facebook subscribers. As a social media manager for my church, when I shared the mode through which the church was going to worship now, the question someone posted was, “Are we now cutting off those who do not have smart devices?
  2. The cost of streaming online: According to another report compiled in 2018 by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Ghana’s internet cost is the fourth cheapest in West Africa but genuinely, how many people can afford to stream an hour or two’s service online without checking their remaining data or receiving notification for the telecommunication network on the amount of data they have consumed. Data cost does not provide individuals the peace of mind to enjoy the church services online. For the church to also constantly stream online, they need to re-strategize and that may include getting sophisticated devices to produce quality videos/streams. This may come at an extra cost and how many churches can afford that?
  3. The level of distraction is higher for the viewer: Last week Sunday, I vowed in my heart to involve myself fully when my church started streaming. I successfully prayed and sang and immediately the sermon began, there was a sort of disruption from the internet providers making the viewing difficult. It was at that point that my little girl started disturbing to which I assumed that she was hungry. That was how I ended up in the kitchen to prepare food for her and everyone and when I got back, the service had ended.
  4. There is some amount of belonging when we meet physically: After working hard all week, some of us genuinely look forward to getting into a physical space to pray, sing, listen to a sermon and meet other members to fellowship. Sometimes, a word from another church member may encourage you or someone really singing and crying during prayers may touch your heart to also seek God earnestly. So how do we ensure we fellowship on these virtual platforms? What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.Psalm 55:14
  5. Some churches and pastors are late to the online party: In the past few weeks, I can almost feel some sort of awkwardness and shakiness in a number of pastors who, hitherto this pandemic, were very confident standing in front of large gatherings to preach. It seems nerve-wracking as some of these pastors, who were born before the era of social media, are now being forced to stand in front of cameras and preach to an empty auditorium or office of a sort. Some churches did not really take the effort to build an online community and now that most services need to be held online, there is some struggle to even get members to watch.

This period, indeed, is very unusual (and we pray it ends soon) but there are several lessons that needs to be picked up by individuals, churches, Christians etc. We pray that whatever lessons we pick up now will be used to make our lives better after this global pandemic. Remember to pray for the world.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Data Sources: Internet World Stats dot com

Alliance for Affordable Internet (2018)

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COVID-19 Sadly Revealing all We've Taken for Granted

Ever since Ghana started confirming cases of the novel corona virus (covid-19), I have not been very productive. All I find myself doing is following tweets on my personal handle to know the latest. I think I am currently suffering from the effect of its information overload and I am not proud to say I feel a little anxious on how things will eventually turn out.

Speaking about my country, we cannot boast of the best healthcare systems and the number of health workers are frankly inadequate. I watch how countries with better healthcare systems are struggling to contain the corona virus and I look at my country’s and I shudder (not too proud of this either).

Currently, Ghana has recorded 16 new cases with some suspicions of community transfers. My work place is among the ones that has been shut down because of the threat of the virus so I’ve been in isolation.

It has been my fervent prayer that God shows scientists and pharmacologists and pharmacists what is needed to fight this virus and after we successfully kick it out, I resolve:

  1. Never to take the gift of life for granted – Most of us wake up each day, muffle something that sounds like a prayer and go about our duties but when you begin to see the number of deaths being recorded as a result of a virus, you’d realise that indeed, life and good health are gifts from God.
  2. Never to trust in my own abilities – There is an advert on DSTV where a man seem to have made a lot of plans for himself and keeps using the phrase, “what could go wrong?” I think that was the phase our generation found itself in until recently. We seem to have put our hopes in our own abilities and what technology can do for us but this virus seem to have ruffled a lot of feathers. Now, we see that science is limited, thus, only a greater power can help us fight this. Even the most powerful world leaders are setting special days to seek God’s face.
  3. Never to be lackadaisical when it comes to praying for my country and the world – When the church organises prayer retreats and the topic is, ‘Now, let’s pray for financial breakthroughs.’ That is when you see fervency in the prayer of believers but immediately that is switched to ‘pray for our country and the world,‘ the level of urgency in our prayers becomes low. Covid-19 shows the need of praying constantly for our own country and the world as whole.

Even though I admit that these are trying times for everyone, I believe that God is showing us how limited we are as individuals, thus, the need to rely solely on Him. I still say my prayer for the world in these special times and I believe without any doubt that we’ll overcome this.

Let’s continue to observe the rules of social distancing, not touching our faces, washing our hands with soap and water and sanitizing them regularly. I trust that we’ll open our eyes in a few days to realise that this period is over.

In the meantime, let’s remember what God has promised us in Psalm 91:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”