Someone else eats what is taboo for you. (aka ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison.’)
Last week I drove across the border into Togo to take some folks to ABWE’s new Hospital of Hope in Mango, Togo. I threw my bike in the back of the truck and took a day to go explore the region on my bike.
Mango is right on the banks of the Oti River which was quite flooded due to the heavy rains we’ve been having. I paid 1000CFA to have a man and his son ferry me and my bike across the river. Once on the other side I started pedaling east.
Until I found that the road I was following was also flooded! I had to pay for another ferry ride and this time was accompanied by a really kind Fulani man and his motorcycle (we were all in the same canoe).
I ended up making it all the way to Gando, Togo and then decided to head a few more miles to into Benin. As soon as I crossed into Benin a huge storm hit. It followed me for most of the 30mile ride back to Mango.
In Ghana, if an important guest visits you he should greet the local chief during his stay. This shows respect to both the guest and the chief. Lucky for us, we live in the capitol of Mamprugu so our local chief is the paramount chief or king of the entire tribe.
I took my parents to have an official visit with the Nayiri and loaned my nicest smock and hat to my dad to wear. Some of my local friends accompanied us (the larger the delegation, the more important the visit) and we greeted him together. I introduced my parents and my dad gave him a formal greeting and thanked him for “holding his children well” (aka, taking care of us). When we left he provided them with a gift of two guinea fowls.
After the events in Côte d’Ivoire, my parents drove 15 hours (!) back to Ghana with me and spent 10 days with us in Nalerigu. The photo gallery below is photos they took while they were here.
Another highlight of my trip to Côte d’Ivoire was a visit one afternoon to Bouaké where my family lived from 1986 to 1993. We met up with Pastor Dabilla who my dad discipled in the 1980s and then became pastor of my parents’ first church plant. Today he is not only leading that church but is a leader of the association of evangelical pastors in the area.
We drove around town to see how it had changed since my parents were last there nearly 15 years ago. We saw our old house (currently be renovated by a new owner), my old boarding school (now a government run medical school) and also met up with Madeleine who was my brother’s nanny in the late 80s.
It was a short trip that one afternoon but we were overwhelmed with years of wonderful memories!
A couple weeks ago I drove to Côte d’Ivoire to meet my parents and attend the 50th anniversary of Baptist Work in that West African nation. The Baptist Convention of Ivory Coast (UNEBAM-CI) put on the jubilee celebration and invited IMB missionaries who served (or currently serve) in the country. It was a massive reunion with so many of our friends from the 80s, 90, and 00s.
Some of the past missionaries that attended the three day event were my parents, Ted & Francis York and Ed & Greta Pinkston. The Yorks were our next door neighbors in Bouaké in the 90s and some of our best friends. The Pinkstons were the first Southern Baptist missionaries appointed to Côte d’Ivoire in 1967! It was wonderful to see them again.
I was so impressed by the respect and honor the Convention showed my parents and their colleagues. All the alumni missionaries were awarded honorary diplomas and gold medals. Ed Pinkston received the highest honor and was dressed as a chief – complete with crown and golden scepter!
Part of the weekend’s events included a parade of nearly 1000 Baptists out to the conference grounds and a graduation ceremony for the UNEBAM-CI’s seminary students. Several of the graduates were young men that the past missionaries had led to Christ or discipled.
In fact, I was blown away by the number of current pastors who came up to my parents and the other missionaries to thank them for investing their lives in them. I was seeing the seeds Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13:8 that “fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!“