Lean on me
There were times during my trip to Ghana when it all got particularly tough.
Getting ill on the bus ride from Accra… spending my first night in Nakpayili throwing up… my fifth day of washing from a bucket… counting 30 mosquito bites on my legs… the thought of the bus journey back to Accra!
At all of these points, when it all became a bit too much, the first people I turned to were my CHIPS team in Brixton – even when they were thousands of miles away. In our Whatsapp group I asked them for prayer and they returned with an endless stream of encouragement. They reminded me why I was there, how strong I can be and that I can keep going.
An intentional part of the CHIPS methodology is to place teams of people in communities of conflict. For the last four years I have had the privilege of watching and helping the CHIPS Brixton team grow, but it was in Ghana that I realised just how much they have become my family. We share the beautiful moments together as well as the pain of things going wrong. CHIPS uses teams of people in each of its projects because standing in the middle of conflict would be impossible on our own.
By living for 12 days with the CHIPS Ghana team I had the wonderful opportunity of seeing how this special bond works out in their lives and context. The team are a group of Christians in a mainly Muslim village and they begin the day with their most treasured activities; studying the Bible, praying for their work and worshipping God. They spend each morning in community with each other and God before dividing up jobs and going to begin their work. Throughout the rest of the day they laugh together, eat together, work together, and raise families together! From different tribes, villages, generations and backgrounds they have been brought together through their longing to see peace in their communities. They are so much more than colleagues, they have created their own form of family.
From my own experience I know that these relationships will keep them sane through the most stressful parts of their lives, be who they go to to celebrate their successes and who they lean on when it all gets tough.