A letter from Josh Heikkila in Ghana
In March 2010 a group of eight representatives from Lake Erie Presbytery in Pennsylvania came to Ghana to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Upper Northern Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. The Upper Northern Presbytery is based in Yendi, a town of about 50,000 inhabitants located in the semi-arid and predominantly Muslim Northern Region of the country.
During their visit the Lake Erie group toured rural areas around Yendi, where they saw E.P. Church congregations and schools as well as health clinics, agricultural facilities, and development projects being run by EPDRA, the church’s Development and Relief Agency. In one village aided by EPDRA a young man has developed a local salt lick for farm animals. The village plans to start production and marketing of this salt lick, and the money earned will go to support the economic development of the village.
One Muslim elder from the village told the group from Lake Erie that the village’s residents have never known the government of Ghana to come and help them in any way. However, when it comes to education, health care, and social and economic development, they see firsthand the work of the E.P. Church. For all practical purposes, he explained, the E.P. Church is the village’s government.
When they learned that Lake Erie Presbytery was considering a partnership with the E.P. Church, the residents were excited to know that the work EPDRA is doing in the north might grow and spread with help from Lake Erie. Both the Muslims and Christians were grateful for the Lake Erie group’s faith, and for their response to Christ’s call to love and serve their neighbors.
This October four representatives from Lake Erie will be returning to Ghana to sign a formal partnership agreement with the Upper Northern Presbytery. I know all are looking forward to the friendships and relationships that will develop between the presbyteries, and for the ways in which God will be present among them as they work together in mission and ministry.
West Africa regional liaison
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 48
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 84