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Ghanaian Presbyterian minister is among International Peacemakers visiting this fall

Gladys Lariba Mahama to talk peace, hard work and a relationship with God

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama of Ghana is one of the International Peacemakers scheduled to visit the United States this fall. (Photo courtesy the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program)

The Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama of Ghana is one of the International Peacemakers scheduled to visit the United States this fall. (Photo courtesy the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program)

LOUISVILLE – The Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama has a big job. She’s a minister with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana serving five congregations spread across the upper east region. She is also the women’s coordinator for the Northern Presbytery and a social worker. Her work keeps her busy but the impact is rewarding.

Mahama is one of nearly a dozen international peacemakers that will be speaking across the United States this fall, giving Presbyterians and others an opportunity to learn about the church’s work in a part of the world they may not be familiar with.

“As a social worker I have worked under the Go Home Project of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana which seeks to reintegrate women who have been identified as ‘witches’ that are eventually sent back to their communities,” she said. “I have also been working on an association for widows. It is difficult to reach all of the people I need to see because of a lack of adequate transportation in the area.”

Mahama says the illiteracy rate of these communities is high, making it difficult to communicate. She often needs someone to accompany her who can translate the English language. Because most of the people are small scale farmers, she finds it hard to reach many of the people during raining seasons.

Despite the hardships, Mahama says she finds the work very rewarding.

“One thing I believe in the work of God is that the inheritance of heaven awaits me and that is what gives me the passion to work,” she said. “Due to the nature of this work, I believe I have gotten a lot of exposure because I meet different people day in and day out. I have learned so much from others.”

Mahama and the other scheduled peacemakers will speak around the country from September 23 to October 17. The group gathers in Louisville before and after their visits for orientation and debriefing. Carl Horton, coordinator for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program says visits by each peacemaker usually lasts between three and five days. Not all visits must include a weekend. Midweek visits are recommended for colleges, universities or theological institutions.

Mahama is hopeful American congregations will be inspired by what she has to say and plans to spend a lot of time promoting peace.

“Peace is a key ingredient in a successful human life,” she said. “I will therefore, talk much about peace, good relationships, tolerance, hard work and the seriousness in working for God. People should be willing to come and listen. I will base my speech on participatory method, therefore I will expect all of us to share ideas and learn from each other.”

Mahama finds the work of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program very important in today’s world.

“I work with all manner of people from different tribes, clans and even communities. It is incumbent on all to embrace peace in order to live in harmony so that we can grow as individuals and a nation as a whole,” she said. “As a minister of God, I need peace to promote the word of God. Without peace, people will not be willing to listen.”

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has invited leaders from partner denominations and organizations to visit the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for more than 30 years. As many as 57 countries have been represented by the speakers as they travel to churches, synods, presbyteries and educational institutions.

Other peacemakers will be coming from Columbia, Cuba, Hungary, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Kenya, Niger, South Sudan, Syria and Uruguay.

Click here for more information about all of the peacemakers scheduled to speak this fall.

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