Pastor students working out an assignment together. They really enjoyed the group participation in lieu of lectures.
Report From Mary Koepp
Mary Koepp enjoys using her Ghanian name, Adjoa (Monday-born). In this article she reports on her short term mission experience teaching English Skills and Worship Drama at the seminary.
When I arrived at GNTCS from Fountain, CO in September 2013, it was to continue a chain of missionary work begun in 1989 by my pastor, Rev Dr. Erwin (Kwadjo) Spruth. He and his late wife, Mama Rain (Abena) served there for 8 years. Dr Spruth first served as Principal and later as Senior Lecturer being instrumental in growing the library from fewer than 50 books to one of the best college libraries in Ghana. Mama Rain taught health, English, Conflict Resolution as well as serving as a nurse for the staff and students. Dr Spruth also served as mentor for Rev Dr. Thomas Oduro, current President of GNTCS who visited our church, Faith Lutheran Church last April. The two men together helped me plan my journey for a two-month stay where I lived on campus and taught Basic English skills and Worship Drama, an innovative six-week workshop for the pastor students.
After preliminary introduction to dramatization techniques and processes, focusing on the use of drama during worship services to bring souls to Christ, the class became personally involved. They wrote a short play to perform for the other students and faculty. An exegesis of the parable of the Unforgiving Servant led to character and dialogue development to ensure that even those who could not read would grasp the intent of Jesus as he told that story. The students as a group made decisions to cast and costume the characters, prepare minimal scenery, publicize their event and to rehearse. I am so excited to be returning to GNTCS in August to instruct two semester courses- Dramatizing the Bible, and Basic English Skills.
The official language of Ghana is English, but with a twist. It took me a week of attending the other classes offered to become familiar enough with the differences to understand speech and to teach. For example, as Rev Nartey taught a class about discipleship, he mentioned that they had to have mittens and hooves. Mystified, I wrote that into my notes and checked with him after class to see what that meant. He had actually said meetings in homes.
Dr. Oduro paired me with Esther Manyeyo to attend worship and to teach women's Bible studies in several different churches. Traveling by "tro tro" sometimes for over an hour through the backstreets of Adenta and Medina and often by car into the bush country gave me irreplaceable opportunities to see Ghanaian culture and environment and to meet many dedicated Christians. In many churches, pastors switch throughout the message from English to Twi, and in some there is a translator. I attended a five - hour service spoken only in Twi where I understood no words at all - just the joy of the people. There was a fundraising auction and I successfully bought a loaf of bread to the applause of the congregation.
Some women of Ghana have a uniform for Bible Study - a blue and white sleet (skirt) and a white head scarf. Dressed for study, the women walk sometimes several miles after working all day, to participate. Several times I was asked to help Esther teach the women of a church how to start a group for leadership and study. Already I have been invited to teach and preach at the Women's Leadership Conference in August. Since returning home, I have had several opportunities to talk about my mission and the joy it has put in my life. While I went to GNTCS to teach for two months, I came home with more than I gave. Through my interactions with students, faculty and the people of Ghana, my own faith and the presence of the Holy Spirit in me have grown and my friends at home say I am "glowing."