August 2, 2007
The late summer sun poured over the Ghanaian terrain as Vincent Asamoah prepared to leave his home and family in Kumasi, Ghana. He kissed and hugged his wife and three children goodbye and began a journey, which lead him to Waco, Texas and through the doors of George W. Truett Theological Seminary. In the past two years, Vincent's journey returned him to Ghana for two weeks, brought his family to Texas, and took Vincent back to Ghana once again, this time with Dr. Joel Gregory. Vincent met Dr. Gregory in Preaching 1 during his first semester and over the months developed a desire to share what he was learning with those in Ghana. He comments that he felt his fellow Ghanaians needed to hear what he was learning from Dr. Gregory, but to "hear it from the horses own mouth." Vincent longed for the Ghanaian church to hear Dr. Gregory's heart, and they coordinated a trip with Dr. Dora Bortey, a Doctor of Ministry graduate of Truett Seminary and professor at Ghana Baptist Seminary.
They went to preach in the capital city and other areas and hold a preaching seminar for Ghanaian ministers. Vincent also wanted to foster relationships between local Christians and the Ghanaian seminary and Dr. Gregory. They represented Truett, Baylor, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) and laid the groundwork for future relationships with Ghana.
When they arrived on May 18, they left the capital of Accra for a brief visit to Cape Coast Castle, which was a holding, buying, and selling area for a high percentage of the African slave trade during the 17th and 18th centuries. After this deeply moving experience, they traveled to a church outside the capital where Dr. Gregory preached and Vincent translated. "It was good," Vincent says smiling. "It was a powerful sermon." The same evening, the traveling pair returned to Accra and on Monday began the preaching conference. Dr. Gregory taught homiletics for three hours a day and Vincent translating. Along with the spoken word and verbal information, Vincent was able to distribute CDs containing nineteen Bible translations, various Bible commentaries and maps to those who attended the conference. The producers of the CDs were gracious to allow for free distribution of the material.
Glancing at the ceiling, Vincent tells me about one Ghanaian man who thanked him for the CD. He would never have been able to afford it otherwise. It was an exceptional blessing for all of the attendees.
As Vincent slowly swivels in his office chair, he speaks about his expectations by saying that he was going back to his country and was excited to see his people and hold this program in his home country. Vincent says, "I am very thankful to God for Him giving me this wisdom to help coordinate this program for this thing to happen, because I think my coming here is not about me, it is about God. If there is anything that I can do to help promote His work in my country, I am more than ready to do it and I thank God that I have been able to help in this way." He also comments that Dr. Gregory's personality and the wisdom he brings was an exciting aspect of returning to Ghana. Vincent continues, saying, "for me, that is more just than a blessing... going back to my seminary where I have my training and to go with Dr. Gregory and share with the people with the possibility of Truett joining hands with them to train people to serve God is again an amazing thing for me." He also says that his expectation of people coming "in their numbers" to listen to Dr. Gregory was far surpassed. Over seventy people attended in the capital of Accra and crowds swelled to over 100 in Kumasi. "I was in no way disappointed."
Vincent also notes that he was excited to visit Ghana with someone from Truett and have them see what he was doing before he made his journey the United States and Truett. Through the preaching conference and their travels, Dr. Gregory met a number of Vincent's friends, fellow ministers, and co-workers who worked alongside Vincent for over thirteen years ministering to Ghanaian young adults. The experience of reconnecting with friends left Vincent praising God. He joyfully says, "For me to have had to get this thing to them was just an amazing thing. I think in all, it was a huge thing for me and I can always look back and thank God for it." "I believe it is the beginning of a long term partnership between my country and Baylor and possibly BGCT and any other person who is interested in partnering with me to do ministry in Ghana when I'm done."
Returning to Ghana also gave Vincent the chance to reflect upon his miraculous journey over the past two years. Most international Ghanaian students are supported by a mission agency, travel with their families, and do not return home until they have finished their degree programs. Vincent, however, did not have financial assistance, left without his family, and has returned twice to Ghana. Vincent is walking a difficult path, but one paved with faith. He notes that when he decided to attend Truett, his co-workers said that if he needed to go, then he should go; however, they could not provide any financial support. It was during this conversation he made the conscious decision to leave Ghana without any financial support from his co-workers or church and to trust God for all he needed.
Considering his co-workers words Vincent says, "I still love the people and love God. And I love his church and I asked myself, God is there anything you want me to do to help your church to grow? Because I feel like God is taking me through all of these things to help me to continue to trust in him and again I believe that God has something beyond what anyone can understand to do with me." He thoughtfully voices that he hopes God is not finished with him, and he knows that God is still using him and his ministry. Vincent's life speaks volumes of his trust and faith in God. While thinking back over the past two years, he remarks, "If you faithfully follow God, He will never ever disappoint you, never let you down."
Vincent's positive attitude, deep faith, and trust allowed him to open his heart and life to opportunities and miracles beyond anyone's imagination. "I'm trusting and believing in God that he will do exceedingly, abundantly beyond what my mind can understand and what people can understand," Vincent acknowledges. "Whatever he wants to do with me, I am there for Him. I am praying that I will continue to have myself open for Him to work through me. That is the best thing I can do for myself and that is the best thing I can do for my country that is the best thing I can do for all that God has done for me through Jesus Christ."
After his successful trip to Ghana, Vincent cannot stop smiling and expressed to me in closing that he is looking forward to the upcoming months and the plans for a mission trip to Ghana. With the foundations laid, a date is set for a student mission trip to Ghana in the summer of 2008.
As I gather my belongings, Vincent tilts his head and leans over his desk. Leaving his thoughts about Ghana for a short while, he picks up his Greek homework, flipping through a stack of note cards. Shrugging he says that he must study or he will be in trouble tomorrow.
Suzanne R. Holsomback
Truett Seminary Student