By Alan Ch'ng
On a recent visit to Ghana, my wife Connie and I were picked up at the airport by Richard and Georgina Baa-Poku and their eight-year-old daughter Rinnah. We were excited to meet them and eager to hear more about their plans for the future. You see, Richard and Georgina are gearing up to pioneer a cross-cultural effort to reach Sierra Leone with the Gospel.
Richard is an established architect, having worked in his profession for 13 years. Georgina worked in the tourism industry and now has her own business. In the midst of family and work, Richard helps give leadership to a couple of Navigator student ministries in Accra, Ghana.
As we got to know them, a question began popping up in my mind: What led Richard and Georgina to decide to leave their country, their people, their household and their professions in order to move to Sierra Leone?
The process began in about 2010. With support from the Africa Regional Leadership Team, Richard made several survey trips into Sierra Leone and found that God was working ahead of them. During that first visit, Richard was moved by both the openness to the Gospel among the people and by the poverty and difficult living conditions in Sierra Leone. He could see that God was working in their hearts, but there was a shortage of help.
Then, on his third visit to Sierra Leone, Richard brought Georgina along. God helped them connect with a young woman who was eager to grow in Christ and learn more about the Bible with the help of Richard and Georgina. A discipleship relationship was established between them.
As Connie and I got to know them, three factors for their decision became clear to us. First, God was working in their hearts because of the poverty in Sierra Leone. The crowds were harassed and helpless. Second, they experienced among those they met a sincere longing for and openness to the Gospel. Third, at about the same time, God was speaking to them through Psalm 2:8, which says, Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
Compelled by these three factors, Richard and Georgina decided to launch a two-year plan to relocate to Sierra Leone. As with any pioneering effort, there are many unknowns. This is uncharted territory. They are honest about the fact that they don’t have all the details figured out. But they are moving forward in courageous faith. As Georgina says, “We will trust God for jobs and for support.”
One thing is sure: It will take a team of friends and mentors to help them be fruitful. Navigators in Ghana are engaged in the process. The Africa regional leaders are also involved. Connie and I had many opportunities to talk with Richard and Georgina about all that is involved in making such a faith move. We were able to help them understand more about what the Scriptures teach about pioneering missions.
It thrilled my heart to see laborers like Richard and Georgina, working professionals doing well in their jobs, respond to the call of God to step into cross-cultural missions. There is still much preparation between now and when this family can move to Sierra Leone. But it is exciting to see them stepping out in faith and obeying God.
The story of Richard and Georgina represents many Navigators who are pioneering new ministries all over the world. In fact, there are some 65 countries in which we have pioneering ministries. We thank God for each and every one of the precious people who have modeled faith and obedience in this way.
Please pray for Richard, Georgina and Rinnah. And, if you are interested in praying for other missionary efforts in our Worldwide Partnership around the globe, you can find a prayer list for each region at this link.
Alan Ch’ng is an International Vice President. Before joining the International Executive Team, Alan led our Asia-Pacific Region for more than six years. Alan and his wife, Connie, moved to Colorado Springs in April 2013. They have three grown sons.