We know it’s been a while since Ray’s last blog, but we’re back! Ray’s series on his time in West Africa will resume next Thursday. For now, here are some of his reflections on Remembrance Day.
Every year as I pin a poppy on my jacket, I think of the sacrifices that so many made to ensure our freedom. For me, this has an even greater significance because my father was one of the people who sacrificed much. I don’t know many of the details, but I do know that my father was part of the “D-Day” invasion and that he spent the following year moving through the Netherlands as the Canadian troops liberated that country. My father never spoke about it much, but I know he was a proud veteran of the Second World War. My dad could have been negative, as he was wounded and eventually had to walk with a cane because of his injuries, but he never complained. He believed in what he was called to do and was willing to make the sacrifices required.
A month ago, I attended a memorial service for a long-serving member of Trans World Radio. As I sat there in the service, I thought about so many who have served in a different type of war than my father, but how there are similarities. They also served faithfully, serving in difficult places under difficult circumstances, and they too did it faithfully and without complaint. While they are not military veterans, they are veterans of service to God.
Today I want to recognize one of those veterans: Reverend Stephen Boakye-Yiadom. Stephen grew up in Ghana, Africa, as the son of a farmer. In his growing-up years, he knew about God, but God was not the centre of his life. Stephen did well in school and was given a scholarship to go to school in Germany. He went to Germany with the intention of obtaining a degree and returning to his home country. Shortly after getting to Germany, Stephen had an encounter with God that changed everything. God became a part of Stephen’s life in a real way. He became so real that Stephen never went to university for the planned degree. Instead, he went to seminary and became a pastor. His next steps are what made him a hero in my mind.
Instead of staying in the comfort of Germany or returning to the familiarity of Ghana, he got on a plane to Kenya to begin the ministry of TWR in East Africa. He knew no one; he had no contacts. He simply had a call on his life, and he trusted God to work out the details. The story is long and exciting, so let me summarize the story as I understand it.
Stephen didn’t just begin a ministry in Kenya; he spearheaded the growth of the entire ministry in Africa. To accomplish this was no small task. He started with no funds, no team, no in-depth business plan. He never liberated the countries politically, but he played a part in liberating them with a different message: the message of hope found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Stephen was passionate about “Africa needing Jesus.” He worked to ensure that all could hear the message of hope that had changed his life so drastically many years before, and he was willing to fight the spiritual battle it would take to ensure that it happened.
Obviously, my father survived the war and lived a full life, dying at 84 years of age. Stephen went home to be with the Lord when he was just 63 years of age. He fought the good fight to the very last day. When Stephen went to his heavenly home, we were in the middle of one of those spiritual battles. We were battling to get our new station in West Africa on the air. While he never saw that happen, that battle was won, and we have been broadcasting for over 10 years from this transmitter!
Next week Ray will share more of the story on our West Africa transmitter site from his personal involvement. Catch up on the ones you've missed: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7