Although he knew his Momma would whip him good for being there, he played in a landfill with two of his friends. Thirteen year old Emmanuel was collecting cans to make cars out of them, for there were no toys, except those made by trash. A stranger appeared over the mound. The pack knew everyone in their small village, and this man was not familiar to them. He approached and asked his friend named Courageous, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Courageous without thought spouted out the job his mother did. “I want to be a teacher,” he said. For in Ghana, there is a limitation to dreams.
The man asked his other friend, “What do you want to be when you grow up.”
Emmanuel didn’t hear his friend’s response. For a moment, he saw a vision of himself grown, standing at a pulpit. His arms stretched out to the heavens, while a congregation prayed. For a moment, it was in the clouds, and then it was gone. The stranger turned to Emmanuel and smiled, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
He never saw that man again, but his vision became a driving force. For out of the trash heap, he knew he was called, and out of the trash heap many came to know the cleansing power of God. He shares the gospel with anyone who will listen, and with anyone who won’t. He feeds the hungry, builds the churches, he prays over the weak, and pushes the strong.
Recently, we had the honor of hosting Pastor Emmanuel in our home. Immediately, I was intrigued. I pushed him in a chair, fixed him a hot tea, and plied him with questions for three hours. Jay left me to it.
He was a peculiar sort. Bold at prayer, but humble in heart. He prayed over Nick’s hurt knee, as if he prayed for world peace. He was bold and loud. I could have sworn the tiles on my roof shook, as he raised his African- accent to the heavens.
The next morning, the boys and I, along with others, packed food for him to take back to Ghana at The Feeding Children Everywhere warehouse. He walked over, and squeezed our shoulders.
“This is what the children in my school eat every day.” He raised his hands. “My God! Praise Jesus!”
I thought, ‘Where’s the beef?’
Later, he left for Tampa, while Jay and I left for a trip to the island of Antigua. There, standing over the resort’s buffet table for a second chow- down, I thought of Emmanuel as a small boy playing in the trash heap, I thought about the rice and bean packets the children ate everyday, I thought about how stuffed I was, and I admit…I thought about what’s for dessert…Spoiled American Girl.
Upon our return to the states, we had the pastor again. Over dinner, I was doing what I do best, and Jay was leaving me to it. I leaned in across the table, as he told me more stories of his life in Ghana…
“When I was a young boy, I stood by the water, and the fish came up and nipped at my ankles. I never use rod and reel to catch fish, I reach out and caught them with my bare hands. I’d bring home buckets of fish to feed my family. One day, I stood in the shallow waters, and a great storm came up. All of the villagers ran home, but I stayed behind. The water dropped on my head, as I stood watching the fish surrounding my feet. God told me that day, I will lead many to Christ, though there will be great storms…through great hardships, when I tell them of Jesus, they will still come.”
Pastor Emmanuel will be returning to Ghana soon, but this peculiar, loud praying, always talking to Jesus, humble man has taught this spoiled, American girl many things. No matter how buried I am in the day to day clutters of life. God can still pull me up out of the trash heap. His voice is louder than the storm.
Please note: If you would be interested in learning more about Feeding the Children or Pastor Emmanuel Eli Fiagbedzi’s ministry, please see the websites listed below:
Feeding the Children Everywhere: www.feedingchildreneverywhere.com
Pastor Emmanuel: www.thekingsvoiceministries.org