On the second floor over the restaurant is the conference room, one section of which is open to the air facing the ocean, and the other enclosed with an air-conditioner. Like in the guest rooms here, they air-conditioner just barely keeps the heat at bay. One is never really cool, just not so warm.
We began a few minutes late with an opening prayer and Tom Clark making some introductory comments about the motivation for the conference. The pastors’ wives have been invited this year and the special theme running through the presentations will be strengthening our marriages and family lives.
After Tom’s initial comments, Leon Walker began with a presentation about the work the Church is doing in Latin American. One pastor asked why it was called “Latin American”, did the people speak Latin? Mr. Walker explained the origins of Latin based languages like Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Then I showed some PowerPoint slides about the French-speaking region. There were a few questions about French speaking countries near Ghana. And one question concerned there were even French-speaking countries in Africa at all. So I briefly explained the colonial development of Africa.
After a break, Mr. Walker gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Bible’s teaching concerning Christians marrying outside the faith and how the Church administers that teaching. This presentation and the questions and discussion it engendered took us until lunch time. At 1:00 we all filed down the stairs to the restaurant where fufu and a very bony fish were the main courses offered, accompanied by red-red and rice. I’ve never cared for fufu, so I chose the fish as did the other westerners and many Ghanaians too. Not everyone likes fufu even though it’s sort of a national dish: a large dumpling of plantain and cassava served in a bowl of soup. It’s eaten without forks or spoons so it’s a very hands-on meal… The red-red, however I really enjoy: a mix of black eyed peas, onion, and fried bananas which all turns red when cooked.
I had my first dessert in several weeks: a crepe and scoop of ice-cream, which was included in the menu.
When the meetings reconvened, I gave a presentation entitled “what every minister’s wife should know” based on a presentation my wife and I have made several times in the past. It explained various Bible passages on how the wives of church elders can serve in the church by working with their husbands and serving directly in the congregation. I was only a few minutes into the presentation when the power went off and we lost the AV projector. The power had been off most of the day and the hotel was running off its giant generator; they needed a pause to refuel it, which took about half an hour. We took a break during the pause. Whenever we had a break, the Ghanaians would walk outside to warm up, and the westerners would congregate toward the air conditioner to try to cool down….
After my presentation, there was time for questions and discussion, and then Tom Clark made another PowerPoint presentation on the biblical teaching of masculine and feminine roles. The presentations ended at 5:00, and I believe everyone was tired from the concentration on language. Speakers tried to speak slowly and simply to aid those listening to understand. And the listeners were straining to understand American English, spoken at what to them seemed a very rapid pace.
We had another break until dinner, when spicy fish soup was the first course, and chicken with jollof rice and or pasta. Jollof is another Ghanaian dish I enjoy a spicy mix of rice and onion and sometimes meat. It was all delicious.
Tom has some individual meetings to hold with several people, so I said goodnight to everyone and came to work in my room. I’ll turn in early and get up early to get some more work down before the conference activities begin again.
This morning (Sunday), the conference staff met for breakfast at 8:00. We enjoyed the fresh fruit offered: succulent mango, papaya, watermelon and very sweet pineapple. Meals always take longer to arrive here than what we're used to, so some of the Ghanaians who came later to breakfast weren’t ready to start on "western time" at 9:00, they were still at breakfast.