Posted on August 7, 2017 The Shift…Closing the Gap, Reaching the Heart!

Unreachable she seemed.  Often “stand-offish.”  Her facial expression-intense, defensive, appeared to say “Do not enter!” During group connections she would remove herself, appear uninterested, guarded.  Each mispronunciation of her name, felt like I was just adding fuel to the fire.  Yayra.  Looks simple enough, but it’s not.  Third year Fashion and Design/Dressmaking student. A pretty talented one at that.  Create and make a fully wearable dress in about 2 hours and a skirt in 1 hour.  Amazing!  She certainly wasn’t making it easy for this newer Missionary Social Worker. A well practiced, perfected look of intimidation she wore.  But why, what was it about?  What life injuries have occurred that she learned such an effective technique of self-protection?

I observed Yayra, treaded lightly, consistently.  In December her team won the “design a Dog Carrier” challenge in the Business Skills Seminar I instruct.  As part of the reward she and her 4 team members came to my house, met with a local carpenter to discuss the creation of their design and afterwards I fixed them breakfast while they watched a movie on my laptop. Suddenly, a light!  She smiled, laughed and didn’t want to leave.  I was shocked!  Not only did a shift occur but the pieces began fitting together. It takes time for the girls to build trust, and in this case her challenges in understanding English and my inability to speak Ewe fluently were also colliding!

Yayra didn’t give up on me and I surely wasn’t giving up on her!  For sure God was shedding light on the situation.  The ability to communicate on a heart-level was going to be imperative in my role in helping these girls to heal and more importantly spreading God’s word.

Excitedly I share 2 “shifts”…Yayra PASSED her National Vocational Training Institute exam for Fashion and Design about 2 weeks ago AND I have found a Language School with an Ewe-speaking immersion program!  The school is in neighboring Togo (2 hrs away) and I’ll stay with an Ewe speaking family for 15 weeks starting August 19th! Though an unexpected challenge to learn another culture, I believe it to be a blessing in the efforts of this ministry. [And for all the “Bear”-lovers, like myself, I’m pleased to report that he will stay in the comfort of my house in Ghana with my “Bear-Keeper” Peter coming in twice dailyJ].

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