A lot of fond memories come to mind when I recount my stay in my beloved homeland, Ghana. The beauty of the sceneries and many delicacies make for a pleasant spectacle. And I am convinced daily that a great deal of what living represented transpired there. My neighbourhood was filled with screams and sounds and different kinds of smells. And truth be said, sanitation and water were always at a premium. To echo the words of the urban youths these days, "Boy, it was an unreal homie." From these humble beginnings comes a noteworthy story that shaped my faith and character until tomorrow, and it will always have a lasting image in my mind.
Having gained admission to my first choice high school in Ghana, Presbyterian Boys' Senior High School (Presec), I was thrilled! I was thankful that by God's grace the long hours of study and sleepless nights had been rewarded by academic excellence and now, the prospect of studying in one of the best schools in Ghana was now a reality. Senior high schools in Ghana, at that time, lasted for four years (now it's three): the first year intended for liberal arts while the next three years intended for specialization in your chosen course or field of study. Again, God was faithful as I excelled in all years. But that wasn't the highlight of my duration at Presec.
It was a Boys' boarding school with the option of being a day-student, a day-student is one who just attends classes but doesn't reside in the school. Easiest decision ever for me - day student it is! I never once contemplated or pondered that decision. I love my home dishes (waakye), home facilities, and space. No jokes...I'm totally being honest. It was a school with a solid Christian background. The mantra is "In Lumine Tuo videbimous lumen" meaning "In thy light, we shall see light". Hence, we had lots of Christian societies, events, and what naught. I had an interest in a few of them, mainly the CU (Christian Union) but it was more of a surface interest - nothing deeper. For two years I was a day student; enjoying home life, enjoying my space and home dishes, and with no sense of real independence until I met Jonathan during our vacation classes in the summer of 2008. Jonathan was a smart, Christian gentleman friendly in demeanor and of good repute and understanding - very lovable bloke. We spoke once or twice during the vacation classes but not much. Our only extended conversation was a 30-minute talk as we made our way home after a class. And then we didn't talk much thereafter even when school resumed. Jonathan opted to run for the head boy of the school a few months down the line and he got it as I continued to wade through with a low profile (as he always did in every school he went).
The head boy of the school is privileged to have a nice room with one roommate, a "help", and a lot of other benefits. It was a tradition for the head boy to choose a student in the boarding school as a roommate and moreover, Jonathan had at least two Christian brothers to choose from. Late March or the beginning of April 2009, Jonathan called me and said: "Jeff, I want you to be my roommate." "Huh? I am a day student" I retorted. "I would like you to be my roommate," he muttered once more. I was stunned and speechless. I think my facial expression was non-existent - I drew a blank. However, I paused for a few minutes and agreed. I told my parents and sister about it but my mum seemed skeptical about the whole idea and wanted me to rescind the offer. Yet when I wanted to opt-out, God didn't allow it - literally! My mouth couldn't open every single time I met with Jonathan to deliver the message. I asked Jonathan one afternoon in May 2009, "Did God tell you to choose me as your roommate? And he responded "yes" but I still had doubts, surprisingly. I did a mini prayer myself and felt settled but still unsure - talk about strange right? I don't know how to articulate this very well but I was expected in the boarding house by June 13, 2009, and up until June 10th I was still unsure with the thought of heading to boarding school and hadn't procured any of the things I needed for my stay. Yet, in the wisdom and faithfulness of God, I managed to get everything in a DAY!! Deals, gifts, buying of stuff - everything in a day! This was the beginning of a major turning point for me in my walk with God and approach to life. Spending two years with Jonathan and like-minded friends like Kwamina, John, Joshua, Jude, Jethro, Emmanuel, just to name a few, who were both spiritual and academically-inclined, set me on a path that shaped a lot of my understanding and urges for God today. Truth be told, I couldn't imagine for once why I would be chosen to go to the boarding house as I was comfortable, at rest, and enjoying my stay at home as a day-student. Yet, in the Grand Weaver's beautiful design, He was putting the threads of life together to shape me and my surroundings to unveil a pattern that I would be grateful for in the grand scheme of life, and revel in it.
One thing is certain, since 2007, God has carefully chosen my friends and for that, I am eternally grateful. God has shaped my steps through thick and thin and so I am grateful. Knowing and seeing consciously the hand of God these past 10 years has been humbling and bewildering at times!
My word to you: God is always watching and has a plan for you. Little or big, it is always going to be good. For it is intended to shape you in a way that will prepare you for your destiny and bring greater understanding of the Grand Weaver in the scheme of life.