Friday, February 6, 2009

The African Anointing

You can visit my blog, Transformed Daily, and view the video of Pastor Emmanuel anointing our family. It was pretty awesome. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Transformed Daily

The entire Jones family says thank you for your prayers and support. As you have seen, God did some incredible things in us and through us. We are very humbled for the opportunity and pray that His will is accomplished as we live and move and have our being back in America.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to visit my permanent blog site: You can sign-up for an RSS feed or an email subscription.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our African Experience - the video

This video provides just a taste of what we experienced while living and ministering in Ghana, Africa for 30 days. We are in awe of God's incredible goodness and power. In our short time, we made lifelong friends, we saw people make the decision to follow Christ, children were fed, miracles happened, the lame walked, demons were cast out, fresh water ran through a village for the first time, people were baptized, hearts changed, and our "normal" American perspective was forever ruined for the glory of God.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The conclusion

Leaving Ghana is bitter sweet. We are excited to get back to our home and more importantly our family and friends. However, it is tough to leave our new friends in Ghana and all that God has been doing in us and through us. 

Last night (Wednesday), we stayed in Accra at a hotel across the street from the airport. We left for the airport at 6AM and proceeded to go through approximately six lines of security before finally reaching our seats on the plane. We are currently (Thursday) in the air somewhere over the atlantic ocean at about 35,000 feet. As soon as we boarded the plane, I felt America. 

We will land in New York in about 5 hours, proceed to Salt Lake City, and then finally reach Phoenix. We will be arriving close to lunchtime and plan on heading over to one of our favorite restaurants that serves pizza and other food we love and, at the current time, crave.

God blessed us with an incredible African experience. We will be forever changed and will never forget it. Our faith has grown, our hearts have softened, our understanding of the world has expanded, and our love for our Savior, Jesus Christ, is off the charts. May we never loose what we have gained and may we live it out in America too. 

We are excited to see what God has in store for us next. He is always doing a new thing.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. - Isaiah 43:18-19

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All who are thirsty... come to the fountain

A milestone occurred this past Sunday for the village of Afife. A village-wide water distribution system was dedicated and the water began to flow. The project was championed by Pastor Emmanuel Fiagbedzi of the Liberty Center Assemblies of God Church, while the funds for this significant project were donated by Joan and Jerry Colangelo of Phoenix, Arizona. 

Before I continue, let me tell you how and where the village has been getting their water. The village of Afife has no running water. Therefore, they must fetch there water from nearby marshes and ponds. The typical manner in which they fetch the water is using one large metal bucket at a time which they carry on their head back to their home. The filled buckets probably weigh 30 pounds and the distance they carry them can be as great as 1.5 miles. By the way, the water is not pure and is quite salty. Believe me, you would not want to drink it. 

This new water distribution system not only delivers water to 18 strategically located spickets (fountains), but it also delivers much cleaner water which is pumped from three bore holes and stored in two water towers. The new system is a life-changer for the whole village. So, it is no surprise that people were lined-up and joyfully filling their buckets when this new system was turned on.   

The dedication ceremony was held at the church while the ribbon cutting occurred at the water towers and two of the distribution locations. The whole village was buzzing and the church was packed. I had the privilege of preaching that morning. 

The ceremony was attended by several village chiefs, representatives from the village council, and area pastors. All of the speakers honored Pastor Emmanuel and spoke very highly of his commitment to helping this village and the work that he is dong in the surroundings communities. The Italian contractor who installed the system, spoke very candidly and declared that it was Pastor Emmanuel's commitment and dedication to this project that caused it to finally succeed after overcoming many obstacles and roadblocks presented by local politicians. At one point, Emmanuel's life was actually threatened. The politics in Africa can be quite intense and spiritual warfare is definitely real, but we are called to be strong and courageous. Also highly honored were the Colangelo's, who's selfless gift made it all possible. 

However, the ultimate praise was given to God. There was no beating around the bush. God's name was lifted up and He was given the glory for this gift. Songs of praise were sung throughout the ceremony. The gospel was preached. God was glorified. Additionally, the whole event was discussed and praised for 3-hours on a local radio station. 

What a blessing to witness the work of God's mighty hand. His hand of comfort and provision. How magnificent it is to see the Body of Christ being used to quench both the spiritual and the physical thirst of man. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ...

Today was special because I had the opportunity to join Pastor Emmanuel in baptizing 10 members of his congregation. Baptism is a very special and powerful event in the life of a Christ follower. I love baptisms, so today I was blessed to be involved in this significant ceremony. One special aspect of the event was that all of those being baptized and the guests sang songs of praise during the whole service. 

We drove for about 15 minutes out into the bush to a dammed-up river where the lives of 10 people would be forever changed for the glory of God. It was picturesque. It was the day that the Lord had made.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some family pictures

Here are couple pictures taken today at The King's Voice Academy which is located just behind the church. As you can tell, we are all wearing our African outfits. The children's outfits were given to us by one of the church's that Eric preached at as a thank you gesture. It was very kind of them. Our hearts were touched.

Sunday morning preaching and anointing

I preached this morning at Pastor Emmanuel's church, Liberty Center, in Afife. It was a very special day for their church and the entire village. Today, they dedicated and turned on a new water distribution system that serves the whole community. I will reserve an entire post to how significant and special this was for this village and how God was glorified.

The service this morning started at 10AM and was filled with excitement, including almost two hours of praise & worship. I didn't begin preaching until about 12:15PM. I finished at 1PM by declaring God's promises and speaking some prophetic words over the congregation. Oh, I also went African-style by leading a praise song after my message. It is very common for Pastors to spontaneously lead into worship. I really like it. It fits me well.

After this, Pastor Emmanuel invited me and my whole family forward. He anointed me by pouring a significant amount of oil on my head and then proceeded to very powerfully bless me and, in so many words, commission and ordain me for the work of the kingdom of God to the nations. He also anointed Velvet and the children and spoke blessings over them and our family as a whole. It was a very meaningful time. We are also blessed because the whole ceremony was recorded on video. Anybody up for some home videos? Maybe we will post it on a private YouTube site.

All is well and we will be heading home in just a few days. God has been good and faithful. We are blessed to be His children. 


Life in Africa - by Jake Jones

Jake has been journaling while here in Africa. I will be posting his journal entries as they are available. Here is the first installment (Parts 1, 2, & 3). Enjoy!

Life in Africa
Part One: The Plane Ride
By: Jake Jones

We left Arizona on the 17th of November; our first plane left from Phoenix to New york city, (that was the easy part of the trip). They had touch pads in the plane and we played 20 Questions almost the whole plane ride! When we got to the JFK airport we had our last real american meal. We watched part of a movie in the airport while we had our layover, then we got on the airplane. When we got on the airplane Ben and Faith made a little friend; they talked until we took off. After we took off we tried to go too sleep. For the first 2 and a half hours, everybody could sleep except for me. One of the reasons why I couldn't sleep was that the little kid that Ben and Faith made friends with was asking me questions. I couldn't even understand what he was saying. We watched cartoons about 3 hours into the trip then Dad said, "no more"!  After we watched cartoons we tried to go to sleep  and I actually did! Two hours later, I woke up and walked around on the plane. I played a game after I walked around; and when the sun came up I ate some breakfast and enjoyed the descent. 15 minuets before we were going to land Ben was freaking out because his ears were hurting (that was one of the longest 15 minuets of my life). When we landed we got our carry-ons and walked out of the plane and realized that we are in Africa! 

Life in Africa
Part Two: The Car Ride and Dinner
By: Jake Jones

When we got off the plane we hopped into two four wheel drive vehicles and drove to the bank to exchange American dollars for Ghana cedis. After we went to the bank we went to the mall and had a chicken sandwich (one of the best chicken sandwiches i've ever had). When we finished eating we shopped for food to last us for a couple weeks until we have to go to Accra again. When we were driving to where we would call home for the next month, I slept almost the whole way, and when we got to the compound I looked for the nearest bed and sacked it until dinner. Dinner was good. It was breaded pieces of chicken and mexicanish rice. After dinner I slept a refreshing sleep. 

Life in Africa
Part Three: The House
By: Jake Jones

The place that we are living is a four bedroom two bath house that is really two apartments opened up in the middle. The house has no running water; that means that people have to fetch water from the "well". The bedrooms are about normal in size and they have a built-in dresser in the wall. Grant and I sleep on one side of the house while Mom, Dad, Faith, and Ben sleep on the other side of the house. the living rooms are L shaped with the table in one part of the L and a sitting area in the other part of the L. On the side of the L there is a door that leads to a kitchen. The other side of the house is a mirror of the the first side of the house.       

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Having a birthday in Ghana

Yesterday (Thursday) was my birthday. I turned 41 while in Africa. We had a wonderful party and dined on the local cuisine of banku, pepper sauce, and whole roasted tilapia - head, tail, and all. (Notice: no silverware - you eat it with your hands.) Velvet made some brownies which we enjoyed with some "ice cream". I was blessed with songs from the children at the compound and several rounds of "Happy Birthday". 

Earlier in the day, I attended a Life Christian University class held here at the compound with several local pastors. The topic of study was "The Ministry of Helps." We got into some lively discussion. I was blessed when this group of Christian leaders prayed blessings over me and sang Happy Birthday to me. 

Early that evening, I preached at Pastor Ken's church in Sasieme. It is a recent church plant located in a small village about 3Km from Efife. Pastor Ken is also the Headmaster of The King's Voice Academy - the Christian elementary school in this area. The congregation was very kind and eager to hear God's Word. I preached from the third chapter of the book of Joshua and discussed how God goes before us and He also stays with us. 

Before the church service began, we took a short tour of the village. There was a funeral going on and we found ourselves driving right through the middle of the processional. It is very different in Ghana - the cars have the right of way and they simply honk and the pedestrians must get out of the way - even when they are part of a funeral processional. It was an odd experience. The other interesting aspect of the funeral was that it was a funeral for a young person (teenager) who was an idol worshipper. You can tell this from the colors and outfits worn by the mourners. 

It was a good day filled with memorable moments. After all, it's not every day that you have a birthday on Africa.

Back online!

We got the internet reconnected this morning!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Going dark, upcoming events & prayer

The internet connection here at the compound is rather costly and the term for the current period of use expires today. Therefore, I might not have consistent access to the internet after today. 

All is well. I am preaching at a church in the village of Sasieme tomorrow evening. Pray for the power of God to be present. Pray for transformation, for deliverance, and for the name of Jesus Christ to be lifted up. 

There is a pastors conference scheduled for this Saturday. I may be speaking at this conference of pastors from this region of Ghana. If I do speak, may the Holy Spirit provide the perfect word for this season and for this audience. 

Finally, please be in prayer for the health of our entire family. As you can imagine, we are battling the enemy on a daily basis. We know that the battle is not against flesh and blood. But, a primary area of attack is in the area of physical sickness. We know that we have the victory and greater is He who is in us. We are standing on the sufficiency of Christ Jesus and the power of His name, His Word, and His blood for our healing. Join us in prayer and come alongside of us as we put the enemy to flight and claim the victory that is ours. 

"No weapon formed against us will prosper. All those who rise up against us will fall."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Get up and walk

Last night, Saturday, we had an incredible church service at Pastor Emmanuel's church in Efife. Because of national elections, they held their service on Saturday night. However, they decided to make it an extended "all night" service of prayer and ministry. 

The service began at about 9:00PM and lasted until 1:30AM. It started like many other gatherings with praise and worship followed by a powerful message from Pastor Emmanuel about the authority of God's Word. However, at 11:30 the focus shifted to a very interactive and intense time of corporate prayer for the nation of Ghana. This lasted about 45 minutes which took us into Sunday - the day of the elections.   

At this time, worship erupted like I had never experienced before (and I have been in many worship services). The whole place was singing and dancing. It was unbelievable. There was no holding back. Full-on worship like no other. The Holy Spirit was present in a visible and powerful way.  You could literally see the presence of the Holy Spirit.

But wait, it wasn't over yet. Just when you thought it was time to go home, Pastor Emmanuel called an older man to be brought forward that had been crippled for four years. Since 2004, he couldn't walk. He was lying on a mat at the back of the meeting. His legs had very clearly experienced significant atrophy - they looked like sticks. Pastor declared that he would walk tonight. Even at that declaration, the man who was being carried to the front, began to walk on his own. He walked about 12 feet down the center isle to the Pastor and stood before him. This man hadn't walked for 4 years! Pastor Emmanuel called me over as well as other prayer ministers and we prayed for this man. He then walked another 50 feet before sitting down because of exhaustion. Did you hear what I said? The lame man walked! "Get up, take your mat, and walk." - Mark 2:9 

A healing service had broken out. Many were healed. I prayed for a woman who was limping because of an injured ankle. She was jumping around the sanctuary after prayer. We prayed for people with stomach pains, headaches, leg pain - they were healed. We prayed and prayed. I was exhausted. 

"And these signs shall follow those who believe: in my name they will ... place their hands on the sick and they will get well." - Mark 16:17-18. Hallelujah! This is good news and it is alive and well. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The rain came down

It rained heavily from 4:30PM Friday afternoon until about 2:00AM Saturday morning. It was a very active thunderstorm that cooled down the temperature a bit and settled down the dust for a while. However, the rain caused the Friday night revival service in Afloa to be cancelled. If you recall, the church is open air with only small canopies providing limited shelter. They have ordered a more permanent tent structure like those used in crusades in America. However, it has been delayed in its arrival. Until then, when it rains they must cancel services. 

I was also supposed to preach and minister this morning. It was a Saturday morning service, but due to the elections on Sunday it would be their primary weekend service. However, the storm ripped the canopies and twisted the support poles of the church. I received word before we left that they were picking up the pieces and that the church service had to be cancelled. 

Please pray for Pastor Joshua and his congregation. It is a new church - about 11 months old. They have been blessed with rapid growth and a sweet spirit and we stand with them that what the enemy means for harm, God will turn for good and for His glory. May this be a time of unity and strengthening among these people of God. May they be able to "consider it pure joy" and persevere. And may what was taken from them be restored in a double portion. 

Friday, December 5, 2008

On the border - The promised land

Last night I preached at a church in Afloa, Ghana. We were about 1 mile from the border of Togo. It was exciting because the church facilities were open air, but located on the main street running through this relatively larger city. There was a lot of vehicle and foot traffic. So, as I preached using the microphone and loud speakers, my voice was heard for quite some distance and many people who were just walking by decided to stop and listen to this white preacher from America. Although I was preaching to a church congregation, because of the location and setup, I was also street preaching. That's what I call a "two-fer". 

God directed me to the first chapter of Joshua where I preached about entering the promised land. The message was very well received and it was followed by a wonderful time of ministry. That morning, as God was giving me the word from the book of Joshua about taking the land, I didn't realize that the pastors name was Joshua and their church is in the middle of acquiring new land next to their existing land in order to expand their church and build a permanent structure. God is good!

I will be preaching there tonight and tomorrow morning. In Ghana, most churches will be meeting on Saturday this week instead of Sunday because the national elections, which are always December 7th., happen to fall on Sunday this year. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pictures from the beach

We needed this day. It was very refreshing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Velvet and children at school

1. Velvet helps in the classroom leading praise and worship.
2. The children rush to Mama Velvet.
3. Jake, Grant, Faith & Ben stay out of the rain.
4. The common drinking bucket and cup.

A day at the beach

We really did have a day at the beach yesterday. We weren't scheduled for this until December 13th., but I thought we needed it - especially the kids. Our hosts graciously spent the better part of the day helping make this happen. Thank you Pastor Emmanuel, Richard & Diane. 

We began the day by touring a slave fort from the 18th century. It was very difficult to be on location and hear of the atrocities that were done to the people of this land. We then headed west to a small local African beach resort called "Meet Me There". They paddled us across the lagoon to the beach. The boys loved the huge, crashing waves. They body surfed and played hard like boys. They enjoyed watching Dad get knocked down by the big waves. We also played a little catch with the football. One of the highlights for Ben and Faith was the little puppy that lives at the resort. They had great fun playing with it. 

We enjoyed our day at the beach. It was refreshing and needed after two weeks here in Africa filled with ministry. On the way back, we popped-in on a pastor-friend of Emmanuel's. We had the opportunity to lay hands on him, anoint him with oil, and bless him and his ministry. It was a special, unexpected moment for that man of God. He was blessed. 

Velvet and the kids are on there way to the school to join the students for Wednesday morning praise time and then help in the cafeteria. This school serves all of the children breakfast and lunch every day. 

I will try to upload some pictures of recent activities later today.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Preparing for battle

Saturday night, I spoke at a revival meeting in Woe (pronounced Way). It was the conclusion to the 2-day crusade we had just completed in that village. I was asked to preach and minister. God gave me the word by mid-morning. I was to preach from Ephesians 6 about preparing for spiritual battle by putting on the armor of God and then standing. I made several analogies to military battles and soldiers. It seemed to translate well. My primary focus was on the breastplate of righteousness and the sword of the spirit. Many people came forward for ministry and dedicated themselves to be prepared soldiers for the kingdom of God. 

Pastor Raymond Soga was a very kind and encouraging host. He and his wife have been pastoring in the village of Woe for 20 years. God is good and His mercies are new every morning. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Being ready at all times

Last night was the second night of our video-based crusade in the village of Woe. My role, like the first night, was supposed to be as a minister during the prayer and deliverance time. However, the plans seemed to change and I was asked to lead the entire night of ministry (except for the movie translation and commentary of course). So, after the movie was over, the microphone was handed to me and we were off. 

I went for it. I boldly preached the gospel message and spoke directly to the difference between Jesus Christ and the dead god's they serve that are represented by idols and made by human hands out of mere dirt, wood, and stone. I really went for it because they need the true living God, the God of love, their Creator and the lover of their souls. I told them that unlike other gods, my God, Jesus Christ, desires blessing for them and not curses. In fact, He gave His very life so that we could be free from the curse.

Then I made the call for them to come to Jesus Christ, renounce their old ways, and live for Him and Him alone. Of the 250 people present (many of whom were members of the local church), there were 25 who made Jesus their Lord and Savior that night. It was a wonderful evening of celebration. Peoples lives were changed for all eternity. 

However, the ministry time was just beginning. You see, during my presentation of the gospel, I quoted Jesus who said that He has come to announce freedom for the captives, site for the blind, and release for the oppressed. It was time for deliverance. It was time for healing. So we kept going and saw over 40 people come forward for those needs. Four of us ministered to each of them individually. I was exhausted by the end of the evening. I mean, I was done. But, God had done great and mighty things in our presence and He was glorified. 

In the two nights of the crusade, we had 47 people accept Christ and connect with the local church for discipleship and fellowship. Praise God! I was humbled to be used by Him last night. Thank you Lord.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The church without walls

Wednesday night, Eric ministered at Pastor Steve’s church in Danu. The church building was a covered structure, but lacked any walls. The setting of the church was very unique as it stood on a little peninsula, surrounded by water. Eric was very tired after traveling all-day to Accra and back with Pastor Emmanuel and Jake to pick up a package at the post office, purchase some auto parts, buy some musical equipment, and get groceries. Eric felt tired, weak, and unprepared, so he was totally relying on the Lord. Pastor Emmanuel led us in a time of praise and prayer as we drove about 30 minutes to get there. Eric felt the Lord was leading him to share from James chapter 1 about standing up under trials and not running away, so we can grow, handle more, and be more useful to God. Eric said, it would be much easier to deliver a “happier” message, but he felt the Lord saying, if nothing else, the pastor of that church needed to hear it.

Pastor Emmanuel ended up translating for Eric, and they were a dynamic team. About 2/3 of the way through his message, Eric broke away from his notes and began exhorting the people from his heart. Their hearts were open, and they received understanding and took hold of the truth. They clapped and shouted, “Hallelujah and Amen!” They saw the usefulness and purpose of the trials in their lives and were encouraged that God would bring victory. I felt the Holy Spirit come in power. As Eric and Emmanuel prayed over people, many were overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit and were falling back onto those standing behind them. 

Then Pastor Steve took the stage and thanked Eric so sincerely for his ministry. He said that the message was very meaningful to him, personally. He also said that he felt like he was supposed to organize a revival for Eric to preach at his church (but he didn’t know Pastor Emmanuel already has him booked almost every night). Then he began to prophesy that he didn’t know how large Eric’s ministry was, but that he would reach the thousands. Soon, he would look back and see amazing things God had done through him. It was a wonderful reminder that when we are weak, our God is strong!

- Velvet

A day of thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we had much to be thankful for. No, we didn't have a big turkey dinner, but we did watch 22 young Ghanians take the first critical step in making Jesus the Lord and Saviour of their lives. As they stepped out of the darkness and into His marvelous light, the Heavens rejoiced and so did we. God is good!

You see, last night we left the compound at 5:30PM for the village of Woe (pronounced Way) where we participated in a Video Crusade. We got back to the compound very late: 10:45PM. However, the kids were wired because they were given a Coke for the road by our hosts. 

Anyway, here's essentially how the event works:
  1. We travel to the village (Woe is about 40 Km away)
  2. We drop off a crew of 3 who sets up the video screen and equipment at the location that has already been prepared by the host church (an open field). 
  3. Pastor Emmanuel then drives through the village with a loudspeakers on top of his vehicle and invites people to join us for a free movie and to hear about Jesus. 
  4. The people start to arrive by foot. Last night about 200 people showed up. 
  5. The movie is played and Pastor Emmanuel provides commentary in his native tongue. 
  6. At key points during the movie, he will pause it and preach for about 5 minutes.
  7. At the end of the movie we deliver the gospel message and invite people to take the first step in becoming followers of Christ. 
  8. After praying with them and blessing them, we ask them to follow the local pastor and his wife to their outdoor chapel where they invite them to church and begin getting them connected into the local body of believers for discipleship.
  9. It's a wonderful means of evangelism and outreach.
Tonight, I go back to Woe with Pastor Emmanuel as we finish the movie and allow the Holy Spirit to move mightily in the area of deliverance and freeing of the captives.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunday morning pictures

Pastor Emmanuel and Eric are praying for righteousness, justice, and the fear of the Lord over these Ghanian politicians. The children enjoyed their Sunday school class prior to the worship service. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Politicians in the house

About half-way through Sunday's 4 1/2 hour service, an entourage of important-looking people came into church and were ushered into Pastor Emmanuel's office. The first two rows of one section were quickly and quietly vacated and these six people were seated. The pastor introduced the men as current government officials and hopeful candidates, and the people were really excited; they whooped and hollered for them. Then we were announced, since Eric was the guest speaker (no, they didn't yell for us; we just got a polite round of applause). Pastor Emmanuel welcomed the politicians to the stage and let their leader, who I think was the equivalent of a congressman, introduce the group and speak for a few minutes. He spoke about his commitment to God and the church affiliations of his running mates, and he encouraged the people to get out and vote Sunday, December 7th. The pastor reiterated that the church has been praying for peaceful elections and for humble public officials who will serve God and the people well. He had the politicians stand before the altar as he prayed over them. He beckoned Eric to join him in laying hands on them and praying. They were not necessarily praying for the success of these individuals, but for the best for Ghana - for righteousness and justice and integrity in government. While something else was going on, the pastor called over Richard, his right-hand man, and told him to ask the politician if he wanted to give an offering. He pulled out several bills, which Richard brought up to the platform, showed the people the kind gift, and even announced the amount the congressman had given! Of course, the crowd cheered. Then, the entourage let pastor know they had to leave, and they were off to the next campaigning opportunity. I wish they would have stayed for Eric's sermon about repentance and the Kingdom of God, but they missed out. He did a great job bringing insight into the sermon on the mount, even though the crowd had already been at church for 3 1/2 hours by the time he began.

When I found out that these special guests were politicians, I remembered that one of my dear friends that is on our prayer team was praying with me the week before we left and said that she felt the Lord revealed to her that Eric and I would meet some government officials while we were in Ghana. Well, Marilyn, you heard correctly! God is bringing His purposes to pass. We are thrilled to be able to join the people here in prayer for their upcoming elections and to pray over several of their officials, as well.

- Velvet

Excursion to Afloa

Yesterday, Grant joined me on a short excursion to Afloa. We had to get some bread, eggs, milk, bottled water, and a few assorted vegetables. Afloa is directly on the border between Ghana and Togo. It is also a coastal city. The sites and smells were something else. Along the way and in Afloa, we saw several of the idols that are worshipped in this region of Ghana. They are ugly little things that actually look like cheap halloween decorations made out of wood and rock. However, these are not toys. They are the real thing and a major source of spiritual warfare in Ghana. But we know that the name of Jesus Christ is above all other names and greater is He who is in us than he who is in those idols - Hallelujah.   

We stopped by the large market in Afloa and this is where the sites and smells intensified. Whoa! It was especially rough on Grant who has a sensitive nose. But, the cultural aspect of the market and the process of getting groceries was very intriguing. 

Grant's favorite part of the short trip was the stop we made at the ocean. We walked across the huge beach down to the water and Grant went in about knee deep. He said the water was very warm. We are going to go for a day of swimming in about 1.5 weeks. That will be a nice break. By the way, we saw our first Yevu (white person) while we were in Afloa. 

Last night was Bible Study night for the men and for the women at the church. Velvet spoke to the women about being a praying wife - especially praying for their husbands. The women love Velvet and appreciated her so much. I spoke to the men about being Christian leaders and great men of God. I used Titus 1 as our text. 

Today we are scheduled to help with the choir and band practice. This is an area they are requesting much help. We are grateful that we can offer our years of experience in this area of ministry. 

We are being kept very busy. We have only had one down night. Pray for God to continue doing His work. Pray that we will have eyes to see and ears to hear. We rejoice in our good health. Pray that we would stay healthy. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The "all-nighter"

Last night was the "all-night" prayer meeting. Ok, we just experienced church African-style. The service started at 9:30PM and ended at about 3:00AM. The music was loud, the prayer was loud, and we (the adults who were able) stood virtually the whole time (my feet were hurting big-time). 

Pastor Emmanuel again asked that I deliver a word. God led me to teach from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke regarding Jesus and healing. What we discover in the Gospels is that Jesus was willing and able to heal. "I am willing" He said several times and we know that He was able as He healed many. When the teaching concluded, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to call out a specific need for healing. Three ladies came forward. They were healed and the meeting rejoiced. 

We then moved into more singing and about 4 hours of prayer led by Pastor Emmanuel. One of the primary focuses of prayer was for the Nation of Ghana. The elections are going to be held on December 7th (we will be here) and the church is crying out for God's will to be done and for people of righteousness to be elected. I was asked to bring a word during this time and God was faithful to give one to me - Psalm 33. 

Have I told you that these people pray some seriously aggressive prayers?  They go after it. They pray with boldness and with power. You could never characterize these prayers as wimpy. They pray with faith, expectation, and authority. 

During the meeting, a demon manifested in one young lady. It was a sight to see and hear. Pastor Emmanuel had her carried up to the front and then called me over. I was about to enter the unknown zone. I was leaving my hinderances behind. It was time to go to a whole new level. I looked back at Velvet and told her to pray for me. It was an intense 10 minutes of prayer. But, the young lady was delivered. The demon left. Yes, she did vomit. Like I said, it was intense. But, God is good. He is the King. His name is above all other names and at the name of Jesus demons must flee. The young lady was up on her feet later in the meeting speaking in tongues for the first time in her life.   

"Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore." 

Another special prayer was prayed over all of the students in the church. We laid hands on each one of them (about 40) and blessed them and spoke words of encouragement, blessing, and truth over them. We declared Psalm 119:99-100 over them. By the way, our children attended the whole night of prayer. 

Today is Saturday and we have the day off from formal ministry. We will be at church tomorrow. In the meantime, we will enjoy fellowship with our hosts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Playing at the compund

There are about 20 kids at the compound. Here are a few pictures...

The girls

The football team

Ben with some friends

The comforts of home?

Ghana is a wonderful country. The people are tremendous. However, "we are not in 'Arizona' anymore." If you know what I mean. Here are just a few "differences".

The good news - we have a toilet. The bad news - it is quite a different experience without running water and a capable septic system. I will let you figure out the rest. 

The good news - we have a shower. The bad news - we don' t have running water. I assume I will get used to bucket baths and sponge baths. 

We really try to conserve the water here. Not to drink (because it would make us extremely sick), but because people have to haul the water in large containers on their heads from a shallow well about 300 yards away. It makes you appreciate every bucket-full.   

We have bugs, lizards, snakes, and bats in Arizona. However, they don't compare in size to what we have found here in Ghana. 

I will share other differences as we experience them. In the meantime, enjoy the comforts of home and think of us the next time you take a warm shower or bath. 

I must add that while the comforts of this world are a little lacking, the power of God is ever-present and His name is lifted up boldly among the followers of Christ in this  nation. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gettin' busy

Today allowed me to catch up on some needed sleep. I took a long nap - YES!  The thick humidity has been a tough adjustment.

Tonight's service was wonderful. I was preparing to preach on the importance of being a disciple and discipling others. However, by mid-afternoon, The Holy Spirit was taking me a different direction. I ended up talking about the greatest commandment, "love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength .. and love others like you love yourself." It was the message for the evening. Even in our worship we began to go this direction of God's love for us and our love for Him. It was a powerful night like last night, but it was also very different. 

Last night I preached on freedom in Christ and we had most of the people in attendance come forward for ministry and deliverance. Tonight's call to the altar was for unbelievers to give their lives to Christ; to experience the love of Christ and give all of their love to Him and only to Him. The meeting was not designed for outreach and therefore was made up primarily of church members. However, of the 90 people in attendance, three people (2 men and 1 young lady) gave their lives to Christ. It was a very powerful prayer of repentance, of renouncing satan, and of accepting Jesus as their Savior and committing their lives to Him as their Lord. Hallelujah. Praise God!

Tomorrow night is the all-night prayer meeting. I know a few of you are envious right about now and would love to join us. I have heard that I won't be snoozing during this exciting night of prayer. 

Finally, the Jones Band led two praise songs tonight. The people got it and were joining in on the choruses. The children are enjoying their play time with the other children here at the compound. The friendships were instantaneous and a joy to watch. Jake and Grant brought a football with them and they have taught their new friends how to play. 

A busy first day

Today was our first full day in Ghana, Africa. And it was a busy one. We attended and taught at the church's weekly Wednesday morning prayer meeting. It is a 3-hour meeting of praise, prayer, preaching, and personal ministry. This was a completely different kind of meeting than I am used to. It was also the first time I have preached with a translator. It was a little awkward as it crimped my style a bit, but God makes a way. It looks like I will be changing my style. Like Paul said, "To the Greeks..." I found that emphatically proclaiming the name of Jesus would just about always get me a big amen. 

I was asked to also preach tonight at the 1st day of a 3-day revival. Pastor Emmanuel is going to be keeping me busy. I am relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance, material, and of course the Word. The Jones Band led a worship song. We brought an electric guitar, an amplifier, some new drum heads, and other musical equipment so that we could add to and repair the church's instruments. Velvet was asked to play a role in the service and had a wonderful prophetic word for a young lady in the meeting. By the way, "God is good, all the time...".  It's universal. 

I was presented with my first opportunity to graciously accept a malt beverage. They love their non-alcoholic malt drinks here. It was very interesting. I don't think I will be keeping these stocked in my refrigerator at home, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. While picking up the malt drink, I grabbed a case of Coca Cola's. I had one tonight after the Revival service. It was wonderful. A little taste of Americana. By the way, I would "love to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony." There is nothing worse than bad harmony - ouch.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a little bit slower. We only have one church service to attend, lead worship, and preach at. However, Friday is the final revival service and it is planned to be an all-nighter. 

Note: while I have some internet connection here at the compound, it is limited and very tough to download emails. If you email me, please try to keep it to text only (no pictures or attachments unless absolutely necessary). Blessings and peace to you. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We have arrived

In Ghana, that is...

We arrived yesterday. God protected us and gave us traveling mercies. Everything has been wonderful. Thank you for your prayers.

We are about to go to the weekly Wednesday morning of prayer and fasting. It is a short 3-hour prayer meeting at the church. I will be speaking this morning and then preaching tonight at a three-day revival meeting that they have planned while we are here. 

It is very hot and humid here. I am confident that we will adapt. God is good.


I found out just how easy it is to make a friend. Today, while waiting at the gate in New York for my flight to Ghana, Africa, a man named Amaning approached me to say hi. He was on our flight from Phoenix to NY and was also flying to Ghana - his native country. He just wanted to say hi. We struck up a conversation and I found out he was traveling with his two brothers back to Ghana to attend their sister's funeral. About 45 minutes later, I walked across the room to again say hi to Amaning and also to meet his his brothers. The four of us talked for 30 minutes about life and about the Arizona Cardinals. I made some new friends today.

Amaning was so kind and it was a blessing to meet him. May the Lord reveal Himself to Amaning and his family during this time of loss. Please pray for Amaning and his family. 

But, that was just the first experience at how easy it is to make friends. My son, Ben (age 5) met a young African boy on the airplane and immediately they hit it off. Ben simply referred to him as "Friend". It was beautiful. They spent time sitting next to each other and just being friends. 

Why do we make relationships so difficult? In America we live such isolated and guarded lives. It is really sad. 

Lord, please help me show care, compassion, and interest in others. As you have given us the privilege of calling you friend, may I show friendship to others.

A quick bite of the Big Apple

Velvet and I woke up at 2AM this morning and noticed a light on in the hallway. It turns out that all 4 kids were up and dressed. They were pumped and ready for Ghana. They even made-up a little song about going to Ghana. It was very encouraging and touched our hearts. 

I am writing this from JFK airport in New York. We have experienced traveling mercies and favor from the moment we arrived at the airport in Phoenix at 3:45AM.  We just finished treating ourselves to a final American meal at Chili's here in the airport. I don't know about the rest of the family, but I really need some sleep on the flight from NY to Accra. We arrive at 8:30AM and are scheduled to hit the ground running with a busy schedule.

Thank you for your prayers

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The day before

The bags are packed (mostly) and we're ready to go (almost)...

We leave tomorrow morning. We will be waking up at 2AM and heading for the airport at 3:15AM. God has called us, He has sent us, we are going - WOW! Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray with boldness and in power for God's plans to be seen and accomplished for His glory.

Here is a short prayer that Pastor Emmanuel emailed me last night: 

A Reminder

I ran across this word that God had given me about 6 weeks ago: 
Just as Noah's family was actively involved in building the ark with Noah, so my family will be actively involved in ministry with me. 
God's plans are big and He has blessed me with a family that will be instrumental in accomplishing the Master's plan. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

The night of prayer and sending

A huge thank you to all of you who helped coordinate and who attended our night of "prayer and sending" last night. It was a blessing to have you with us in prayer and to hear the encouraging words God spoke through you. We know that we are not going alone and look forward to hearing what God does in your life as you are a vital part of His work that will be taking place in Ghana.

By the way, the chocolate desserts were also wonderful.

We're going to Ghana, Africa

That’s right! The Jones family is going to the country of Ghana Africa for one month – mid November through mid December. We have many ministry opportunities. Velvet and the children will be helping orphans and teaching in a small Christian school while Eric is preaching and praying throughout many villages in the Volta region of Ghana with our host – Pastor Emmanuel Fiagbedzi. Additionally, we believe God is going to use this experience to lead me (Eric) into new areas of ministry that will be exercised for God’s kingdom and His church back at home in the United States.Why go to Ghana? Why now? Simply put, because God said GO.

Here’s the story:

It happened the week of June 15th. I had dedicated this week to some serious prayer and fasting as I was aggressively seeking direction from God and crying out for a fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit. That Tuesday, June 17th, a pastor from Ghana, Pastor Emmanuel, ended up in my family room where we had a time of fellowship, prayer, and powerful ministry. When he left, I found myself telling Velvet, “I really like that guy. There’s just something about him.”

Two days later, Velvet and I were at a large prayer event called Prayer Quake. Jackson Senyonga, from Uganda, was ministering after a wonderful time of worshipping God. In the middle of his message I clearly heard the Holy Spirit tell me that I needed to go to Africa and spend one month with Pastor Emmanuel. With excitement, I told my wife what God had told me as we drove home late that night. She was immediately on-board.

OK, here is where it gets even better. On Saturday morning we received a message from Pastor Emmanuel that he felt like I needed to spend one month with him in Africa. Velvet and I were blown away as we had not talked to anyone about this. God had given us unbelievable confirmation. God couldn’t be any clearer.
What it will take: We are responsible for paying for our own expenses which are estimated to be around $13,800. Most of that cost is in the airline tickets just to get there and back. As a family, we are making efforts to raise money by having a large garage sale (our kids are contributing toys) and we are planning fund raising dinners, too. It would be a wonderful blessing to have help with these expenses. If you feel led to participate with us in this exciting mission we would be most grateful. Your donations are tax deductible. You can give online at

Thank you so much. We look forward to sharing all that God does while we minister to the people of Ghana. We are expecting God to do some exciting and significant things through us and in us. Please keep us in your prayers.

In awe of God,
Eric & Velvet