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Trip to Africa felt ‘like home’

After feeling called to spend time in Africa, Heather Chipps of Halifax recently spent 10 days in Yendi, Ghana with the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. 

“Two months before the trip, I felt called to go. I felt like the Lord was going to guide me no matter what,” said Chipps.

For this 22 year old, the trip was the second time she had gone out of the country, but this time she said Africa felt like home to her. 

 “I felt so welcomed there, and the people were simply amazing. I can’t say that enough,” said Chipps. 

Before she arrived, Chipps said she felt she would feel sorry for people living in a third world country, but she soon found out she was wrong. 

 “The people there were so happy with what they had, family-oriented, hard working and just plain beautiful,” said Chipps.  

The group spent their time driving all over the Yendi District where they planted churches and distributed and hung mosquito nets in local villages. 

A native, the Rev. Emanuel Mustapha, teamed up with the Virginia Baptist Mission Board to make the planting of churches possible by having villages scouted out. 

“Basically we would go to the village and pile around a tree where we started singing and clapping,” said Chipps.

 “People from all over the village would walk up, and basically once we felt that everyone was there who wanted to be, we would tell the story of God and how he sent Jesus to die for our sins.”  

 “After that, people would be asked if they wanted to give their lives to Christ. Then, they would establish a church in that village, and whoever told the story was able to name the church.”  

The church at which Chipps spoke she named “Grandmother Baptist Church.” 

 “I enjoyed planting the churches in the villages the most. The people were so unbelievably receptive and dedicated to learning, and that made me happy,” said Chipps. 

Chipps also enjoyed another special moment during her trip, getting baptized in a river in Africa.

As she walked the land of Africa with people she didn’t know at all, she found it to be more thrilling than scary. 

She described the people as being “absolutely wonderful, happy, and full of life. 

 “The kids wanted nothing more than to help us distribute nets, and they would grab the nets from us and carry them on their heads while trailing around the village,” said Chipps. 

Even though she enjoyed the people, she wished she knew their native language and found communicating to be the most frustrating part. 

Regardless, with the help of a translator and a well-planned trip, nothing went wrong. 

 “Thank the Lord!” said Chipps. 

While this trip didn’t have any real hiccups, there were some funny and strange moments along the way. 

 “There were lots of funny moments,” said Chipps. “One in particular was when we were driving down the dirt road and casually on the right side of our truck was a guy riding a motorcycle with a cow sitting in his lap with the legs tied around his back. That was hilarious. But, that’s how they get things done.” 

Another eyebrow-raising moment was when Chipps found herself being proposed to by an older native man. 

Throughout her entire journey, she said she wished her family and friends could have been there to see it for themselves, especially since she said she had little time for pictures. 

Chipps said she would love to go back to see how much the church has grown and see some of the people she has become friends with. 

 “I definitely would recommend others to travel as well. Actually, they still need people for the February and March trip,” said Chipps.  

Since returning home, Chipps has learned she is a happy person because of what God has given to her in her life, and she said she wouldn’t trade it for the world.