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Focus on Ghana, Africa

Retired Missionary Carolyn Houts challenges Christians to resolve to support missions as described in Romans 10:13-15

Carolyn Houts Presentation:
May 20, 2018

Ghana, a nation on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, is known for diverse wildlife, old forts and secluded beaches, such as at Busua. But to Carolyn Houts of Grant City, reaching the people of Ghana with God's word is first and foremost on her mind.

Ms. Houts focused on missions during a presentation before members of First Baptist Gallatin on May 20, 2018. Spreading Christianity in this African nation of approximately 28 million people is particularly challenging.

Developed as a British colony, Ghana's official language is English. But in Ghana there are over 70 African languages in common use -- a reality not likely to change due to its geographic location.

This country is roughly the size of Missouri and half of Iowa with only one major highway, linking the African coast to upland land-bound countries. Thus, truckers hauling shipments of goods to others are especially important in spreading the gospel of Christ.

This is a comparatively recent focus. Ms. Houts says a group of approximately 70 Christians hailing from various locations gathered to coordinate mission work specifically at truck stops and other places along the main highway.

According to Ms. Houts, there are about 40 countries that comprise the sub-Sahara Desert region. About 41% of people living here adhere to traditional African religions. Christians make up about 35% of the population, and 22% are Muslim.

Ms. Houts' calling involved church planting and music. Her personal testimony includes accepting Christ as her personal savior while attending youth activities at Grand Oaks Camp near Chillicothe, MO. After graduating from Northwest Missouri State University, she taught elementary school music in public schools for seven years before enrolling at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City.

Now in retirement, Ms. Houts has returned to reside at Grant City in Northwest Missouri. But her heart is still focused on missions, and she encourages fellow Christians to support such well-known Southern Baptist programs as Lottie Moon International Missions as well as Annie Armstrong North American Missions.

While serving in Ghana, Carolyn agreed to help in a project to translate 50 Christian hymns from English to African language. The work took nearly four years to accomplish. When the new hymnal was dedicated during a service held in 2010, one native excitedly said he had been praying for praise songs in his language for over six years.

Ms. Houts shares other evidence of God working through missions.

"Twenty years ago, a student came to study at what was then a Liberian refugee camp," Carolyn said. "Times have changed and today that place is a permanent town.

"In April while using Facebook, I came across the name of this student, Alexander Freeman, who was visiting the United States and happened to be at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He posted his telephone number, and when I called him he immediately recognized my voice."

Ms. Houts learned Mr. Freeman's story and is amazed at how God works. Here is someone who came out from the African bush, she said, to establish 14 other churches and sometimes in places where you had to lay a log across the stream to even get there.

Freeman also helped to start schools, some now certified by the government and holding high school graduation ceremonies for as many as 400 youth. "God is using Alexander Freeman," Carolyn says.

Scripture was frequently shared in context to the topics Ms. Houts presented during morning worship in Gallatin on May 20. Carolyn displayed and played musical instruments commonly used by Africans.

In conclusion, Carolyn pointed to Romans 10:13-15: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on  Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

Carolyn Houts served 35 years upon her appointment to missions by the international missions board. She says the mission field is not only to the far reaches of the world but also here.

"We are to be witnesses for Christ wherever we are," Ms. Houts says, "training up the next generation to continue missions around the world."

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