I recently participated in a week long crusade activity in the Volta Region of Ghana where I learnt an interesting lesson. I didn’t consider packing enough clothing and extra footwear for the evening crusades because I said to myself; “I will be staying only for a week and can use the prescribed “T” shirts for both day and night.” Wrong thinking! Since it was the first time I would be working on crusade grounds, I had not anticipated the amount of work involved. After a hard day’s work of helping with food distribution and arranging chairs, my “T” Shirt was smelling of perspiration and looked dirty. And although it was not the best choice for an evening night service, I had to welcome the discomfort at least for the first night.
The next day, I was determined to locate a shop nearby for extra clothing and an additional pair of sandals to relieve my aching feet. I had never been to the Volta region and had no idea how to pick a taxi, how to locate a market nearby or how to bargain with the traders. As I walked along the road, I spotted a clothing store in which the seller spoke English making it easy for me to lament about my plight. I bought a few affordable shirts to manage with a long black skirt I had brought along. Now what was left was a decent pair of sandals. The clothing seller was kind enough to direct me to the market and give me an indication of how much pair of sandals would cost. With her help, I was able to board a taxi and mention the exact place I would alight.
With little trouble, I located the market and headed for the shoe section. As I scanned through the traders, I spotted an elderly man of about 65 years and was drawn to him thinking he would be more considerate in his pricing. I was pleasantly surprised that most of them could speak some English making our communication easier. I asked for the price of a lovely pair of sandals which also looked durable among the lot. I was surprised when he mentioned an outrageously high price. Although I have always been good at bargaining, I realized he was also tough at selling his goods.
I explained to him that it was my first time in Ho for a crusade and that I didn’t have enough money on me. We went back and forth until we settled on 50 Ghana Cedis (12 dollars). Because he refused to back down any further and went on and on about it’s durability, I thought I had paid for a pair of sandals that would last for a very long time. I then took the opportunity to invite him and others nearby to that evening’s crusade at the jubilee park. I told him about the previous night’s service and how he would not regret attending the service. I went to further explain the importance of getting to know Christ and see the powerful men of God who had travelled from Accra and outside Ghana just to be a blessing to him.
When I left the market, I had less money on me but I was happy I had invited few people to come to the crusade. In fact, even though the elderly trader told me he would make it to the crusade that evening, I did not take his word for it. I had done my part and decided to leave the rest to God.
I arrived at the jubilee park where thousands had gathered at around 8.00pm that evening. Fortunately, my friends and I found available find seats in front. That night, I was amazed by the praise and worship performed in the Ewe dialect. Almost all the local Twi songs I was familiar with were sang in Ewe. It was a delight to watch how the people danced to the glory of God. I just couldn’t be content in my seat as I saw others dancing in praise of God. Walking confidently in my new sandals, I joined other worshipers in front of the stage and began to dance with joy.
Suddenly, I became unstable on my feet because the left heel of my brand new sandals had come off. I quickly removed the right heel to give me more stability. As if that was not enough, the straps also gave way bringing my dancing to an abrupt and disappointing end. I continued to stand among the dancers looking longingly at them as I became very disappointed at the elderly trader who had knowingly taken 50 Ghana Cedis from me in exchange for a pair of shoes that could not even last a night.
As I wobbled back to my seat careful not to completely destroy my sandals, I heard someone call out to me. I wondered who could be calling me among thousands of people because I had not seen any familiar faces around. I turned to the sound of the voice and to my surprise, I saw the elderly shoe trader waving cheerfully at me. I instantly forgot that he had sold an inferior good to me, that I had to stop dancing because of him. I was just happy he had come to the crusade because of me. I was even more surprised at where he chosen to sit without any prior knowledge that he would see the one who invited him. Amidst the thousands of seats, he picked a seat where he saw me among the multitude and called out to me.
This was no coincidence; It was God at work assuring me that I had not invited him in vain. When the preacher invited people to come forward to give their lives to Christ that night, he also went forward. It didn’t matter to me that he had cheated me and left me almost barefooted as a result. It didn’t matter to me that the money I wasted could have been put to better use. All that mattered was his soul; A soul that cannot be bought with 50 Ghana Cedis. A soul that had already been paid for when Jesus died on the cross. A soul that cost a life!