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“Make Sure You Tell The Whole Story”

October 3rd, 2013by Deacon Royce Winters

On September 8 – 21, 2013, Dr. Michael Gable, Director, Mission Office, Ms. Melonise Knight, Dr. Jessie Thomas, Ms. Barbara Wuest, Mrs. Donna Goddard, Mrs. Nor-Rita Winters, and I traveled to Ghana, West Africa on a mission trip.  This trip was very important for me because it allowed me to fulfill a promise I had made to my friend and mentor, the late Rev. Paul Rehling.

It would be very easy for me to describe the wonderful people I met: Most Rev. Gabriel Mante – Diocese of Jasikan, Most Rev. Peter Atuahene – Diocese of Goaso, Most Rev. Gabriel Anoke – Archdiocese of Kumasi, Monsignor Vincent, Rev. Lawrence, Rev. Emmanuel, Rev. Frank, Sr. Phillipine, Augustine, Kennedy and the people of Ghana; the cities: Accra, Keta, Jasikan, Kumasi, Obuasi, Cape Coast, and Elmina; the sites: Secretariat of Kumasi, Atlantic Ocean African Coastline, Ayedee Catholic School, Jasikan Pastoral and Social Center, Wli Waterfalls and Elmina Castle.

But, it was the words of Bishop Atuahene that struck me the most, for he said, “Make sure you tell the whole story of the Ghanaian people and their culture.”  The words pierced me because I was being challenged to look beyond the depth of poverty, oppression, and the corruption that seizes the people and the country.

During one of our informal gatherings, I asked Bishop Atuahene, “When you encourage the youth of Africa to dream, what is the dream?”  Bishop Atuahene responded, “The dream is for them to know the dignity of life in their lifetime.  The people of Goaso support themselves as subsistence farmers. The village will not survive if we fail to educate our children and give them skills to support themselves and their families.”

Even though poverty, oppression and corruption are a major part of their daily lives, there is progress being made in Ghana.  There are new roads and bridges that provide greater access to each other and the world.  There are wells which gives them access to clean water which leads to better health.  There are more homes with access to electricity.

Though impoverished, the greatest gifts of the Ghanaian people are their culture, faith, joy, and hope.  Bishop Atuahene said it this way, “I am encouraged that the people get up early every morning to meet the needs of the day.  They do this without complaint and with great joy.  They do so knowing that God will take care of them, and that is the joy of my ministry.”

Deacon Royce Winters

Deacon Royce Winters is the director of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He has been married for 36 years and his wife, children and grandchildren all attend Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill.