First Lutheran's Ghana Mission
In 1993, First Lutheran began its connection with pastor Bennett Wilson of Ghana. Through his position on the Board of the Global Health Ministries, church member Dr. Dennis Radefeld learned about the plight of Pastor Wilson who had served as a Lutheran teacher in Liberia until civil war forced him to leave the country. He and his wife barely escaped with their lives by walking all the way to Ghana. This arduous trip exacerbated the pastor's congenital hip problem and left him unable to work. Because of the networks of physicians created by the Free Clinic in Lorain, Dr. Radefeld was confident that arrangements could be made for free surgery for him. A congregation in Iowa paid transportation costs from Ghana to Lorain, and First Lutheran paid the expenses of his five month stay for surgery and recuperation in Lorain which began in November of 1993. When he returned to Africa in 1994, the congregation established a working arrangement with Pastor Ben to serve as its missionary in Ghana.
Pastor Ben began work in the village of Akrampa, accomplishing a number of projects including: building a community oven to generate income for the village; running a fresh water line into the village and creating a communal latrine to improve sanitary conditions; and building a school. All of these projects were carried out in the context of Bible study and prayer. There have been numerous baptisms in the village, and the elders are no longer tending the village idol that sits at the entrance to Akrampa. The work now continues with the adding of new classrooms to the school.