Humble Beginnings: through Troy's eyes...
One Step in Faith’s humble beginnings started in 2012, but I believe God started the ball rolling much earlier than this. Our love for Ghana and her people began on our first visit three years earlier, the summer of 2009. I knew, from the first moment I stepped off the plane, God had a big plan for Casie and I. Right out of the gate, we were indoctrinated into the African- Ghanaian culture, through a whirlwind 10 orphanages in 12 days trip. It was the following year’s return trip to Ghana where we discovered how much we were falling in love and developing a deeper connection with the people. We had been in ministry with some friends, Dave and Ellen Bartlett. The four of us, along with some local help, put on a small medical clinic by day and revival crusade by night in two small villages outside of Kumasi. We started in Barekuma, the larger of the two small villages, for three days. Then, we went up the road a mile or so and spent three days in Aninkroma. I was home. In this dusty, small, no electricity, no running water, third world village in Ghana, West Africa I felt home. This is where God had started planting the seeds of desire to do more for the people. And, Aninkroma is where we met and fell in love with two of the most amazing Ghanaian children you will ever meet. Well, maybe that sounded a little biased. My heart is to have this bias about all the children we encounter, and we haven’t been disappointed yet. We began personally supporting these two incredible children, Isaac and Ama, right away. We wanted to help them have an opportunity to fulfill their purpose. It started with just school tuition at the village school, and grew into full support, allowing them ability to remain with their family.
Returning in 2010, we found ourselves much more humbled and aware of our excess. If I had to isolate a pivotal point in our awareness of God’s purpose in our lives, I’d have to say it was the next year’s trip in 2011. This trip actually started to reveal purpose in the many months before we departed, the months in the planning. With some really divine connections here in the U.S and Ghana combined, prayer, and great friends, we were introduced to a part of Ghana we would have never known. In our prior two trips, we had been drawn in to Ghana by her peoples’ joyfulness, unconditional giving of themselves, and so much more it would be too hard to describe. But, it would be the 2011 trip to reveal darkness we had no awareness about, child slavery and trafficking. In a top ranking state of the US for trafficking, you would think we would have a much bigger awareness of just how enormous this issue has become in the world. However, much like so many, we were oblivious, living in our own bubble. But, in Ghana, we would soon learn more than we ever could have imagined about the children enslaved, working on Lake Volta for their masters.
On the islands of Lake Volta we saw children who had been sold as young as 3yrs old, made to work on the lake for 14 to 16 hour a day. These children were made to work long days with no breaks, in most cases only one meal a day mostly consisting of rice. As if the danger of drowning wasn’t enough, there was always the crocodiles and eels in the water, the punishment for too small of a daily catch, consequences of disobedience, and so much more to create fear in these little lives. Casie and I came home pretty broken on this trip. I knew we had to do something. We had to stand in the gap for these innocent children of God! So, after a lot prayer, a lot of pushing on Casie, and simple obedience, One Step in Faith, Inc. was conceived and born in 2012. It was created out of two people’s desire to help God’s children. It was created by two people who had a lot of faith but no concept or idea of how to start or operate a non-profit company. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Casie and I are two completely different personality types. She is the over analytical person, thinking out every step before taking a step, while I on the other hand am a completely fly by the sit of my pants type of guy. But, God knew what He was doing, by placing these two combinations and attributes perfectly together in order to carry-out His purpose.
We took a break in 2012 from traveling to Ghana in order to recharge our battery, pour into our three children at home (Taylor, Connor and Isabella), and to spend time praying, planning, and getting organized (that part was mostly my wife, LOL). The paperwork, requirements, and government hurdles to submit for non-profit tax exempt status has been a roller coaster ride story for another day, where we hope in the next 60 days will finally be complete. (We are in pending status for our 501c3.) But, in 2013 we started planning a trip to take our very first team. A team we believed would help us get organized to start eventually rescuing children off Lake Volta. Wrong! God’s awesome plan was so completely different for our team of 7.
God, brought us on the long journey north to the city of Bolgatanga, about 10 hours north of Kumasi, where we met an incredible lady named Momma Laadi. We had been given information prior to our trip about another horrific child issue going on in Ghana, spirit children. What I would call a form of genocide. In a part of the world where your livelihood was dependent on the whole family, including children to work and contribute as necessary to provide, a child with developmental or birth defect can be devastating economically, as well as emotionally. And, so this part of the world had found a solution that balanced their historically cultural spiritual beliefs of the spirit world with solutions for overcoming what was considered punishment, unhappiness, or just plain evil spirits. When something bad or tragic, like a death in the family occurs or when a child has been born with a defect or becomes disabled due to an illness and doctors have no solution to restore the child, it is then the witch doctors are consulted. These witch doctors, soothsayers, are called to determine the cause and who to blame. So often it leads to a child they deem as a “spirit child”. And, with the help of the soothsayer, a concoction man is sought out to provide the necessary concoction/drink to cure the evil spirit. In these cases, the cure almost always leads to death of the child, and probably has something to do with the fact the concoction men use a known poisonous root to make the drink. While working at Mama Laadi’s we were presented with the need to help rescue one of these very “spirit children”, who we’ll refer to as GN. GN was unexpected, and yet completely expected. We had prepared, and yet we had no idea his rescue is what we had been preparing for. GN is our very first rescued One Step In Faith, Inc child. A story so God directed and or orchestrated it would take a whole book to express and share the event, but in those 5 minutes before heading out for the evening, in that pivotal moment, our lives were never the same.
GN fell into our lives! His story is incredible and will keep getting more incredible throughout his life. He was on the fast-track to death and with the help from God, we were able to be a part of saving him. We believe his purpose on this earth must be pretty great, to have come from near death to a path of certain recovery. GN is just the start of what we believe to be many more beautiful stories of rescue, rehabilitation and restoration. We could not have imagined for ourselves without God leading the whole way. And, we cannot wait to see what our future will bring. I hope this inspires you to take one step…towards the future God has for you. Maybe it will be to some alongside us. But, even if it isn’t, pay attention and God will reveal the work He is doing and invite you to join Him right where He is.
Thank you and God bless,