Reasons to attend World Youth Day in Panama 2019

Reasons to attend World Youth Day in Panama 2019

So this post was in response to a question about the need to attend the next World Youth Day in Panama 2019.

By way of introduction, the World Youth Day (WYD) is an international festival for Catholic and other Youth. It was started by late Pope John Paul II. It usually happens every two (2) or three (3) years. In between, there are diocesan and national WYDs.

In 2018, there would be a National Version of the WYD in Ghana from 27th July to 5th August 2018 in the Greater Accra Region with the climax at the University of Ghana. And in 2019, the international Version of the World Youth Day will be in Panama from 22nd to 27th January 2019. Here’s a link to the site: https://www.panama2019.pa/en/home/

The Youth of the Archdiocese of Accra will in addition to the WYD in Panama also visit the USA (Washington and New York) and tour in Panama. So they will travel from 2nd to 29th January 2019.

Below is the Post:
17/12/2017
16:57

Well, I guess it’s a question worth asking. And there are a lot of answers to give .

One of the very first things is that as a pilgrimage, it can be considered as in service training for youth and youth leaders. This is because it provides them with an opportunity to go and pray and to experience the catholic church in its universality. You might argue that we can always pray in the home church but remember that its the same reason why companies send their staff for training out of the office and why the kingdom of God is likened to a pearl you have to sell everything to get. There’s nothing like being in a place for the sole purpose of fellowshipping with God and other catholic youth. It is literally life changing! You get to hear God as never before because you are away from the usual distractions of life. Everyone who attends has many stories of how God spoke to them and used them to minister to others.

Secondly, as youth  and as Catholics, experiencing a Catholic celebration with millions of other catholic youth from all over the world broadens your horizons, gives you new perspectives on how to exercise your faith and how to lead and generally becomes a stepping stone for greater heights. The youthful exuberance is so much that it changes you.

Thirdly, you have the opportunity to exercise your faith through the various religious and cultural activities you participate in. In addition, during the mission days, you are literally a missionary to the family you are staying with. What a way to obey the great commission! You become a lifelong member of that family too! You also get to meet, make friends with and minister to other catholic youth you may never otherwise meet. And of course showcase great Ghanaian culture and experience other cultures.

A fourth reason to go for World Youth Day with the  Accra Archdiocese is that because of the format of going with youth from the various parishes, you literally have a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with and spend time with other youth from the diocese over an extended period of time. The friendships and sharing that occur over this period tend to be lasting and very impactful.

A fifth reason is that since for many of the pilgrims it is their first time of travelling, it literally becomes an opportunity to get them out into the world in a faith like environment. This helps with getting your documentation and all other things needed for international travel in order. That way, the church is literally being shrewd in giving its young people an international experience so that in other years, they have an easier and smoother travelling experience. And of course, as you travel you see more and come back with more to teach and impact others with.

Anyway, I will end here. From a physical perspective, it seems like a lot of money and the question may be asked why that money should not be used to cater for the poor and needy in the church. Jesus’s words when Mary wiped his feet with an expensive jar of alabaster oil come to mind. The poor and needy will always be with us and we need to take care of them but, just as Mary anointed Jesus’s feet and Jesus promised that this act will be said in remembrance of her, so it is important for youth/the parish to literally do all that is necessary to take part in international WYD at this time because there may be no other time.

Angela Azumah Alu
17/12/17

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He gave me laughter!-Meditations on Genesis 21:6

He gave me laughter!-Meditations on Genesis 21:6

Gen 21:6 Now Sarah said, God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me. (NRSV)

Now one of my favourite stories in the bible is that of Abraham. It’s filled with drama.

And there are a lot of stories. If you want to explore more, look at from Genesis 12-23. But my focus is on selected verses from Genesis 12, 15,16,17,18 and 21.

So here goes.

So God called Abraham (his name was Abram then) in Chapter 12 and asked him to go a foreign land. He promised to make him a great nation and to bless all nations through him. Fair enough. Only one problem. His wife Sarah (initially Sarai) was barren. So they had no children. That sounds pretty ridiculous right? Why promise to make a man with no children the father of many nations?

Anyway, Abraham actually leaves and goes to settle in Canaan. And he doesn’t own anything there yet. Until the burial plot he bought to bury Sarah in. But that’s not the focus of the meditation.

So, in Chapter 15, God appears to Abraham again and promises him a son. Abraham believes God and it is reckoned to him as righteousness. Then, in Chapter 16, his wife suggests that he impregnates their maid so they can have a son by her. He does that and Ishmael is born with Hagar the maid as his mother.

Now God comes back in Chapter 17 and tells Abraham that it is Sarah who will give him a son. Really? I loved Abraham’s response! He fell on his face, laughed and asked if a son could be born to a 100 year old man and a 90 year old woman. (Well, that’s what actually happens in the end anyway). Anyway, God even adds that the child is to be called Isaac: He laughs (guess God wanted to have the last laugh!)

Then in Chapter 18, God comes to visit Abraham and tells Sarah that He will come back in a year’s time and she will have a son. She also laughs! But denies when God confronts her about her laughter.

Then in Chapter 21, we read that God did for Sarah as he promised. She actually has a son whom they name Isaac: He laughs! That is when Sarah cannot help but exclaim: Godd has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.

So now lessons:

God knows you and loves you. That may sometimes be hard to believe but He really does.

He has a plan for you. It may take a long time but trust Him. Abraham was 75 years when God called him. Isaac was born 25 years later.  Trust God.

Don’t be afraid to talk to and dialogue with God. There’s nothing you do that surprises Him. He is able to take any sorrow and turn it into laughter for His name sake. May that be your story!

And finally, build your relationship with Him.

There are many more lessons. I’d encourage you to visit the bible and glean them for yourself. Ciao!

Angela Azumah Alu, 3/1/17, Legon

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Musings on barrenness

Musings on barrenness

19/12/2017
08:15

First Reading: Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25a

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 71: 3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17

Gospel: Luke 1: 5-25

God loves barren spaces! It’s such a contradiction isn’t it? That fruitfulness is a fruit of walking with God yet when He wants to show His power, He chooses a previously barren space, presupposing a lack of fruitfulness, and turns it into a garden.
He makes a way where there seems to be no way. He puts rivers in the desert. He makes the dry land rejoice.

Stories of children born to barren women in the bible are stories of children born for special purposes and marked out for greatness. From Isaac to Jacob and Esau, Joseph and Benjamin, Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist, each was born to a barren woman. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Hannah and Elizabeth. Each of these women has a story of the challenges associated with being a barren woman in a society where children are considered a blessing from the Lord. Each of their children was marked for a special purpose.

So as today’s readings teach, I challenge you to have faith in God and to trust His timing. Supposedly barren spaces are the ones He chooses for special purposes. Are you barren in any aspect? Keep praying, trusting and rejoicing….no matter how hard. Your barrenness may be just for the purpose of His glory. Trust Him!

Angela Azumah Alu

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Musings on Season Finale for SGIT season 4

Musings on Season Finale for SGIT season 4

Okay….so since my friend Jenner introduced me to Skinny Girl in Transit (SGIT),a Nigerian web series produced by Ndani TV which basically tells the story of radio presenter called Tiwa, I have been an avid fan. I have faithfully watched each new episode on Friday….sometimes amazing myself with my dedication….I’m not a very “seriesy” kind of person.

Anyway, we have all watched with tenterhooks during this season when Tiwaa had an old lover resurface from the past. After a series of bad decisions that kept us shaking our heads, she finally confessed to her boyfriend and the expected break up happened. After one miserable episode, today’s episode had a happy ending. Yay!!!!💃💃💃

Here’s how the happy ending happened…so  Shalewa (Tiwa’s sister) told Tiwa’s boyfriend Mide and basically told him to either forgive Tiwa or break up with her as the silence wasn’t doing both of then any good.

Also Mide’s sister Derin (the evil sister we all hate), seeing how miserable her brother was went to basically ask Tiwa to go and fight for her love.

Long story short, Tiwa went to Mide’s house and…and although he was travelling, he read the messages she had sent him and turned back. He got home only to meet Tiwa…she kept apologizing and finally asked him to be her boyfriend again while waiting to change their status. They kiss and hug….😍😍. The next day while brushing her teeth, Tiwa finds a ring on her finger…the coveted ring…finally!!!!!

Okay, now let’s draw some biblical parallels…Tiwa’s bad decisions remind me of sin. It always starts out very innocently and once you don’t run to God and decide to try reasoning with the devil, before you know it you’re in over your head and it’s harder to come out. May God help us to run to him at the first temptation rather than trying to fight it on our own.

And the messages Tiwa sent to Mide and both Derin and Shalewa’s interactions remind me of the importance of evangelization. The words you may speak may not seem to bear fruit immediately but may be a seed that will germinate later. So don’t give up but do the work of an evangelist and trust the Lord for the outcome.

Third was how Tiwa’s going to Mide was very remiscent of the prodigal son. So the prodigal son went back to the father and asked to be considered a servant…but was reinstated as a son. Same way Tiwa went back apologizing and asking to be considered as a girlfriend whereas she had done that already. And when it all seemed so uncertain, she actually woke up with the ring she thought she had lost. I pray that we never get to a point where we think anything is too big for God to forgive but run to Him no matter how bad our sin.

And finally…family and friends. How well do we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice as christian brothers and sisters? I loved what Tiwa’s dad did after the break up. He didn’t ask questions but just reminded her of who she is and how she has always been a fighter….a reminder that she will conquer this too. Whatever it is. I also loved Mohammed’s advice to Shalewa to just be with Tiwa.(both scenes were in episode 11)  And Didi! That girl is the epitome of real friendship! I pray for grace to be a friend like that.

Cheers to SGIT…now let me go and get my aso ebi….we got a wedding coming up!!!💃💃

Angela Azumah Alu
15/12/17

Living with eternity in mind

Living with eternity in mind

This morning I went for the filing past for a classmate’s husband’s funeral….and there were so many thoughts running through my mind. I cried…though I’ve never spoken to the dead man before…but because the situation was really sad. He’s a 31 year old man….with a two year old son and another child on the way. His widow must be very devastated but she seemed really strong.

As I read his biography, I was struck by how much he had accomplished over his short life. And the thought came to mind about remembering your creator in the days of your youth. Many other thoughts came to mind…about living well and living with eternity in mind. About making a difference in the lives of others and about being an ambassador for God wherever you found yourself. In his time on earth, those were the things Wisdom Kpoh stood for and he lived that very well.

So the question I ask you and I is this: are you living with eternity in mind? Are you waiting for such and such a time before you do such and such that God has placed on your heart? What about now? Coz guess what…you are not promised tomorrow…all you have is today. What are you doing with it? Is God your all in all? You didn’t come to earth with anything and you won’t leave with anything. Remember your creator in the days of your youth.

Rest in Peace Wisdom Kpoh. I pray for God’s peace and comfort for the family….especially Enyonam. It is well!

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Evangelizing in season and out of season

Evangelizing in season and out of season

I love the passage in Acts 16:22-40 which tells the story of Paul and Silas in prison. They were thrown into jail falsely and around midnight while they were singing praises to God, there was a big earthquake that opened up the jail and caused their chains to come off. There jailer came out ready to kill himself because he was afraid the prisoners had escaped. Paul called out to him not to do so because they were all present. That was so amazing that the jailer converted and he and his whole household were baptized.
The next day when Paul and Silas were released, they asked why they were being released in secret when they had been publicly humiliated and arrested even though they were Roman citizens. The authorities apologized to them and let them go.
I learnt a lot from this passage that I’d like to share.
1. When bad and unjust things happen to me how do I react?  Do I see God’s hand in everything and choose to praise him or do I complain and gripe? Choose to praise always! It even breaks open prison doors.
2. And do I think of how my actions affect others? Imagine if Paul and Silas had taken the opening of the prison doors as an opportunity to escape. The poor jailer would have lost his job and been in disgrace. And if he had killed himself, his family would have lost their breadwinner. Instead by staying, they provided a witness that blew the jailer’s mind so much that he converted together with his family. How do I treat the witnessing opportunities I encounter?
3. Third lesson was about how Paul and Silas even bore the imprisonment. They only pointed out that they were Roman citizens after they had been released. Perhaps, you and I would have “fought” for our rights and taken the people to court. They let the people off with an apology….perhaps because they felt their work of evangelization was more important and urgent. They also left the people wondering…. who are these Romans who chose not to fight for their rights. Perhaps that wonder turned into  a seed of the word of God that bore fruit.
My prayer is that we will choose to praise at all times, see every encounter as an opportunity to evangelize and be willing to bear wrong for the sake of Christ. Impossible with man but possible with God!

Peace!
Angela Azumah Alu
23/5/17

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Happy birthday Annabel!

Happy birthday Annabel!

Dearest Anna,

Happy 13th birthday. It’s the beginning of your teens. I don’t remember too well the details of my teens (lol), but I’m sure God will see you through like He did for me.

You know, even though I’m the first born I was always the youngest girl till you came….and you’ve been an absolute blessing. The “reading gene” seemed to have skipped the boys….so it’s been amazing reading with you…even though you throw my books all over the place.

And of course, you! Your sense of style is amazing; your intelligence is breathtaking and you are generally wonderfully talented.  I really admire your music sense and your wit.

Baby, I pray that you grow up a confident and beautiful young woman….beautiful inside out. I pray that no matter the lies the devil tries to make you believe….you always stand on the word of God and let the devil know that you are a beloved child of the Great King.

Remember that the world is your oyster; you are in control. Don’t allow anyone to box you in. believe in yourself and trust God. Never be afraid to make mistakes; always try. No matter how difficult life gets, always remember that Christ is with you.

Know that I really love you and will always do my best to be there for you. You’re a miracle for me….coz I never thought that I too would have a little sister and get to do all those things sisters did as I read about in books.

I’m sorry for the times I’m not there for you. Always remember that my prayers are with you.

As you work out your life’s journey, remember to always trust God and know that God has a plan for you which He will reveal to you as you walk with Him. I commit you to His loving care and pray that He will always guide you.

Lots of love,

Angela.

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