Stefan and Andrea Hall led a team to Ghana where they visited slave castles as an integral part of their YWAM internship experience. They chose Ghana, Africa in response to God’s call to go to difficult places. Stefan and Andrea have enjoyed significant experience sharing the gospel in Tema, Ghana, and the interior regions of that country located along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. During a season back in Richmond, VA, they began praying with me about forming an internship team with an emphasis on reconciliation.
Our YWAM team was situated on the East Side of Richmond and we had been praying for reconciliation, particularly in that predominantly African-American community. From the 1830s to the Civil War, Richmond was the largest American slave
Stefan and Andrea became the leaders of our first internship team to Ghana. For approximately 150 years, Ghana was the center of the British slave trade. Ships from Europe and America would be loaded with slaves who had often been kidnapped or captured in a tribal war.
Interestingly, the team was comprised mostly of Asian students from Ivy League universities. Stefan’s team of premed and nursing students were shocked to see the remnants of the slave trade still visible today at the castles, some of which had been built nearly 500 years ago. Our team learned that slavery existed in Africa long before that transatlantic trade. However, they saw the devastation to the culture and the surrounding area that resulted from the expansion and the development of industry and massive plantations dependent on slave labor.
The team had a two-pronged approach as they visited villages in the interior. They shared the gospel and they conducted make-shift mobile primary care clinics. At one point the message about a team of westerners coming to do medical work had mistakenly been translated into a team of medical doctors coming to build a hospital. Such is the challenge of cross-cultural communication. One of the more evangelistic students learned that preaching the gospel is also a cross-culture experience. He required a translator and a whole different rhythm and skill set. After an initial stumble, this accomplished student learned how to preach through a translator.
The gospel is all about reconciliation; getting right with God and also with our neighbors, our community, our world. Some of our Asian students experienced deep racial tension that emerged from their own stories because their parents owned shops in the inner cities of America. They needed to be reconciled within themselves, with their own stories, before they could be ministers of reconciliation.
Listen to Stefan’s story as a minister of reconciliation.