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  • Writer's pictureSamantha McCandless

Lives Changed, Not Just for the Togolese–Cooper Idt

Updated: May 15

I recently received the opportunity to travel with Global Partners in Hope (GPiH) to Togo, West Africa to see and experience the work GPiH has helped complete. This privilege had two main impacts on my life. Unfortunately, I am unable to share all the stories and thoughts I have but this will suffice.

Perspective Altered

As a result of the trip, there were three primary ways in which my perspective shifted. 1) Contentment is dependent on our perspective on our circumstance. 2) What kind of impact is GPiH making?  3) Jesus is the Lord of all.

Allow me to expand on each of these. First, I witnessed joy and contentment in Togo like I could never have expected. The kids at the orphanage, the Togolese in the village, and even the individuals along the road all displayed this evident satisfaction despite their trying situation. It is so easy to see the discontentment and dissatisfaction in the lives of Americans given our greedy and selfish nature. Even though we (at least the majority of Americans) have everything we could ever need, we still desire more. We want the new car or the new phone or the better job when we could be living in contentment right now if we simply changed our perspective. This led me to the conclusion: Our level of contentment is not based on our circumstance but our contentment is based on our perspective on our circumstance.

Secondly, this trip answered the question: “what does GPiH really do?” I found the answer to this question while pondering my experience at the health center. While at the health center, we conversed with the head midwife named Lea. She explained to us the impact that the health center has had on the surrounding community even in the few months that they have been in operation. It was so impactful to hear about the women and children that would literally not be alive right now if not for the care they received at the health center. Following that, we had the privilege of interacting with some Togolese individuals who had come to the on-site water well to retrieve water for the upcoming day. This short interaction between two different worlds opened my eyes to the need and the impact that we are having on the community. These two experiences showed me the people that we were impacting. All this to say, my perspective towards the impact that GPiH is having was significantly altered. I’ll touch more on this later.

Photo of Cooper

Finally, this trip broadened my understanding of the person of Jesus. This came about through a unique conversation over dinner. I sat next to Lea, the head midwife at the health center, over an authentic African meal. Conversation eventually led to Jesus and I couldn’t help but smile as she spoke. I was struck that I had this strong unifying force with this woman who lives on the opposite side of the world, speaks a completely different language, and leads a completely different life. Jesus has had such a similar impact on my life. This brief interaction was enough to show me that Jesus is the God of everyone. He is the God of every nation, every tribe, every tongue, every culture, every language, every individual. He works and moves all across the world, not just in my life. Praise God.

Step Guided

My step was guided just in the application of the perspective changes I mentioned above. Let me be content and joyful no matter my circumstance and continue to deepen my understanding of the vast character of God. In addition, a question that was answered, for me, on this trip was this: What does it mean to live a worthwhile life? The experiences I mentioned previously, amongst others, showed me an avenue through which I am able to live out my purpose and mission. This purpose and mission is to make the Name of Jesus known and glorified. An effective avenue in which to make this a reality is providing people with literal life. Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. Let us do the same, let us not just speak of Jesus and His love but let us show it. Let our thoughts, words, and actions display His love. What more could someone do? What more could I do with my life. For me now, it is not a question of should I give or even how much should I give. The question becomes, “how can I most effectively give all of myself to these people for the glory of Jesus?”

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