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M3daas3 (pronounced 'me-daa-si')

Last Sunday was unique. It was fantastic. I was overjoyed with the festive spirit of celebration. Everyone was happy; from the youngest with their screams to the oldest with their laughter, there was not a single person that I saw who wasn’t excited to be at Christ Church that morning. Everyone was happy and festive. Because it was Pentecost Sunday, in fact, the Holy Spirit was alive at Christ Church. I cannot thank each of you enough for your kind words of encouragement and the blessings you showered on me - not that I deserve them, but you showered them on me anyway. Thank you for 25 amazing years. M3daas3 .


When I was approved for postulancy and enrolled in seminary, I was the youngest - both in my class and in the entire seminary. I was young, vibrant, a little ambitious, and full of energy. A few weeks into my first year, I attended a joint service of Anglican students. The city where the seminary is located is populated with boarding schools and so, occasionally, the Anglican students get together for a joint service. It was at this service in the sanctuary that I met a beautiful student from one of the girl’s boarding schools who would change the trajectory of my life. 


Although she relocated to the UK for her bachelor's degree, it was because of her that I decided to seek an advanced degree in the United States. But as fate would have it, and back in the day when there was no Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and many other platforms, I lost touch with her. To her, I say M3daas3.


Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have sought further education in the United States, nor would I have met Monique and had four beautiful children. These children are my world, and they provide me with a great sense of joy. Our home is a happy home because these children bring so much joy to Monique and me. She has had the burden of having to raise the children and nurture them while I tend the many sheep that have been given to my care. To Monique, I say M3daas3.


Tending the sheep began for me in a small town in Ghana. I was the Vicar of this small church, St. James. The church building was similar to Old Brick, and it had lots of history. Many of the people that I served in this small town were farmers. They had next to nothing - the average income within that congregation was about $30.00 a month. But their faithfulness was incredible.


It was at St. James that I developed a deep sense of faith. It was the kind of faith that believed in the impossible, that it doesn’t matter how many resources you have, you can do extraordinary things if you believe. It doesn’t matter how many people you have; you can do amazing things because it is God who does the work. This small church didn’t have a rectory when I arrived to serve. Instead, lived in the rectory of the local Methodist minister. But by the time I departed - two years after I had arrived to serve - the church built a modern 7-bedroom rectory. I made sure that I moved into that rectory before I departed for the United States. To the faithful people of St. James, I say M3daas3.


It was in this small town, while in someone's home, that I worked on my GREs. There was a mining company near the town and some of the employees were parishioners. There was one gentleman who was an engineer at this mining company, and he dedicated himself to helping me study for the GREs. He had a PC in his apartment, but I had no laptop or PC, myself. He would pick me up in the afternoon, take me to his apartment, and then let me do my work while he went out to do his work. After work, we would sometimes eat dinner together and then he would drop me home after a long day of studying. To him, I say M3daas3.


My first flight on the plane out of Ghana was to BWI. I arrived on December 22, 2000, wearing a pair of sandals. I felt the cold breeze on my feet and on my face when I got out of the airport with my friend, whom I had known since we were in second grade. He picked me up from the airport and took me to his home. I spent Christmas with him and attended worship at St. Christopher’s in Greenbelt. I don’t know what happened to him because he was supposed to pick me up after that service. Fortunately, there was a Nigerian lady who saw me stranded after worship and offered me a ride home. To Joseph, I say M3daas3.


After spending Christmas and New Year's in Maryland, it was time to relocate to Atlanta. I got on a Greyhound bus, which took me through the scenery countryside of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and finally to Georgia. I arrived in Atlanta at dawn on a Thursday and was picked up by two of my three roommates. One of the two was very instrumental in securing a scholarship for me to study at Mercer University School of Theology.


When we arrived at the apartment, David showed me my room and introduced me to my roommate. I had the shock of my life. I looked in the room and there was no bed. "There is no bed in this room," I protested. "Yes, there is no bed. You have to find your own bed, but you can sleep on the couch until you find one." To David, I say, M3daas3.


That same day, I told David that I needed to find an Episcopal Church where I could worship. Since he didn’t have a computer at home, he suggested that we go to Georgia State University, where he was a graduate student, to use one of their computers at the library. When we arrived at the library, we went straight to one of the PCs, clicked on the search engine, and typed ‘Episcopal Churches in Atlanta’ in.


The first church that came up was All Saints Episcopal Church. Immediately, upon immediately seeing the picture of the Rector standing in the pulpit, I told my friend, "That’s where I want to go." It was more than a gut instinct - looking back, it was more of a divine in-breaking because that single decision made all the difference. And for that divine intervention, M3daas3.


Manny.

 

(M3daas3 means "Thank You" in my native dialect. This thank-you tour of sorts is meant to highlight pivotal moments and people in my life and to give thanks for all those who, by the grace of God, made it happen for me. This is part 1 of a two-part series.)

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