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Bangladesh, Ghana and a long line at Golden Corral

George Roy at our hotel in Crystal City. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from Linthicum Heights, Md.
The D.C. metro area seems an unlikely place for me to be gathering stories for our ongoing Global South series. (Yes, that would be our award-winning Global South series, I’m thrilled to say!)
But the Global South is here — alive and growing in our nation’s capital.
Yesterday, George Roy stopped by our hotel in Crystal City and spoke with me. A native of Bangladesh, he came to the States in 1989 and earned a degree in theology. He was converted by members of the 16th and Decatur Church of Christ in Washington, where he still worships.
The Great Recession has made it difficult for Roy, and a lot of other church members, to make ends meet. But that didn’t seem to be his primary concern. He’s trying to raise funds for the ongoing work he supports in his home country. He’s helped establish several churches and has assisted in disaster relief in Bangladesh, an impoverished and densely populated country that borders India. The nation is predominantly Muslim, he said, but people are willing to listen to the Gospel and many decide to be baptized.
“The difficulty is to hold them,” he said. Young churches in Bangladesh need funds to support ministers and build houses of worship.
I’ve corresponded with brother Roy for years, so it was great to speak with him in person.

Emmanuel Addo, right, preaches in a mix of twi and English at the Ghanaian church in Hyattsville, Md. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

This morning I hopped on the Metro in Crystal City and headed northeast to Hyattsville, Md. There, I worshiped with a 70-member congregation from the West African nation of Ghana that meets in the building of the University Park Church of Christ. I have now worshiped with Ghanaians on three continents — Africa, Europe and North America. I even recognized some of the hymns in twi, a dominant language in Ghana.
The Church of Christ (Ghanaian Congregation) started about five years ago and has played a vital role in restoring what its members call “backsliders” — Christian Ghanaians who stop going to church after they move to the U.S. The church also had eight baptisms last year.

Glory Mensah leads “If You’re Happy and You Know It” during Bible class at the Ghanaian congregation. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Many of the church’s members came to the U.S. to earn college degrees. A nurse, a biochemist and an economics professor were among the Ghanaians I met today.
The growing church hopes to build its own facility soon, though the members I talked to said they appreciate the University Park congregation.
“We are the same church,” said King Binney, who taught the adult Bible class on the book of Acts. “We are all the Church of Christ.”
After worship, the Ghanaian church members all went to lunch to celebrate Mother’s Day, and they invited me along. We stood in what must have been the longest line in the history of Golden Corral. But the wait made the rotisserie chicken and sweet tea taste all the sweeter. And in a way, we helped a brother — Golden Corral’s CEO, Ted Fowler, is a faithful member of the Brooks Avenue Church of Christ in Raleigh, N.C. 🙂
Buffets aside, I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters from Ghana. No matter what continent they’re on, they know the meaning of “Akwaaba.” (That’s “welcome” in twi.)

The Mother’s Day line at Golden Corral. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

  • Feedback
    It was really nice getting to meet you. Sorry you had to be in such a long queue at the Golden Coral, Largo, MD. Next time, we will treat you to traditional Ghanaian dishes in the comfort a members house. Stay blessed.
    May, 11 2010

    Brother Kingsley: If you’re serving Red Red, I’ll be there! The pleasure was all mine. Thank you kindly for your hospitality. I hope to see you again soon.
    Erik Tryggestad
    May, 11 2010

Filed under: News Extras Travel Reports

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