If I tell you that I’m really proud of my daughter Sophie, you won’t be surprised – every parent is proud of their children.
But she’s actually done something really brave and exciting. For the past six months, she has been living and working in Ghana. Aged just 17, her first time away from home was in a different continent with a very different culture.
Sophie originally went to Ghana three years ago as part of a team of 17 adults and teenagers from Portsmouth churches, including me.
We helped to paint a classroom for children with special needs, and we were the guests of a Ghanaian bishop, the Bishop of Ho.
That summer trip had a profound effect on Sophie, and when she finished her A-levels, she decided that she would spend six months on a worthwhile project and return to a place that she had grown to love.
She is living with the bishop’s family, right next to St George’s Anglican School, where we visited in 2016.
She is washing her clothes by hand, cooking by using a pot on a fire, and buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the market in the town of Ho.
She is teaching children in St George’s School, including some who she first met three years ago. She is teaching the kindergarten class to sing, to draw and to sound out words.
And Sophie, who normally goes to Harbour Church when she’s in Portsmouth, is going to St George’s Anglican Church there.
The Sunday services are long and passionate, they include enthusiastic singing and dancing, and there are regular healing services on Wednesdays.
One of the things I love about the Christian Church is that it is global. I know that I can pitch up in a church anywhere in the world and we’ll have things in common.
That’s why I knew Sophie would thrive in Ghana – as she has.
She has felt really privileged to be there. She’s learnt a lot about herself and about God. And she’s made some big decisions about her own future. Back home, God has also helped her parents to cope with her absence and to trust that she’ll be safe.
She’s coming home on March 20 and I can’t wait to see her. I also can’t wait to see what fantastic faith-filled adventures God has in store for her.
St Margaret’s Community Church is in Highland Road, Eastney. Go to www.stmagscc.uk.