This month, Goleta Presbyterian Church (GPC) marks its first anniversary of a mission partnership with the Presbyterian community of Patriensa, Ghana.
After meeting Dr. Osei K. Darkwa, current president of Ghana Telecom University College, through a couple at his church, GPC’s Pastor Steve Jacobsen invited Darkwa to speak to the Goleta congregation about his goal to integrate technology into his developing hometown in Ghana. Darkwa visited GPC many times, and soon after, the members of GPC – who for many years were interested in creating a long-term mission partnership with a church community in a developing country – made the decision to try and form a partnership with the church in Patriensa.
In June 2007, five GPC members made a trip to Patriensa, and connected with the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. During their visit, the group worshipped with Ghanaian congregations, visited schools and businesses to determine where the greatest need was, and researched the possibility of solar technology in Ghana.
“We wanted to create a mutual relationship with the church community in Patriensa, not just a one-sided relationship in which our church helps them,” said Pastor Jacobsen. The members of the church in Patriensa sent artwork that now hangs in GPC, and in exchange, GPC sent materials to Patriensa.
More than $8,000 was raised to build a cooperative bakery run by women, workbooks and school uniforms were donated to the village school, and audio/visual equipment was purchased for Sunday school programs. As a fundraiser last Christmas, GPC members sold 200 solar flashlights with the support of BoGo Light, a company that helps provide light to developing countries. The congregation then sent 250 BoGo flashlights to Patriensa.