Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

February 11, 2013

Local woman takes mission trip to Africa

AMERICUS — Evangelist Buford Snipes of Americus spent her Thanksgiving holiday without a turkey or feast or her family members. She was on a three-week mission trip to Accra, Ghana, in Africa instead, where she ministered to over 1,500 people. A far cry from the comforts of home, the hotel Snipes was staying at for part of her duration in Africa had no air conditioning, electricity or indoor plumbing.

"I'd never taken a shower in cold water, but after bathing in a bucket, I was glad for the cold water!" says Snipes of when they traveled to a new hotel with indoor plumbing.

There also is a lack of food, clothing and other necessities for the citizens of Accra. The churches she visited were in bad condition, and the roads were unpaved, making it difficult to travel.

Snipes describes traveling there as "driving over a constant railroad track with a pothole every few feet."

However, the citizens are not angry about their circumstances -- quite the contrary, actually. She says those that she met were "God-fearing people, not lazy. They were a blessing to me."

"People there praise the Lord and have nothing, but they have everything," she says. "Here, we have everything, but nothing. It was awesome there. I really did enjoy it."

She describes her day to day activity while in Ghana as "hectic," and says there was something to do almost every night.

"We had open-air services,” she says.  “We had speakers and musicians and we preached."

Snipes and four other women paid rent on a church and a house for an entire year when the people were about to be evicted. Things like this make a huge impact on the citizens of Ghana.

One night, they were having an open air service when it began to rain. Though it was thundering and lightning, the people of Accra never stopped singing and praising, nor did the drummers miss a beat. Snipes and her fellow missionaries watched their dedication in awe from the van. They wanted to join, but found themselves hesitating in fear of getting sick.

Snipes says the whole time, she was thinking, "I can't fail God. This is a test.' So I got out there and said, 'God, don't let me fail you."'

She says that when she joined them, it stopped raining.

Snipes was not solely in Accra during her time in Africa. She also visited other parts of Africa, including going on a three-day mission trip to nearby Togo. There, she participated in workshops during the day and preached and worshipped late into the night. While she was in Togo, a place known for its harsh police officers, Snipes was unaware that there was a no-photography law near the border. An officer informed her of the policy, and she explained that she was there for God and the officer allowed her to continue despite her accidental breach of the law. Snipes gratefully recognizes this as God keeping her safe.

When asked what inspired her to go on this mission trip, Snipes responds with simply, "the Lord."

"Three years ago, the Lord laid in my heart that he wanted me to go to Ghana," she explains. "I said, 'When you want me to go, let me know.'"

People have invited her on other mission trips in the past three years, but she declined, feeling that the timing was not right. Finally, it was worked out where she could go to Ghana.

"Everything fell into place," she says.

Most people would be ready to come home after the conditions Snipes lived in during her month ministering, but not her.

"I didn't want to come back," she says. "I got home and cried.”

Snipes says she worries more about taking things for granted after her trip to Ghana. She didn't even put up as many Christmas decorations in December  because it seemed wasteful.

When asked if she would ever return to Ghana, Snipes face lights up. She says that she would love to go back, and that she is hopefully going to return in August to help with building a church. She took book bags and school supplies to them, and hopes to take them clothes next time.

"I enjoyed helping the children,” she says. “They love school; that's their way out. They walk to school, and walk back home for lunch. Then they go back to school and walk back home that afternoon."

"We're so blessed,” she says. “I wish everybody had a chance to go to Africa once in their life. They won't complain. I saw how blessed we are in the United States."

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