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Genoa church members return from Ghana forever changed

Healing souls, mending wounds and saving children in Ghana filled 10 days in January for a group of CrossWind Community Church members.

Eight people ventured on a mission trip to the coastal country in West Africa where they tried to have a positive impact and ultimately returned to Genoa forever changed.

“We don’t know how we impact their lives,” missionary and Genoa resident Ann Seisser said. “But I know being there and seeing how they just appreciate that you love and care for them makes me want to go back.”

The 10-day trip was organized by Global Solutions Outreach, an Indiana-based company run by native Ghanaian, Solomon Baddoo. Baddoo is a Crosswinds member and missionary Nate Feiden’s brother-in-law.

Each person was responsible for raising $3,500 for the trip through fundraisers and other avenues.

“We stepped out in faith and God supplied,” missionary and Genoa resident Dan Dold said. “I feel like when we committed to going, things like a side job or other opportunities came up.”

Their mission in Ghana was three-fold: to offer medical treatment, instill confidence and spread God’s word.

Group members partnered with Timmy Global Health to set up free healthcare clinics for two days where they took pulses, evaluated patients for malaria and other diseases, gave them free medical items and wrote prescriptions for patients to take to a nearby hospital to be filled for free. They also passed out water, toothbrushes, toothpaste and whatever else they had in their pockets.

Missy Freund, a massage therapist from Genoa, offered her services to some on the first day.

They helped 2,000 patients in those two days, more than six times the number they helped during their last trip.

The group also attended a leadership conference with pastors from Ghana. The goal was to teach pastors how to chip away at long-term problems in the area such as helping locals start small businesses.

Street ministry and handing out Bibles constituted the other portion of the trip. Freund and Seisser reunited with a woman they met last year when she was depressed and withdrawn. This year, her demeanor had entirely changed, they said. To further lift the woman’s spirits, the group gave her enough money to keep her fruit stand open for an entire year.

“We want to change their mindset that they can’t accomplish things,” Freund said. “We want to instill in them that they have the will and drive to do it.”

Children on the trip left the biggest impression on the group, the missionaries agreed.

“At the end of the day it kind of hurts because you don’t know what kind of home they’re going back to or even if they have a home,” Dold said.

“They have nothing and they give you everything,” Ann’s husband, John Seisser added.

Inspired by the altruism of the children, John and Ann decided to bring three sisters back with them to raise.

The couple has three grown children. They had planned to adopt and had been preparing, but the plans didn’t start to materialize until Ann’s trip to Ghana last year when she mentioned to Baddoo that she wanted to bring children home.

“It’s just something that happens to you there,” Ann said. “God always has a time and a season.”

Baddoo told Ann about a niece of his, then another niece. On the last trip, John and Ann learned there were three nieces, sisters, age 7, 10 and 11. The couple spent most of their recent trip with the three girls and their parents. While the couple left Ghana without the girls, they did so with a promise to return.

“It was very emotional to leave,” Ann said. “But they know we’ll be back.”

Though getting student visas and all the paperwork lined up has been a trying task, it’s something that John was able to figure out in a year. The couple also had to piece together $11,000 to bring the girls from Ghana, which John will do in March. Although the Seissers will raise the girls in Genoa, sending them to Cornerstone Christian Academy for school, they won’t fully adopt them in order to give them more opportunities to go to college as international students.

They hope once the girls are educated, they will return to Ghana to improve the country.

“I hope this will show people this is something you can do,” John said.

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