Tanner Leibee Family
In 2005 my wife Rebecca & I arrived in Ghana as Church-planting missionaries. After a four month survey God made clear our calling to begin work among the Gonja people of Ghana’s Northern Region. We moved among the Gonjas in early 2006 to begin culture & language learning. The Gonja [or Ngbanyato] are people group about 250,000 in population. Most are subsistent famers. Education and social development in Gonja-Land has been mostly centered in the 4 main towns and very little in the villages. Gonjas converted to Islam as a nation about 350 years ago, however only in the last couple generations or so has Islam spread and taken deep root in the entire population. African Traditional Religion is often mixed with moderate Islam and the people are warm and receptive to strangers, but have historically have shown a general resistance to Christianity. While on survey the Lord led us to the Tulewe Traditional Area of which the village of Tulewe is the center. The area consist of around 20 villages none of which had a Gonja church nor Gonja witness for Christ. The darkness & needs of this area pulled deeply on our hearts, and the chief and elders of the village of Tulewe warmly invited us to come and live.
The years following have been full of learning & ministering: our 3 sons – Dale, Camden, and Chad– were born; language learning; house building in Tulewe; furloughs; moving into Tulewe; establishing contacts and relationships, etc.
Currently we are in the midst of discipleship & while still doing some evangelism. After about 18months of sharing the word, a few people have emerged who seriously want to follow Jesus. They’ve faced a lot of insults and mockery, but they are hanging on faithfully. Others have come to the meetings for a year but currently are disinterested or scared. Still others still continue to be ‘night seekers’; those who in private tell us of their interest in following ‘this message’ but attend the meetings only on the fringes. Discipleship here means meeting with local or further away believers using photos, simple books and audio to establish the word of God and paths of obedience in their lives.
We have an ongoing partnership with a local Gonja church about 4 hours from Tuluwe. As they translate the Old Testament into Gonja, we’ve been able to work together sharing notes and resources. Their help in the literacy project here in the Tuluwe area as well as their spiritual input as been invaluable. We are working on a couple joint projects together both in translation and in Gonja song with media recording and distribution.
Thank you for your ongoing prayer & support,
Tanner & Rebecca Leibee