Doctor Browne is a real doctor. By that I mean a medical doctor. But these days he is also a minister of the Gospel with Lighthouse Chapel International, a church that was started in Ghana, and is found throughout Ghana and in other countries. Doctor Browne is a doctor’s doctor. Before becoming a minister he taught at a medical school and consulted on difficult cases. For a while, he was responsible for all the churches belonging to Lighthouse Chapel International in northern Ghana.
As soon as he was given that responsibility, he started learning one of the most important languages of northern Ghana – Dagbani, the language of the Dagomba people.
That is an interesting thing to do. Northern Ghana is not as prosperous as the part of Ghana Doctor Browne is from. Many Ghanaians with credentials not nearly as impressive as Dr. Browne’s don’t want to work or live there. Also, learning Dagbani is a big step down the social ladder. But Dr. Browne saw value in learning Dagbani, of identifying himself with them. In a few months, Doctor Browne learned Dagbani better than others in his church who had been there for much longer.
Doctor Browne’s actions are all the more amazing when compared to the actions of others. For example, some ministers in Ghana will only use English because it is prestigious. They preach in English even when they know that people don’t understand. They would never learn Dagbani, or any other Ghanaian language. Also, many Ghanaians with his education and credentials dread, as I wrote above, being assigned to northern Ghana because of the lack of services. Instead, many are emigrating to the USA or to Europe.
The continued use and impact of translations in the languages of Ghana depend on ministers of the Gospel like Doctor Browne who are more interested in communicating the Gospel than in prestige or their careers.
While others are heading up, Doctor Browne is going the other direction. Actually, his direction is the real up – the direction Jesus took:
Think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored his name above all others. (Phil 2: 5-9)