Saturday, November 15, 2008

Always Coca-Cola

When I was in junior high, I was informed that I needed to start collecting something. Up to that point, I hadn't known that was an absolute necessity!
I was on vacation with my "adopted" family, the Swains, and we were at Smoky Mt. Knife Works outside of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. My best friend Joanna had decided to collect lambs, I think, and Mr Swain was going to buy her one for a souvenir. He asked me what I collected, and I said......nothing. He told me that everyone had to collect something, so I had better start thinking! I looked around, and the first thing I saw was the Arctic display. The polar bears looked cute, so I picked polar bears! Not long after that, Coca-Cola started advertising with several polar bear commercials. Thus, my love of all things Coca-Cola was born, too! Since that time, my collection has shifted from more polar bears to more Coke things, but I really like the two together best!
When we started preparing to move to Ghana, I wasn't sure what to do about my Coke collection. I wasn't sure how a collection of anything would go over in a third world country, and I was also afraid that most of my collection would be broken en route. So, I made a very hard decision...not to bring it with me. Let me tell you, I cried over that one! Afer deciding not to bring it, though, I wasn't sure what to do with it! I couldn't bring myself to sell it. Well, God provided a wonderful alternative. One of the assistant pastors at our church was just getting ready to decorate his office. He's from Atlanta so had decided to do a Coke theme. He found out about my dilemma and offered to "rent" my collection for as long as I would allow. That way it could be used and kept safe until I decided what to do.
Now, fast forward to me here in Ghana. Decorating my home here in Ghana is something I have been doing very slowly. Let's just say our home has been a definite work in progress. We felt it was very important not only to have a home we felt comfortable in, but also a home that Ghanaians felt comfortable in. Since we are here to reach them, they ought to feel comfortable being around us! That said, we worked from the outside in - we started with the common room (front room or living room) and have been slowly adding to each room as we had money and found things we liked. The one exception to this was my kitchen. To put it bluntly, it was ugly. Gray and white. Ugly blue and white boat curtains. Nothing impressive to look at. About a year ago, I finally got tired of it and went looking for something, anything to improve it. I remembered that I had saved some old calendars and thought maybe the pictures from one of them would be okay. To my surprise, I had an old Coke calendar I had forgotten about! I cut up the calendar and went to see how the pictures would look in the kitchen, and.....they matched! I taped them up all over the kitchen, and it instantly looked a million times better! Then, about six months ago, John came home with a clock he had found in town - it was Coke!
He had decided I needed my Coke kitchen back!
Fast forward again to a few weeks ago. We were driving past the Coke plant here in Kumasi, and we saw a woman selling African Batik (a hand-printed material), but with Coca-Cola printed all over it! John had to check that out! It was cheap.....and I now have cool African Coca-Cola curtains hanging in my kitchen. To top it all off, my sweet husband went over to the Coke plant after visitation the other day and got the advertising director to give him a whole bunch of Coke stuff....for free!
In the end, I'm so glad I didn't push to get what I wanted. I now have all these cool Coke things that are not only African in origin, but cost us hardly a pesewa (Ghanaian penny)! And that, my friends, is what is so amazing about the blessings God gives. They are always better than we could ask or think!


  1. I had forgotten about your artic bear coca cola collection. The Lord even knows what we women need to just feel good. That's how much He loves us! I have been reading the culture shock stories from the missionary wives. In my last comment I didn't realize the leave of fear you were talking about. I'm sorry for not understanding the level of fear and dread that you guys experience. Please forgive me!

  2. Hey! I have a coke kitchen too! It is a 50's diner style. How did I forget about your polar bear coke collection? I don't know. My coke collection started with me collecting 50's diner stuff as a teen. Then I realized how much coke stuff was tied into that because of the soda fountain so it became the main thing. My coke curtains are made out of a table cloth I found that was coke. I am so happy for you to be able to get your collection going again! I know mine brings back so many memories. Love you! Enjoy your day and cooking in your kitchen!

  3. What a blessing! So neat to see how the Lord works on our behalf. The polar bears may have looked a little funny:)

  4. What an awesome story about God providing for not just your need but your want as well. I sure do miss you guys - I'm putting you on my blog so I can keep up better! PFYA!