TIME WITH REV. DR. JOYCE ROSALIND ARYEE

TIME WITH REV. DR. JOYCE ROSALIND ARYEE

Who is Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee?

Dr. Joyce Aryee, I would say, is an object of God’s grace. Born [over 70] years ago, she grew up in Kumasi and went to Achimota school and then the University of Ghana, Legon. She’s also had a number of other training programmes. She’s versatile, passionately in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and committed to being the salt of the earth and the light of the world as Jesus says we are. She has a son and three grandchildren (two girls and a boy).

What is your salvation story?

It all started on Easter of 1964. I was in secondary school and a member of the Scripture Union (SU). The SU organized what they called the Easter House Party (now the Easter camp). A group of us participated in the camp which was held at Wesley Girls High School, Cape-Coast. That was when I gave my life to Christ. I was in Lower 6 then. Sadly, soon after I went to the University, I backslided. It was not intentional. The mistake people make is to think of backsliding as falling into so much sin. Instead, backsliding means not being closely united to God; nor walking in His ways as one should. And that’s what’s scary about it— when you know you may not quite be sinning but your love for God is dimmed and you find other things much more interesting than the things of God. But God is gracious. In a series of interesting events, He turned me back to Himself in 1986. I thank the Lord for receiving the prodigal daughter back home, wrapping me in His love, giving me His robes of righteousness, a new understanding and a love for Him I didn’t think existed. That’s my journey.

At what point in your life did you decide to enter politics?

I did not enter into politics. There was a revolution at the time and so all of us who served were called to serve. There was no parliament; no elections. I was at the time working at the Ghana Standards Board, now the Ghana Standards Authority, when I was called and sent on secondment to serve under the then PNDC. I served from April 1983 to January 1992.

How were you able to maintain your standards in politics?

The Bible is filled with a significant number of politicians: Joseph who was second in command to Pharaoh, Daniel who served under 4 kings. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof! Hence, God would want us (Christians) to go into leadership. God wants us to make a difference and reflect him in every area of our lives, even in a hostile environment like Daniel found himself. God sometimes uses the ungodly environment to let us know why our presence is so important; that our light can permeate through the darkness and drive it away.

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What informed your decision to enter fulltime ministry after your time at the Ghana Chamber of Mines?

I have been in ministry since October 1997. While at Chamber of Mines, Salt and Light was still writing in the newspapers, doing radio Bible studies, organising programs and prayer rallies. Essentially, ministry is everything a Christian does; there’s a priesthood of all believers and the Great Commission has not been given to pastors alone. Again, God also expects work to be done outside church— the work of commerse, industry, healthcare provision and the like. You don’t have to wait to enter into fulltime ministry.

What influenced the name of your Salt and Light?

My personal walk with the Lord influenced Salt and Light. Salt and Light is a ministry for discipleship. It encourages Christians to be who God says we are: disciples of our Lord Jesus. Discipleship is about walking closely with the Lord; building a relationship. We equip Christians to be salt and light.

Salt gives flavour to food. It also preserves food from going bad. Again, it acts as an antiseptic to aid healing. Thus, as Christians we need to give life and flavour to the world and hopeless situations. We need to provide healing, both physically and emotionally, to all those hurting. Salt also induces thirst. In the Middle East for instance, because of the hot weather, they cook with a lot of salt. This makes them thirsty and by drinking lots of water, hydrated. Jesus Christ is our living water. Our presence should induce the desire for Him. Our character and behaviour should cause people to long more and more for Jesus. As for light, it simply destroys darkness. Even a flicker of light is enough to drive darkness away. Light also aids in illumination and direction. The Christian thus needs to be illuminated and become light for others. Again, light brings cheer. Remember dumsor . Whenever the light came back, there was this spontaneity of joy and excitement. Thus, people should spontaneously light up and be cheered by our presence. And then there’s the lighthouse.

God in His own wisdom put a lot of boulders and rocks around beaches so that the sea does not take over the land. But this is very dangerous for ships. The lighthouse is therefore to warn ships that they are nearing land, so they navigate safely towards the harbour. What’s a harbour? It is a place where the rocks have been deliberately cleared out; where the obstacles and difficulties have been taken away so ships can land safely. It’s a place of refreshing for both ships and the people on board. The harbour then really is Christ; where all the obstacles that otherwise would have made it easy for us to run our lives aground have been taken away. The world needs to know of this safe haven. They need to know about Jesus Christ. We are the lighthouse and we need to warn both believers and non-believers of the dangers of not getting into the harbour.

This is what Salt and Light is all about. It is neither a church nor a fellowship. We use the newspapers and radio to talk about the fact that Christianity is a practical way of life and that we have been empowered so to live. We write in the Friday edition of the Chronicle and in the Weekly Spectator. Actually, this year marks 24 years since I started writing in the Chronicle. I started writing in October 1997. Salt and Light also runs leadership programmes and prayer rallies. Now, we’ve added a music ministry too. Music is very special to God. Lyrics are very important. I am biased towards hymns probably because of my age but I know quite a number of young people who love hymns even more than I do. Hymns are very scriptural. Sometimes you can actually tell which part of scripture they were lifted from. They are also like sung prayers; the psalms of latter days. Thus, Salt and Light promotes hymns and anthems. On Sundays, between 3.30 and 5.30pm, I go live on radio with the Harmonious Chorale. To the glory of God, I have noticed a rise in the interest in hymns. A lot of Charismatic Churches now have hymn choirs.

Is Ghana doing well with regards to female empowerment?

It is a work in progress. We have come a long way but there’s still more work to be done. Successive governments have shown more commitment. I like the fact that women now undertake advocacy for themselves in getting things done. An example is the Executive Women Network. I also like the fact that women are getting to the highest levels of education and breaking through the myth that some subjects are only for boys. Women are now willing to run for parliament and other roles in various organisations. I like how this government has given certain positions to women. We are aiming for equity; available opportunities to be everything we’d want to be.

Did you have any mentors in Ghana growing up?

Growing up, we had no issue with mentorship because we had good parents who raised us well. They believed in honesty, respect, integrity and they passed these down to us. Nonetheless, Jesus Christ remains my greatest mentor.

Are you currently mentoring anyone?

Yes, many.

As an avid choral enthusiast, how far do you see choral music going in Ghana?

I think it’s on the ascendancy. Ghana has got interesting traditions in church music. With the charismatic wave, it looked as if choral music was waning. The story is different now. Currently, some Charismatic churches even have a separate choir for hymns and choral music.

What’s your advice for young people today?

First of all, I’d want to congratulate all young people for their boldness, resourcefulness, fearlessness and willingness to do new things. I’d like you to know that the future is yours and the future is today. You have to help shape your future directly and indirectly— do the things you want to see done. Don’t be complainers. The future is yours and the future is today.

This interview was first published in the fifth issue of GNOMIC Magazine

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