When a team of eight NNU students and their faculty sponsors arrived at the home of Rev. Frank Lantei Mills in Accra, Ghana, for a medical mission trip May 2013, they had the privilege of meeting one of the most charismatic and active leaders in the Church of the Nazarene. Moreover, they saw the reunion of two brothers in Christ—Frank and NNU Associate Professor of Theology Dr. Joe Gorman—whose friendship has supported a multitude of ministries to the people of Africa.
The team arrived only a few days after the birth of Frank’s daughter, Annie—who is named after Joe’s daughter—and a few days after Frank’s return from visiting the churches of the North Ghana District, of which he is superintendent. Frank’s wholehearted devotion to his family and his service to the Church mean balancing extraordinary circumstances from leading the 115 churches on his district—he travels 24-hours one way on several dirty, mechanically-challenged buses twice a month to visit them—to supporting his own four children and another eight children that he and his wife feed, clothe and educate in their home. Frank’s friendship with Joe has become a major support to him in both of these endeavors.
In fact, balancing commitments to both family and ministries led to Frank’s first encounter with Joe—an encounter that would prove life-altering for both men. In 2000, Frank received a scholarship to Africa Nazarene University (ANU) to study for a bachelor’s degree and ordination. Around that time Golden Church of the Nazarene in Colorado gave its pastor, Joe Gorman, the opportunity to teach at ANU during a sabbatical. Neither of these men could have imagined how God was about to work in and through them.
Frank had been at ANU in Kenya for a year while his wife, Hanna, and young son remained in Ghana. Suffering severely from being separated from his family, he was beginning to doubt he had truly heard God’s voice calling him to get his education. While teaching at ANU, Joe learned about Frank’s situation from other concerned classmates. Joe sought out Frank and encouraged him. Joe also felt called to raise the funds to bring Frank’s family to Kenya for the duration of his education. Being reunited with his family completely changed Frank’s mindset; he finished his education, was ordained and returned home to Ghana ready to continue his ministry.
This trip to Africa and meeting Frank changed Joe’s life, too. “After I returned home to Colorado, Frank and I continued our friendship through email. We quickly became fast friends and eventually like brothers. It was completely a God thing how our lives became interwoven.” Joe established his own organization, Compassion for Africa, in hopes of doing more to help support ministries in Ghana and other countries.