Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Mission Trip

We just returned from a great mission trip.  We took 9 students and 6 adults to the island of Eleuthera to work at Camp Bahamas.  Some think right way, “Oh, yeah.  The Bahamas.  Right.”  We discovered on our trip that 75% of children born in the Bahamas last year were born to single moms.  Over 60% of the nations population is under the age of 24.  This nation doesn’t stand a chance if the youth are not reached with the gospel.

Camp Bahamas is knocking it out of the park.  The only Christian camp, that I’m aware of, in an entire nation.  For 6 weeks in the summer they put on camp for children and youth.  Eighty kids a week show up to have fun, play sports and learn about the love of Jesus Christ.  During the year they host many retreats and events that are focused on life change through Jesus.

When you hear the history and vision of the camp from camp director, Richard Albury, you immediately know that Camp Bahamas is a “God thing”.  

Our group had the honor of serving Camp Bahamas for several days.  We flew in on a Saturday.  We arrived late in the afternoon and unloaded and got set in our cabins then spent some time relaxing and jumping in the ocean before dinner.

Sunday we attended worship at a Hatian church where the service was almost entirely in Creole.  What a great experience for our students!  The Hatians loved worshipping and being at church, you could see the joy of the Lord in them.  Two of our students shared their testimony and the pastor interpreted for them.  These two students moved way out of their comfort zone.

Monday we worked all day at the camp clearing brush and picking up trash and construction debris.

Tuesday through Thursday we worked at the camp in the mornings and then in the afternoons we went to a local park and played ball with the kids.  One day we bought them all ice cream.  Each day at the park one of our students shared a Bible story with the kids.  It was interesting that on the first day there was only one kid at the park when we arrived and it didn’t take long for word to spread through the settlement of Tarpum Bay that we were at the park.  Soon we had about 20 something kids there playing ball with us.  This was our students’ favorite part of the mission trip.  On the final day at the park I followed up the Bible story with the gospel.

Friday was our “free” day.  We helped clean up some cabins in the morning then went out to lunch and spend the afternoon swimming and went and checked out a banyan tree.

 Each morning we worked on our quiet time journal which was specifically designed for a mission trip.  You can find these resources at LeaderTreks.  Each evening after dinner we gathered together for a team meeting.  We reviewed our day and evaluated our team.

The purposes of this trip was to:
Expose students to a different culture
Move students out of their comfort zone

Allow students to experience a short term mission experience

Serve and minister to Camp Bahamas staff and future campers

Share the love of Christ with the kids of Eleuthera

What an awesome experience we had together and everyone on the trip is already talking of a return mission trip. 
  I'm not gonna lie, for an old guy the work wore me out and I had muscles aching, muscles I had forgotten about long ago.  As a youth pastor I was so encouraged by our students serving without complaining and doing what was asked of them.  They truly understood the reason why they were on the island.   Now we are talking of how we can apply what we learned in Eleuthera here in our own community. 

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