This July, God placed an amazing opportunity before me: to go on my first international mission trip! Some friends of mine went with our church to Trinidad last summer and I was blessed to be able to go this year. God provided for the trip in amazing ways! I was planning on paying for most of the trip myself but through family, friends, and church members the Lord provided for all of the financial needs!
We left early on Saturday morning. I was a little nervous about flying especially since I had the flu bug the day before and was still a little dizzy but I had no troubles. We arrived safe and sound Saturday evening in Port of Spain and were whisked off to Famous Trinidad KFC. They will proudly tell you theirs is the best in all the land. It was pretty good.
Monday – Wednesday we taught VBS in two locations. One in the morning and the second in the afternoon, as well as a women’s ministry at the second location.
The Morning VBS was the same place the group had shared at last year in a town called McBean, with approximately 23 children. These children have a basic knowledge of the Word of God, were very well behaved and they were so happy to see us.
Our Afternoon VBS was in a town called Carlsen Field. We had 30+ children. This was a much poorer, drug infested location where one of the members of the church down there lives. She and her family are trying to minister to the people there and the VBS was held on their home property. This was a much more challenging VBS because there seems to be very little knowledge of the Word of God and they did not pay attention very well. But when God sets before you a challenge, he also gives you the grace to complete it!
While the VBS was going on in the driveway of this home two of our ladies were meeting with the women of Carlson Field on the patio of the house right beside where VBS was taking place. There were two women that they were able to minister to. One, who’s husband is an alcoholic, another who’s husband is a Cocaine addict and lives mostly at the local drug house and only comes home to steal from his wife and children and abuse them. Her 8 year-old son refuses to live at home and says he will kill his dad when he is older because of what he sees his dad do to his mom. This mother does not sleep at night because of fear. It was very hard to hear these stories and to feel helpless to aid these families. All we could do was proclaim Christ to them, knowing that THAT was what they truly needed anyway.
Tuesday evening we all loaded up in the van to go see the Leather Back Turtles that are 200 or more who come up on the shore and lay eggs OR to watch baby turtles hatch. Once again, God had another plan for us. There was a young woman walking toward us on the road. Pastor Bickram (the pastor who’s house we were staying at and a good friend) asked if she knew where we might see some Turtles and she said she would take us to them and got in the van with us. She said she was going to a town and we were headed in that direction but she was on foot. Now this is 15 miles of pitch black darkness of night with woods, tall grass on both sides of the road and she was 26 years old. Bickram pulled over under lights of the town to ask her some more questions and we ended up taking her to the police station and even that was a hard decision to make because often times they are as corrupt as the criminal. However, they were very helpful and were concerned for the girl’s safety. The bottom line is that she had run away from home and was headed for a drug house, apparently to meet someone she didn’t really know. The police told Bickram we saved her life that night. I have been praying for this girl ever since.
On Thursday, we did some sightseeing in Tobago before flying back on Friday. It was a great trip. God gave all of us the grace we needed to push through our tiredness and to love on kids that were not always obedient. The culture down there is so rough. The last day of VBS, I was sitting on the grass at Carlsen Field and suddenly there were about 10 kids around me, all wanting attention. They were pulling my hair, pinching me, and kicking me: just to try to get my attention. I told one of the guys in our group that it felt like in movies where people are attacked by birds! I had bruises on my arms from it! I was glad to be able to show Christ’s love to the kids.
The situation down there was very eye-opening. The thing is: it was eye-opening about OUR country. I’ve heard stories of kidnapping and drugs, but to see that first hand in Trinidad made me realize that this happens in America as well. It may not be as public here, but it happens all the time. I have a friend who works in the Family and Children First Council around here and I hear stories from her that shock me. Our country desperately needs the Gospel. This trip has made me more committed to living out the gospel every day.
I don’t usually post a lot of pictures but thought I would share some with you.