Tag Archives: missions trip

Brazil Missions Trip – August 2017

In August, God opened the doors for me to go on my fourth missions trip. It was a bit surreal as the details all came together. I was the little girl who dreamed of going on one missions trip and here I was, getting ready for my fourth trip. God is good! One of the highlights of this particular trip was having my dad and my cousin Elisabeth join me. This trip was Elisabeth’s first missions trip and I’ve asked her to share her thoughts today. -Abbie


What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do, that always seemed a little out of reach? Ever since I was young, like 4, I have wanted to go on a missions trip – to see the world from the vantage point of people like Hudson Taylor and Isobel Kuhn. Most of my earliest reading ventures centered on these people – fighting spiritual battles to give the gospel to regions beyond. My grandmother gave me the best birthday gift a nine-year-old could get – 30 books, almost all of them about missionaries, and I read them over and over again. As a teenager, I thrilled to hear about my cousins trekking to Honduras, Jordan, and Peru. Stories of mountain climbing, growing a beard to fit in, food poisoning, and orphanages brought me a smile. Would I ever do something like that? In a heartbeat. However, certain things seemed more pressing on my finances… violin lessons and COLLEGE. I shelved the idea of leaving the country, and focused on what I knew the Lord wanted me to do for that day – cook, practice music, give lessons, go soulwinning on Saturday, and go to church on Sundays. In fact, I became so busy that reading almost entirely left my world, except textbooks; and dreaming of actually going to give the gospel somewhere else was almost forgotten.

In February of 2017, I had a really good conversation with one of my favorite teachers, and at one point, he asked if there was anything pressing that I had really desired to, before – you know, marriage. 🙂 I couldn’t think of anything immediately. While cleaning lots of bathrooms that afternoon, I prayed and asked the Lord the same question – was there anything He wanted me to do? A missions trip! That was the thing – and the thought made me very excited. I knew that if the Lord wanted me to go, there were a lot of obstacles He would have to overcome. I talked to my parents that night, and they gave me permission to get a passport. I prayed about where I should go; and checked in with friends in Mexico. At first, they were very excited about it; but several details were not falling into place. It did not feel quite confirmed that I should go there. On top of that, my mom was not very excited about the idea that I go to Mexico – especially with no one but my very dear, and younger, friend. I continued praying about Mexico; and in April, Abbie visited our house. She had just been to Honduras, and was now planning on going to Brazil in August. As she rehearsed stories, and explained details, I saw my mom getting more and more excited. The Brazil trip was already organized by a team leader, in a much more populated area, and sounded less frightening. As I prayed about the options, Brazil was it. Everything that had been lacking in the Mexico trip, was taken care of by the Brazil trip, including a huge peace that this was from the Lord.

This past summer was a huge faith growing experience for me, and I really mean that. The amount of money I needed to bring in to go was easily brought in by piano students – until they started taking summer vacations and getting sick. I had already put in the first $1000, and the rest was not coming in. Many hours were spent in praying for the job opportunity and for awakening in Sao Paulo. However, little by little, gifts from the most surprising of people trickled in, to the very last week – things like a suitcase, a backpack, hiking sandals, and monetary gifts. The very last week, I had exactly everything I needed, plus $20. God answered very specifically, and at times I especially needed it. Our God is a perfect God, and His purpose is always His glory. On top of that, He delights in delighting us, but in a way that matures us, grows our faith, and gives Him glory. What a purpose to take part in!

People prayed and prayed and prayed, and of course I did, too. I was so excited about what God would do and I still am. Everybody said, “It’s gonna change your life.” And I would always think, “Sure, but how?’

The change started before I went to Brazil – although I have long loved giving out the Gospel, I became a great deal more soul-conscious, praying more for souls to be saved, and praying to see more the world the way Christ does. God broke my heart for an area that I now get to go soulwinning in almost every week. My faith grew a great deal this past summer, as I saw in a new and personal way, God answer prayer and do big things.

Now a few months later, I get it. It did change my life, my daily thought process – sometimes I’m pretty slow to get things. 🙂 I love those people in Brazil, and all people everywhere. I really truly want nothing more than I want God to be glorified and to see people saved – in places where the gospel has hardly been preached. Jesus really is The Answer – He isn’t an abstract idea that makes people feel good when times get rough. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. There are many people who are searching for that Way, who need to know the Love of Christ.

When I got to Brazil, I saw people. To me, it was different, but more, it was the same. These people laughed and cried and married and had babies and shopped and ate and drove and carried on a human life. Their emotions were uniquely the same as every other human’s. One difference – these 150,000 people in 6 square miles had barely if any exposure to the name of Jesus Christ – let alone true Christianity. As people crowd you on every street corner, and sip their beers, or catch up on local gossip, they have no idea that a Saviour loves them, was crucified and rose again for their soul, and wants to save them from eternal destruction. That is horrific.

Brazil has a different government and a different education system. It is fascinating to me that Brazilian children are required to only learn Portuguese and mathematics, and these at a painstakingly slow rate. Can you imagine having no concept of a country outside Brazil and the United States? No concept of a round world or your nation’s history? No concept of Israel and 2000 years ago? Most of these children do not. Yet they are given hours of intensive gender-switching training daily. However, any organization can go and teach anything in any of their public schools for an hour. What an opportunity!

Music, in the classical sense, is almost nonexistent; and the children we were with in church had never seen a clarinet or a violin. They were thrilled to touch these things and make sounds.

All this, though we were in a comparatively rich area, complete with shopping malls, cars (everywhere, very close, haha!), phones, and American fashion.

We passed out some 25,000 Scriptures, and saw four people receive Christ as Saviour. Though immediate results have been bigger, this was very much a planting work in a rich city. The Word is even yet taking root in hearts; and for many, giving them a first exposure to the God of the Bible, and Christ, a personal Saviour. I am praying yet, and am confident, that God will do a great work in Sao Caetano de Sul, not because we are anything at all, but I know Who God is, and I know Him. What big things has He done in your life? 

Our last missions trip together was to Lima, Peru in 2013. It was fun traveling with him again.

First glimpse of São Paulo, early Tuesday.



Daily activities included canvassing markets and neighborhoods handing out Scriptures, witnessing, eating (Brazilian food is amazing!), and fellowshipping. 


The markets sell just about everything.

We enjoyed pastels and caldo de cana (fresh squeezed sugar cane juice) for lunch several days. Delicious!

Lee Johnson led this lady to the Lord.

The ladies of our team: Elisabeth, Abbie, Abbey, and Brittney.


I enjoy working with a local church on missions trips. The people of Igreja Batista Compaixão were so sweet!


Elisabeth and I obviously enjoying what we were talking about. 🙂

 

Sightseeing day

I tried fresh coconut water for the first time.

Our team with the missionaries. Left to right: Elisabeth Gordon, Phillip Allen, Alan Harris, Abbey Grimes, Brittney Johnson, David Meza, Allen Johnson, Abbie Sikma, Bryan and Rebekah Johnson, Jim Sikma, Elias Correa, Lee Johnson, David Johnson

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Honduras Missions Trip

During the month of March, I was able to take my third missions trip. I traveled with Wings Bearing Precious Seed again and had a wonderful time. Missions trips never get old! New cultures, new friends, and new experiences are such fun. This time, I experienced things like airline delays, getting sick, God’s enabling strength, being pulled over by the police (twice!), late night games, and uplifting conversations with fellow believers, to name a few.

Just getting to Honduras was an adventure. A Wisconsin snowstorm and mechanical problems on my flight caused me to miss my connecting flight in Miami, FL. Five of my team members had also experienced delays and missed the flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The six of us stayed the night in Miami and continued our trip the following day. We finally arrived in Siguatepeque, Honduras, late Tuesday afternoon.

Despite our late arrival, we were still able to do much. Wednesday through Saturday, we went out on the streets and passed out copies of Romans and an invitation to special meetings on Saturday and Sunday. The Hondurans were very receptive and rarely did anyone turn down an invitation. I was able to go to a market one morning with several team members and we passed out many, many invitations. It was so encouraging to see God work!

Our efforts were not in vain. We passed out a total of 27,300 Scriptures throughout the week. We had many guests at each of the services and gave 252 Bibles to first-time visitors. The most exciting part was seeing over 25 precious souls accept Christ. Seeing God work through human vessels is humbling. I trust that the wonder of being used by God will never get old.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to know the Snyder family. The Ted Snyder family has been missionaries in Honduras for almost three years. (Fun fact: my family visited their home church years ago while we were on vacation in New York.) From helping at a children’s Bible Club to singing together in church to enjoying a coffee break, it was wonderful to be able to work with this dear family. They are amazing examples of Christ-love as they have taken 4 young Honduran children into their home and are raising them to love the Lord.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to play the violin and piano for each of the services. It was a stretching experience as I learned to improvise piano accompaniments for several vocal specials. Piano playing has never been my forte (pardon the pun) but God enabled. He gave me the strength to play in spite of my lack of ability and despite being sick. Missions trips are a great way to realize how weak you are and how mighty God is.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58

The following pictures are not all mine. Thanks to various team members for allowing me to use your photos.

Waiting for the shuttle in Miami. It had been a long day.

School Outreach

Evening at the Snyders

Services 

Bible Club

Miscellaneous Pictures

Sightseeing Day

 

Travel Day

Guatemala Missions Trip

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I recently had the privilege of going on my second missions trip. I love missions trips! They are a crazy mix of excitement, exhaustion, and encouragement. 🙂 I love seeing God take the impossible and miraculously work through human vessels to complete His plan. It’s thrilling!

During my trip to Guatemala, it was exciting to see God work in so many different ways. He enabled us to distribute over 48,000 copies of Romans to the people of Guatemala. As a result, 175 visitors attended the special services at Iglesia Bautista Fundamento Biblico. Throughout the three services, we saw 51 people accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Praise the Lord! We ministered in two different schools and reached hundreds of children, teenagers, and young adults with the Gospel. Over 25 people were saved in the schools. A young man from one of the schools came out to the services and accepted Christ.

We walked for miles every day. Sometimes up steep streets, sometimes through crowded marketplaces, and sometimes through bad neighborhoods. Our feet blistered, we got sunburned, and our shoulders ached with the weight of our backpacks. It was exhausting work. We had some early mornings and some late nights. But the discomfort and exhaustion was worth every minute as we saw 10 individuals accept Christ on the streets of Guatemala City.

I came home encouraged and humbled. I was encouraged to see the nationals passionate about sharing the Gospel with the lost. I loved watching the young people of Iglesia Bautisa Fundamento Biblico open a Bible and declare the Gospel during the invitations. It was a blessing to work with other Americans to spread the Good News. Souls were reached for eternity because 18 people chose to follow God out of their comfort zone. God delights in using His children to accomplish His plan. I am humbled to think that God wanted to use an English-speaking girl to spread His Word in a Spanish-speaking country. As I used my few phrases of Spanish to hand out the Gospel and invite lost souls to church, God used me. There is nothing special about me; it’s only Jesus.

If you ever get a chance to go on a missions trip, do it. It will be an experience you will never forget. After I got home I shared with my cousin in a text, “I came home with a renewed love for lost souls, a deeper hunger for God’s Word, and a desire to learn more Spanish so that I can communicate better.” Missions trips will change you. They will change your perspective on life and eternity. They will change the way you interact with people on the street. They will change your walk with God.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8

School Outreaches

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So many of the kids wanted selfies.

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Street Outreach

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We walked through so many markets like this one. At the busier ones, you could easily hand out several hundred Scriptures.

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Church Services

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Fellowshipping in the courtyard after church.

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First-time visitors received a free Bible.

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Sightseeing in Antigua

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Yes, that is an active volcano.

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The streets are all cobblestone.

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Fellowship and New Friends (Most of these pictures are from other team members.)
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Frisbee in the church courtyard.

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Pastor Garcia and his wife, Stephanie

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Mrs. Philbrick and I were partners for the week. We had a great time together. 🙂

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Brittney and Abbey

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This picture of our entire team was taken at 4 a.m. on the morning we came home. Left to right: Mark and Tammy Philbrick, Jon and Kristi Nothstein, David Lord, Nathaniel Johnson, Chris King, Brittney Johnson, Hunter Philbrick, Luke Philbrick, Dema Johnson, Silas Philbrick, Allen Johnson, Abbie Sikma, Abbey Grimes, and Alan Harris.

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Saying “goodbye” at the airport.