This week had been filled with opportunities to lean into God & each other as we stepped up to help.
The kids who didn’t have parents or siblings on the team were challenged to trust others more & find comfort in God & our church community.
The relationships that were forced among everyone held us together. To say our accommodations were rough is an understatement. But again we rose to the challenge & chose to have the joy of the Lord. We all used our God-given Mcgyver skills to survive in a situation that we needed to make life manageable.
- Sally Warrenfeltz
When my daughter asked me to go with her on this mission trip I didn’t immediately say yes. I was happy to go as a chaperone of course but also wanted to make sure my heart and mind were in the right place. I sought counsel from some wise friends and prayed about it. God decided this is where I should be this week.
Many things have happened this week where I can see why I needed to come as a mom, as a chaperone and as a support person. what sticks out to me the most as the reason I needed to be here is to watch God show up.
He wanted me, along with all these kids, to SEE him. I am so excited for you to ask these kids how they saw God every day. You will be amazed! I was amazed! He has done great things for the people of the Bahamas and I am so glad all of us on this trip said yes to this opportunity.
- Melissa McGrath
As we wrap up our week in the Bahamas, a few of us moms reflect on the week, and the ways God has opened our eyes.
We had the opportunity to worship at two local churches. You may suspect that our kids would be shy. That was not the case. Instead, they jumped in, singing the local songs, using the instruments that we handed out, even giving their testimonies during the service. Many have observed that the Bahamians are full of love and joy while having minimal material possessions. Next to the school we are "camping" at, lives a high school boy named Calvin. Throughout the week our kids welcomed him for games, for dinner and on the last night he even asked if he could pray in front of all of us. His message was all about being thankful. Calvin left an impact on our entire team, as he represented the culture that we have learned is a faithful, and joyful one.
The week was humbling for sure. There were five different workgroups that our kids and leaders were assigned to. At initial glance, some of the workgroups appeared to be more exciting, some "easier" and some of the accomplishments were not very visible to the larger group. There was a lesson in this for our kids. Many of them recognized that they were doing hard and important work that was not being recognized by many of the others in the group. Through group discussions and personal reflection, these teams became comfortable with this as they recognized that it was God's plan and that all that mattered was that He understood the importance of their work. It was an excellent life lesson for both leaders and kids.
After our small groups at night, many leaders reflect together on the themes of the discussions. In many of the group, there have been some very raw, emotional discussions. Kids have mentioned that without cell phones, they have had the time to focus and reflect on struggles in their lives. Kids opened up to their leaders about struggles with friendship, at home and with their faith. New, and deep connections have been made. As we talk about integration back home, we have encouraged phone numbers to be exchanged so the support systems that were built in the Bahamas can continue.
On Wednesday, High School leader Shara gave the group an excellent talk that resonated with many. She articulated that no one other than Jesus is capable of loving us the way that God designed us to be loved. WOW! This talk provided such comfort to those struggling with relationships in their life.
We are grateful to God and to the HVC Youth ministry for providing us this opportunity to serve, for the fellowship we experienced and to open our eyes to more of His beautiful creation.
- Bonnie Wilhelm & Melissa McGrath