Guadeloupe Missions 2018
Sadly, it is our final day in Guadeloupe. We will miss the people here very much! This morning we visited Pastor Kali’s church. It was definitely a very interesting and unique experience for several members on the team. The long periods of standing and repetitive worship alone were different from a typical Chinese church. I find it amazing to see how different cultures uniquely praise God and organize their services. In addition to taking holy communion, the congregation also participated in washing each others’ feet as Jesus commanded his disciples.
We attended the Chinese church again one more time followed by a visit to one of our campers who could not attend. The situation is common here: the youth may come to faith, but the parents are uncomfortable with Christianity or allowing their children to attend church. Pray for encouragement among the people here that they might stay strong in their faith and hold fast to their hope!
The day ended with a large farewell dinner, where once again, we celebrated Pastor Joseph’s birthday!
Saturday was the team’s first and last completely free day. Accompanied with several campers from Martinique, we spent the day touring various sites in Guadeloupe: a visit to the beach for a swim and beach soccer; lunch at a Creole restaurant by the sea; a spectacular hike up to the cliffs of Pointe des Châteaux.
In the evening, Jacques hosted a barbeque at his home and we celebrated Pastor Joseph’s birthday!
June 27 - 29
In the last few days of camp, we continued to see transformed lives and campers coming to Jesus! In the initial planning of the camp, due to some schedule miscommunication, we had to make significant changes for Thursday. Instead of having messages and small group time as usual, Thursday was a full day role-playing game to conclude the camp. The game was an excellent way to reinforce the topics covered throughout the camp. Teams went on different quests for various kings. Some of the kings would award them with symbols as they discovered different aspects of Jesus: Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, King. Other kings would help teams win coins. The game was architected such that it was impossible to uphold all “10 commandments” so players were constantly being sent to prison. Once in prison, they must either solve difficult math problems or ask Jesus to help them. The game was a shockingly accurate representation of how insistently we try to solve our own problems in our own wisdom. So many players refused Jesus’ help because they believed they could succeed on their own. Distracted by coins, many teams wasted time trying to win money instead of discovering the different aspects of Jesus.
The night ended with each team presenting a skit to portray different passages in the Bible and a joyous and extended time worshipping together. A few campers stayed afterward to chat under the stars and share their lives. It was a sweet and memorable conclusion to the camp and we are very grateful for all that God was doing.
June 25 - 26
There have been so many things to praise and thank God for in the first two days of camp. The venue for the camp is a hotel at the beach so we are blessed to have many spaces for group activities. Despite schedule changes from the hotel staff, the camp has been running very smoothly. They have been very accommodating in working with us to finalize logistics and update us of any changes.
The games activities have been tons of fun and the campers are thoroughly enjoying them. Here are photos of some highlights:
Swimming races at the pool
Dodgeball at the beach
Jamming to Chinese songs
Winners of the marshmallow-Dorrito tower challenge
Hungrily waiting for breakfast
Most importantly we praise God that He has been making His name known and giving us the privilege to reap the harvest. In Max and Hernan’s sessions, God placed in them words to share that were previously unplanned. Hernan's sermon especially was completely different because his computer broke and then the internet didn’t work so he didn’t use the slides he prepared. God truly used these “unfortunate” events to speak to the youth. Some of the discussion groups are very closed and unwilling to engage in conversation, but the testimony of God's transformative power in our team has opened their hearts and made them vulnerable in one-on-one conversations. We see that there is a huge hunger among the youth--an unusual attentiveness--to know more about this Jesus we talk about. We are privileged and praise God that we can witness transformed hearts in those who do not believe and revived spirits in youth who have already received Christ.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to fill us with power and authority to accomplish His work.
Pray for opportunities and boldness among the team to reach out to youth who are so close to encountering Christ. Pray that in their loneliness, their longing for value, their anxiety for the future, the pressure to perform--that they would come to Jesus for their hope and joy.
Pray for Eugene and Austin who will be teaching Wednesday morning and evening, respectively, that God would give them pure hearts and prophetic words as they share with the youth.
June 23 - 24
Twice on Saturday we had the privilege to witness God’s healing hands. In the morning Hannah was experiencing back pain, and in the evening prayer meeting at church, James did as well. Both times, we prayed together and God immediately removed their pain! We praise God for the restoration He brings and look forward to the hearts he will restore next week. During the prayer meeting we also prayed for our own hearts--that God would prune our lives so we might treasure Him--and we prayed for open hearts among the youth next week to receive Jesus.
Eugene, Hernan, and Joey arrived Saturday afternoon, so now the whole team is together! They were welcomed with a restful visit at one of the church families’ home. Very restful.
It was a refreshing visit to prepare us for another full day of preparation on Sunday which was packed with sermon practice. We ran through all of the talks to identify any issues and suggest changes. Amidst all of the work, we were very blessed to have three of our campers next week--Jackie, Leo, and Kevin--prepare food for us!
Pray that God would open the hearts of the campers next week--that those new to Christ would receive him and others would come to treasure him more.
Pray for focus as there are still several tasks to complete and changes to make before the camp.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to fill us with power and authority to accomplish His work.
Pray especially for Joseph who will be preaching first on Monday night about Jesus our Savior.
June 21 - 22
The past two days were filled with planning and preparation for the camp. It turned out to be packed yet fun and enjoyable work. After finalizing some sermon and session content and gathering supplies for the camp, we ran through many of the icebreakers, games, and activities. We had so much fun planning and brainstorming; hopefully the real camp is just as exciting. It was good and very important that we practiced everything. For one of our team activities running through all of the steps helped us to learn it was too difficult. Friday especially was simultaneously our most fun and most productive day of game preparation. The team has been learning that sharing in the work and supporting each other yields more fruitful results.
Thursday evening was a session on marriage and sex, and Friday we visited one of the church families for dinner. After the marriage session, a few of the youth decided to rekindle their relationship with God. We praise God for all He is doing and look forward in hopeful expectation toward everything He will do at the camp in the coming week.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to fill us with power and authority to accomplish his work now and in the coming week.
Today was a day of much needed rest. We spent the morning doing preparation for the camp, reviewing all of the games planned. In the afternoon, we visited Pastor Kali and had a sweet time spending time with the family. Pastor Kali visits the Chinese church once a month to lead them in communion. We had the privilege to go to his home, talk with him and his family, marvel at his sustainable home, and enjoy time with his children.
Visit with Pastor Kali in 2007
And a brief and spontaneous visit to the beach!
Joseph W.’s family provided a wonderful dinner after which, we ran a workshop on evangelism training at the church. It was training for the church as much as it was a reminder for us that we need to depend on the Holy Spirit when we evangelize -- to seek the insight and prophecy that only He can give. It is by His power when speaking to someone that according to 1 Corinthians 14:25 “the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”
Pray that the Holy Spirit would fill us with power and authority to accomplish his work now and in the coming week.
Pray for focus and unity among the team as there remains much to prepare.
Pray for wisdom in leading a workshop on dating, marriage, and sex.
Evanglism training using the GodTools app.
The day was filled with many more family visitations. God has given us tremendous opportunities to reach His people -- opportunities to talk and pray with families with divided religious beliefs; opportunities to evangelize to individuals, who though uncomfortable are willing to listen to the Gospel. We consistently encounter families who, willing to hear and listen, welcome us into their businesses and sit among us. We thank God for how He has prepared their hearts and made them open and receptive to the message. Though we have encountered hesitant hearts, we have faith that God will continue to grow the seeds He has begun to sow through us.
In the evening, we led the church with both youth and parents in a workshop about studying the Bible. Pastor Joseph led a very interactive workshop where we asked multiple questions, each paired with dramatic body gestures, to understand and study Scripture.
What are they seeing?
What are they saying?
What are they doing?
What other choices do they have?
What does this tell us about God?
What does this tell us about the world?
What does this tell us about ourselves?
Does this still happen today?
It was encouraging and exciting to see that everyone was engaged. It gives us much hope to see families all in the same room reading and interpreting God's Word together.
We are only in Guadeloupe for a short time, so pray that God would continue to strengthen the church internally and that they would grow strong biblical foundations.
Pray for focus, wisdom, and unity in our upcoming activities:
Wednesday we are working on lots of preparation for the camp.
Wednesday evening we are running a workshop on evangelism.
Thursday evening we are running a workshop on dating, marriage, and sex.
This morning we began our first trip to visit families on the island. Most of these families have children going to the camp so our goal was to get to know them and introduce ourselves. First, we are very thankful that God granted us safe passage and transportation. We are fortunate to have Jacques and Joseph W. to drive us all over the island on small and windy roads. It has been most encouraging to see how much God has been working in Guadeloupe before we even arrived. So many of families are not Christian yet they have decided to send their children to our camp. So many of the families are not Christian yet regardless welcomed us into their homes and were open to deep conversation.
Tomorrow we have an even busier day and we look forward to meeting more of the families. Pray that God would continue to provide opportunities, that he would soften the hearts of the people we encounter, and that He would give us ears that are sensitive to His will.
Today the team attended the local Chinese church which Jacques and Joseph W. are a part of. They meet in the home of Joseph W. and consist of approximately twenty adults and ten youth. The Chinese population of Guadeloupe is only about 300, so this single house church reaches about 10% of the island's Asian population. Guadeloupe's small Asian population is in part due to the racism they experience here. Many who come face discrimination and move to other islands such as Martinique and St. Martin. We are so thankful that God has provided such a tremendous opportunity here. Some of those attending the church are not professing Christians but continue to attend.
We have been overwhelmed with the tremendous hospitality of the community and we prayer for ever greater love and an increase in the knowledge of Christ. We had the opportunity to spend a beautiful time with the youth watching as they prepared a skit and a few Christian songs to perform to their parents. We talked with them, played games with them, and with one we had the opportunity to pray and share the gospel. Many of the same youth will be attending the camp next week so we look forward to deepening relationships with them in order to more fully love and minister to them.
It's the end of the first day and the entire team for the first part of the trip has convened together. Max, Priscilla, and James unfortunately endured three delays due to a fuel leak, waiting an additional ten hours in the airport. Fortunately, the wait was not without free food! We are thankful that by God's grace everyone arrived together in Guadeloupe safely by evening. The team will be staying under the kind hospitality of Jacques' family, members of the Chinese church here.
Jacques and Joseph W. (another member of the church) picked us up from the airport and took us grocery shopping for the week. Apparently the Carrefour we visited is the largest grocery store in the entire French Caribbean! Jacques' family owns a smaller grocery store here in Guadeloupe so they helped us with finding the most affordable prices for everything.
The night ended spending a delightful time with Jacques' family and feasting on deliciously abhorrent fried hamburgers. We are utmost thankful for the warm welcome we received and the hospitality shown toward us. There still remains much to plan and prepare so pray for focus and unity among the team that we may work together without disagreement or conflict. Every morning will begin with devotions and worship and conclude with prayer. Pray that in these times the team will grow closer in intimacy and that the Spirit would fill us with love and every day renew in our hearts and minds a vision for what He desires us to do in Guadeloupe. This first week will be predominantly filled with visiting families of the campers. Pray that we would see them through the eyes of the Father and know how to serve them and show them His great love.