From Discouraged to Encouraged – Mexico Mission Trip 2019

During the entire mission trip, I knew that confidence was a major element that mattered. I did my best on spreading this message to others, but no message compared to the 4thday. Mid mission trip , it was extended worship, an event B2B (Back 2 Back) has every year. It is a gathering of everyone at B2B to come together, worship, encourage, and let go of past mistakes.  During that night I chose to go around encouraging my entire group by telling them that God had something in store for them, and that he would give them a purpose for coming. The day after, Jed (A leader for B2B) told everyone that they were supporting characters of God. It felt far beyond my comprehension. I saw this statement as yet another way to encourage others, and myself. I considered it as my picture for the entire trip. I knew that the end of the trip was nearing, and some people could have felt discouraged, yet what Jed told them will possibly give them the support of a lifetime. If they did not know such a thing, then where would they be now?

From Discouraged to Encouraged- Blog by Randy Kercher (Edited by Daisy Kercher)

Intern Missionary to Jamaica shares her experience.

Last year when I graduated high school, I decided to go on a mission trip instead of a senior trip. When my Mom and I visited the missions spot at the FP Blount Campus, we found out about an opportunity to travel to and serve a deaf community in Jamaica.  Since sign language is important to both of us and has been used in our family for years, we began seeking God’s will and praying over it.  Thankfully, over time, God showed his favor on us, provided, and sent us to Jamaica in June of 2018.

During my time in Jamaica, I fell deeper in love with sign language, the deaf culture, and the deaf community.  God developed in me a heart for the Jamaican deaf and the country itself.  He taught me many things and I left with a desire to return the following year.  I went to college in the fall and began saving money, but I didn’t have any plans set in place.  When I heard someone mention an international internship God brought Dana to my mind; Dana is a short term missionary I met during my week in Jamaica.   She served alongside the Faith Promise Mission Team and she lived alongside the Jamaican Deaf and missionaries.  I took my desire to return to Jamaica as a Short Term Missionary (STM) to God and began praying about it.  I contacted Mr. Ben Beukema, a friend of mine who is also the president of CCCD’s (Christian Center for the Deaf) stateside office, and one of the missionaries Faith Promise supports.  He directed me to his wife, Mrs. Krista Beukema, who is also a missionary.  Mrs. Krista guided me through the application process and I obtained recommendation letters from core members of the Blount Campus.  God had his hand on it the whole time and I was granted permission from CCCD to become a STM/intern at their campus in Kingston, Jamaica during May and June of 2019.  Then, through a time of waiting and God teaching me, God provided me with the finances for my trip.  Not only did he provide me the $2,700 I thought I needed, but he provided me with an extra $600.  I used this money to cover unexpected expenses and, once in Jamaica, buy wheelbarrows and shovels for the deaf village.

The very first donation I received to cover these expenses was from Faith Promise Church.  The church made a significant contribution towards my mission trip.  It confirmed to me that it was God’s will for me to serve in Jamaica and live alongside the deaf community at the Kingston campus.  I am very grateful to those who helped make this possible.  Many people have believed in me and prayed for me.  I would not be the person I am today had it not been for individuals within the church body at Faith Promise.  God has used you all in my life and I am sure he will continue working through you to encourage me, to teach me, and to remind me of his love for me.  Thank you for your impact.

While in Kingston, I lived on the campus of one of CCCD’s boarding schools. For the first couple of weeks I served as a teacher’s assistant.  This experience taught me important aspects of the teaching profession, which I will apply to my education major in college.  After a few weeks, my role changed to serving as a bridge between visiting mission teams and the campus, the children, the culture, sign language, etc.  However, the impact is not as much through the things I accomplished as it is through the relationships I made and cultivated.  I value the people I met and the lessons God continues to teach me through these relationships.  I want to tell you about two relationships of the relationships I made during my time in Jamaica.

When I went to Jamaica in 2018, I made several friends at the Jamaican Deaf Village.  Calva and I became friends early on during this mission trip.  He sat and had hour long conversations with me and taught me a lot of sign language.  He is a very good and patient teacher.  We were able to learn about one another and enjoy each other’s company.  Just about every evening, Calva, other deaf at Jamaica Village and our own team, would play card games and dominos.  When I got back to the states, Calva and I found each other on social media and have kept in touch all throughout this past year. We messaged each other several times a month and video chatted a few times as well.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to visit JDV for a week during my recent trip this summer.  When I arrived, Calva and I found each other and it was a happy reunion.  I am very thankful for the friendship Calva and I share and that we’re able to keep in touch.  Our contact with one another throughout the year keeps our friendship alive. It’s an amazing thing to see my friend after being a year apart.

On the Kingston campus, there are around 30 students attending the CCCD school. Their ages range from 6 to 20.  Throughout my time on campus, I did life with these students.  We ate, played games, went on field trips, learned, and talked together.  I got to know several of these kids.  My relationships with them varied in their depth and in their roles.  To some of them, I was their friend.  This was the case with a little boy named Martino.  Martino is a sweet boy around the age of 8.  He loves to play with cars and his friends.  He and two other young boys, Jamie and Nathaniel, are referred to as the three stooges or the three musketeers.  One of their chores was to take trash to the dumpster.  One day, when it was their turn to do their chores, all three of them loaded bags into wheel barrels and then raced them across campus to the dumpster. It was a very funny to watch. Throughout the whole thing, Martino held his nose a little in the air.  It’s one of his cute little quirks; he tilts his head back just a little like he’s trying to see over his nose.  I have no idea why he does it but it’s funny to watch when he does it while racing a wheel barrow.  There were many times when Martino would come sit beside me and lean up against me.  He has a kind heart and would give hugs while smiling great big.  He drew me pictures and colored coloring pages (all of which I’ve kept.)  I love him and our relationship continues to bring me joy.  I intend to write letters and keep in touch with him and several other students.

I could write about several more relationships I’ve made with children and adults alike.  They’re allspecial to me and I cherish them. I hope to continue and always remember these friendships.  Relationships are where memories are made and it’s where God moves.  It’s important not to underestimate the impact relationships make, on all of those involved.

I have found that God gives us a heart and a passion for a people, place, and/or language.  This certainly reigns true in my life.  God continues to open doors and invite me to walk through them.  I’m not sure what God has in store for me next. But I’m excited to see what he does next because I know it’s going to be incredible.  I ask you all to pray that he guides me and reminds me of his promises for my life.  I want to walk with him and I want to walk in his love.

There is a lot of value in mission trips, but we can also do missions work where we are right now.  Our jobs, the grocery store, the local shelters; everywhere around us is our mission field.  God can use even the simplest conversations we have with the people we encounter every day. I challenge you to start a conversation with a stranger or ask your waiter how you can pray for him.  God will use it to touch that person’s heart and show them his love; and he’ll do the same for you.

Thank you for loving me church and thank you for believing in God’s work in my life.  I appreciate you all.  Y’all stay blessed.

-Ally Rey Carpenter

 

Mexico Mission Trip 2019

 

This was my third year on the mission trip to Monterrey , Mexico. This trip was a great experience, as always, for a number of reasons. First of which is that I got to meet  a lot of cool people that were very supportive and usually always had a good attitude. Whether they were interns or people that went through a mission trip, they were all super happy to be there helping out with anything they needed to help with. Moving on over to the kids that we got to see at the orphanage, I had a great time connecting and playing with them after I got done working. All of them were super grateful to see us and they always had smiles on their faces, which made me feel really good. It was a pleasure to see Alexa again, which is the little girl my mom and I sponsor.  Alexa always has fun playing with my mom and me while we are there. A couple of the amazing things I experienced were the lessons and cool new things I learned while I was there. I’ll only tell you a couple of things because there were so many. The most  important thing was that God is always with me wherever I go, even if it’s across the world. I also learned from a couple of the stories, that God can change your entire life from just one small decision, and it’s no fairy tale, it has happened to multiple people at the mission site. Lastly, I wanted to say that one of the things that stood out was the time I had with God.  The most special time I spent with God this week was at the extended worship.  Extended worship was a longer worship time with beautiful music and stations where you can express yourself and get rid of some negative things. God really touched my heart that night and it was special to me. Thank you for reading, God bless you.

written by Colby Mayberry

Mexico Mission Trip 2019

WOW! This trip was wave-walking. It was a God-given chance for me to get to go from the start. When I heard about this mission trip, it was from my cousin, who goes to Faith Promise and was about to embark on his first mission trip. He was inviting me to come along. I was excited, but quickly realized that with a lot going on that year, and the expense of the trip, I would have to pass. My family agreed with the decision, and although I was disappointed, I was glad to be using my money wisely. Then my family planned a big vacation the week I would have been gone. Later that year, I got a call from my cousin only two weeks before the trip was to begin. One of the families had to step out, and there was a spot open for me on the trip at half the price it usually was! The only problem was the vacation we had already planned. It seemed like I was being taunted by opportunities I couldn’t take. Then something happened at my household, an out-of-the-blue change of plans, and our trip got canceled. All of a sudden, the door was wide open. I was going to Mexico!

I didn’t know anyone one the team except my cousin and my Aunt, and so I got to spend the whole week getting to know people with the same passions as me, and with the same God as I follow. They were all amazing, and were always there to help me each step of the way; to steady me, and to pick me up when I fell. God used this time to give me the rest I needed. No, we weren’t physically resting – not even close! – but we were spending every day with Him, doing things for Him, and following Him, which was rejuvenating for my soul. I’d never felt so alive. We got to spend one whole day helping Back2Back fix roofs, power wash, paint, and mix concrete, while the mountains towered around us. Then for the rest of our time, we got to connect with the kids, making crafts and playing endless games of soccer. It was so neat to see God putting smiles on each kids face, and helping us connect with each kid, even though we spoke two different languages. God is so cool in that way that he gave us ways to connect without having to speak; that he gave us expressions and laughter, and creativity. During that week when I was out of contact with my family back home, I was in contact with the Lord every day, and He brought me closer to Himself so that I could see things through His eyes, and appreciate the values He sees that we sometimes miss. 

See, in our world, we do in a way speak a different language than those around us who are of the world. We can make small connections with them sometimes by sharing experiences, by laughing with them, or by simply listening even though we may have no clue what they’re saying or how to respond. We can lead by example. But why not go one step further? When we got to Mexico, even if we didn’t know Spanish, we began asking our leaders how to say this or that, or ask if they could tell a child something. We began to try harder to listen and remember how to say certain things. we began to try to learn about who they are, how they speak, and how to know them on a deeper level so that we could connect in a deeper way. It didn’t matter that we only knew how to say “hello”, we were excited about it! Why should we treat every day life any differently? Why should we not try to learn the language of those around us so that we can connect a little deeper, even if they laugh at our efforts? We could put a smile on someone’s face, make a day a little better, help someone take one more step, maybe even change a life. We could be the difference someone needs to come to Christ; if only we take the time, and make the effort. Our language is hard to learn, and difficult for the world to comprehend. So why don’t we reach out to the world instead of making the world come to us? Let’s do what Jesus would do, and learn their language, so that they can understand why we do what we do. Let’s explain ourselves, in their language. Why not? The return home was hard, in a way. There are so many distractions here that make us forget what we’re really here for. There are so many times when I just want to give up, to do what I want to do, to hang out with my friends instead of help someone I don’t really know that well. There are times when I wish I was in Heaven. But hey, no one said learning a language was easy. For most of us, its one of the most frustrating experiences ever. But we can’t give up. This is a call to arms. There’s lives to save out there, guys. Listen to others. Learn how to respond. Live out the faith. Be the difference for one.

 

Lottie Benson

Monterrey Mexico Back to Back Mission Trip

Perfect Imperfections

Many years ago my sister volunteered at a senior center.  My sister has always loved to put on make-up and do nails and she used this talent to make elderly feel good about themselves.  If you know me you know this is not my gifting. Yet, I would do whatever I must to have Mayra smile. Mayra is the girl my family and I started to sponsor last year. She somehow found her way to creep into our hearts. So, when one of the first things Mayra showed me when we arrived to Mexico was a new make-up kit her teacher gave her for her birthday I knew that the nail polish my small group was able to help provide would go to good use. Mayra loves to feel beautiful!

This was our 5th year going to an orphanage in Monterrey.  We used to give manicures and pedicures to the Care Givers, but they appreciated the prayers more.  So we stopped.  However, I knew from some letters and from the make-up kit she showed me Mayra would like her nails painted.  So, on the second day I got to hang out with Mayra I painted her nails.  All the things I have learned over the years about the importance of physical touch came flooding back.  I held her hands and gave a very imperfect manicure.  However, then I was able to put sparkles on top. Sparkles make everything amazing. Then Mayra asked me to pick a color.  She wanted to paint my nails too.  This was a huge bonding moment, from what I have learned from TCC (trauma competent care) training  that it is great  for orphans to show a sign of giving and compassion.  I think it was the most beautiful manicure I have ever had.  But then, just to add to all the love she had shown me, she looked for Daisy (my daughter) and did her nails too.

I considered giving her the nail polish and she did ask for it, but then another young lady sat down, Carmen.  Carmen is the only care giver I have seen every year I have gone to Mexico.  Her twin sons were the first children Randy (my son) ever read to in Spanish. Carmen also takes care of a boy that is my husband’s buddy when we go.  So, when she sat at the table with us to do her own nails I thought she might appreciate a little gift herself.  What mom of 8 boys ages 6-12 couldn’t use a little nail polish?

This blog might not be neat and tidy, but my heart swells as I write it.  It is so hard to put into words the love I received and felt free to give.  No judgement, no competition, no impressing one another….just pure love.  Love is in the imperfections and love is perfect.

By: Robin Kercher (Edited by: Daisy Kercher)

Kenya Mission trip Day 5

Today our team divided into 3 seperate groups…here is an update from each group:

GROUP ONE

One of the best things we do on a 410 Bridge trip is to spend a day in the life with a family from the community. Today we got to spend a day in the life with the family of Warutere. Warutere is 84 years old, and he had 11 children.

We were greeted by his granddaughter, Irene as we arrived at the neighborhood, and she led us to her homestead where we met her mother, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was already working in the small cooking shed beside their home, boiling water so that she could make us all coffee. When she found out that we didn’t all drink coffee, she quickly went back and warned some milk to make tea also. That is the kind of welcome we get everywhere we have gone in Kenya. Each place where you enter, they welcome you with a smile and the phrase “Karibu”, which means welcome. They always want you to feel like you are home.The cooking shed had a custom built cooking area in one side, and the other side was a storage for plates, cups, and wood for the fire. Kind of like their pantry.We took a walk out to the fields to meet the grandfather, Warutere. Warutere was taking the sheep out to graze for the morning. After they were all tied up, we all headed back to the house.Back at the house, we continued to prepare lunch for the day. We cut up some carrots, onions, garlic, and peppers to add to the beans that were already cooking. We also cut up some pumpkin and zest of a lemon for the Chapati bread we were preparing.

While the rest of the team went and toured the neighboring farmland, I stayed back and continued to make the Chapati bread with Irene. We kneaded the dough, made with mashed pumpkin, lemon zest, all purpose flour, and a little sugar, then added a little oil and left it to rest while we went back to work on the stew.The beans for the stew had been cooking and were now soft enough, so we put some oil in a pan, added the onions and garlic, and finally the carrots. When that had cooked a while, we added the beans to the mix and covered it to let it cook. We were told this stew was something they only made for special occasions, such as weddings.

In the meantime, the Pumpkin Chapati bread was ready to cook. It is rolled out so that it is about 1/4 inch thick, then placed on a very hot pan. Once a side has been lightly cooked, some oil is spread on it and then it is cooked some more until it is done on each side. It seemed like we were making a lot, so I asked her if it could be saved for later. The look I got from her is hard to describe. It was a little like what you would expect if you told somebody we should save the hot Krispy Kreme donuts to eat later, and when she gave me a taste of the first one, I understood why. She assured me we would eat them all, but maybe we could save some to take with us when we left. When I asked, she told me it was her favorite food.The rest of the team was back by then, so we each took turns rolling out the dough. Finally, with the bread done and the stew finished, we stopped to have lunch. The stew and bread was served with fresh avocadoes that they got from a tree in their yard. Irene never stopped serving us, and didn’t finally sit down to eat with us until we had almost finished.Once we finished lunch, we went for a walk and Irene and her grandfather showed us around and pointed out the many different crops and plants they had on the property. We saw corn, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, cabbage, and an aloe vera plant. There was also a clearing where many tea tree plants were located.Eventually we arrived at the home of Irene’ s aunt, who was also named Irene.I don’t know that you will ever see a greater smile than this one. This is the look of a grandfather holding his five month old granddaughter who is named after his wife who passed away, Tamal.We stayed there for a long time, talking about Kenya and asking lots of questions. We played with Tamal, and laughed with our new Kenyan friends.After we left Irene’s aunt’s house, we headed back and brought the cow in to water before taking it to a new area to graze. Then we sat down for another cup of coffee and tea before having to say goodbye.Before we left, we gathered the family together to thank them for treating us so well, and to pray over them and their house before we left. I don’t think there was anything more they could have done to make us feel more at home, and we learned so much about them during our time there. Family is very important to them, and they love each other deeply. But more important than that, when you are in their home, they extend that same love to you, and for that time that you are with them, you feel like you are family as well. That is a lesson I hope we never forget.

GROUP TWO

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GROUP THREE

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