At Christ Church, we exist to make, mature, and mobilize disciples of Jesus Christ by loving Jesus and loving like Jesus in the world. While many times that happens right here in Memphis, the call of Christ has global implications, and we are committed to reaching the nations with the gospel. This year, Christ Church will be taking trips to visit three of our partners: Bethlehem Bible College in Israel, New Life Children’s Home in Guatemala, and Yugo Ministries in Mexico. GO 2017 will take a look at these trips each Friday, continuing this week with Marc and Jessica Walters, leaders for the upcoming mission trip to Guatemala.
What will the team be doing this year in Guatemala?
We will be staying and ministering at New Life Children’s Home – a children’s home for orphaned, abused, and neglected children. New Life Children’s Home’s goal is to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these children so they can “turn children in crisis into children in Christ.” This trip will include a large amount of interaction with the children and with the staff at NLCH. The children will be in school (for half days) the week of our visit, so a portion of our time will be spent doing projects to assist the staff at NLCH. The specific projects will be determined after the staff reviews a skill inventory for our team.
This trip is specifically a family trip; what advice would you give to parents serving with their kids?
Your children will amaze you on this trip. As a parent, we know our kids so well, but you will see a new side of them when they are being the hands and feet of Christ in this type of setting. I cannot describe how proud I have been to see our sons serving Christ as they compassionately minister to hurting children. Talk about Guatemala frequently before the trip and help them understand that the Lord has a purpose for them on this team and that their role is just as important as the adult roles.
How have you seen God move on this trip?
Many of the children at NLCH have experienced hardships and trauma that no child should have to endure. As a result, some of them are cautious and not immediately trusting of new people. On our last trip, we saw some children who seemed to have “walls” or their defenses up. However, those walls or defenses would melt away when they were with the children from our team. We saw the young people on our team engage the Guatemalan children with games, soccer, playing with bunnies, and crafts. One special memory was when the children and teenagers of our team shared their testimony and/or favorite devotionals with the NLCH children. We know the NLCH children often hear adults sharing about the work God has done in their lives. However, they appeared to be so receptive and eager to hear the testimony and devotionals of our team’s young people.
What if I have never been on a mission trip before? What advice would you give me?
The most important thing is to pray. We realize it can be scary to step outside your comfort zone and into a new culture, and we encourage you to pray regularly for your upcoming trip. Pray that the Lord will give you His heart for the people of Guatemala and the children at NLCH. Have an open mind and heart, and be receptive to the Holy Spirit speaking to you throughout the trip. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to also journal daily during your trip. The Lord moves and speaks in so many ways when you are on a mission trip. Take time each day to journal the events and what God has been showing and teaching you.
Why should I give up a week of my summer to serve in Guatemala?
The Lord is working everywhere – you do not have to travel to another country to do His work or to minister to others. However, we have noticed that when we are in familiar settings (or within our sphere of comfort) we tend to rely more on ourselves and our own effort. When you are in a new country with a different culture, different language, different customs, etc, you tend to be much more aware of your dependency on God. You might give up a week of summer vacation, but the experience will most likely be an experience that blesses your family and strengthens your faith.
Don’t miss your chance to join part of this team going back to Guatemala May 27-June 3! For more information, including cost and registration, visit cumcmemphis.org/goglobal. Registration deadline is March 15.
Questions about the trip? Please contact Bob Whitsitt at firstname.lastname@example.org