Thursday, August 13, 2015

Testimonies From Teams

It is our joy and privilege to host short term mission trips every summer for teams from all across the country. One moment that stands out was a when young, high school student (who we will call Roger) had his perspective radically altered. Roger had a smooth week until the last day when he encountered hostility from one of the men he was witnessing to at the Prayer Station. The man was very angry with God  and said some hurtful things. Shaken up, Roger returned to the Prayer Station to tell our staff member what happened. This gave us an opportunity to share about the rejection and persecution Jesus experienced during his days of ministry and how he forgave and made intercession for his enemies. After hearing this Roger said, "I would like to pray for him."  That night, at the final night debrief, Roger shared about how this had impacted him. He also mentioned that during the worship time that evening, he dropped to his knees because he was so overwhelmed with the glory of God and with all that he saw God do throughout the week. He ended by saying, "This week was life-changing."

Jeff, a leader of a team from Ohio, shared with us an encounter he had with a man named Christopher at one of the Prayer Stations. He said that Christopher came up to the Prayer Station and just broke down in tears. He was grieving because he hasn't seen his son in over a year, and the fact that Father's Day had just passed only made the pain worse. Jeff spent some time praying for Christopher and told us, "I prayed for him, he kneeled, and then he gave me a big hug and wouldn't let go." Before leaving he told Jeff that he somehow knew that he needed to stop at the Prayer Station even though he originally just wanted a Metro Card. Jeff said, "I told him I will never forget him and would continually pray for him.

A girl named Mackenzie said that she came on the trip with the intention of blessing others, but by the end of the week she felt like she was the one who received the blessing. "Devoting a week to ministry and time spent with God has revived and refreshed my spirit," said the young girl from Louisiana. Proverbs 11:25 tells us that "those who refresh others with themselves be refreshed". That is exactly what she experienced! Overall,  Mackenzie said that her time with Street LIFE Ministries gave her a "pretty substantial priority shift" and caused her to evaluate things in light of eternity. She left saying, "I feel equipped to reach out and minister when I return home." 

Testimonies From Brazil

Our mission trip to Brazil is one of the biggest highlights of every summer. This was our seventeenth time going to Brazil and we have no intention of stopping any time soon. Every night we take to the streets and spread the good news through worship, dramas, preaching, and prayer.

David putting shoes on homeless man's feet
One night we had the privilege of joining a local homeless ministry to bring soup and the gospel to those living on the streets. When we arrived at our ministry location, there was a man laying on the sidewalk using the curb as his pillow. During our time of worship, David went over to pray for him. While they were talking, he felt the Lord tell him to give him his socks and shoes. He politely declined, but David insisted. With great appreciation he accepted the offer. After the exchange a few of our team members spent some quality time with him in prayer. The man was extremely blessed to have received such practical and spiritual support during this difficult time in his life.

Sherilyn with two street girls from the slums
Sherilyn, a young girl from Ohio, shared the following testimony from our night of worship and evangelism at the town square. "A woman came to me and, through a translator, I found out that she had attempted suicide the day before and felt lost and confused about God and her life. I grabbed her head and prayed that God would show her just how much He loves her. After that and watching The Puppet Master (the drama), she turned to me and said, "I'm Free", and for me, that was such a blessing. Brazil is a wonderful place and I can't wait to return!"

This year's trip was Beth's first time ever being involved with missions or evangelism. Though she didn't know what to expect during her time in Brazil, God blessed her for her obedience with a life-changing experience. "The Lord gave me His eyes and allowed me to see each person I met the way He saw them! My attitudes and approach to others changed. I swallowed a very large humility pill and will make an extra effort to continue seeing people the way Jesus does - looking past the social norms and really looking into someone's eyes and sharing pure unbiased, unconditional love like I have never done before! I want others to walk in this kind of love when I return home. I want others to see a changed person when I return!" Since returning from Brazil, Beth has already gotten involved with local outreaches through her church. It is amazing how one mission trip can have such an impact on a person's life. Praise God!