Sharing the gospel during trip to Honduras
You're never too young to make an impact for God.
That's a lesson three Bermudians learnt on a Word of Life missions trip to Honduras this summer.
They left expecting to change others lives by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ; they had no idea they'd return with a much richer faith as well.
Here are their stories:
Kiarrah Rogers was raised in a Christian household, but it wasn't until taking part in a WOL camp four years ago that her faith became real.
“I had heard a message on how dangerous it was to be a casual Christian, and how it was more dangerous to live your life ‘halfway there' for God than it was to not know Him at all,” the 19-year-old said.
“From that camp on, I decided to live my life fully for Jesus Christ.”
Kiarrah has been on two missions trips since then.
The first, in 2013, gave her the opportunity to build homes for families in need in Haiti. This summer she was able to share the gospel with unsaved people in Honduras.
She said the most recent experience pushed her out of her comfort zone like nothing before.
It also helped her to draw nearer to God.
“The purpose of the trip was to partner with Word of Life Honduras and participate in local ministry,” the Guelph University student explained.
“We would usually wake up and eat breakfast by 7.15am, then be ready to go to our first ministry activity by 8am. Ministry included going to schools and churches sharing the gospel and playing games with children, teaching Vacation Bible School classes, and doing open-air evangelism in neighbourhoods and communities.
“We would usually do two ministry activities per day: one in the morning, and another after lunch.”
Her most meaningful moment during the trip came when she helped lead two women to Jesus Christ.
“It reminded me that there are people all around us waiting to hear about Jesus Christ — and we're the ones that God has assigned to tell them,” Kiarrah said.
The trip did come with some challenges, however.
There were times when she didn't know what words to say while sharing the gospel, but God always made a way.
“A missions trip isn't a vacation; it's a period of time where you're engaged in full-time ministry,” she said.
“Therefore, there were some days where I was tired, or when evangelising I didn't know what to say next. But, I feel like in those moments when you're weakest, that's when God is His strongest. Often times I would remember 2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘ ... for my power is made perfect in weakness ...'.”
Kiarrah recently entered her third year in a landscape architecture degree programme. She's returned to school this year with the understanding that as long as you make yourself available, God can use you to build His Kingdom.
“Allowing God to slowly move me out of my comfort zone has allowed me to grow in my spiritual walk in ways that I would have never thought,” she said. “I'm learning that God puts us in uncomfortable situations so we can be vulnerable and rely solely on Him for help.”
Cody Simons had always dreamed of travelling the world and discovering new places.
A recent missions trip to Honduras gave him that chance — and so much more.
The 16-year-old spent three weeks of his summer holiday sharing the gospel with children in the local schools and churches; he also go to take part in a weekend camp in the mountains.
“I'd say that this missions trip has opened my eyes to be grateful in all that I have and take nothing for granted,” he said.
“For all the young people who want to go on one, or are thinking about one, I'd say that there will be times when you want to give in, or feel like you're not qualified to do this, but I've realised that God qualifies the called instead of the other way round.
“It's in those moments of weakness where we can look upon what God has done and realise [He's equipped us with the] same power and strength that He has. Because of this you can see all the wonderful miracles He has done in your life when there was no way out for you.”
Cody knew a little bit about the Central American country before his departure from the Island on July 4.
Still he was completely bowled over by the “unique charm”, beautiful mountains and varied wildlife they saw during their trip.
“When we first landed, there was a definite change in scenery and lifestyle because they have such a dense population, quite like ours [in Bermuda]. The difference is they have very rocky roads and have a low standard of living,” he said.
“It opened my eyes to see how fortunate I really was when I saw how these people live their lives.”
Another perk was meeting other young believers from across the United States.
“We all worked very well together and were all funny, weird and crazy throughout the entire missions trip,” he said. “By then end, we were a family who loved each other with a burning passion and desire to seek God with all of our hearts.”
The hardest parts of the trip were dealing with the heat and adjusting to the different culture and time zone.
Another challenge was the language barriers between them and the locals.
“Most of us didn't speak or understand a lot of Spanish, but we overcame that with the use of translators and by using the bits that we did know already in Spanish,” he said.
Overall he said he really enjoyed the missions trip and the chance it gave him to grow.
“I was able to do things I've never done before,” Cody said. “One moment that really stood out throughout the entire trip was being able to engage with all of the children that I came in contact with. They were so attentive and eager to hear and know the gospel.
“That made me smile and helped me realise how many people were impacted by what we did.”
Katrina Hassell's WOL missions trip to Honduras was an answer to prayer.
Three years ago she took part in a Bible Institute programme in Argentina — and had been praying ever since for God to give her another opportunity to use her Spanish.
“When the missions trip to Honduras was announced last summer I cried because I could see that God was answering my prayer,” she said. “After talking to my parents it was decided: I was going to Honduras in the summer of 2015!”
The 21-year-old immediately started researching about the region.
She was shocked to learn that Honduras was the number one murder capital of the world and had a high number of robberies.
“That was a bit unsettling to read, but we went in confidence that God had chosen each of us for this trip and whether in death or life He would use us to make an impact in this Central American country,” Katrina said.
“By the end of the trip I was amazed and relieved that all of us were still alive and none of had been robbed.
“The whole time there I never saw anything that would deter me from going back.”
A typical day in Honduras started with breakfast and personal quiet time.
After that they would head out to a church or school to facilitate a Vacation Bible School-type service.
“We would teach and sing songs, break into groups for Bible lessons and then play games with the kids,” she said. “We were the song leaders, the Bible teachers and the game runners. Those sessions lasted for three or four hours, then we would head to the next location to do the same thing again.”
Her standout moment of the trip came while doing door-to-door evangelism one afternoon.
“I was out with my younger brother Nicholas, a translator, and a young girl from the local church we were in the neighbourhood of,” she said.
“We went to one house and a lady named Ruth came out. Nicholas shared the gospel with her, it was translated to Spanish by our translator, Josue. When Ruth said she wanted to receive Jesus as her personal Saviour I prayed with her and then the girl from the local church explained when church services were.
“This was the coolest thing for me because I saw the unity of the body of Christ in action. All four of us were necessary in Ruth making the life-changing decision to follow Jesus.” Katrina said the trip taught her that while she's often weak, God is always strong.
“Our days were long and speaking Spanish again was tough but God kept saying ‘Katrina, rely on me. You can't but I can'.”
Although she is the daughter of a pastor, Troy Hassell of Calvary Gospel Chapel, the whole idea of salvation didn't click for her until she spent time in Argentina.
“I grew up in the church and because I am pastor's kid people always had such high expectations for me and so growing up I tended to live as if my salvation was dependent on what I did and who I pleased,” she said.
“But God took me all the way to Argentina to show me that ‘it is by grace I've been saved, through faith and this not of my own doing but rather it is a gift from God' (Ephesians 2:8).
“Argentina is where my faith became my own and since then I've been learning that His grace knows no limit and His love will always be sufficient. I want to know God more and more and now I no longer study the Bible out of obligation, but out of a genuine desire to know God, my friend, better.”
She's already looking forward to her next missions trip and encourages others to consider doing one too.
“It's such a privilege to be able to travel and share the gospel with others,” she said.
“We are commanded in Matthew 28 to “go and make disciples of all nations” and that includes where we are right now. I would encourage anyone, young or old, to think about going on a short-term missions trip, but I would firstly encourage them to start living out the mission right now.”
Katrina is currently enrolled in a pre-med programme at Trinity Western University in Canada. Her plan is to help people with visual impairments.