International Ventures Caribbean Ministers to Hundreds
During the week of Spring Break (March 4-12, 2016), several King’s students travelled to the Caribbean in partnership with East-West Ministries for the third annual International Venture to the Caribbean.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to tell me what the Bible says.”
During the week of Spring Break (March 4-12, 2016), several King’s students travelled to the Caribbean in partnership with East-West Ministries, an organization that specializes in outreach and discipleship in limited access countries. This was the third annual King’s trip.
Joining this year’s team were Jessica Burchman (BUS ’17), Joleinn Vasquez (MCA ’18), Tyler Cochran (MCA ’17), Kyle Kendrick (RTS ’19), William Bortins (BUS ’19) and King’s Housing Director Jonathan Sheaffer. Scott Klooster and Chelsea Christopher, who serve with East-West, joined the King’s team on their venture.
In country, each team member paired up with a local church worker and a translator. These trios were deployed to share the Gospel with residents in a community local churches are seeking to reach. Every morning and afternoon, King’s students shared their faith with dozens of residents in their homes because sharing the Gospel in public areas is illegal. This year’s church prayed 24 hours a day for over a year for this week of ministry.
During the course of the week, the team shared the Gospel with 412 people, 319 of whom chose to commit to a life of faith in Christ! The local church has already plugged the new believers into churches in their neighborhood.
“Traveling to the Caribbean was absolutely amazing!” said Joleinn. “The Caribbean is a culture-rich, diverse, and gorgeous country that deserves to be recognized as so. I loved this trip due to the fact that it was an evangelistic trip, and although it was challenging and nerve-wrecking it was still worth it. The people there are so honest, genuine, connected and loving, they are truly unique when compared to many other countries. Their love for community and family is so evident and vibrant.”
Many on the team noted lessons in God’s power. Kyle said, “God showed me that in my weakness, His strength and glory are displayed. Throughout the week, I succumbed to sickness, tiredness, apathy, and distraction. In my witnessing, I often felt that whatever I communicated lacked passion and clarity. All my life I understood that God is glorified in my ineptitude, but this was the first time that I had witnessed it firsthand. Despite my own ailments and failings, God’s work changed the hearts of people. He drew them to Himself, and I was simply the instrument of His power.”
Each team member had incredible experiences sharing the Gospel. Tyler shares, “On one of my visits I shared with a woman who had been saved from a near death experience. Ever since that time she knew that God was calling her to himself, but didn’t know what the Gospel was, or how to accept it. She had waited 15 years for someone to share with her!”
Jessica shared this story: “We visited a woman who was getting ready to go to a funeral because someone in her family had passed away. She only had thirty minutes, but we ended up talking for over an hour. Her husband had been out of town for years for work and her daughters were away at school. She told me I reminded her of one of her nieces who she hadn’t seen for three years. We just connected so closely. Even though I don’t speak Spanish, I felt every emotion she felt so deeply when she was speaking. I truly believe that was the Holy Spirit just working in me to be able to connect with a complete stranger.”
Many on the team also faced personal skepticism in the work they did. William was one of those but said, “The final day after we all met up at the church I was amazed to hear that the people I was talking to had already reached out for more information about their new savior.”
Everyone on the trip noted extreme personal growth. Kyle said, “God broke my pride and showed me things that I had never known or experienced before. My entire perspective changed. I gained a more global view, a more godly vision for His kingdom. The trip to the Caribbean was life changing, and I certainly hope to go again, continuing to see God’s plans unfold before my eyes.”
Kyle is not the only team member to express interest in returning next year. More than half the team is hoping to join again in the future. Joleinn said, “The trip to the Caribbean is a trip worth investing to and if God allows then I will definitely be going again. There are not enough words to describe the joy and fun that I experienced on this trip and not only in sharing the gospel but also in spending time with the team. I’m recommending everyone to go, the Caribbean trip is the hidden jewel among the International Venture Trips and it truly deserves more praise and recognition. It is the best one.”
After two years on this trip, Jonathan is more convinced than ever that “every King’s student needs to go on this trip” to be challenged in their faith and to do something significant for the Kingdom of God.