Many local church groups will head out on short term mission trips this summer, taking their charge from the verse that spurred the modern day missions movement, the Great Commission of Mark 16:15: “And then he told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
With bags packed and ready to change lives, Church By The Glades and Calvary Chapel International left in mid-June on two different trips for one similar goal.
From Calvary to Hungary
Calvary Chapel International, a combination of all Calvary Chapels worldwide, has an annual mission’s trip to Hungary. Two local missionaries joined the team: Desiree Ridgeley, who attends Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, and Chris Vendrell, of Calvary Chapel Boca. Both flew to Hungary on June 19 and will return August 3. The group stayed at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Vajta, Hungary. The trip lasts for 40 days, to represent the 40 days Jesus was in the wilderness. In addition to Hungary, the team is also visiting; Austria, Serbia, Slovenia and Italy. Every missionary will spend eight days in each country serving with kids and adults. They were instructed to bring bare necessities with sleeping bags and a tent to camp out.
The expedition has an estimated 40 kids and 10 adults that took part on this journey. Travelers were encouraged to keep a prayerful mind while preparing for the trip. Consequently, they also had to figure out a way of paying for the trip.
Ridgeley, a senior at Calvary Christian Academy, said, “It was hard at first because I found out in December that I wanted to go, so finding money and an adult that I knew was hard. But I am glad I was able to raise the amount in time.” To help with expenses, those attending the Hungary trip made “GoFundMe” accounts and hosted car washes.
This trip was originally created so that travelers learned dependence and independence. They were told that once people fail you, you don’t have anywhere else to go except God.
Vendrell said, “I have wanted to go on this trip so long because you learn to depend on God more when other people failed you.”
Church By the Glades in Nicaragua
CBG Missions stayed on this side of the Atlantic; team members went to an orphanage in Nicaragua. They left on June 15 for their weeklong trip to Jinotepe, Nicaragua.
Pastor Kory Cassel said he and the other church leaders held high expectations that the kids attending the trips would “gain a greater perspective on how the world lives, so that they grow out of the American Norm. I truly believe Mathew 19:24 put it best for these kids.” The verse says, “…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (NLT)
This year, five to seven kids went on the trip along with 10 adults. They went to connect with the orphaned kids and fix up the orphanage.
“It’s important for the kids [in the orphanage] to know that these people are not coming here because they are a mission, they need to know that we are a family and families do things for each other,” Pastor Kory said. “That’s why we come.”
Those who went on this trip were only allowed a backpack, toiletries and their cell phone for pictures. They stayed at the orphanage each night, sans air conditioning or any other resources that may be taken for granted here in the United States.
“When the earthquake in Haiti hit, we adopted an orphanage that needed help,” Pastor Kory explained, detailing how CBG came to discover the Nicaraguan orphanage. “After helping them, we decided to look at different countries. Our church saw that we had a very diverse congregation of Hispanics. Because of this, we decided to stick with Hispanic countries. Subsequently, we took notice of the poor country of Nicaragua; we found three orphanages that were prime candidates. One, however, lost their funding and was about to be shut down by the government. We determined that we would fund and support that orphanage and adopt it into our family, and from that point on the orphans had a family looking out for them.”
One verse for two trips
Both Church By the Glades and Calvary Chapel International applied Romans 12:1 for their theme. CBG required their travelers to memorize it in order to learn why they were heading to Nicaragua. Some of the students going to Hungary with Calvary Chapel also said Romans 12:1 came to their mind when they think of their trek. The verse has a unique history in mission trips. William Carey, the father of modern day missions, reflected on this verse for his inaugural trip to India in 1793. And David Livingstone (1813-1873) posted Romans 12:1-2 in his earliest church as his statement for the Zambian people.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (Romans 12:1-2 NLT).
Geoffrey Still is an intern with Good News, lead writer of
SOAR.ccaeagles.org, and founder of the “Crusader Corner.”