A village located next to Haiti Providence University (Photo courtesy of Rick Ireland)
Do you know anybody who’s gone on a mission trip? Maybe you’ve done so yourself. Usually, it works like this:
- You spend months raising money for a trip you can’t really afford.
- You stay in a dirty place with few or no creature comforts.
- You work so hard your muscles ache and you get filthy.
- You return home filled with joy and a clear understanding that your life has been miraculously changed for the better!
It’s amazing but true. We gain the most when we give the most. When we give our lives in serving others, we gain fulfillment in our own lives. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus knelt on the floor and washed His disciples’ feet. He told them, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15). God made us in His image, and “God is love” (1 John 4:16). We’re most fulfilled when we obey our Maker.
Children gather in Haiti (Photo courtesy of Rick Ireland)
Many churches have sent mission teams to fulfill God’s call, but there’s never before been an opportunity to go on a mission trip like the one being offered in July 2015. You are invited to join hundreds of others from around the United States in a massive mission experience tied to the Free Methodist Church – USA General Conference 2015. Those who answer God’s call will choose to serve in one of six locations: Antigua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Haitian and Hispanic churches in urban Miami, and a Haitian church serving agricultural workers in rural Florida. This is no ordinary mission trip. It begins in Orlando, Fla., where you’ll spend Thursday, July 9, 2015, learning about missions from Free Methodist missionaries. You’ll also be taught evangelism and leadership. Then you and others going to the same mission destination will learn about the culture of the people to whom you’ll be ministering. That night, hundreds of people newly prepared to serve the Lord will gather in worship. The next morning, all will leave for their destinations. Those serving in Florida will ride together in vans. The rest will fly to Antigua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic or Haiti. Friday, July 10, through Wednesday, July 15, you’ll be in very different surroundings than Orlando’s Caribe Royale convention center, where you’ll have met for training and worship. In Haiti, for instance, you’ll be sleeping on mats on the floor of an unfinished dormitory at Haiti Providence University. During the days, you’ll be busy with a variety of ministries. They include building a church, building benches and desks for other churches around Haiti, leading vacation Bible school or sports camps for the kids and youth of the village next to the university and tree-planting projects for our Eden Reforestation Projects. Activities will be different at each destination, but all will include an exhilarating combination of physical labor and personal ministry to the people of the area.
The mission experience begins and ends at Caribe Royale in Orlando.<br />(Photo courtesy of Caribe Royale)
Wednesday, July 15, 2015, you’ll return to the Caribe Royale in Orlando, where you’ll join thousands of Free Methodists who’ve gathered for General Conference. The next day you’ll debrief with others who went on mission trips, celebrate what God did through you, and brainstorm ideas to take home to your local church, to build a culture of service at home. Costs vary based on where you’ll be serving. For instance, the Florida destinations are $799 or $899. Haiti is $1,299. Costs include all food and lodging for eight days and nine nights, round-trip transportation from Orlando to your mission destination, insurance and a $100 contribution to the ministry where you’ll be serving (to help pay for materials). The only thing not included is round-trip transportation from your home to Orlando. For complete prices and more information, go to gc15.org and click on “Mission Trips.” Larry Roberts is the chief operating officer of the Free Methodist Church – USA.0