HOME     ABOUT US     HISTORY     INDIA     ZAMBIA & MALAWI     RAISE FUNDS     DONATE     CONTACT US     FAQ      


THESE TRIPS WERE DONE 2009 - 2011 



  MISSION TRIP TO THE BAHAMAS


This is not your typical trip to the Bahamas! 


In Nassau, Bahamas, there are thousands of Haitian refugees who have fled from chronic poverty, hunger

and violence and risked their lives at sea, hoping to

start a new life.

Some now live in shanty towns on the outskirts of Nassau, Bahamas. See MAPS. Their home is a room no larger than 12ft x 12 ft with no electricity, running water or bathroom. Many of the children have been victims of crime, violence, abuse, rape, prostitution or even incest. Many times they have only one parent, who is in the country illegally and can only get a job that pays less than minimum wage. Young children are often raised by their older siblings and there is very little discipline or order. The Bahamian government provides little help to this growing population. 


We will be working alongside a church in Nassau helping with a V.B.S. (Vacation Bible School) / Day Camp for about 120 children. Approximately 70% of these children will be Haitian refugees.  


As a volunteer, you will help lead activities at the Day Camp such as 



         Sharing the Gospel



         








Basketball








                                          



                                Praise & Worship



                                      Volleyball








Crafts



















                    Parachute games




                Relay games







Jump Rope









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lessons with puppets


Drama, Team building, Line Dancing, Puzzles, soccer and more.





We will also provide lunch for the children.  For some children, it will be the only meal they will have that day. 







Coming to the V.B.S. / Day camp is like Christmas for many of them.









The living and working conditions may not be what you are used to and you may be asked to step out of your comfort zone when teaching the children. This trip is designed to stretch and challenge you. By showing these children your love for Christ and a servants heart you can make an eternal difference in their lives. The local church simply does not have the staff to do it on their own. So if you are ready for a challenge and are up for some hard work then this is the trip for you!


Beside this rewarding work, the group will spend a day shopping at the Straw Market and enjoying the beach.

 


 




HOW IT GOT STARTED


A few of years ago Gillian Curling started a summer program for Haitian refugee children.  Because many of the children were behind in school, she decided to help the children with math and reading and give them lunch. Around 60 - 100 kids came each day and she had only about 5 helpers - mostly family members.  They couldn't take the kids outside as they would go wild. So at their "post mortem" meeting in 2008 they made a list of what they needed in order to continue the outreach program. They wanted to include Bible, outdoor activities, Praise & Worship and many other things.  Many more staff were needed so that the kids could be divided into small groups for better supervision. 

Given their circumstances, their long "post mortem" list must have been really overwhelming for them. So they prayed about it.

Meanwhile I was looking for somewhere to take our youth for a mission trip. After speaking to Charles Fleming - the G.C.I. Mission Developer for the Caribbean I realized that the needs in the Bahamas seemed like a perfect fit for the abilities of my youth group.  

I contacted the Bahamas Pastor, Robert McKinney and met with him and Gillian in the Bahamas in October, 2008.  At that meeting we decided to join forces for the V.B.S. in 2009.  Gillian expressed to us several times that God used us to answer their prayers. 

So for those who think they have an impossible list - pray about it. - Janet

                                            

 


 
THE "PLAGUES"

Helping at this VBS / Day Camp has its challenges, or as we lightheartedly called them, “plagues.” Bahamas is a tropical country and that means heat and humidity. Unless you have a fan blowing  directly on you, you will probably be sweating. We may not have air-conditioning.  The frogs sing at night and the cicadas start singing as the sun comes up. Most days it rains on and off andsometimes the lightning and thunder are so loud that it keeps you awake atnight. Rain brings mosquitoes,sometimes so many that we cannot have outdoor activities. There are occasional “brown outs” where the power goes off for several hours.When the power goes off, the water pump doesn’t work, so you might be left with shampoo in your hair. Another thing that happens when it rains hard is that the termites fly in swarms looking for a new home – and it might be yours!


Then there are the flying cockroaches and the tarantulas. 


This is all part of life in the tropics.

 


 STORY FROM THE FIELD

Summer 2009:

One day during our opening Praise & Worship session I noticed a young boy holding his head and crying.  When  I asked  him what was wrong, he said he had a headache. I offered him some Gatorade, because it often helps headaches when people have been playing and sweating a lot. While he was drinking it, I asked him if he had eaten breakfast. He hadn't. It turns out that he had not eaten since we gave him lunch the day before. Very sad. Apparently that is typical for many of these kids. During lunch, he was sleeping on the chairs in the ministry center, so we let him sleep and fed him lunch later when he woke up. 

When people are hungry, it is hard for them to focus. No wonder Jesus fed thousands. Many of these children can't stay focused, and they break into a fight easily. They are fighting to stay alive. Not all of them are like that, but it is tough for some of them. They may have 
only one parent, and that parent is out working, earning very little because they are not legal in the country. The only supervision the kids have during the day is from siblings. Some as young as 10 years have jobs to help support the family. 

 

Update Summer 2010

 

The day after we arrived in Bahamas I was sitting in church and I thought I recognized a young boy across the isle from me.  He turned and gave me a big smile and I realized who he was.  It was Chadlin who I'd given the gatorade to the year before.

 

He's the one on the left with the big smile. The following week I asked him if I could come to the Haitian village where he lived. He was so happy that I had asked and even though there was a big group of us walking, he stayed beside me all the way there and back. He was so happy to have someone show him some attention.

  - Janet Morrison

 

Update 2011

 

Chadlin was baptized this year!


       

WHAT I LIKED MOST.....


Surprisingly, I think what I liked most about the mission trip was that many times I was pushed out of my comfort zone and had to do things that I wouldn't normally enjoy or be comfortable doing. This brought me closer to God because I had to rely on Him to give me the courage /strength to do those things.

 

- Megan  (Summer 2009,  2010 & 2011missionary)


Megan is in the picture above left (2009), standing on two chairs demonstrating how we need to make a choice between the "Jesus" way or the "Me" way.  As the "Me" chair is being pulled further away from "Jesus" she is forced to make a choice. Should she put both feet on the steady "Jesus" chair or on the unpredictable "Me" chair?  She is asking the children what she should do.


 

 TESTIMONIAL


One of the things I will never forget about the Bahamas is bonding with my Haitian girls. When I first met them they were all so quiet as if they were observing me wondering to themselves, "Who is this little Asian girl?" Then as the week went on they started opening up to me. There was one particular girl named Djuline who was 15 years old who could barely speak any English. During lunch time we would all sit together and she would teach me Haitian Creole. She enjoyed doing it so much that she would teach me at lightning speed so that I couldn't keep up.


Hearing about the hardships these children have to face everyday was so heartbreaking. But when I got to hear them laugh and see them smile it gave me hope that Jesus is a good and loving God that he is taking care of them even when the world seems like its crashing down all around them. The last day of the V.B.S. was so difficult for me because as Djuline was leaving to say good bye to me she was crying and saying to me, "Mm re mo." Which means, "I love you." Being in the Bahamas was definitely no vacation but it was an experience I would never want to trade for anything else.

- Carmel (Summer 2009 missionary)



 

TESTIMONIAL


I had the privilege of working with the 4-5 year old Bahamian and Haitian children. This was an honor as well as a challenge. After adjusting to the first couple of days and knowing what to expect, it got a lot easier. I woke up every morning mentally prepared for the massive amount of energy I knew would hit me for the hours to come. 


The children responded extremely well to physical touch and attention. To get down at their level and physically direct them to different activities was both what they wanted and what worked. I spent most of the time having children piled on top of my lap, in my arms being carried, or on my back. It was tiring and not always completely necessary, but I wanted to truly connect with them. 


By the middle of the week I had made bonds with several of the most unruly children and they loved sitting with me and on me. At one point I had three of them on my lap at once and tears came to my eyes as I thought about Jesus and the little children coming to him. It taught me how to show Jesus and not just speak about Jesus. With an age group that didn't always know how to communicate, or that simply chose not to, this was a very important lesson to learn. The children were all over the place.


I learned how to keep going on pure love. It was wonderful and I miss their shining faces.

- Alisha (Summer 2009 missionary)


 



OUR NEW BAHAMIAN & HAITIAN FRIENDS



These are some of the Bahamian and Haitian staff that we worked with in 2009 (The Naval family of 5 flew in from Haiti to help with the V.B.S.)  On the last day we told them we had a special gift for them and had them pose for this picture. Meanwhile we secretly brought two big tubs of water balloons up behind them.


Carmel gave a very sincere speech about how much we enjoyed working with them and getting to know them. Then they were each presented with a paper bag and told not to open it yet.







Amelio just had to look!











Upon finding water balloons in his bag he knew just what to do!






















Water fight!




















Here we are together after the water balloon fight. (2009) Now we are Face Book friends and are looking forward to seeing each other again next year!

UPDATE 2010: The Bahamian staff made a surprise attack on us with water balloons this year. It seems a tradition has been started.

UPDATE 2011:  Water balloons fights have become a tradition!

 


 

WOULD YOU DO THIS AGAIN?

Yes. I will be a missionary everywhere I go; and if God opens the door for me to go back to the Bahamas again, then I’m there! It will be great to see the same people again, seeing what God has done in their lives and building on the foundation we have already made with the church in the Bahamas. 
I highly encourage you (the reader, yes you! ) to come as well.

- Deanna (Summer 2009 & 2010 missionary)




FROM OUR DAILY BLOG......

Yesterday was the first difficult day I have had during the VBS. There was a young man who I was just so frustrated with because he was just acting up all day. It caught me a bit off guard since the day before he was one of the most well behaved of all the kids. I talked to Mrs. Curling about it in the evening and she said if there is anyone she doesn’t want to kick out of the camp it’s him, and she wanted him in my group. Then she began to tell me how hard this young mans life is and just how poor his family is. She also told me that she knows he never hears positive words from anyone. Everyone is always telling him that he is worthless and good for nothing. So today I prayed that God would give me patience and compassion for this little guy. And I did have a few moments that I could tell him he was doing a good job at playing volleyball and I tried to find the good things I could tell him all day. And there was such a difference in his attitude and everything. I am really learning that when we come into another culture we cannot expect all things to just go smoothly. We have to be willing to deal with some of the mess that the sin of this world causes and have compassion on people even if they don’t treat us with very much respect at first. Like this young man who just wants to hear so badly that he is a good boy and that he is wanted and valuable. I don’t think I came here to teach these boys how to know Jesus as much as I think God brought me out here to learn how to love like Jesus.

- Larry (Summer 2009 & 2010 Missionary)