DRC is going to Africa in 2019 (April 15-28)
Why go to Africa? The ultimate goal of our short-term mission trips is to participate in fulfilling the great commission in a Biblical way. Our trips are designed to come alongside those who are engaged long-term in seeing churches planted among unreached people groups. Our partners in Africa are doing just that. They have been laboring for many years in Africa to see churches planted among the people they are working with.
What are our partners doing in Africa? Worldwide there are 58 million people in this language group, representing one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. This people group, while a minority where our partners serve, are of the higher class. They are business people and desire for their children to have a good education, which includes learning English. This is where our partners come in.
They offer a free AWANA style after-school program on Friday nights to children of this people group to help them learn English. There’s one catch. Their textbook is the Bible. So, you have a people group who are hostile to the gospel but are willing to allow their children to read the Bible as a means to learn English, and because it’s free it’s just too good for these families to pass up.
What will we be doing to help them? We will be helping put on a 5-day sleepover camp for kids roughly 13-18 years old that participate in their Friday night program. The two main purposes of the trip are evangelism and building relationships. The schedule might look something like this:
8:15-9:00 Team prayer and announcements (kids have free time)
10:00-11:15 Morning Chapel with Seminars
1:30-2:00 Cabin discussion time
3:00-6:00 Free time (offer sports tournaments, crafts, swimming)
9:00-10:00 Evening Chapel
10:00-11:00 Night Games
11:30 In Cabins
12:30 Lights out
Why are we going during Easter? If you’re in tune with your 2019 calendar, you’ll notice that the trip takes place during Easter (and during the women's retreat). Why would I ever plan a trip during this time?
Overnight camps have been an effective way for our partners and their team to foster continued opportunities for evangelistic messages, small group conversations, and informal follow-up conversations that go beyond what happens during their Friday night Bible studies. The biggest challenge with overnight camps is the school schedules of the children.
Our partners and their team are involved with eight different schools, but most of them have different start and end dates, as well as different school break dates. Typically, overnight camps will only include kids from a couple of these schools at once. The one exception to this is during the time that we celebrate Easter. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to get anyone to send a team during this time of year precisely because it is Easter. I believe we would be the first church willing to go during this time and help them.
So why did I plan a drip during Easter? Because our partners need us during that time to help in their long-term goal of seeing churches planted among this people group. Further, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Easter than to be on mission actively engaged in fulfilling the command to reach all people groups. The command that the One who rose from the dead, the One we celebrate on Easter, gave us. Who knows, it could be the best Easter you ever have until you meet the risen Lord face to face.