Day 1 in Honduras

Today was our first full day. Such a great day to see the Lord work through our church and this mission. It is always fun to see people who are on their first mission trip. Keith and Deann had a great day. They were able to work in the classroom and kitchen after our morning devotional with the staff. After devotionals, they went out with Marco and Lazaro to feed the neighborhood kids in the streets. It was very emotional for Deann and Keith.  

Jacob was able to work with Alex and Giovanni to bag up over a thousand pounds of food (rice, corn, sugar, and pasta) that will be distributed throughout the neighborhood on Thursday. We spent the late afternoon working in the classroom and updating and formatting some of the new computers that we were able to bring. I also was able to give classes to Leo on security and ethical hacking to help protect the school, and mission's network, and computer systems which, unfortunately, come under attack quite often.

There is such a joy here and you can see the Spirit move. Great to see our Church loving and sharing Christ.

At the end of the day we all got to play soccer, jump ope, and play games in the street with the kids. Tomorrow will be more of the same, and I will get to speak to a group of young men in their discipleship program. There is such a joy here and you can see the Spirit move. Great to see our Church loving and sharing Christ.

Hope you all are well. We are loving life and loving the Lord, praising His name in Honduras.

- Todd Ellis

IMG_6978.JPG

We are loving life and loving the Lord, praising His name in Honduras.

Final Day In Colombia

36 camp attendees. 19 excepted Christ. The highlight of our three days was the baptism of seven camp participants!

The final day of camp brought much rejoicing.

36 camp attendees. 19 excepted Christ. The highlight of our three days was the baptism of seven camp participants! 

Each child was prayed over and prayer petitions were noted. A verse was selected that spoke to their need, and the verse was read and highlighted in their individual bibles. There were many smiles, tears, and expressions of gratitude from the campers and from the team.

After many pictures, hugs, and prayers we went our separate ways. 

God is good!

Joan Needham, Mission Colombia 2016

Day 2 in Colombia

Our second day of camp was an active, emotional, blessed roller coaster.

We began yesterday with 33 kids. Today we added 3 more. 

We are on a route that contains obstacles and persecutions. However, God’s plan is marvelous.
— Pastor Fernando

The day begins with celebration and worship. Then Pastor Fernando brought the message of running the race for God's Olympics. "When you ask Jesus into your heart you become a citizen of Heaven... This earth is not our home... We are on a route that contains obstacles and persecutions. However, God's plan is marvelous. He gave us natural strengths which include talents gifts and abilities. God also sent a helper, the Holy Spirit. God is aware of our weaknesses and He will show us how to overcome obstacles."

We separated into small groups and discussed the message – digging deeper and allowing each child to ask questions, receive counseling, and pray.

Rec games followed. Each team created a cheer and they are given points for competing and for the amount of enthusiasm they show. This is a very competitive group! There was much laughter and a lot of NOISE!! 

After lunch the process was repeated.

He is faithful. 

He is present. 

He is good. 

– Joan Needham, Mission Colombia 2016

Colombia Mission

The goal is to lead people to Christ through fellowship, community, and the teaching Word of God

The Church Project Colombia team is doing an evangelistic camp in Medellín, Colombia known as an e-camp. The purpose of an e-camp is to spread the Gospel in an intentional way, while teaching the leaders in Medellín how to do the camp themselves. The goal is when we leave they will do this camp again for themselves, and then take it to other churches across Colombia and the nation. This is a model that can be replicated in any place or country. The goal is to lead people to Christ through fellowship, community, and the teaching Word of God. The theme of the camp is “Press On”.

2016 Church Project Colombia Team

Pastor Fernando Tangarife delivers the invitation after the teaching the Word on the first day of the evangelical camp. Nine of the young adults accepted Christ as their Savior.

All of the young adults attending the camp gather around to learn how to play games with their teams. 

The first service was at the Christian soccer club of the Medellin. Two members of the CPA Columbia team participated in the service.

Christian Jackson, Oklahoma State university student, gave his testimony. "Rely not on your passion, but on the Lord's passion for you." Christian thought his life, his future was about football, but he soon learned that our Savior's plan for him was much greater.

Natalia Gualteros, student at Sam Houston University, brought the message.

Matthew, James, Habakkuk, and Hebrews provided the foundation for her passionate message to 70-80 young and old in attendance. "Christ must be the foundation of your life." The vocal responses from the assembly during her message were uplifting and joyous.

The outstanding turnout was notable for the CP Colombia team, requiring them to bring 30 additional chairs from upstairs.

– Joan Needham, Mission Colombia 2016

Day 2 in Malawi

We began Day 2 with a tour of the CLI project site given by founder Jeff Rogers. Y'all - this place is absolutely mind blowing!! 

There is a huge garden where they use sustainable practices and zero pesticides to produce food for the site and have some to sell to the local community.

There is a huge garden where they use sustainable practices and zero pesticides to produce food for the site and have some to sell to the local community. They are getting ready to install two large greenhouses that will quadruple their food production! They have many types of fruit bearing trees, including mango, papaya, banana, and avocado.

There are five fish ponds (plus two more currently being installed) that are used for the raising and breeding of tilapia. They use a hydroponic system to raise the "fingerlings" (aka: babies). Seven jersey cows provide milk, hundreds of chickens provide eggs, and to round out the livestock there are also goats, geese, ducks, and turkeys. Our meals have been incredible – 100% organic, home-grown ingredients right from their own garden (I may eat better here than I do in my own home, haha).

After touring the grounds, Jeff took us to tour the hospital. The entire facility is amazing. It has just about everything our hospitals have, including an ophthalmology exam room, a lab room with state-of-the-art Tuberculosis testing machinery, a blood bank is in the process of being installed, a medicinal warehouse, and two incredibly advanced operating rooms (one for surgeries and the other for eye surgeries). Jeff is adamant about quality and told us he wanted this hospital to be of such caliber that he would have surgery there himself - mission accomplished!

Next to the hospital is the maternity ward. It is outfitted with delivery rooms, prenatal rooms, postnatal rooms, and a baby room complete with two warmers and an incubator. As of September 2015, there have been 321 births without a single infant or maternal mortality. Another section of the ward is about to be opened with identical rooms that will double its occupancy abilities. A labor and delivery building is in the process of being built that will be a little more advanced and have the capabilities to care for high risk pregnancies and complicated deliveries.

As of September 2015, there have been 321 births without a single infant or maternal mortality.

CLI's latest endeavor is creating a center for innovation, education, and training. The main purpose of the center will be to train and educate midwives and nurses on the latest in maternal care, surgeries, and practices. Women from around the country of Malawi will have the opportunity to learn from leading doctors in the States through CLI's partnership with Ohio State University.

Women from around the country of Malawi will have the opportunity to learn from leading doctors in the States through CLI’s partnership with Ohio State University.

Did I mention that all of this is possible through solar and wind power? The project site does not run on traditional electricity, which is notorious for having many outages in Malawi, and instead is powered by two powerhouses that store the solar and energy that is collected throughout the day. 

In the afternoon we went to the unopened section of the maternity ward to put together medical equipment - scales, bedside tables, baby holders, and over the bed tables. That section is now one big step closer to being ready to serve patients.

God is doing a mighty work here in Malawi, and the story has just begun.

CLI is committed to serving their community through innovative and sustainable solutions, building up the nation through education and dignified practices, and creating positive change with lasting impact. I am so honored to be able to share their story with you and so proud that CP partners with and supports such an outstanding ministry. God is doing a mighty work here in Malawi, and the story has just begun.

Day 2 has been amazing and inspiring, and tomorrow is shaping up to be the same - can't wait to share it with you!

 – Nicole Cox, Malawi Team 2016

Day 1 in Malawi

After 20 hours of traveling by plane and almost 11 hours of layovers, we finally arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi. We drove about an hour outside the city to the project site of Child Legacy International (CLI), one of Church Project's global ministry partners.

We dropped our bags in our rooms and headed down the road to see the preparation of the church building. Along the way, we pass through a small village and were met by many curious and friendly locals. Things were bustling at the church, as Child Legacy staff put the final touches on the building – both setting up and decorating.

Afterwards, we went back to CLI for dinner and met with the interim pastor, Yohann, to discuss the church dedication and basic Church Project practices and beliefs. Jet lag and sheer exhaustion had us all in bed early that night.

We woke early on dedication Sunday with excitement. Rushing through breakfast, we dressed and went back down to the church for final preparations and to film the short video to send back home to CP. Then we settled in for the marathon that is a Malawian church service.

We were expecting around 200 people, but God had other plans. After all was said and done, about 400 hundred people heard about the love of Jesus. When God shows up, he shows up BIG!

The language of Malawi is Chichewa, and the service was held in both Chichewa and English – in consideration of CLI founder Jeff Rogers and ourselves. We listened to enthusiastic sermons, listened to (and attempted to join) beautiful Chichewan worship songs, and prayed with fervor for the Gospel to be known and spread throughout the country. Among those in attendance were tribal chiefs, a choir from Lilongwe, pastors from surrounding churches, and government officials. We were expecting around 200 people, but God had other plans. After all was said and done, about 400 hundred people heard about the love of Jesus. When God shows up, he shows up BIG!

After services, a lunch was served that consisted of rice, a meat and bean curry, and salad. We stayed for food and fellowship where Lesa Talley - our International Missions Coordinator - and David Plum became honorary members of the choir. 

Seeing Jesus brought to the nations and carrying out the biblical principles of serving, loving others, and spreading the Gospel changes your heart permanently.

The dedication of Child Legacy Church Project Malawi was the experience of a lifetime. Seeing Jesus brought to the nations and carrying out the biblical principles of serving, loving others, and spreading the Gospel changes your heart permanently. Day 1 has been so impactful, I can't wait to see what the rest of the trip holds.

Nicole Cox, Malawi Team 2016

Monday in Haiti

Today was a long day! We had a little truck trouble in the morning, so we got a late start. Youveline, one of our translators, sat down with me and gave me some Creole lessons. I picked it up pretty fast. 

We began our day in Dubout (pronounced De-boo) teaching VBS lessons. We taught a lesson over Noah’s Ark, and the kids made a paper plate ark with a rainbow over the art to remind them of God’s promise to never again flood the Earth. There were so many kids there, and we were told there would be more the next day. I met a sweet boy named Gambriel, who sat by me the entire time to work on his crafts. He was trying so hard to have a conversation with me – talking nonstop! I tried my best to figure out what he was saying. 

After finishing crafts in Dubout, we headed up to Savon Gra (pronounced Sa-von-graw) – a remote village in the mountains. We had to drive through Limonade (pronounced Li-mon-odd) in order to get to Savon Gra. On the 25th and 26th of July there is a festival going on in Limonade, which centers around VooDoo. It was a sight to see. Thousands of people travel to Limonade to participate in this festival. Mark and John pointed out the traditional VooDoo clothing – bright reds, royal blues, and women wearing all white.

I didn’t realize that VooDoo was still relevant in some countries but it is! Haitians know that when they see a group of “blancs” (blondes as we’re called) that we are missionaries. When we drive from place to place we wave at people walking or driving by. I was pleasantly surprised when I would wave or smile at someone wearing VooDoo colors, and they would smile and wave back to me. It really reminded me that they are people.... people who desperately need to hear the good Word.

We drove from a paved road to a dirt road, and it slowly narrowed down to just a walking path. We drove through some beautiful countryside, crossed a river, and hiked up a mountain to get to this small village.

There was this little boy who had never seen a white person before. I was standing right outside the door to the church when he walked out, looked up, and SCREAMED because the color of my skin scared him. Ephesian came over and began speaking to the boy in Creole. Ephesian told him it was okay and, to show him I wasn’t going to hurt him, Ephesian and I touched hands. The little boy still wasn’t having it, so I backed off for a little bit. A little while later an older woman brought him by me, and I said hello to him. He sat down in a chair next to me, and we began working on a craft together. I patted my legs as if to say “would you like to sit in my lap?” and one of the older boys encouraged him to come sit with me. It didn’t take much persuasion until he climbed up in my lap. We were best buds the rest of the day.

Marissa played some beautiful music, Katelynn taught the kids “Wi Jezi Remen’m” (Jesus Loves Me) with sign language, and the kids took turns singing to us! A little boy and I “played the drums” on the table for a few of the songs. We have so many talented people on our team. We are all blessed with different gifts, and I'm excited to see them put to work the rest of this week. 

Ashley Grissom, Mission Haiti 2016

Haiti Is Broken

Haiti is broken. It was broken before we got here, and it will be broken when we leave.

We started the morning with a devotional led by Mark, our leader. He had very wise words for us to think about for this trip. There is a circle, and in the center of the circle is the Cross. Some people are in the circle – these people know God and have been saved. The goal is always the center of the circle where the Cross is located. Unfortunately, some people are outside the circle – these people do not know God. Everyone in the picture is either moving towards the Cross or away from it. Our goal is to nudge people towards the Cross. For those that are moving away, maybe that means stopping them in their tracks or even turning them to head towards the Cross. 

We can’t change Haiti in one week, but we can change one person’s world. We can save them for eternity.

Church was suppose to start this morning at 9am. We got there early, so Mark and Ephesian took us to see a water pump. Haitians pump their water, and whatever they can carry home with them is their water for the day. This task is normally left for women and children. It was amazing driving down the street and seeing people carrying these huge buckets of water on their head! A few of the girls just had to try out the water pump. I'm sure the man with the bucket was very grateful for our desire to try to pump water! Boy, what an arm workout!

Church was quite an experience. They were speaking in Creole, so I wasn't too sure what the topic was but you could feel the love in the room. These people really love Jesus. They introduced us and had us stand up in the front of the room. All of a sudden, people started walking forward to shake our hands and lead us to a seat. One of the leaders asked them to "find a friend" to sit with during the service. It definitely helped me personally feel welcomed to their church.

Rick and Evelyn’s baby, Fletcher, was dedicated today and a young woman was saved – what a day to be in a Haitian church! This young lady met someone at the well this morning and they invited her to church. She then accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! WOW! That one small interaction at the water well changed this woman's life for eternity!

Michael gave a wonderful sermon to the Haitian people about discipleship which had three main points: service, prayer, and eternal focus. His wife, Marissa, led us in worship playing her guitar and singing "10,000 Reasons" and "Revelation Song". She's a rock star! Both of them were. What a team! 

After church, we returned to the mission house for PB&Js. After our little hour break, We took off for the children's home. I really had no idea what to expect when we got there. I'm a teacher and obviously have a heart for children, but I didn't know what walking into a children's home would feel like. I work with children all the time who just need love and attention, but I felt like this would be different. Big surprise – it wasn't! The second we drove through the gate I could see tons of smiling faces! They were so excited for us to be there. We jumped out of the truck, and I received hugs, handshakes, and 'bonswa' from each child. As we started walking around to the back of the house, one little boy grabbed my hand and started walking with me. We quickly became buddies and began a game of Uno together. There was the sweetest little 4 year old there. She had been dropped off only 2 short weeks ago, and you could tell she was scared. Sweet Julia was placed in my lap to hang out with me, which I gladly accepted because she was adorable! Still very involved in my Uno game, I felt this little girl slowly lay back and then all of a sudden she was passed out! Could it get any cuter than that?!

Coming here, I was very worried about not being able to communicate with the people. But did you know that love doesn't have a language? I learned that very quickly today. Spending time with these kids, a hug, a smile, or even a game of Uno speaks louder than any words I could speak to them. 

We separated out into three small groups. Girls over 13, boys over 13, and the young kids. Older kids were given lessons on how to be a Godly man/woman and the little kids had VBS lessons and crafts. 

We ended our time at the children’s home playing duck duck goose and a friendly game of soccer. These kids are good! I'm pretty fast, but one little boy was dribbling a soccer ball and still beating me! He even had some awesome soccer moves and kicked it right through my legs while he ran around me! It absolutely blew my mind! I held sweet Julia again for awhile, and I had to remind myself not to get attached because I'm a short term missionary. (Mark provided us with an article before we came about missionaries. Thank goodness because I definitely needed to hear the lesson in that article).  I understand a relationship I form here is short, but a 4 year old won't understand when I leave in 7 days.

It amazed me how the children took care of each other. Before the lessons, the kids had dinner. The older girls cooked in a little shed out back over coals and served up beans and rice in big bowls for each kid. I'm pretty sure that place could run itself without any adults around. 

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to the mission house. I can't wait to see what's in store for us tomorrow!

– Ashley Grissom, Mission Haiti 2016