Sharing the Light of Christ
This May, more than 60 students from across the United States and Canada gathered together to embark on a unique missions opportunity as the first Great Expeditions traveling team. Each student had this in common—a desire to obey Christ’s command to go and make disciples of all nations.
For one month they ministered to countless young people in Monterrey and Guadalajara, used chalk talks and personal testimonies to encourage orphans and street children, worked on upgrading an orphan complex, met with various leaders and officials, and received training throughout the trip in Spanish and ministry, as well as encouragement to deepen their personal walks with God.
An Exciting Start
After a time of training and orientation in Big Sandy, Texas, the Great Expeditions team boarded a tour bus and arrived in Monterrey, Mexico on May 9, 2006. At the Garcia Community Center near Monterrey, students shared their life experiences and the teachings of Christ with more than 600 local youth. The cheering and applause following the presentation was so enthusiastic that the team was asked to continue. Afterwards, there was a bonding of love as the team sought to establish personal relationships and exchange contact information with as many Mexican youth as possible.
When the team visited a home for the children of prison inmates, the director of the facility introduced the team to 14-year-old Amanda, a tragic victim of domestic violence. Bill Gothard took the opportunity to explain to her that God has created us in three parts—body, soul, and spirit. “Which do you think is the most important part?” he asked. Amanda replied, “The spirit.” Bill continued, “If you had the choice between an undamaged body and a mediocre spirit, or a damaged body and a dynamic spirit, which would you choose?” She answered, “A damaged body and a dynamic spirit.”
As she prayed to dedicate her body to the Lord and blessed her offenders, the team witnessed God give her a new spirit of freedom and joy. With a smile, Amanda later expressed, “I feel like a butterfly that now has new wings! I feel like a dove soaring up to the angels; I feel free!”
Amanda’s testimony opened a door to present the Gospel when it was shared during a meeting with the official in charge of the orphanages in Jalisco, Mexico. This man eagerly prayed to receive Christ as his Savior right in his office. Later he directed the team to meet with two top officials who are responsible for 475 state facilities of Jalisco.
Another incredible opportunity presented itself when the team was given four hours to speak to 2,000 boys, ages 8 to 15, in the largest and most protected orphanage in the state. Fifteen minutes into the presentation, the director came up and exclaimed, “We want your entire program for all of our boys.” She was referring to all of the IBLP seminars. Plans are now in place to make the Financial Freedom Seminar a requirement for this year’s graduating class of 450 boys.
The team made several more presentations in open-air meetings at town plazas and on the street. Programs included singing, testimonies, preaching, and chalk art, and ended with the team members mingling with the people, chatting and sharing the Gospel with them. Many prayed to receive Christ as their personal Savior, and valuable relationships were formed.
Because one of the goals of Great Expeditions was to build personal relationships that would last beyond the duration of the trip, team members exchanged contact information with new friends everywhere they went. This is allowing the team to continue encouraging and discipling those they met on the trip.
A Powerful Work of God
Cristina Rodriguez served as a team member and also taught a course to the other team members on the customs and culture of Mexico. After the trip she shared, “My family has been doing mission work in Mexico for the past nine years, but we’ve never seen such dramatic changes in lives and situations as have happened in just a couple of days on this trip.”
By God’s grace, this first Great Expeditions trip will lead to several more traveling teams of young people empowered by the light of Christ in their own lives and the common goal of sharing God’s truths with others around the world.