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Friday, June 1, 2012


The Bartow family recently led a team of 30 people (mostly teenagers) from Miami to Jeremie, Haiti.
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Missions Are People
(Or, do teenagers have anything to offer?)

The Bartow family recently led a group of 30 people--mostly teenagers--from Miami, Florida to visit Jeremie, Haiti. Of course, every team brings clothing, shoes, and medical supplies for the neediest in the local churches. This team was no exception, carrying almost 60 bags of supplies. But teenagers? Really? What do they have to offer?
Besides bringing some stuff for the poor, what can they do? They can’t speak the language. They are not doctors. Paint a church, maybe?
There are plenty of mission trips geared to “painting walls.” This means that the ministry creates some task for unskilled laborers so that they will feel like they’ve accomplished something significant overseas. This is not Full Life Crusade's philosophy. We would rather pay Haitian laborers to “paint the wall,” since there is already an 80% unemployment rate among the people.
A paradigm shift is required. “Missions” are not a project. Missions are people.

We have chosen to be people-oriented, rather than project-oriented, especially when it comes time to introduce people to another culture. This can be a hard pill to swallow for the American who wants to “do something.”
Painting a wall is pretty easy. Laying hands on the dying in hospitals is not easy.

Building a church may be hard work, but loving an orphaned child with HIV is harder. Because of this “people” philosophy of ministry, the short-term missionaries that we take to Haiti end up with a passion for people.
Over the course of one short week, we had the privilege of introducing this group of American kids to the people of Haiti. And it was wonderful. The team prayed for the sick. They prayed for people in their homes. They loved on orphans.

They ministered in church through song, testimony, and drama.

They took the gospel to the streets, and yes…they played basketball.
Hundreds of people attended a Miami vs. Jeremie basketball game, which the Americans lost with grace and even joy. After the game, the audience converged on the court, dancing to compa music and socializing with newfound friends. Yes, it seems like an odd place for Haitian young people to receive Jesus. But they did. Because for one week, the goal of the team was simple. To love.

And the Haitians responded. New believers were given Creole Bibles if they could read, and mp3 players with audio Bibles if they couldn’t read. And we didn’t have enough.
There were many tears shed that last night in Jeremie as the Americans and Haitians prayed for each other, encouraged each other, and sang together.
The Miami group returned home with a new passion for the lost, more compassion for the needy, and anxious to serve Jesus Christ in every area of their lives. We were blessed, as always, to be a part of the transformation of lives, both American, and Haitian.
Thank you so much for your prayers and continued support.

Full Life Crusade
P.O. Box 398
        Winona Lake, IN 46590

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