2013 Spring Break Missions Journal
The stories below are personal accounts from members of some of our 2013 Spring Break mission teams. Use the links at the bottom of page to view additional trips, and check back periodically for more updates!
Shelton Brewer, senior
After three years of going to Saba, you would think I have it all figured out. Through God’s awesome power, he has kept me on my toes. If you would have told me at a younger age that I would be spending my spring breaks with mission trips, I probably would have said you are crazy. After the past three years of going to Saba, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I have seen God’s work first hand on the island, and the past three years has changed my life forever. Saba is a place that doesn’t really lack in shelter, food, or other luxuries. Saba is a place that does somewhat lack in moral integrity and a love for Jesus. Over my first two years, I really connected to student name Lekwan Smith. We shared our struggles and stories which allowed the two of us to connect to each other, but most importantly to connect to God. This year though, I was humbled and amazed when Lekwan asked if I would baptize him earlier in the week. I had never baptized anyone and could not believe that this young man was coming to me to begin his walk with Christ. When it got later in the week, I grew more eager and excited to accept a new brother into God’s family. The time finally came to baptize Lekwan, and it was a moment I will never forget. Lekwan may think I changed his life, but he has no idea what he has done for mine. Through Lekwan my hunger and fire for God is at another level that it has never been on. I had always gone to Saba with the motto of “You can’t change everybody, but even changing the life one person is making a difference.” Since I am graduating this year, I don’t know if I will return next spring to Saba. If this is the final chapter in an amazing story, I want to think I hopefully changed the life of that young man through God’s awesome power.
Erin Gupton, senior
Trying to put the experience of a Saba mission trip into words is a difficult feat. There are so many thoughts and experiences involving this Dutch-Caribbean island that it's almost overwhelming to talk about. One thing is definite though: God is good and God working.
Saba is a 5-square mile island of about 1,600 people. The island is under Dutch government, but it's Caribbean influence is certainly to be recognized. The culture is very accepting, lively and easy-going, and one cannot visit this area of the world without noticing the beauty. I could spend this entire summary speaking just of the island's majestic views and the people's innate spirit of joy. Saba was formed by volcano, creating massive mountains and steep cliffs. There are no natural sand beaches, but the surrounding ocean is a deep and vivid blue, and the salty breezes follow you wherever you are on the island. The Sabans have be ability to warm your heart with just one smile, and our team is immediately welcomed by hugs from natives waiting for us at the airport. Upon arrival Saba catches your heart, and believe me when I say it doesn't let go even when you depart.
Our team stays busy during every moment of the trip. The events and classes and murals that we have been planning months in advance come to life quickly, bringing with them miracles of heart-changing conversations and the beginnings of long lasting friendships.
Our mornings start bright and early as the team wakes up in Sunny Valley Youth Center and travels each day from The Bottom to St. John's in order to get to the one and only school on the island. We love on the kids in grade school by giving piggy back rides, jump roping, playing kickball or basketball, and being "it" in a game of tag. We then split into grades and spend 45 minutes in the classrooms telling the children a bible story and teaching them a song and dance that they will perform at the Island Wide Finale at the end of the week.
After our time at the grade school, we walk up to their high school and host a girls and guys class. This class has been one of the most effective and important parts of our trips since we began, and this year was no expection.Team members were transparent and loving as they shared their testimonies and Bible lessons, and the girls and guys both grew closer to our team through this boldness.
Each night and most afternoons we hold events for the people of the island. These including a Kickoff Bingo night, a NBA night, a Dodgeball night, an Easter egg hunt, a scavenger hunt across the island, and many more. After all these events we hold a devotional in the Governor's gazebo where we worship together and listen to team members sharing what's on their hearts.
Through all the classes, all the little hands we hold, all the hugs we give and receive, through all the basketballs dunked and dodge balls thrown and food eaten, and through all the songs sang and hearts spilled and tears shed, God worked His miracles in the way that only He can. He changed lives and brought people close to Him, both Sabans and team members alike. This year we were blessed in getting to partake in the baptism of three teenagers in the Caribbean Sea. One of the most moving parts of that is that we got to witness the girl that got baptized last year, the first baptism that has occurred on the island as a result of our time there, minister to her new sisters and brother in Christ.
The mission trip to Saba does not leave you unchanged. The cool winds and the tree frogs sing you to sleep at night, and when your back in your room in the states something seems to be missing. The views and the people and the warmth of the sun fill you up with joy, and you miss them when you leave. The hard cots and cold showers and early mornings become a welcomed friend, and their absence is bittersweet. The memories and experiences of this island are treasured ones, and I speak for all the current and past teammates when I say that Saba will always been on our minds and hearts and that we are counting the days until we can step foot on the majestic mountain again.