Every week, we share stories about the amazing ways God is at work around the world. We hope that you’ll be encouraged by these stories and inspired to greater involvement in God’s Great Commission to go out to the world – near and far – and train, instruct, and baptize people in Jesus’ Name. This week, we hear from Pastor Kevin Clark of LifeBridge Church:
“As a pastor, I am not shy about talking about Jesus, so I wasn’t at all nervous about going into the villages and huts and sharing my faith or talking about malaria prevention, HIV prevention, or any of the other things that we were trained to do. But, on the first morning, before we went out, our trip organizer told the team, ”When you ask the people if there is anything that you can pray for, many of them will have physical illnesses or conditions and they will want you to pray that they are healed.” Then he looked right at me and continued, ‘Some of you may not have had this experience before – a direct healing as a result of prayer right there on the spot – but I encourage you to just lean into that.’
So, on the second day, my partner and I were in one particular hut and we asked the people there if there was anything in specific that we could pray for. They then told us about their neighbor who was extremely ill. So, we went next door: me, my partner Aaron, our translator, our disciple-maker, and a throng of others all went into their neighbor’s hut.
The man was extremely frail – he looked like someone who was in a concentration camp – and said that he had been suffering from “very powerful headaches” that made him dizzy and prevented him from even standing. So we all knelt down next to him, laid hands on him and began to pray for about 10 minutes or so. When we finished, our translator asked him if he felt any better. The man replied that his headache was gone!
Then things got interesting.
Our translator then asked him if he could stand up. ‘I don’t know’ was the response, followed by the man very cautiously rising to his feet and broadly smiling! ‘Can you jump up and down?’ asked our very energetic translator. And the whole group of people who had followed us just laughed at the absurdity of the question.
But the man tried.
He jumped an inch off of the ground. And then this huge smile spread across his face as he began to leap off the ground – one to two feet off the ground! It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
As we left, I asked Aaron, ‘Wow… does God still do stuff like that?’ I had grown up as a good, conservative Baptist: we don’t dance, we don’t drink and we don’t heal. And yet, I saw it happen right in front of me. And that was just the first of six or seven people that I saw who were divinely healed that week.”
Kevin’s 14-year-old daughter, Taylor is also involved with E3 Partners, and experienced a worldview changing week that strengthened her faith:
“When my dad got back from his first trip overseas, he told us all these stories similar to the one he just shared about the miraculous healings and I thought that it was really unfair that he hadn’t taken me along with him! So, the next time that there was an opportunity to go on an E3 Partners trip, my dad and I decided to go together.
I had the opportunity to share the Gospel in every house that we visited. And, I have to admit, it was pretty scary – especially the very first time. I was so afraid of being laughed at or rejected. But instead, to my surprise, several people said they wanted to pray and invite Jesus into their lives that first day!
It was eye opening for me to realize that Jesus is with us and there was no need to be afraid.”
Kevin’s perspectives were radically transformed as well, starting at the very beginning of their trip together:
“When we were in the planning stages of our trip, I really hadn’t considered that Taylor was as young as she was and what all that entailed. I figured that she’d always be by my side, so I would be able to watch over her as her dad. But, as we drew closer to the trip, I began to have nightmares that something terrible would happen to her and I would wake up in the middle of the night freaked out by these dreams. I prayed, “Alright, God, we know that you’ve called the two of us to go on this trip and provided for us so that we can go. She’s your daughter, God, you need to protect her.” And, I was able to go back to sleep, resting in God’s peace.
Then, when we arrived, instead of just sitting on the sidelines observing, I saw Taylor dive right in and engage with the people we met, sharing the Gospel. I saw her mature as a young woman and as a woman of God right there in front of me!
I’ve also noticed that the two of us have a much closer relationship after sharing the experiences that we did while on this trip, both as a father/daughter and as fellow servants of God. So, I really encourage any parents of teens to take their children with them and not just send them on a missions trip, but model for them what it means to be a person who lives out their faith.”
Dan Watson of E3 partners agrees that there are no effective age limits when it comes to teaching your children to go out and serve God. He began taking his kids on trips to the Amazon when they were just seven-years-old.
“We were down in South America, and my kids had the opportunity to share the Gospel with other children down there. Then, a couple years later, I took them to Kenya and got to see them work with the Maasai tribe and share the Gospel in the huts of Africa.”
Rick Eisemann also began taking his kids along with him on missions trips when they were young and can attest as well to the life-changing and faith-building moments that can come out of obediently putting your children in situations where they learn to serve God and serve others:
“We began taking our daughters on trips when they were just 12-years-old. They are older now – each of them have been on about 15 trips. But, I can say that the most significant thing that we have done for them, as parents, was taking them on these trips. They were homeschooled, we were very involved in our church, but the thing that I believed contributed most to developing their Christian characters to this day was going on those trips, seeing how the rest of the world lives, and understanding how we have been blessed.”
E3 Partners also has a program called E3 Legacy, which is designed for families to go on mission trips together. It’s thrilling to see this “Great Commission Modeling” taking place between parents and their children and seeing families doing ministry together, side-by-side.
Kevin shares one more story about how he and Taylor faced their innate fears with a Godly boldness and saw how their obedience opened doors to minister to families:
“We were going into an area where the human trafficking element is a much bigger threat. So, here I was taking my 14-year-old daughter (who was right at the target age for a human trafficking organization) and walking into an area infamous for that. We went in to share with the people that they really shouldn’t allow their daughters to take these alleged “jobs”, where the girls are supposedly going to be able to send money back to their families, yet instead are abused in the sex trade. I was very nervous about going into that scenario without my resources from home to fall back on. So, needless to say, I kept a very close eye on Taylor while we were there. But, what struck me most while we were there was this: while we were there talking to parents about their teenage daughters and I was standing alongside my own daughter, we were able to visibly demonstrate our faith that God would take care of us. This simple act of the two of us being together really opened up several doors with the local parents – opportunities that probably would not be available to us had my daughter not been there with me.”
To learn more about E3 Partners, or to find out what is involved in going on a trip yourself, simply call 1-800-5-I-CAN-GO (1-800-452-2646) or visit www.e3partners.org.