>>At first this trip was kind of hard for me but once I got to know people It was a lot of fun. I’m really thankful that all of you were so nice and were very welcoming. It was a great life lesson for me and really made me think of everything we take for granted. I am so thankful that God allowed me to go on the trip and I am very happy that I got a lot of new friends. This trip was a huge blessing. – Whitney
>>This trip marks the third time I have traveled down to the Bayou and like the previous excursions it will be a highlight of the year. With each trip I develop new friendships and deepen existing ones with the people Dulac, Pointe Aux Chenes, and all the surrounding communities. We have been received by so many in the Bayou as brothers and sisters with a shared purpose and for that reason our projects continue to be successfully completed – it is beautiful to see the fruit of collective effort from so many people. I appreciate all the hard work by all the people involved to make this happen successfully – it has become a rewarding family vacation.
I will fondly remember: Crabbing with brother Craig, his stepson Josh, Sam, and an unnamed Stone Crab whose claw I pulled off. I am grateful for working with Caleb, Josh S, Josh K, TJ, Sam, Elijah G, Max, John, Courtney, Doug, Laura, Abigail, and all the others at our worksite on Shrimpers Row. That was a tough job and we knocked it out most victoriously. Stepping outside in the morning to see the Sunrise group singing or praying around the fire. I will continue to laugh when I think of “He’s dead!” I feel very confident that I can take Tom Phillip out with a paint roller – even blindfolded. I am now certain that young teenage girls are punch drunk oysters at 1AM.
And most importantly, I have come to realize that a one of the sanctified works God wants from us is to embrace our role as a kinsman redeemer. I saw many of you display the spirit of Boaz as you worked diligently for others who could not repay the deed – it brought a heavenly joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. – Steve
>>This year I was just constantly busy. I ran out of time every day from either working or ministering to people. I was amazed at the hungry there is for Christ. The maturity level was the highest I’ve ever seen with this group. That is what to me was so special about this trip.
- Learn and then drive a skid loader
- Smash threw a brick wall with my shoulder and then foot
- Go “crabbing” with Brother Craig on his boat
- Push over a house
- Change people’s lives
Those were my favorite highlights. I could go on about so many things. But at the end of the week God gave me the most simple of things. Read the word more and pray more. I traveled thousands of miles for God to tell me those things. Funny how God works sometimes. – Sam
>>On Sunday morning Pastor Keith talked about (amongst other things) on how we needed to “get the focus” and to get it we needed prayer, fellowship, and God’s Word. Before the trip I was feeling spiritually weak, but during the trip I was able to connect with God at a deeper level. I realized I wasn’t using the three things I needed to “get the focus” at home. Hopefully I will consistently do those three things so that the mission trip won’t be just a quick shot of God, but something to show how we can continually keep that close walk with Him.Whenever we completed a project, I got a feeling of accomplishment that what we did would impact the community forever. I especially felt it when we fixed up the playground and only after an hour of finishing it, kids were playing on it.
One of the things God really opened my eyes to was the power of prayer. It was mostly for little things but, he always answered. One morning we couldn’t find the keys to the back-hoe, and we couldn’t take down the trees without it. Not even two seconds after we prayed about the situation someone found it.
I really enjoyed this trip I am so thankful for everyone who went down to Louisiana with me. I will treasure the memories forever. I tried to have a servant’s heart this year, and it was hard but a lot more enjoyable than what I thought and I pray I will continue having a servant’s heart whether it is to the Dulac community or people in the mall so that they can see God’s love through me. – Anna B.
>>Two weeks ago I found myself standing in the hot sun of Dulac, Lousiana. Never before had I been so far away from home, never before had I been on such a marvelous mission trip. In the Bible it says that God calls us to be his hands and feet, and to out into the nations and show people the amazing God that we serve, and all I can say is that we certainly did. I made wonderful memories with lots of wonderful people while experiencing God’s work in us firsthand. Who could want anything more?
The first day my family arrived was late at night. I felt like an outsider, since me and mom and my brothers were from New Jersey and everyone else Wisconsin. But we were not treated like outsiders at all, they all welcomed us with open arms. Infact I made a couple of friends that I still communicate with! It was amazing, the bridges we made from Dulac, Wisconsin and small Chester, New Jersey. Not only did I make good connections with my group, but the people of Dulac as well. They were all so sweet, caring, and considerate, and almost everyone we encountered we prayed for and gave a Bible to. It was amazing to see real people so hungry for the love of Christ.
The work we did that week was hard, and laborous but it was worth the smiles and hope that crossed the peoples faces. I started out working on the road we were staying at. We really just helped where erer it was needed. Then I moved groups, and took down rotting houses, surprisingly fun! But in those houses you could just see the momories, and all the pain these families had been through, like you could almost feel this… this presense in the atmosphere. Every sight I worked on we prayed for. We prayed that the Lord would keep us safe, that He would bless the people that used to live there, and we prayed for an adventure or something we could remember when the sun had set and day was done and over. And the Lord never fell short of our prayers.
Every morning and evening we’d have as I like to say, family devotions, which were the whole group would come together and talk about the day, pray, devotions, and pray again. I loved this time the most, it was like even though I wasn’t on that sight that day, you could hear all the excitement just running through their faces as they told these outrageous stories.
Worship was always an “up” point of the day. We could just forget about all our troubles, fears and stress and bring up to the Lord in one voice. It will always be something I’ll look forward to and remember.
Looking back to that week, I just praise God for His glory and protection. I thank Him for His love and worship Him for His mightyness. I cant wait till next year! – Aiyonna
>>This was my 2nd year going and I’ve just got to say that this trip was amazing. Even before we left for Louisiana God had been teaching and challenging me to trust Him more and then when we got there God was working in subtle ways to teach me more about Him and myself. I learned that I need to constantly be trusting God with my life and to strive to be in His presence more. God put everyone on this trip there for a reason and it was so amazing getting to know everyone better. I got a lot more connected with the community this year and I’m so happy to have gotten to know the people I did. Helping by the Community Center was great too because we had an amazing group and we got to bless so many people. I’m really going to miss waking up at the crack of dawn to pray with my friends for the day, but I know that a lot of the good habits I picked up during the trip our still going to be put into use;) God really did amazing things that week, especially in my own life, and I’m extremely thankful to have gone on this trip=) – Charity
>>This was my second year going, and even though it’s been almost been a month since we’ve gotten back, I still find myself randomly thanking God for the people I met, the work we accomplished, and all the amazing memories that were made! Everyday God showed me something knew that He wanted me to know and to learn. It wasn’t just one big thing, it was multiple small things that He’s still continuing to show me here back home, and I’m so thankful that He is! I was SO blessed to be with all of you amazing people on this trip!! When my ankle was hurt and I couldn’t walk, I was offered piggy back rides, someone to hold the icepack on it, or to help me hobble around 🙂 At first I was frustrated that I couldn’t work, but that was yet again another thing God used to show me that I’m not in control! Each and every day was filled with laughter, hard work, and new blessings from God 🙂 I’m also extremely thanfkul that this year I connected a lot more with those who actually live down there 🙂 At the community dinner it was great to talk to some of those who live in the community, and at church it was especially great to fellowship with other believers, 1,000 miles from home 🙂 I guess I’ll just finish by saying that God is Awesome, and Lord willing I’ll be able to come back next year!! ❤ -Krystal
>>This was my first year on the trip, and it was one of the best times I have ever had. I knew a little of what to expect since I knew a lot of people on the trip, but I was saw and learned down there was amazing far exceeding my expectations. When I was put on my work team I was a little concerned because I didn’t know most of my team, but over the week we all became good friends and worked really well together. During the talk about praying for people I really started thinking about and it was really eye-opening to what I could be doing here. One of my highlights of the trip was definitely getting up every morning with our group and watching the sunrise and praying over the day. Other highlights taking down the house, eating crayfish, meeting new people like Bosco and new people who went on the trip. Pastor Keith’s message about growing closer to God. There are so many other things that I would love to say about this trip but I will leave with saying that this trip has really helped me grow a lot closer to God have a longing to know him more. -Matt
>>This was my first year on this mission trip and at first I had no intentions on going I just wanted to do something for spring break and to get it over with but now I want to come every year for the rest of my life! When I got there I got to meet a lot of incredible talented people who served God with all their heart. I think going to church was the best part of the trip for me, when Pastor Keith told us to stay focus on God and to truly worship Him and I really took heart on what he said and I could feel the Holy Spirit working in me, I was overflowed with joy and peace, I didn’t want it to leave me ever! During that day I got to fellowship with a lot of new people and I got to know them much better. During this trip I got to experience God’s loving presence through people and myself, if it was from us all singing together during devotions or giving someone a bible who we never even knew. I am so thankful that I went on this trip it has been the best time of my life and I really got closer with my Lord than I ever had. ❤ – Anna P.
>>It has been two weeks since the trip and I continue to reflect on the richness of our experience together. One of the thoughts I was hoping to share on the trip was that what we were a part of could be seen from a satellite. The Lord expects us to take good care of the earth and I believe we not only received the favor of the local community but I believe the Lord truly smiled down on our good work. This year was so different from our previous mission trips in so many ways and yet the satisfaction from the team building, letting new leaders emerge, and the care we had for each other is humbling to realize the Lord had so much for us to learn.
The Lord’s provision for us was again so perfect. Items, resources, and people the Lord provided through individual promptings were nothing less than miraculous: Tamera bringing a thermometer, Diane coming in the place of Rich, my welder needed the first day, trucks, trailers, tools of mass destruction, leaders with unexpected skills (I can still picture Randy White teaching a backhoe how to dance on 2 wheels). Unbelievable???; maybe, unless you have been on other trips where the Lord has shown his faithfulness over and over again. I believe most of you know that after I went back to pay our bill with the equipment rental company the salesman gave us the entire rental and delivery for free.
I have such deep respect and love for all of our 53 volunteers. Thank you for the honor of leading you to the mountains. I don’t quite understand why we had to deal with the trials and setbacks of sickness but I do have faith that when we stand in the presence of our Savior it will be clear as day. We now see dimly but then it will be clear. Right now I continue to pray for healing and restoration to our team that took it on the chin.
Lessons Learned: (1) Taking the step forward to declare we were going on the “Mission Trip to: Unknown” was another great lesson in walking by faith. (2) People truly love to live up to the levels of expectations placed on them – I expected a great trip with great leaders & great workers and that played out. (3) God is Faithful beyond our wildest imagination.
Favorite Moments: Working alongside of my son, depending on his strength and accuracy with a chainsaw as we disassembled a pile of debris at Armageddon. Second favorite was at the Brat Fry when my eyes filled with emotion from the local words of gratitude.
I can not wait to see where the Lord will take us next! – Tom