After knowing about the work Starve Poverty was doing in Exuma for many years I felt the Lord leading me to go this year. I remember in years past I would be convinced that I “needed” a vacation and would opt for my time away to be refreshed and entertained, (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
So, this year I decided to “sacrifice” my vacation for the trip. I was willing to put aside myself and give to others.
Funny how things turned out. I arrived in Exuma with the team and was in full “get’er done” mode. We started working the afternoon we arrived. God organized a team of men and a lady that when put together became an instant unit. All became one. We worked very hard to accomplish the task and it wasn’t until the 3rd day that I realized that this was one of the best times away I’ve ever had. I was blessed to work and fellowship with likeminded people who exhibited the love of God. I was truly blessed to be a part of Starve Poverty and the work that they do.
It’s been a tough year for me and the fact that I was reminded, “You can’t out give God” strengthen my faith and my resolve to continue to follow Him the rest of my life.
Lately. I have found myself reflecting on the trip 1 had recently taken to Exuma to
re-roof the Resource Center. I find myself still amazed by the people who have so little,
but who make you feel as though they have “all they need”. My first trip was over twelve
years ago and 1 felt blessed to have had a second trip. So much change, yet so little
difference. I saw more and more houses. Yet people whom struggle to feed their families
staying the same… the images change you. The stories amaze you. My thoughts were I
was going to Exuma to “work for God”. However, being with the members of my team,
the devotional we shared that week, and the images that stick with me, left me a changed
man. 1 serve a God whom makes all things new every single day! And I am a living
testimony of that. I look forward to continuing the work in Exuma, so that the same God
who changed me (and continues to do so) will touch every life on the island of Exuma for
His purpose and glory.
I am so thankful that God is the King of transformations. Three years ago if you had told me I would be going on a missions trip to Exuma, I would have told you it wasn’t possible. However, God knows every step he has planned for us and slowly and carefully he prepared me to have an amazing experience. The stark contrasts of Exuma are shocking. On one side of the island you have the beauty of crystal clear aqua water and gorgeous resorts but only a few miles away it is a far different sight. There are homes filled with children who receive one meal a day, have no running water, and won’t be attending school if they can’t afford a uniform. In spite of these adversities the people of Exuma are kind and giving. We were often greeted with beautiful smiles, hugs, or even a song. It was incredible to watch how running water or even a meal can open up doors to share Christ. I learned that there is nothing “short” about a short term missions trip. We all need to share God’s love for a lifetime.
Have a wonderful Sunday,
I could never have anticipated how the trip to Exuma would affect me. I came away thrilled at how God took such a diverse team and accomplished so much–completing a challenging building project, a wonderful program in the schools that evoked such a warm response from the children and the teachers, the opportunity to visit and pray with individuals with whom Starve Poverty
has made a connection and for whom you have made a difference. So many memories: a child who played with Jonathan and desperately wanted to give him one of the two dinosaurs that were among his only toys; the sweet sounds of Flo’s voice as we sang with her; the woman selling baskets who wanted to give them to us because we stopped to visit with her–even though it’s her only means of supporting herself; the boy whose mother wanted to commit suicide because she couldn’t clothe her son who just happened to wear Jonathan’s size… I think about homes without plumbing, children whose uniforms were always clean and neat, people walking long distances on the road to a store or school until someone stopped and offered them a ride, the enthusiastic worship in the church and how warmly they hugged us, Chris and all that he and the teachers are doing at the Resource Center…
I will never be the same. Thank God.
Arlene M. Sengstack
Missions Coordinator and Administrative Assistant to Boyd Hannold