global missions

Global Missions: Thoughts from Argentina

This year we sent missionary members to four different locations across the globe to love and serve together. When the final team returned to Columbia for the summer, we interviewed team members from each trip, in order to celebrate with them all that Jesus accomplished through the trips.


We interviewed missionary member Marcus Richardson about his trip to Pila, Argentina.

What inspired you to go on the trip?

I love Latin America and the Lord has given me heart for the people, language and culture. I had never done a construction trip before but when i heard of this ministry's needs and their hearts for having a healthy church in a small community I felt I needed to be a part of whatever the Lord was going to do.

What was life like in Argentina?

Argentina is mix of European and Latin culture and feel. Pila is a small town in the Buenos Aires Province. Going from downtown Buenos Aires to country side Pila is like going from New York City to Columbia. Life is just slower and simpler and the people are kind and welcoming.

What types of things did you do while you were there?

In Pila we worked with some of the men from the church to build the roof and paint the building that they will use for Sunday services. We also lived with host families and it was great chance to fellowship with Argentine brothers and sisters and also put Christ on display for their friends and family who do not know the Lord.

What was the best part of the trip?

I would say lunches and dinners. Not only was the food great but it was also a time for our team to come together from what ever we had been working on during the day. Our team laughed and joked and sang so much that every time we came together with the church members it was like a party. There was so much joy!

What was the hardest part of the trip?

Going on a trip like this is always great because we are removed from our everyday distractions. Without those distractions, when the Lord speaks to us (like He always does), we can't distract or busy ourselves so we are given this beautiful and difficult opportunity to see and evaluate our sin without text messages, Netflix or emails. This is always hard, but so very good.

What did God teach you during the trip?

I think the Lord reminded me that He desires and can love me and wants to have a personal relationship with me. I spend a lot of time meeting with people and reading books and Scripture for others and its very easy to believe the lie that the Lord just wants to use me to express His love for others but He is to busy to share and express that same love to me. Wrong.

Yes, we are to be used by the Lord and to put His love on display for others and we can because He has poured and does pour that same love out on us. He knows us by name and draws close to each and everyone of us. He is capable of loving us all fully.

Global Missions: Thoughts from India

This year we sent missionary members to four different locations across the globe to love and serve together. When the final team returned to Columbia for the summer, we interviewed team members from each trip, in order to celebrate with them all that Jesus accomplished through the trips.


We interviewed missionary member Chris Ramaglia about his trip to New Delhi, India.

What inspired you to go on the trip?

I feel that the Lord has been calling me to do some kind of full-time vocational ministry for the past couple of years. Initially, it was a very broad calling, but He has slowly made His calling on my life more and more clear. As I prayed about what full-time ministry looked like for me, the Lord led me towards considering full time international missions work. As my prayers began to become more specifically focused towards full time missions work, the Lord opened up the door for me to go to India. It was really awesome that the Lord provided an opportunity to go overseas as I pursue the possibility of doing something like it full time. Additionally, I was very excited to get to see what the Lord has been doing in India through our partnership with Project Rescue.

What was life like in India?

Life in New Delhi is absolutely overwhelming in every sense. Take any adjective you can think of and put overwhelming in front of it and that's India. It's hot, congested, busy, loud, spicy, smelly, poverty stricken, spiritually dark and so much more. We lived in a well-off neighborhood at our bed and breakfast, but the slums were our next-door neighbors.

In any available space in the city, you will find squatting villages of poverty stricken families who receive no help from the local Indians. Women and children are forced to eat, cook, sleep and bathe in the streets as the average middle class Indian passes by without even noticing. There are child beggars on every corner asking for food and water in the extremely hot temperatures of Delhi, rickshaws driving into oncoming traffic to get their passengers to the nearest metro station, cars honking on their horns non-stop, waste overflowing into the street from every sidewalk and man made idols being worshiped on nearly every car dashboard, temple and street side market.

However, if you can close your eyes for a second, you can find silence in the chaos and see that the Lord is truly at work. Buildings and temples are slowly falling apart as God dissembles them, native Christians are growing to be more bold in their faith, churches are moving into the red light district to start proclaiming the truth of the gospel in the face of 600 years of sex trafficking and the children at the children's homes are receiving spiritual, physical and emotional healing from childhoods that they have endured as they grow to learn about God's love for them through Jesus. India is a heavy place, but definitely a place where God is moving and saving lives.

What would you say was the best part of the trip?

There was a lot, but there is one moment that definitely sticks out to me. We went to prayer walk in the Jama Masjid Mosque one day. The girls were forced to remain outside and pray while the guys and I went inside to pray. We found a quiet place on the prayer rugs and began praying for the Muslim men that surrounded us. It was the month of Ramadan when we were there so there were a lot of people. We prayed that the Muslim people would find the freedom that is offered in Christ. We prayed that they would come to know that they cannot bare the burden of their own sin on their own shoulders or obtain salvation on their own, but instead that salvation is offered freely through God’s grace in Christ Jesus.

We also prayed that someone would come up to us so that we could pray and share the Gospel with him. Just as we prayed this, a man interrupted our prayer and began a conversation with us in English. Sometimes God answers prayers immediately! We had a long conversation about Islam with Abdula and then he tried to get us to proclaim a faith in Allah. We respectfully declined, but asked him if he would be okay with us praying for him. He accepted our offer and we shared the gospel in the context of our prayer. After opening our eyes, Abdula gave us 30 rupees as a small gesture, we all gave him a hug and then parted ways. When we met back up with the girls, they told us that they had prayed for someone to approach us in the mosque. It was incredible that the Lord provided that opportunity and I feel with confidence that He planted a seed in the life of Abdula that will flourish into an understanding of God's saving grace through Jesus Christ!

What was the hardest part of the trip?

Again, I can't pick out a specific "hardest" part of the trip because there were also many. However, the day we visited the red light district was heartbreaking. Before visiting the red light district, I had an image in my mind of what it would look like. I pictured women attempting to flee from their physical bondage and an overwhelming sense of sorrow in the faces of the women you could see in the brothel windows. However, what we encountered was very different.

As we drove down G.B. Road, every day life went about as normal on the ground floor shops and there were smiling women staring down from the barred windows of the upper story brothels. The most heartbreaking thing about witnessing this was the façade of normalcy that covered the underlying evil that is present there. None of the women there chose to be there, but they are forced to put on smiles to prevent themselves from receiving further beatings. They are forced to pretend like nothing is wrong for fear of being killed otherwise. It was gut-wrenching and angering to say the least. Even though their smiles attempted to tell the world that they were fine, you could see the torment in their eyes. This was very hard for our entire team to experience, but at the same time it also gave us perspective for how much healing the children have received by being at the Project Rescue children's homes.

The more evil sin becomes to us, the more capable we are of understanding how beautiful Jesus is, so in a weird way, experiencing the darkness that is in the red light district helped us to see how much work God is doing in the lives of the children who have been saved from the sex trafficking industry.

What did God teach you while you were there?

It was very easy to visit India and point out blatant idolatry by the worshiping of man-made figurines and statues that occurs there, but the Lord also revealed idols of my own during the trip. In our own country, many of our idols lie hidden under the surface because they aren't tangible objects that we can touch, but instead they manifest themselves as status, image, comfort, relationships, amongst many others. I have idolized many of these. Not only that, but we often justify our idols by covering them up with pride and Christian lingo.

"#blessed" has become an all too convenient justification for things that we so often put in place of the Lord. I am completely guilty of this. This was extremely hard to come to terms with, but by the Lord’s grace, He continues to tear my idols from my firm grip on them. Through this, the Lord reminded me that even though I know the Lord and am growing in a relationship with Him, I am still in just as much need of His grace as anyone else that walks the face of the Earth because of my sin. My need for Him hasn't changed since becoming a believer; I've just become aware of it. I must live every day thanking God for making me aware of my need for His grace and pray that others would come to be aware of its availability through Christ Jesus.

Global Missions: Thoughts from Guatemala

This year we sent missionary members to four different locations across the globe to love and serve together. When the final team returned to Columbia for the summer, we interviewed team members from each trip, in order to celebrate with them all that Jesus accomplished through the trips.


We interviewed missionary member Alisha Mitchell about her trip to Coban, Guatemala.

What inspired you to go on this trip?

My parents were international missionaries from the time I was born until about age 9, so I knew part of the purpose for international missions stemmed from Matthew 28 in which Jesus calls us to go out into all the nations and make disciples. The New Testament tells us that God cares for people of all nations, and as Christians we understand that Jesus sacrificed everything for us, giving us the freedom to do the same, so that others may know of his love through his death and resurrection.

Since becoming a believer, I wanted to go on an international missions trip as a response to these truths. The trip to Guatemala interested me the most because I had heard a little bit of the stories of the children and I wanted so much to display God's love for them as His children, that they are not defined by the abuse and neglect they have experienced already.

What was life like in Guatemala?

Cobán is a city in the mountains of central Guatemala where life seems to revolve around a central market. We were considered fortunate to have toilets and sometimes hot showers.

The poverty of the city was probably seen most clearly in the children's hospital that my team visited. There were children crying in corners of rooms, barely any clean or good medical supplies, and there were not many qualified nurses or doctors, much less ones that actually cared.

As far as spiritual life, you are either Catholic or practiced some form of Vodou or multiple-god religion. What I gathered is that most of the people that claim to be Catholic are following more of a prosperity gospel where they only attend if they are sick or need help and think that their attendance will make God like them or give them what they need. Before the children came to the home a lot of them were abused, both physically and sexually, or seen as nuisances and ended up being neglected.

What types of things did you do while you were there?

We spent the first few days hanging out with the children of the home and getting a feel for what their every day life was like. We would play table games or juegos de mesa, freeze-tag, and spend time with them over meals. The conversations with the children over meals were the most fruitful as we were able to ask them questions about their childhood or just getting to know them as individuals. It reminded me of how Jesus spent a lot of his time in an effort to love people and share life with them.

One of the days my team went to the children's hospital in Cobán and donated a lot of medical supplies including ibuprofen and diapers for the babies. The second half of the week we were brought to the new property (meant to have 2 children's homes, a hospital and a school) to plant trees and to pray over it. It was absolutely beautiful and would allow a much greater amount of children to be rescued from neglect and malnutrition.

What would you say was the best part of the trip?

First of all, Christian and Eugenia, the parents of the home, have prayed incessantly for years for funding to start building on the property. God–who's ways and timing are perfect and good as he is always working for the good of those who love him–PROVIDED the funds completely! This news arrived while we were there and it was/is such a joyous gift.

The second was seeing how many of the children truly loved Jesus. It was easy to see as you watched them love one another patiently and sacrificially, caring for each other before taking caring of themselves. They would sing constantly and talk about how they wanted to be missionaries in countries all over the world. It was beautiful getting to see how Christian and Eugenia raised these children to fear and trust God, and to know that Jesus has saved them from spiritual darkness.

How did you benefit from the trip personally?

I learned a lot about what it means to be family with people of all nations because of the blood of Jesus and how the Holy Spirit binds us together as one. Because of this trip, through fundraising, being with the children and being with my teammates, I saw so clearly what it looks like to be different parts of the body of Christ. We are his body, his church and his bride, on mission with him until we die and are able to finally be joined with him perfectly as one.

I also learned more of how God's promises will always be true. In this case, from Romans 8. I didn't know the language well, I was plagued with insecurities and fear, but because of Jesus' righteousness, God does not forsake his children, even in their weaknesses. In the moments when I wanted to hide, he gently and graciously pursued me, letting me know that He will not let His daughter go. He used all of these things for my good and his glory, and He won't ever stop.