Category: Mission Trips

Thousands Receive Sight at Annual It Is Written Eye Camp

Editor’s Note: Eyes for India is the long-running It Is Written initiative restoring sight to the blind through cataract surgeries in India. Every year, Dr. Jacob Prabhakar, ophthalmologist, and his medical team hold an eye surgery camp at a temple in Northern India. He shares the following report from the recent event held in January.

Dr. Jacob Prabhakar examines a patient’s eye.

The temple camp conducted every year in a remote village—Hariakol of Barabanki, in the most populous and poverty-stricken Indian state of Uttar Pradesh—is the highlight of all community services rendered by the Ruby Nelson Memorial Hospital. This unique mega eye camp (resumed for the first time since 2020 due to the pandemic) creates a tremendous impact, in that Hindus steeped in superstitious beliefs acknowledge Christ’s methods of medical ministry and are convinced that this kind of phenomenal healing they witness year after year is possible only through a God who is very much foreign to them. Praise God for this window of opportunity!

Despite a cold, misty night and a 24-hour journey in the It Is Written-gifted bus, loaded heavily with medical supplies and equipment, navigating at times through zero visibility, the spirit and enthusiasm of the medical team was not dampened. Their commitment to serve the poor against all odds is a blessing.

A man waits for his cataract surgery.

Patients also traveled long distances in the biting cold, mostly on foot, carrying the blind and the disabled either on shoulders or makeshift beds, while others reached the campsite on two-wheelers, buses, or trains. To these marginalized poor in the far-flung areas of North India, the free eye camp is a flickering ray of hope that will make their dream of restored sight come true. This drives them to brave the risks and challenges of an arduous journey through forest lands in inclement weather.

We are motivated to complete these camps by the high success rate of a seemingly simple cataract surgery that can drastically transform lives. Having understood the importance of holistic health, the temple priests, volunteers, and camp organizers are receptive to the distribution of spiritual and health literature and health and hygiene talks.

Dr. Jacob looks over patients before their surgeries.

The eye clinic opened early every morning. We screened, on average, 500 people every day and carefully selected for surgery the bilaterally blind—those with hypermature, hard cataracts which over time will turn into a permanent, painful blind eye. The selected patients then undergo a detailed preoperative workup and undergo surgery for cataracts, wherein they are implanted with an intraocular lens, under sterile conditions.

The pandemic necessitated the implementation of additional safety protocols such as rapid COVID-19 antigen screening tests, social distancing, and vaccination mandates. The provision of COVID PPE kits and other safety preparedness, a thoughtful and kind gesture of It Is Written, kept the medical team safe under the circumstances.

Dr. Jacob performs a brief cataract surgery on a patient, restoring their eyesight.

The backlog of patients encountered this year loomed greater than before, on account of the ongoing pandemic, which kept those who needed help indoors and prevented them from seeking timely medical attention. Moreover, the surgeries were also reduced to 200 per day due to the COVID restrictions on spacing of beds. It was truly a sad moment when nearly 2,000 patients registered for surgery had to be turned away for want of time and surgical supplies.

Despite these setbacks, a total of 2,628 people received the precious gift of sight. Praise God! The operated patients with sight restored beamed with joy as their hearts swelled with sincere gratitude to the It Is Written sponsors. They left the camp praising God, knowing that they can now lead independent lives and earn their livelihood. 

God has been gracious and merciful in helping us make a difference by touching lives and restoring sight. It has brought health and healing not only to the receiver but a greater blessing of joy and achievement to the giver as well. 

Thank you, It Is Written, for this amazing ministry in enabling us to reach the unreached.

Learn more about Eyes for India here. Support Eyes for India with a fundraiser kit, which includes everything you need for a successful fundraiser. The kit is free; only pay for shipping. Order one by clicking here.

Dr. Jacob (front left) and his medical staff.

Sharing Jesus in Guatemala

In October, a small Escrito Está team traveled to Guatemala to distribute water filters to a community desperately in need of them. We also joined a local radio station to share solar-powered radios with the Kekchi people, giving them access to Escrito Está programs translated into their native language! 

It all began with a recently baptized young couple who wanted to share the gospel in a small community in southern Guatemala. A friend from a small village in Moyuta told Anthony, “If you want to do service, please remember my town, it needs as much help as it can get.” After visiting a village in Moyuta called Palos Abrazados (hugged trees), Anthony and Angie realized their friend was right.

Despite government efforts, the people there live in extreme poverty. Many work in agriculture and only earn between $2-4 a day. Anthony and Angie started visiting once a month and invited other young people to come and serve. The amount of work grew so much, they created a non-profit organization called Familias con Futuro (Families with a Future). Now, every month a group of young people travel 2.5 hours from Guatemala City to Moyuta to spend time with the families there.They celebrate birthdays, play with the children, bring school supplies, organize health fairs, help repair homes, and other things.

Volunteers unpack the water filters.

For their most recent project, the volunteers decided to provide water filters to local families. They realized people did not have access to clean drinking water and were getting sick as a result. High heat and humidity only compounded the issue. Drinking water is essential for people who work under extreme heat and who have no AC in their homes, to stay hydrated; and for children to avoid illnesses, such as cholera. In February 2021, Escrito Está joined forces with the church to support this initiative. 

Thanks to various donations, 300 families, the entire community of Moyuta, received water filters this fall. We helped distribute the water filters and shared a special message: “God loves the people of Moyuta. You have not been forgotten. Every time you drink of this water, remember the One who has promised to give you the water of life. If you drink from it, you will not thirst again. Trust in the love of Jesus.”

As he received his water filter, one person from the community expressed, “Thank you for what you have done for our community, for coming all the way here to show us the love of Jesus.” Another lady stated, “I thought Jesus had forgotten me. This means so much to my family, thank you!” Alejandro, one of the community volunteers, said: “Thank you for supporting this project. Seeing an organization like Escrito Está coming to Guatemala to help a small group of volunteers serving in a poor community defines what church should be. I’m very encouraged and will continue helping my community with more fervor than ever.”

Our next stop was in Chicanutz, a small village in the middle of the mountains populated by the Kekchi, a native Guatemalan community. It was an eight-hour trip north from Guatemala City. Roads are rough and not all cars can enter the area. We traveled along with members of Unión Radio Guatemala, a radio station that covers most parts of the country and broadcasts Escrito Está programs. They recently began broadcasting in the central part of the country, where there is a large Kekchi population.

Approximately half a million people speak Kekchi. A local volunteer is translating the daily devotionals, Una Mejor Manera de Vivir, and our half-hour programs into the Kekchi language for his community. We called this trip “Una Mejor Manera de Vivir para los Q’eqchies” (A Better Way to Live for the Kekchis).

There is no electricity in the area. The only building that has a generator is the small church, and they only turn it on during worship hours on Saturdays. Only a few people in this community know how to speak Spanish fluently. Having Christian content that they can understand is essential for their spiritual growth. 

Oscar Cucúl is a Bible worker who has been pastoring the kekchi community. He is a Kekchi himself and feels that God has called him to look over and train new disciples to continue his work. He said, “I wish I had met Jesus when I was younger. Before coming to Christ, I was a homeless man. I only learned of the gospel when I was 39 years old. My dream is to have a school of discipleship to train young Kekchis how to share the gospel. I’m getting older and the day will come when I won’t have the strength to continue. This is the greatest burden in my heart.”

Oscar provides translation.

During worship service, Oscar was our interpreter, playing a key role in our connection with the community. We were received with smiles and a lot of love. B’antiox was one of the easiest words to learn, which means “thank you.” Children were shy but curious when they saw our cameras. The congregation proceeded to sing from the Spanish hymnal, many not understanding what they were singing. Can you imagine singing to God without understanding what you are saying to Him?

The weather was very humid and hot. We only stayed for a few hours due to the threat of rain, which would cause us to be stuck due to the poor roads. We delivered the radios and hurried to the next group that lived further up the mountain. The second group is a growing church, but they meet in someone’s house because they don’t have a church building. There was no AC and the room was dark. The locals were very excited to receive us and prepared a delicious soup for us to have for lunch.

During each short visit, we spoke about the importance of sharing Jesus and learning of His Word, then distributed the solar-powered radios. Many rushed to unbox because they wanted to learn how to use them. The people were excited to discover that they could listen to sermons in Kekchi and look forward to receiving more content in their native language.

Further above the mountains, there is a third group. It was starting to rain, so we were not able to visit them. We left Oscar in charge of distributing the remaining solar-powered radios and training locals how to listen to the Christian programs. 

Although this trip was a great achievement, it is only the beginning of an important mission: creating more content that can reach areas that are yet to hear the gospel in their tongue. Let us continue to pray for people like Oscar who are in a vast mission field. Let us continue to support the creation of more content in different languages. 

Thank you for your support of Escrito Está in making these donations possible. You are also helping in the translation of more content into the kekchi language.  Together we can reach many more people with the good news of Jesus and provide a better way to live for the Kekchis.

The people hold up their new radios in their church building.

It Is Written Missions: Miracles & Answered Prayer in Costa Rica

In March 2021, It Is Written conducted two mission trips to Costa Rica. The two groups went to a small countryside town called Las Juntas de Abangares to build a church, conduct medical clinics, and hold evangelistic meetings. Members from churches in Tennessee, California, and Washington, teachers and students from a church academy from Greeneville, Tennessee, and even our very own evangelism assistant, Maria Rayburn, and her 12-year-old daughter Gabriella were able to join in the trips. 

After months of planning and with 2020 behind them, the volunteers were beyond excited for this trip. After a four-hour flight, the team landed safely in Liberia, Costa Rica, and quickly removed their sweaters! From Liberia, the team traveled to Las Juntas de Abangares where they were greeted by howler monkeys in the trees right outside their hotel. 

Morning came rather quickly, courtesy of fruit bats outside the hotel windows. Shortly after breakfast, the team started work at the church building site. Some moved dirt while others raked it to level it out. They leveled the foundation and began building walls. The team needed a compactor to complete the floors, but there was nothing available to rent in the entire country. So the team prayed. The local pastor was driving to another town to see if they had a compactor when he happened to see one in someone’s yard. He stopped and asked if the owner would rent it—and he did! What a miracle.

The sun was extremely hot with temps usually above 90, and the team was so grateful for the daily lunch served at the church elder’s home. Next to his home is a small hut with a tin roof which serves as the local church. The local church community was extremely grateful for the work put in by the mission volunteers to build an actual church building.

Every night the group split up into small groups to do evangelism and maintain social distance. Maria was able to translate the meetings from English into Spanish. At one of the meetings, four children stepped forward in response to an appeal inviting Jesus into their lives and hearts. The students gave a health talk, told a children’s story, and shared a sermon that they wrote from their study in Steps to Christ.

During the day, another part of the team held free vision and medical clinics. The missionaries saw almost 750 patients, dispensed hundreds of pairs of glasses, and helped many people with joint pain and general health. Patients were given Steps to Christ in Spanish and invited to the evening meetings.

On one particular night, shortly after finishing the evening meeting, a church member came to Dr. Gordon Guild and said she was not feeling well. Dr. Guild examined her and believed she may have had a minor stroke. Dr. Guild and the rest of the team prayed over her that night. By the next morning, she was feeling much better and was back in the kitchen. Praise God for His blessings upon this woman!

Toward the end of the trip, rain was predicted just before the church floor needed to be poured. The students worked hard to complete their prep work before the rain moved in, and then they started praying. The following day, God held off the rain—it rained all around the team but not at the work site—until the floor was poured and walls finished. And then the heavens let loose. As the rain fell, the team reflected on the power of the Holy Spirit that had also been poured out during their time in Costa Rica. The people who had attended the evening meetings now had a place to worship, pain had been relieved, sight given, and hearts had made decisions for eternal life. These were mission trips for eternity. 

It Is Written is planning more mission trips for 2022. Please check itiswritten.com/missiontrips for updates as travel restrictions are reduced.

The Last Mission Trip: Video

Just as international travel shut down in Europe, It Is Written mission volunteers arrived in Siberia. It was the middle of March, and the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to extend its grasp around the globe. We didn’t know it then, but this was to be the last It Is Written mission trip of 2020.

Some volunteers had to leave immediately, but those who could, stayed, and God multiplied their efforts. Here are some stories from those mission volunteers.

To read more about the Siberia mission trip, check out our latest issue of Impressions.

Eyes For India COVID-19 Impact and Response

Eyes for India is the long-running It Is Written project restoring sight to the blind through cataract surgeries in India.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Jacob Prabhakar, Eyes for India ophthalmologist and medical director of Ruby Nelson Memorial Hospital in northern India, had to postpone planned Eyes for India surgeries and hospital services. We recently received a report from Dr. Prabhakar about the scope of the COVID-19 impact in his area and his team’s response to it.

Response to the Pandemic

“Eyes For India was progressing very well until March 21 when the pandemic set in, bringing all planned surgical activities to a standstill,” Dr. Prabhakar reports. “About 5,000 blind people who were scheduled and awaiting their turn for cataract surgery in various remote locations within India were disappointed that their dreams of getting their sight back through Eyes For India were delayed. We assured them that our services would resume once the pandemic settled down.”

Community response

Despite curtailed hospital services, the ministry of Eyes for India continued. Many migrant laborers in local villages were left without food and essential supplies during the lockdown. The Eyes For India team visited these villages and provided free food and essential items to about 50 families. It was such a joy to share the love of Jesus in this simple way.

Base hospital services re-opened 

Dr. Prabhakar and his hospital team worked diligently to reopen hospital services. He reports, “After ensuring all protocols for the safety of staff and patients were in place, the base hospital outpatient services began again on June 1 and surgical services started on June 14. The flow of patients at the base hospital has been steadily increasing.”

Screening centers

Due to safety protocols and staffing, the high-volume remote surgical eye camps of the past will not be possible for a few more months. Despite that setback, Dr. Prabhakar and his team have not stopped services altogether. 

Eyes For India has been operating satellite clinics and vision centers to conduct screening activities for future patients in seven strategic locations throughout the country. Services have been able to continue in three centers each week. It is expected that by September all seven of these satellite clinics will again become operational. Patients needing cataract surgeries will be registered in these clinics and will be given appointments for surgery. 

Surgeries resuming

Once surgeries recommence, Eyes for India will transfer about 10 to 15 of these registered patients each day to the base hospital for surgery. This will translate to about 75 surgeries performed per week and about 300 surgeries per month. This strategy will continue until regulations and infection rates allow for the resumption of our high-volume, on-location surgical camps. We are implementing the best practices to ensure the full safety of the staff, their families, and patients while attending to community needs. 

Even though the situation is unpredictable, we have scheduled our weekly surgical camps from September 13 onwards, hoping that the pandemic may settle down to a certain degree, allowing us to carry on our regular yearly schedule. It is our prayer that our services will resume full strength soon. 

Thank You 

While the current pandemic has changed things, Eyes for India is still moving forward. Dr. Prabhakar wants to personally share the following message to those of you who faithfully support this project: 

Thank you, dear donors, for your kindness and generosity that has literally transformed thousands of lives. Eyes For India is committed and strategies have been put in place to continue to serve people across needy communities amidst this changing scenario. The need for restoring sight to the masses continues to be great. 

I thank God for each of you. And with your kind help and support, we look forward to helping thousands who are desperately waiting for their sight to be restored. We are honored to share the precious gift of sight and share personally with them the love of Jesus. 

I remain truly grateful on behalf of thousands of blind who now see!

Jacob Prabhakar

It Is Written and Local Church Leaders Reopen Churches, Provide Community Services in India

After years in disrepair and closure, 53 churches in east central India have been reopened and spiritual, health, and social services have been initiated to keep them active with the help of It Is Written. In November 2018, It Is Written began an initiative with local church leaders to reopen 50 churches that had been closed due to lack of funding. The initial assessment was not encouraging. In addition to being without a pastor, the church yards were covered in garbage, windows were broken, and doors had rusted shut with no keys. Some churches were used to store tobacco or cotton while others were serving as shelters for beggars, sheep, and buffalo. Despite these discouraging odds, It Is Written representative Josephine Biegler, chose 53 churches to reopen. 

Local leadership team at one of the churches

To ensure the churches stayed open, new church leaders had to be trained and paid. Twenty-five Bible workers were selected and began training. They studied the life and teachings of Jesus; Bible doctrines; Daniel and Revelation; history of the church; world religions; health principle; the gift of prophecy; major and minor prophets; and the writings of Paul. Jack Phillips, It Is Written Bible Work Coordinator, traveled to India and conducted a special course on practical methods for giving Bible studies and reaching the local communities.

After thorough training, these Bible workers were placed in the villages to care for their two assigned churches. They cleaned each church, and professional repairmen made repairs and painted walls. Each church was given a new PA system, a culturally essential component to corporate worship. The Bible workers faced prejudice from community members because community members’ trust was damaged or broken when the church closed. 

Community health workers were hired to help the Bible workers overcome this prejudice. These ladies created a way for the Bible worker to enter the community with the gospel. Each worker was given training, a scale, stethoscope, blood pressure machine, and the book Where There is No Doctor in Telugu, the local language. The health workers check glucose and blood pressure levels, care for fevers, and bandage wounds. They taught about cleanliness and educated the villagers about the harmfulness of tobacco and alcohol. These women visited every home–Hindu, Muslims, and any other religion–praying for the suffering at the end of the visit. Some of the villagers accepted Christ because of the health workers’ invitations.

Newly opened churches began conducting night literacy classes in 26 of the churches. Eight adult literacy volunteers taught basic reading and writing along with Christian songs. They also prayed with the students and encouraged each to come back to the church on Sabbath. Through their efforts, people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior through baptism. 

A United States sewing ministry partnered with the churches to offer sewing classes for local women. The ladies learned how to make garments, were given a brand-new sewing machine, and were invited to accept Christ as Savior. They left the class spiritually fed and with training to become financially independent. 

The health and social services were augmented with spiritual resources. Students from an Indian theology school conducted a three-day evangelism program in each of the 53 churches. Their program helped support the Bible workers in reaching the unreached and gathering the scattered members. These students visited the entire village, prayed with everyone they could, and invited the community to the meetings at the church. Later, another seven-day revival meeting occurred in 10 of the newly opened churches. These meetings were targeted to the local youth. They learned songs, Bible stories, and skits and left encouraged to be the strength of the new churches. Many young people gave their lives to Jesus Christ through these meetings. The younger children were not left out. Last summer, over 60 days, two college students conducted Vacation Bible School in 20 of the reopened churches. They worked with the village children, taught them new songs and Bible stories, and made crafts. Nearly 800 children participated. 

Earlier this year, the It Is Written Eyes for India program conducted a medical camp for 100 villages including the 53 villages with newly reopened churches. Medical physicians from the United States provided free medical expertise and partnered with local nursing students. Over 2,300 patients were treated, over 4,500 people were screened for cataracts, and 927 were selected for cataract surgery which began on February 24. 

During the month of February, two It Is Written mission teams traveled to India to hold revival meetings at 20 locations covering the 100 villages that also received medical care. Over the course of the month, approximately 4,500 people attended these meetings throughout the sites. God poured out His blessings, and 1,197 people accepted Jesus into their hearts.

And the work hasn’t stopped. Ongoing plans include quarterly meetings conducted by a local Indian evangelist to cover spiritual growth topics like the Sabbath, stewardship, continuous soul winning, children’s Sabbath school, and health. The churches continue to hold youth ministry events and widow prayer ministry activities. Every quarter, the church will also conduct an eight-day training for elders to equip them to serve the church and community. And 48 more churches have been selected for reopening and have already been cleaned. In May, the It Is Written Hope Awakens sermons were translated into seven Indian languages and livestreamed in Facebook to the entire local area. Thousands have seen the broadcasts.  

The infrastructure is established to ensure these churches stay open for many years to come and continue growing and serving their communities with the love of Jesus. The treasurer for the local church in India writes, “Thank you It Is Written for entrusting us with the resources we desperately needed to reopen churches….Thank you Ms. Josephine and the It Is Written team for everything, and we request that you continue to support the work we are determined to undertake here in India. God bless you all.”

This project was made possible through the support of It Is Written donors. To donate to future It Is Written mission and humanitarian projects, click here and select “It Is Written Missions.”

Bible workers and community health workers

Eyes for India camp

Closed to Travel, Open to Christ

Europe was closing to international travel just as our team of volunteers arrived in Siberia. Some had to return home immediately, but those who could, stayed, and God multiplied their efforts. The small group divided themselves between three cities: Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Ulan Ude. They held three evangelistic meetings and three medical clinics. 

Pastor Armen, a local pastor, shared this report about our team’s time in Novosibirsk: 

From March 14 to 20, in Novosibirsk, on the right bank, the It Is Written volunteers held a comprehensive wellness program. In the morning, for four hours before lunch, they took blood pressures, measured blood sugar, and took vitals. About 30 community members received consultations along with 15 church members. 

Doctor Ken Mindoro gave daily health lectures from a Biblical perspective. He covered eight principles of health and answered group and individual questions. He also spoke with each guest, answering questions about health and lifestyle changes. Each guest received a health book and diary, and every day before the lectures, instructors and organizers of the program prayed with the guests.

The time invested resulted in a huge blessing. As Dr. Ken said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This isn’t his or his family’s first mission trip, but it was their first trip to Siberia. “My wife and I wanted to help people living in Siberia,” Dr. Ken shared. “We wanted to share principles for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and worship with Jesus together. Next year, if God pleases, we plan to come back to Siberia to serve people in new areas.”

One guest I’ll call Natalia left her address and said that she would like to be visited for prayer and further study. The local pastor and his wife arrived at her home and presented her with a book called Steps to Christ. They also prayed for her health, for the well-being of her family and grandchildren, and listened with interest to the story of her life and learned about her relationship with the Lord.

“Something attracted me to visit this program,” Natalia explained, “I was invited by my friend who politely and lovingly told me about the love of God. I felt a special atmosphere of kindness and light here.”

As a result, a trusting relationship was established, and Natalia and others like her came to find peace in Jesus’ love. The week ended with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with the community and the baptism of five souls who joyfully joined the local church family. 

As of March 27, all the volunteers had safely returned home, thankful for the opportunity to fellowship and serve in Siberia. Due to the current travel restrictions and health concerns, several of the upcoming It Is Written mission trips have been postponed. To learn more visit our missions page.

 

Going Strong in Siberia

In spite of all the coronavirus frenzy back home, our Siberia mission trip volunteers are doing very well in Siberia. They are working in three large cities (Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Ulan Ude) where they are conducting health clinics during the day and Bible presentations at night.

The doctor in Novosibirsk, who also happens to be the preacher, summarizes his day as follows: “We are fully utilizing the clinic space to register our guests, perform a number of health screening tests (including a step test, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings). After a prayer with the whole team, we sit down with our guests to discuss the health topic of the day. So far, we have discussed diabetes and epigenetics. Today, we will be discussing cancer screening and prevention. Following the group discussion, we set aside time for one-on-one consultations with the guests, during which we personally invite each and every one to our nightly meetings. Attendance at the nightly meetings is usually between 20-25 people. I am presenting both a health topic and the main sermon every evening. We continue to have new guests coming each night, and some have responded to appeals for baptism.”

Keep praying for our team in Siberia.  They are doing an impressive work for the Lord.

It Is Written Missions: Belize Update

In late February, 27 students and teachers from Jefferson Christian Academy in Jefferson, Texas left for the country of Belize on their first It Is Written mission trip. They didn’t know what to expect, but they were excited. From freshman to seniors, the group was ready to work. And they worked hard. 

Belize is a small, lush Central American country squeezed between Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. In February, the weather is beautiful: warm in the day and cool at night. The students were welcomed with open arms and quickly learned to love the local fare–beans and rice. 

The students made their two-week home at the La Loma Luz Hospital and set out to make friends for Jesus. Several of the students were assigned to build housing at the hospital–a project that has seen very gradual progress over the past three years. In just a few days, they made record progress. A mechanic and fellow student leader repaired several local vehicles, shared some of his trade tricks, and left some of his tools so that more repairs could be made. 

Pila, the academy’s boys dean and trip leader, knew this trip would be different. For the first time, the students were going to be preaching some of the three evangelistic meetings taking place in the evenings. Joined by the mission team choir and equipped with It Is Written media slides and notes, the students prepared to share what they believed in English and Spanish. 

One meeting took place in a tent across the street from a city park filled with young people, loud music, and alcohol. One night, as the students preached, a man approached Pila and asked him about Daniel 11. Pila could smell the alcohol on his breath as the man shared that he had been baptized 45 years before. Pila saw him the next night, listening from under a tree across the street. He prayed that hope was being planted in the man’s heart again. 

During the day, the student choir provided a Vacation Bible School program at a nearby grade school. The teachers took a needed break while the It Is Written mission team sang songs, played games, shared stories, and made friends. Nathan caught the eye of Erian, one of the grade school students. Just seven years old, Erian came from a broken home. When things were not going well at home, his mother would pack him a bag and send him out to the street until the police would pick him up.

Nathan and Erian soon became inseparable. At the end of the two weeks in Belize, the team planned an outing to tube some caves and do zip lining. Nathan couldn’t leave Erian behind. He decided to let his friends go on without him, and he spent the day with Erian. As Nathan left for the airport the next day, Erian hung on for dear life. He didn’t want his new friend to leave. 

As the team left, students gave up purchasing memorabilia from their trip. Instead, they saved the money to buy their new friends in Belize gifts like crayons and colored paper. Nathan said he wanted to save the $45 a year it will cost to keep Erian in Christian school. 

Back home, the academy students asked Pila if they could go across the street and spend time with the grade school children here. They realized how a little attention and a smile could make a huge difference in a child’s life. 

“We will definitely do an It Is Written mission trip again,” Pila promised. “Everything went so well. It was such a blessing to be on this trip. I asked the students to raise their hand if they enjoyed the trip. Everyone’s hands went up and they told me, ‘We went to teach but they taught us. We didn’t just enjoy it, we were blessed!’”

It Is Written hosts mission trips around the world every year. Learn more at itiswritten.com/missiontrips

To God Be the Glory–Always

It Is Written’s mission trip to Ethiopia is now in the rearview mirror. Our faithful volunteers are making their way home with lots of photos, memories, a greater appreciation for the simple things of life we take for granted at home, and a renewed passion for the Lord and His mission to save humanity. It was indeed a wonderful and life-changing journey.

Yves Monnier, left, and his translator, Oromo, right, introduce the sermon.

The grand finale of our two-week mission trip took place this past Saturday. That’s when we had an amazing worship service with well over 2,000 people in attendance. Wow! One of my fellow pastors, who had learned quite a bit of the language (Oromo), decided to be my translator for the introduction (we had scripted what I was going to say ahead of time). You should have seen the people smiling and laughing in appreciation. At the end of my sermon I made an altar call. At first very few moved and then the congregation spontaneously started singing. A God-moment, because that’s when people started streaming down. Just amazing. 

Hundreds gathered on the shores of Lake Langano for the baptisms.

As soon as the worship service was completed, the It Is Written team was whisked away to the shores of Lake Langano where hundreds of people had gathered to be baptized. On this day, this picturesque lake surrounded by rolling hills became a giant baptistery. Our pastors joined the local pastors to baptize 440 precious souls. The age of those baptized ranged from children to a one-hundred-year-old lady–a reminder that it’s never too late to make Jesus first in your life. The smiles of all the people coming out of the water said it all. 

When good things are happening, the devil always seems to show up. And he did at one of our nightly preaching sites, the largest preaching site. There was significant political unrest in that city (not caused by our meetings). The military were called in, the internet was shut down in the entire country, and our nightly meetings had to be canceled for safety reasons. Thanks be to God that no one was harmed and our dear pastor was able to get out without problems. However, the very large baptismal service planned for that area had to be postponed. 

The pastors line up with their new It Is Written jackets.

On Saturday evening the It Is Written volunteers and the local leaders and pastors had one last meeting together. This was a time to thank our hosts and, above all, praise our Almighty God. During the meeting we gave all the Ethiopian pastors a jacket with the It Is Written logo. This is not something we usually do, but we did in this case for a very particular reason. When I came to Ethiopia in January to plan and organize the mission trip, I quickly realized how poor the people here are. What drove this point home with me was when I saw one of our dear pastors whose only jacket was a hand-me-down with the logo of a cigarette maker. What?! That’s when I determined that he and the other pastors needed It Is Written jackets. The ear-to-ear grins of these guys wearing their new jackets was priceless.

To God be the glory for another successful mission trip. By the way, we’ve got a great line-up of mission trips in 2020. Join us on one of them and experience God in a most powerful way. 

Click to read the first report of the Ethiopia mission trip.

Click to read the second update from the Ethiopia mission trip.