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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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Cuba. Liberia. Haiti. Oh my!
Maybe you’re a mission trip newbie. Or maybe you’ve been on a dozen trips across the globe and have explored all the vast continents (except, perhaps, you know . . . the Antarctic one). It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been coming to church, how many Bible verses you’ve memorized, or whether or not you speak a second language, God wants to use YOU (yes, everything about you) to change the world. So, before you disqualify yourself from allowing God to use you to share His love with His people, please hear this: Unlike many college classes, there are no prerequisites required—just a humble and willing heart that says Ok God, yes. Let’s do this.
Linda Cucci knows all about this first hand after she said yes to go on a mission trip to Colombia during the summer of 2018.
“You always start off thinking that you are doing something great for Jesus when you commit to a mission trip, but time and time again I’ve walked away from these experiences so humbled with what God did for me. When you fully surrender, He can be made fully known—but we have to get out of the way. Getting out of my comfort zone allows God to move mightily,” said Linda.
While this wasn’t her first mission trip to another country, she said that every single one she’s been on has been very unique. After all, every culture has so many differences. But when she reflected on her time in Colombia, she felt such a strong connection to the people and its beautiful community.
She said the highlight of the trip was the time they spent in the small satellite church on the island of TierraBomba, off the shores of Cartagena. The incredible team of men and women from Calvary Cartagena and Calvary Fort Lauderdale worked together to create a women’s ministry event. It was the perfect picture of the body of Christ working in one accord—everyone using their gifts to serve the beautiful women and children. Linda had the opportunity to teach Hands of Love, a book she wrote where each chapter represents our identity in Christ and the Father’s heart for us—each chapter’s sole purpose is designed to solidify our identity in Him.
Linda shared, “From the moment we landed on this island ravaged by poverty and generational strongholds, I knew we were on holy ground. We held the women’s event at the small church Calvary started there. We experienced the move of the Holy Spirit that left us overwhelmed and speechless. I wish I had adequate words to describe how these women responded to the message. Their prayers, worship, and repentance filled the room with cries of deep sorrow to shouts of rejoicing and dancing. The power of Jesus did a supernatural work in all of us that day. I believe chains were broken that will bring the Lord much glory for generations to come.”
Even though you start off every trip with a team as strangers, she said they very quickly became family as they opened their hearts to the people of Colombia and to each other. During one of the outreaches, they shared their “cardboard testimonies”—and she said it was a time where all the masks came off. Everyone wrote a short, 20-word testimony that described who they once were and who they are now in Christ.
“We learned more about each other in a week than you can learn in a lifetime. I wrote something on mine like, ‘I was once bitter and broken and self-righteous’ and then on the back it said, ‘But now I’m filled with joy, love, and peace.’ We had a miraculous time of street evangelism using them. The impact it had on the locals was powerful. So many lives touched for Christ,” she said.
Linda and the team were also blessed by an opportunity to enter the women’s prison—to bring hope and comfort to the beautiful and broken there. She said they met a 21-year-old girl from Hollywood, Florida and it felt like the purpose of their visit was just to meet her.
Maybe you’re reading this thinking, That’s great. That’s all really great. But I could never do that stuff. No matter your past or whatever season you find yourself in presently . . . you were created with a divine and unique purpose to share God’s love with others—and yes, sometimes that will feel a little bit uncomfortable . . . a little stretching. But He can, and will, do a great work in and through us when we’re obedient to His calling.
“You can’t out give God. For whatever sacrifice He calls us to, He does bless us immeasurably more. Sometimes, we rob ourselves of the greatest joy because we’re afraid to go into the unknown,” said Linda.
Are you ready to take that step into the unknown and allow God to use you to impact people with the tangible love of Jesus Christ as part of one of our 2019 mission teams? For more information about our short-term mission trip opportunities, visit CalvaryFTL.org/MissionTrips.