I heard someone say once that two-thirds of God is “Go!” We just returned from a 2-week Extreme Teen Mission Trip to Peru with 20 amazing teens, young adults, and adult leaders from DOVE Elizabethtown and Reading DOVE in Pennsylvania and Desert Streams Church, the DOVE partner church in Bend, Oregon. We also had on the team one teen from an Elim Church near Rochester, New York and one teen from a Mennonite Church in Manheim, PA.
For the first week, these extreme teens were in Chincha, Peru, the site of the devastating earthquake that occurred in August of 2007. Through reconstruction help, children’s ministry, and street evangelism, the team was able to encourage the church and people of Chincha in a time of great loss. Our second week was spent in Lima, Peru serving our friends Pastor Justo and Loren Llecllish and the DOVE partner church “Heroes 21.” The team poured out their energy and love day and night through two Vacation Bible Schools, daily outreaches in the parks, ministry in the churches, and a Youth Festival event as the grand finale.
For many of these teens, this was the first time out of the US on a mission trip, and for some even on a plane. But they conquered their fears and gave up a good portion of their summer vacation to obey Christ’s call to “Go” to this third world nation of Peru. As a result, God met this team in a powerful way. Before the trip, one of the team members received a dream in the middle of the night, which became our outreach drama called “Wake Up Call.” Everywhere we went, the youth reached out to hundreds of people with the message, “Wake up! Time is short.” Right in the middle of an open market or a soccer field, people would respond to the call to know Jesus. You could literally feel the love of God embracing the people as they came weeping to receive prayer. Our teens were touched most deeply by the multitudes of children. Because most of the kids are from broken homes, they loved all the attention and “American candies” are youth shared. Many of them made a decision for Christ during our time together. The reality of our drama and our message “Time is short!” hit home one night when Marcos, one of the kids attending our VBS, was tragically hit by a car and died.
If this group of teenagers didn’t go on this mission trip, they would have never known what it means to go beyond their summer vacation and Xbox, to truly live for Christ and a purpose higher than themselves. And if you don’t go, there could be a Marcos out there who will never know…
Craig Nanna, senior elder of Reading DOVE Ministry Center.