Team at Work
In June, Matt Sturtevant, pastor of First Baptist Church, Lawrence, KS and his team of twelve started the trench work necessary to set the foundation and begin construction of a school in the outskirts of Cap Haitien and enjoyed fellowship, playing, singing, doing arts and crafts with the neighborhood children who they immediately fell in love with. Young men were moved by the team who had come to help and there was this woman who started to dig, following the examples of women in the team. The team learned from the community on digging a trench and how to work longer instead of harder under the Caribbean sun. Team unity and camaraderie quickly developed throughout the time in Haiti, each team member returning home changed, and re-engaged in the life of ministry.
Matt is saddened by the broken spirit of so many Haitians. The hopelessness, apathy, desperation, and resulting practice of superstitious religions to reach out for something larger than life were disturbing and frightening yet seeing leadership capabilities of Haitians such as translator Dezo, whom missionary Kihomi works with, makes him hopeful about the future of Haiti.
Bracing for the worst, Matt was pleasantly surprised by the immaculate accommodations and delicious meals provided by the gracious hosts. Most importantly, he was challenged by the spirit-led works of Nzunga and Pastor Manno who lead by empowerment, encouragement, and sending out.
The most challenging part of leading this trip was not with the volunteers but in engaging the entire congregation in the meaning and purpose of the trip. It took over a year to prepare for the trip as Matt prepared the team by meeting monthly, orienting the team about work camp conditions, using ‘Going with God Toolkit’ from IM as training material, and a lot of fundraising work and many prayers.
The team has met twice since returning from Haiti. The experience in Haiti was so powerful that the whole team was ready to go back right away! The biggest blessing of leading this trip, Matt found, was the lives that were changed. As the team continues to meet after the trip, Matt is hoping to use that momentum to establish a commitment to both local and global missions. He is certain this mission experience would lead them back to Haiti again. Already the church’s college group is considering a summer trip next year.