A short while ago, Karen Van de Vaarst went on a mission trip to the Bahamas to serve Kingdom Life Church, a sister church of ours, in running a Musical Vacation Bible School for one week. The trip was planned by Crossway Church and led by Doug Plank, but there were also five other Sovereign Grace Churches represented, as well as one other church. The fellowship was sweet, and Karen said “everyone was so kind and encouraging! Each person was appreciated for their special contribution in our work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more affirmed!”
The Musical Vacation Bible School involved several different music classes such as recorder, song-writing,
drum, rhythmic, crafts, games, worship team and three choirs for three age groups. Karen specifically led the youngest choir, taught rhythm and recorder classes, and selected and prepared a small ensemble that performed on the Worship Team. The students went to different musical classes each day for a week and at the end, there was a concert showcasing all they had learned.
Of course, there are always challenges that come up, and Karen said that the challenges for her were that “The children were energetic and certain ages were difficult to manage. It was extremely hot and that is especially challenging for me. We worked hard and were physically tired.” However, despite the challenges, there was always more blessing to be found. Karen said, “I was amazed at how naturally talented the children were in music and how quickly they learned!
They especially excelled in the rhythmic area. Our team was the most selfless group of people I've ever worked with, and Pastor Doug was an excellent leader with a great sense of humor. The people from Kingdom Life Church, where we served, were gracious and giving! And after each day of school was over, we had a chance to visit various beaches and places in Nassau.”
Why would you encourage someone to go on a short-term mission trip? "I believe EVERYONE should go on at least one short-term mission trip! It is truly life-changing! Our perspective can be so limited by the culture around us. My horizons were definitely expanded in visiting another country and experiencing their culture. We can think we're going on the trip for the sake of others in need, which of course is true, but you usually discover that God is working in you just as much as in the ones you're serving, if not more!"