My son flew out last Monday with his team. They’re headed to a country I’ll leave unnamed, as their presence is officially listed as being volunteers for a school that has invited them to visit for a few weeks. That’s all true; the local contact for the work they’re doing runs the school. But that same person is also the contact for some small churches that need assistance in establishing ministries, such as children’s programming and youth ministry.
These are areas my son has worked in extensively, as you’ll see in a moment. He also has experience in this particular country; he first visited when he was 17 as part of a team from a friend’s church, then another team trip two years ago, and then last summer he went on his own when the school head invited him for a visit and volunteer work.
This year he’s leading a team for the first time. It’s smaller than the other teams he’s gone there with, but it’s also the first team that our local church has sent.
After a week in-country, he shared this testimony with one of the churches this past weekend:
Hi everyone. My name is Kyle. I’m 23 years old. My teammates and I are all from California.
I first came to [this country] in 2008. After spending a week with the children of the _______ village, I was in love with [your country]. I love everything about this country: the food, the beaches, and especially the people.
I think there’s something special about the people here. I work with the youth a lot at my church in California. I work with junior high kids, and run camps for elementary aged kids. I even worked in the nursery for a few years. But working with the youth in America doesn’t give me the same joy as working with the youth here. There’s something special about __________.
This is my fourth time back to __________, and every year I have met a group of people that make me feel like I never want to leave their side. The first year it was [the village of ______], then it was the youth in [___________ village], and last year it was the friends I made [at the coffee house in the city of __________].
I think one of the reasons for this is that everyone here in [your country] is so friendly and loving. I want to get to know all of you, and fellowship in Christ’s love with you, and I feel like that is really easy to do for foreigners like us because of how welcoming and hospitable everyone here is.
Thank you for inviting us to your church today, and for this opportunity for us to worship with you and share a little bit of our story with you. It is only because of God that we are here, and we thank him for providing your church as our gracious host while we are in [the village of ____ _____].