Five benefits of Church to Church / Village to Village Partnership

By Greg Serafino – Osceola Grace Brethren Church and CPR-3

Almost two years ago a young man from our church went on a “movement trip” to Haiti through CPR-3 and came back ready to revolutionize how we did ‘missions.’  My reaction… “Whoa, slow down, big fella, let’s take a look at this.”

20 months later we are revolutionizing how we do “missions”.  I tended to think of “missions” as something to send money to or to send teens on, but not as a partnership or something that would change my heart or the church I lead.

For some reason God began to work as my friend continued to “hound” me about going with him.  We bounced the idea around and chose to take 12 people to Haiti at the start of 2012.  All of them came back changed and we began to talk about what could happen if we returned.  We decided to learn more about CPR-3’s creative Church to Church and Village to Village program.  We were hooked.  We signed up!

Since that first trip, 27 different people have made the trip (6 have gone at least twice) and we are building a relationship with a local Haitian pastor, his family and his church family while getting to work in the local village.  We will be sending another team (our 4th church-wide adult trip) this June to the same location to serve the same people. Why?

Five reasons your church should do this:

1.    It builds excitement in your church about serving the overlooked

We are called to do this but we often do not.  A trip of this type allows you to spend a week immersed in a culture that is loaded with the overlooked.   You are away from the pull of everything in your schedule at home and you get to focus on meeting the needs of others while sharing your faith and praying in real time.  You gain a perspective about your situation as you become aware of their situation.  We now can come back time and time again to build friendships and real relationships with these new friends.  They will be there when we return – and you will long for the day that you return.

2.    It opens the eyes of your church family to the local needs in their back yard and community

When our first team arrived back home, we began to see things in America in a different light.  We began to notice others even in our local context that we seemed to be unaware.

3.    It builds teamwork, camaraderie and momentum

We have seen relationships cross all sorts of generational boundaries on the trip because of proximity and the small size of the team.  As a result we have 17 -20 year olds that now are friends with 50 -60 year olds.  We have excitement building within our church, “when is the next team going?” is a common question and we keep sending teams.  We are striving to find the best ways to serve the church in Haiti sustainably while thinking creatively about how to bring it home too!

4.    You see how someone else does ministry and how it affects their church

We have seen how a small Haitian church follows up, connects to their leadership, feeds the needy, touches the prisoner and creates a reputation of living out Christ’s love in their village.  We have learned that it isn’t about the money, not about the building, not about the program but about showing the love of Christ to people through spending time and loving people where they are.

5.    Your church is blessed by the church that you are trying to bless

We know that the church at Las Cahobas is praying for us.  We know that they look forward to our next visit.  We know that we are loved while we are trying to love them.  We sat at the pastor’s small home in their yard drinking Haitian coffee and visiting with his family and went away encouraged and humbled.  This man and his wife cared for us in abundance with their meager supplies  – we walked away feeling blessed that they gave of us out of the little that they had to make us feel welcome.

We believe in the approach of CPR-3’s program ‘church to church and village to village.’ We want to encourage you to sign up.  Our partnership with CPR-3 and a Haitian village is all that we could want.    As you send teams and love and care for the overlooked God will bless you like you would have never imagined!  You will see your ministry at home become something greater than you could have ever hoped.  I am. There is no going back.

Maybe you are reading this and saying, “Whoa, slow down, big fella, let’s take a look at this.” My answer:  ‘we don’t have time to slow down.’