By Hunter Hackworth (College Church of Christ, [AR] USA)
Now that I'm back in America and settled back in at Harding University, I've had some time to reflect on the trip our 13-member team made to the Caribbean. Specifically, I would like to share some memories and reflections from the trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). After our two weeks in St. Lucia, our team was exhausted and starting to get to that point where we were very comfortable with one another but, as that much time spent with one group of people does to you, we were also getting irritated with small things here and there within the team.
What we were experiencing was a lot like the relationships between siblings: always back and forth with the best thing they could say or do that would irritate the other one to the maximum level BUT always deeply loving one another. We continued to experience God's love with the people we met. Friday afternoon we had brethren from Kingstown Church of Christ (KCC) there at the airport to greet us and take us to our hotel. Later that evening we had a visit to the hospital to share the love of Christ with people who need it and to show them that we care. This was a learning experience for me and it prepared me well for what was to come later during the trip. I watched brothers Todd Gentry and Joel H. Jack praying over and talking with men who just needed someone to talk to and wanted to know that other people really did care. That was when I noticed something that I had been missing the entire time. These men desperately need Jesus just like I desperately need Jesus. The people in the hospital were looking for someone to save their body but we could bring them to someone who could save their souls! Is there any higher calling than that?
On Saturday, the brethren took us to the island of Bequia. Bequia, one of the 32 beautiful islands of SVG, was a good time for relaxation. We toured the island and took some time to get to know our hosts a little better. It was in Bequia that I got to know brother Alwyn "Deo" Mandeville. We had taken some time to eat lunch and have some fun on the beach so most of our team were in the water having fun. Deo, Todd, and I were just talking in the shade. Todd had taken some medicine so that he wouldn't get sick on the ferry and the medicine made him drowsy so he would occasionally add in a "is that right?" and a "hmmm" as Deo and I talked. Deo told me about his spiritual walk with God. It was inspiring to hear him talk to me. He told me of the pain and the sorrow he went through but he also told me that in the midst of all of that pain and sorrow, God was there. Although he didn't know why these things were happening to him he knew that God was eternal and had prepared a path for him to follow. Deo reminded me that in all of this world's pain, sorrow, and chaos, God is eternal. Nothing is going to stop God from being Himself. He reminded me of the what God said about Himself when He talked to Moses through bush that was on fire but would not burn up. It was there that God called Himself the "I AM." Deo reminded me that God simply is.
On Sunday we worshiped God with you, the brethren at Kingstown church of Christ. You worshiped with all of your heart and that is something that is very special because even in America we find that we let ourselves get in the way of our worship sometimes, and what we really need is to worship the Creator. We held hands with you, we took the Lord's Supper with you, we prayed with you, and we ate with you. I'm sure that heaven was singing with us when they saw the brothers and sisters from so many places rejoicing in the Lord together. [BIBLE STUDY] • [SERMON]
Our last day before the flight back was Monday. We spent it sharing God's love with the people who couldn't make it to worship and their neighbors. This was what I was talking about when I said that going to the hospital prepared me. I got to see the church in action on that day through sister Evelyn Fraser and brother Silvannas Mckenzie. They were very bold in their faith. Also with us were two of our female missionaries: Lora Nation and Jane Vanderburgh. We had the opportunity to pray, and to sing, and to talk to people who, again, desperately need Jesus. As with the hospital, our goal was to show them that we really do care and that we would love to get to know them and bring them to the feet of our Savior. Later that night, some of us joined the ladies of the congregation in their spiritual health and fitness session while others had a discussion with the men about future possibilities with the church in SVG, and that was very exciting!
Brothers and sisters, thank you for loving us. We love you with the love of the Lord and we see in you the glory of our King. We will continue to pray for you and we ask that you do the same for us. May the grace and peace of our Lord be with you.
In Christ's love,
Hunter L. Hackworth
In Christ's love,
Hunter L. Hackworth