I recently had the privilege of being part of a group of 10 people from the Castlegar Baptist Church who went on a Missions Trip to the island of Trinidad.
The southernmost Caribbean Island, Trinidad is located near the coast of Venezuela. It is a country with a diverse population, with most citizens tracing their roots back to Africa and India. Even though the country has plentiful oil resources, stark poverty exists in contrast to the wealth generated from the oil industry.
The purpose of the trip was to aid in the running of a week-long childrens day camp. The experience was life changing and eye opening for most of those who went. While trying to make an impact on the children there, we were in turn impacted by them. Here are some of the lessons we brought home.
Be thankful for clean, running water.
The day after our arrival we awoke to brown water coming from the taps. We found out that the water in our area was to be off for four days. We would need to use the water in our reservoir sparingly. I must admit, we were not thrilled to have to ration showers and flushes. The next day, camp began and one of our responsibilities was picking children up from their homes in a van. Some of these children were coming from tin shacks, as small as 12 by 12 feet, with no running water or electricity. We no longer complained about our limited supply and realized how fortunate we are to have clean, drinkable water whenever we want it in Castlegar.
Pictured below: Sarah Kline and her young friend.
You do not need things to be happy.
These children had so little-no iPods, cell phones, electronics of any sort, only a few changes of clothes. They were thrilled with any small gift, even a simple piece of candy; they were in awe of the snacks we provided since food was scarce at home. Yet, they were happy. They smiled, played, giggled, never complained and were thankful.
There is joy in serving others.
We experienced some other difficulties along the way: a concussion, a foot fracture, vehicle problems, cuts, bruises, heatstroke, migraines, a severe asthma attack, bug bites, no water, lice, cancelled flights and a 13-hour layover. In spite of the adversity we remained happy and loved every part of the trip. In retrospect we realized that it is because when you are doing something for someone else and focussing on others’ needs it leaves little time for selfishness. In blessing others you yourself are blessed.
Charity begins at home.
Experiencing the needs of another part of the world provokes you to look at and assess the needs of your own community. We were all burdened to not only look to help others abroad, but to find more ways to serve at home in Castlegar.