A life-changing trip for members of Buttershaw Baptist Church
A MISSION trip to Africa proved life-changing for 12 people from a Bradford Baptist church – and it has had an impact on the community back home. Buttershaw Baptist Church was awarded a Home Mission Project Grant of £1,200 by the Yorkshire Baptist Association towards the trip to Mozambique.
Trip team leader Liz Gregg said: “The aim was to take a group of people from Buttershaw to join in with mission in Africa, with the aim to increase our world vision for mission, understanding of poverty and to increase our community’s awareness of worldwide needs.”
Various fund-raising events were held in the run-up to the trip and the team visited local schools to talk about the trip and why they were going. This raised the community’s awareness of the issues of mission, poverty and world needs.
“During our time in Mozambique the team had to step up in new ways, often finding that as they did, God always met them in unexpected ways and provided for them,” writes Liz. “This has impacted team members, helping them see that they can have an impact on the world around them and that God is wanting to use them to bring salvation, healing and hope to our broken world.”
Highlights of the trip included:-
And now for some testimonies from the team:-
One man writes:
Building relationships with missionaries and being able to encourage them.
Seeing the miraculous lived out as a daily reality, such as seeing a sack of bread that probably could have fed 80 people feed more than 300.
Sharing our faith with people on outreaches on the street, to the homeless, in prison and seeing many give their lives to God.
More than half the team going on ‘bush outreach’ and seeing many give their lives to God and having the opportunity to pray for the sick in the villages.
Sharing crafts and games with orphans in the orphanage – including how to make loom band bracelets!
'Going to Mozambique has truly changed my life. Being with people where trusting in God for their survival is actually a matter of life or death all they have is him. It was truly overwhelming at times but God came through every time. Praise him. Africa has opened my eyes and shown how I can improve and impact my community for God’s glory.'
A mother, who visited a children’s centre for children with special needs, writes:
'Despite having next to nothing, the children were well cared for, clean and happy, and the staff were so caring and played with the children entertaining them as best they could.
'I have learned it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, as long as you have love you actually have everything. Material stuff doesn’t matter, what matters is the love that I can give to people.'
A 10-year-old girl writes:
'I went to the baby house and I prayed for each of the children as I held them. I prayed that they would know God's love and that they would be healthy. I learned that it's better to give than receive, and around God it’s best to have both, to receive from him and give it out to everyone around me. Now I am back in Buttershaw I am more grateful for everything I have, and I am being less shy because I now step boldly out with him and tell my friends about what God did in Africa, and what he can do for them.'
A seven-year-old team member writes:
'While I was in Mozambique I went into the baby house. I noticed a girl there who had Downs Syndrome and she had one of her eyes closed and she was struggling to walk. So, I prayed for her and straight away her eye opened and she started to walk on her own without needing to hold my hand.
'I learned that the people in Africa are very poor, but they enjoy living there a lot and I was just amazed at how they could be so happy. Now I am back in Buttershaw, I think more on the positive things and not on the negative things and I think about others before myself. I want to work in Africa when I am older, I want to be a missionary and help the children to have more education.'
Another team member tells of answered prayer:
'We prayed for one lady who had been in a bike accident and had constant pain in her thigh. As we prayed for her the pain left and she was able to walk more freely, so much that she threw her walking stick away.
'I learned that living with and in joy is not about your circumstances, it’s about perspective; that generosity is still possible even when you think you have nothing, and even when you do literally have nothing.'
'I learned that God comes over and over again to those whom the world chooses to forget, ignore and abuse. In a place where tears, fear, sadness and hopelessness exist, Jesus performs the miraculous over and over again.'
A 13-year-old girl, who went on a street mission to a rubbish dump, writes:
'This place affected me the most. The love the Mozambiquens who took us showed to the kids and adults who live there every day was overwhelming. But most of all it was that they worshipped, I mean full-on danced and sung in this tiny building. In the midst of a vile smelling, rotting, burning tip we sang and danced and thanked the Lord. Honestly I think that we in England need to adopt their attitude!
'Africa changed me and made me realise how wealthy I am. I thank God for the opportunities I get at school and church. I really hope I do get to go back one day.'
'I went to Mozambique with my ideas of what poverty might be like and was humbled by the depth and readiness of the smiles on people’s faces who faced such poverty. I saw God at work both through the hands of people willing to sacrifice their home comforts and western 'security' to change people's lives and through God's miraculous provision of food, fuel and healings.
'Just a little goes a long way in Mozambique, whether that is a cuddle with a child at bed time that lights their face up with hope, a second-hand donated laptop that can allow a former orphan go on to higher education and provide for a family in the future, or a word of encouragement that brings hope to a prisoner with no legal representation. These are priceless acts as we cannot calculate the value they bring yet cross all cultural barriers. I'm sure that similar acts can break through walls of consumerism and entitlement that grip British poor communities such as Buttershaw.
'I came back with less luggage than I went with but a greater burden to reach out with kindness and a readiness to share God's glory.'
A 14-year-old boy writes:
'I was nervous about what was out there, not sure what to expect.
I have learned that being poor isn’t always a bad thing. They were happy with nothing.'
His father writes:
'My son and I had mixed emotions and some concerns but overall we were excited by what would be the trip of a life-time.
'I see my role involves spreading the stories of the trip, with other people not directly connected to church. I am able to talk to people about generosity, culture, poverty and love even if they have no understanding of the Christian faith.
'One of the spiritual experiences I had on the trip, was a picture I received while praying for a prisoner in the local prison. This picture was of Jesus being sat with the prisoner even in the depths of his despair - when he was at his lowest moments Jesus was there to share them with him, to comfort him and to love him. As I thought more about this vision and prayed for the prisoner, as the days went by, this picture grew on me, and it became personal to me as well.'
'It is impossible to go to Africa and not be impacted by the poverty, by the passionate faith of those who willingly sacrifice all to follow Jesus and by the presence of God in such brokenness. I was impacted by all these on a new level but it was also a privilege to see team members, people from Buttershaw be changed.
'I expected that coming back people might lose some of the passion they felt while in Africa but it has been truly encouraging to have many people who didn’t go to Africa come up to me and speak about the change they have seen in the team. New levels of confidence to speak and share about their faith, new confidence to pray and expect God to heal, increased passion to take God’s presence in the darkest places of our society.
'For me personally, I was deeply impacted by worshipping everywhere we went and feeling the presence of God in some unexpected places like the inner city rubbish dump with rats and cockroaches where a mum and baby (plus many others) lived. It reminded me that God does truly come for the broken and lost, and if we want to find him then that is where to look.
'I was impacted too by the sacrifice of the pastors we met, many of whom lived under physical threat for their lives and yet so willingly did so because of Jesus.'
'Since coming back, not only have we had chances to share at church the testimonies of our time but we have been invited back into primary, secondary schools and Scout groups to share our time.
'There are times as a church we take a step and it's easy to see where it will lead but, already, taking a team to Mozambique has had a far bigger effect on the individuals who went and the community we are part of than we would have expected.
'As William Carey, a great Baptist missionary said: "Expect great things from God, do great things for God". At Buttershaw we love to do this and this has been one of the times we have truly seen God do great things.'
Report by Joolz Walker
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