The apostle Paul considered the help and support of other believers as vital to his ministry. Philippians shows us that Epaphroditus blessed and encouraged Paul, even at the peril of his own life. In Romans, Paul’s heart overflows in chapter 16 as he greets various believers, referring to many of them as “fellow workers” or “fellow prisoners.” In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul asks Timothy to bring John Mark to him, because Paul considered him “useful to me for service.”
It is in this spirit of service and love that we send short-term ministry (STM) teams from Grace Church each year to build up and encourage our missionaries, and it is therefore with great joy and thankfulness that we look back on the 2022 STM season. Eight teams traveled abroad to support our missionaries, and their reports testify to the grace of God in using humble servants for the building up of the body of Christ.
This past July a team of eight members from Grace Community Church traveled to Cali, Colombia, where we assisted the newly established church there in running a three-day Vacation Bible School and cared for children during a one-day pastoral conference. In spite of some illness and long hours, our God was faithful in seeing that the Gospel was proclaimed, and that we could be an encouragement to the men and women who are faithfully serving with all diligence there in Colombia. Likewise, the hearts of each of the team members were enriched and encouraged to see what our great God is doing in the lives of the people there.
Our team had the opportunity to minister with and visit a seminary student who pastors in a small rural church. We helped him in several ways, including by running a VBS. Some of us were also given the opportunity to teach for the adults in the evenings. One day, our whole group unexpectedly had the opportunity to share the gospel in several classrooms at a school next door to the church. It was a blessing to see a ministry focused on the Word of God as the method for building up the church.
We had two distinct ministry purposes for our trip. For the first week, we supported a Polish church through local outreach, church improvement projects, and an evangelistic picnic in a local park. The second week we organized and ran the children’s program for the European missionary conference. We were able to show the love of Christ to these kids, and had many opportunities to talk about their faith, salvation, and the gospel.
From South Africa/Spain:
Our team was privileged to serve in support of the GMI conferences held in Spain and South Africa. Whether it was singing with the kids, teaching them the Word, or a wide array of other fun activities, our goal was to lovingly care for these children so that their parents could focus on ministry and fellowship. We logged many long days playing with and getting to know these wonderful children. Our joy was made complete by serving these families who are of the same mind, with the same love, united in spirit, and intent on one purpose. Praise be to God!
From Jersey Island
What a blessing that Grace Community Church sends people as gospel partners. For me as a TMS graduate, it is a tremendous encouragement.
These trips would not have been possible without the prayer and support of the people of Grace Church. We are thankful not only for the financial sacrifices but also for the brothers and sisters who sacrificed their time and energy in supporting the work of the Lord.
It is now the beginning of a new season of STM teams at Grace. Twelve teams have been requested by our missionaries or ministry partners, and all Grace Church members who are 18 or older are invited to apply to join a team.
The teams will be ministering in many ways including evangelism, supporting conferences, and hosting Vacation Bible Schools with local churches.