Photo by: Freshman Christian ministries major Jahred Barron
Evan Peters, a freshman kinesiology major and member of Team Yucatan 2018, shared of a short-term missions trip initiated by plans being thrown out the window upon setting foot on foreign soil.
The team served at Pastor Gama’s Camp John 3:16 who invited kids from surrounding villages 4-5 days a week. They built relationships that transitioned from fear of an unknown other from the first moment the team stepped off the truck, to the next day where the kids ran to cling to their arms.
By the second week, the team and the children were accustomed to a week of camp when things changed once more. On that second Monday, a team of 30-40 junior high school students from Florida came to serve on their first missions trip. The Biola team was able to mentor them, “leading by example,” along with another unexpected team of 5 girls who came from Oklahoma Baptist University. Although unplanned to collaborate in service of the local kids and Pastor Gama, it was a testament of witnessing “God working in a way that we didn’t expect,” said Peters.
“The crossroads of God working was right here and it wasn’t a coincidence that three teams from America were there serving at the same time,” said Peters.
In the evenings, the teams would invite kids from the village to come play in the park with the intention of outreach. However, the shared testimonies seemed to fall on unhearing ears.
Peters said of the shared testimonies that their “intention was to reach out to the kids, [but] at the time it [seemed] such a failure, but then we noticed afterwards that the moms and parents were listening to the testimonies we were sharing….[it was an] emotional experience. God took what we had and flipped it around.”
The team didn’t plan on the parents being as impacted as their focus rested on the kids, but God used what seemed a failure, shifted their sight, and elaborated on an unfolding of His divine plan.
Locationally-speaking, the team “broke the stereotype of the area.” The Americans who frequent Yucatan are often tourists. When the Biola team would pick up trash and spend time with the local people, teams received strange looks, but also curious conversations. The team’s “main goal was to confuse people...to open up conversation to share the gospel” by stepping into Yucatan’s everyday livelihood.
Personally for Peters, the trip was “a process of God showing different angles of missions...we were there for just 2 weeks, yet [Pastor Gama is] there 365 days of the year doing the same things...because he loves the Lord so much.”
Peters asks for prayer regarding Pastor Gama as “one of the last things Pastor Gama said to us [is that] we need more missionaries, we just need more missionaries, that’s just a true need.”
Here is a link to financially walk alongside and support Pastor Gama’s ministry by typing in the provided link below and specifying the donation to ‘Gamaliel Canul’: