by Tim Wesemann
Right next door? Or a world away? The nation of Trinidad is both. I was honored to be a part of a mission team from my church traveling to this Caribbean country. Before this trip, I knew very little about Trinidad, a small island country in the Atlantic Ocean just seven miles north of Venezuela. I guessed they spoke Spanish, but as I learned along the way, English is the primary language. As I would also learn, the nation differs from ours in many ways, but in many ways, people there are much like people here.
Let’s start from the beginning. Our short-term mission team met weekly prior to the trip. We prayed and planned together as we looked forward to sharing Christ with the people of Trinidad and also encouraging those who minister there on a long-term basis.
A local ministry in Trinidad helped us set up visits with teens in prison, the elderly in a retirement home, and children in many schools. The ministry also asked us to orchestrate a four-day Bible Club for children in a very poor, drug-infested area. Each day we would share a Bible lesson, make a craft, distribute snacks, and participate in recreational activities.
As we planned our trip, I saw several ways CTA products could serve as great resources. Because our church had used CTA’s Spanish products on a previous mission trip to Mexico, my thoughts turned there first. But when I found out that English is the language spoken in Trinidad, the number of CTA ministry tools I wanted to take along grew!
Thinking about the Bible Club (their version of Vacation Bible School), we purchased a large quantity of children’s Gospel Silicone Bracelets. These come with the free children’s Gospel Story by Colors reference card. We used this tool to tell the children the Gospel of forgiveness and salvation in Christ.
Once the children knew the salvation story for themselves, the bracelet and card each of them received from us gave them an opportunity to share Jesus’ story with others. When the children slipped the bracelets on their wrists or ankles, they became walking witnesses for Jesus, easily passing on Jesus’ Gospel story to family members and friends who noticed their colorful new bracelets.
Our last Bible Club lesson of the week included the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Easter products worked wonderfully to wrap up the week of learning that Jesus lives! The My Easter Story Activity Bag is a perfect mission tool, sharing the story of Jesus’ resurrection using the stand-up characters. The children can then tell the good news to their families and friends in a unique and appealing way. The New Life in Jesus kite would also make a fun witnessing tool on mission trips.
Although we weren’t there at Christmastime, we purchased and took along multiple copies of children’s picture books which also highlight key truths of the faith. For example, you might want to use Celebrate the Gift of Jesus or one of CTA’s other Christmas story books. We left Christmas books with the Trinidad mission church for their use in December, when few short-term mission teams visit.
The children absolutely loved receiving the reminders of God’s love, and we pray they grew closer to Jesus through the lessons, crafts, songs, and the CTA products. Daniel and Donnie are just two of the children who received the faith-strengthening gifts. Their parents seem to care more about drugs than they do about their boys. How we thank God, then, that a local ministry drives a bus through the neighborhood, taking Daniel and Donnie and others to church on Sunday nights. We pray these two boys living with little hope, will find hope, peace, and love in the love of Jesus and the body of Christ. What an honor to bring good news to a hurting world!
And what a blessing to have CTA as a partner in ministry, helping us glorify God here at home and also in countries around the world. We pray especially that God’s grace shared in words, songs, and gifts will change hearts in Trinidad forever!