All That Happened on the Turks & Caicos Trip!

“Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands.” – Isaiah 42:12

We give God praise for what He did during this past trip back to the Turks and Caicos Islands!

This specific CEF ministry development trip had four main objectives:

  1. Take care of “behind the scenes” administrative and logistical matters
  2. Distribute recently cleared CEF materials to local churches
  3. Train local Bible teachers for ministry to children
  4. Prepare for the upcoming short-term ministry trip to Grand Turk

First, there were a number of things that needed to be taken care of on island. The biggest thing was that when we left Turks and Caicos in August 2015, we had left all the CEF TCI materials and equipment in a storage unit that had been paid through December 2015. Keeping the materials in storage long-term is a huge ministry cost that we did not want to continue incurring, so we are incredibly grateful for Harvest Bible Chapel opening up one of their storage rooms to us. HBC was the church we were a part of when we lived on island, and this also makes the materials more easily accessible when we need to distribute them. All of the previous and newly cleared CEF TCI material was moved during this trip.

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The material in the new space at HBC! Still needs to be organized better, but that can be a later trip.

Secondly, CEF TCI received its first shipment from The Revival Movement! The Revival Movement is an amazing organization in Northern Ireland that helps CEF globally with the printing of our curriculum to equip churches in ministry to children.

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No that’s not Irish butter…it’s free CEF curriculum!

During this trip, I was able to equip people from 20 different churches on 5 different islands with 914 different pieces of CEF curriculum and children’s materials! Out of those 914 pieces, 292 pieces were lessons and flashcards, a year’s worth of teacher’s packs! This is truly “above and beyond all we can ask or imagine”!

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Material about to go on a boat headed to North & Middle Caicos!

There are still more churches to give these teacher’s packs to, but this distribution during this trip means that a large majority of the Bible-believing churches in the Turks & Caicos Islands now have Gospel-centered curriculum to use in their children’s ministries. Many churches have to scrounge for good materials, or import them on island at high cost and a long wait. What a joy it was to freely give them away to people that both values them and will use them!

Here are a few testimonies!

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Sivil said: “I would love to have some more materials to work with in the Children’s Ministries at my Church.  The last stack of materials I received from you turned out to be very helpful and useful in our ministry.”

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Gerilane said: “I remember CEF material being used at my church as a child when some missionaries came…I was so happy when I saw that CEF was getting started here…we must get into the schools, we don’t know how much longer we will have these open doors!”

I also had the privilege of training local Bible teachers in ministry. Bethany Baptist Church, a fantastic church that we have partnered with in the past, desires to start an after-school Good News Club in the spring! I was able to meet with most of the team (four people were able to come), building upon the training they had already received.

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Training at Bethany Baptist

Grand Turk preparation was the fourth objective of this past trip back to the TCI. We have the privilege of hosting a short-term ministry team from CEF of South Dakota again this year, and we are focusing in on the capitol island of Grand Turk.

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Grand Turk is very flat, and it is where the cruise ships come, so you can see them from almost everywhere!

Over the course of the two days I was there, I realized that our initial ministry plans of school-based ministry needed to change. However, with the children being on Easter holiday, we have the opportunity to partner more with local churches and teach 5-Day Clubs!

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Ona Glinton Primary School in Grand Turk

This will allow greater discipleship to take place with the children and also build better relationships with teachers and leaders in the Grand Turk community!

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I ended up needing to rent a car (right hand drive) in Grand Turk…the roads are much more narrow!

Lastly, it was an eye-opening experience to be back in Turks & Caicos. It was the first time in our new missionary role to come back to a country that we used to live in. It is hard to explain, but I felt the same there as I do back in the USA. It was encouraging because there are so many friends there in TCI that love, pray and care for our family. Even when I was in Grand Turk, I walked up unannounced to a school that I had not been to in a year, and one of the teachers looked at me and said “Hi Sean!” Even after a year, people in Grand Turk still remembered the training conference that was held, and she also asked how the girls were doing.

I had the great privilege of sharing God’s Word at Harvest Bible Chapel Sunday morning. I also was able to distribute 9 ESV Global Study Bibles to local elders and pastors of 5 churches! This was through our ministry partnership with The Gospel Coalition-International Outreach and Crossway Publishing!

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Giving an ESV Global Study Bible to my friend and local pastor Pedro Williams of the Jericho Baptist Church. He actually just published his own book “Walking By Faith and Not By Sight“!

All in all, the trip was encouraging, an answer to prayer and helped lay a foundation for locally led ministry in the future.

Keep praying for the Turks and Caicos Islands!

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Turks and Caicos Mission Trip by CEF of South Dakota!

March 13-21 we had the privilege of hosting our first TCI short-term ministry team! A team of four from Child Evangelism Fellowship in South Dakota flew down on their Spring Break to teach children the Gospel.

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View from the plane!

This team went to five public and private primary schools right here in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

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(L-R Kendra Baltzer, Hannah Cleveland, Savanah Gross, Shelby Reid)

They would teach in the morning assembly,

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Morning assembly at Oseta Jolly Primary School

Teach a short object lesson classroom by classroom,

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 Shelby and Savanah teaching at Precious Treasures—do you see Maddy?

Give away a CEF “Meet the King” booklet for kids to read with their parents,

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Then come back in the afternoon to teach an after-school “Party Club”!

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They taught the CEF lesson entitled “The Secret of the Watermelon”, therefore the kids (and us!) ate a lot of watermelon that week! The watermelon often seemingly multiplied in a “loaves and fishes” kind of way to be the exact amount needed per party club.

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They also taught a teacher training class at Harvest Bible Chapel here in Turks and Caicos!

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They worked really hard to teach children in the heat, but they also got to have a little bit of fun in Provo!

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south dakota trip

 

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Thankfully, other than a case of sun poisoning and also Mandi badly burning her hand (she quickly recovered), there were no major issues that happened…we really could see God protecting the team as they were here! Also, everything they did was with a long-term focus and with the right attitude. Mandi and I have a passion for effective short-term ministry teams. The team from CEF of South Dakota (and the teams we hosted in St. Kitts) was and has been the epitome of excellent short-term ministry teams.

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Children being counseled!

In all:

1,818 children were reached across five primary schools

Each of those 1,818 children received their very own “Meet the King” booklet.

370 children attended the after-school party clubs

12 of those 370 children were counseled as they made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ

8 teachers were trained

100+ primary school teachers were publicly thanked in each classroom and given a “What is the Gospel?” nice hardback book courtesy of “Packing Hope”, a theological resource ministry by The Gospel Coalition. They also received a copy of an “Impact” magazine by CEF.

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It was such a joy to recognize the teachers of the children at each school and give them gifts; they consistently were so surprised that we thought about them!

Additionally, we now have plenty of CEF “High Octane” club supplies on island now, laminated song visuals, and a plethora of other teaching resources they brought down! We are so thankful for the team coming and everyone who prayed and supported the team so that they could come and assist us in the new CEF ministry here.

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This trip will continue to (and has already!) yield much fruit for eternity from this Turks and Caicos mission trip!

First Week (And A Half) In Turks And Caicos!

If anything could be said about this past week and a half, it is that God is gracious.

I (Sean) arrived in Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos Thursday, August 28th. On the approach I was reminded again how simply beautiful the water in the Caribbean is. We will surely miss the lush volcanic mountains of St. Kitts & Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean, but the turquoise clear water is truly special to see from the plane.

View from the Plane!

Thankfully, all of the government paperwork had been completed, so there was no issues with my arrival into the country. I was picked up by a good friend who we are renting our TCI home through, and Pastor Tim Rezac who pastors Harvest Bible Chapel -TCI. HBC-TCI is the local church we will be personally plugging into. He also serves on the very new CEF national board. After ultimately securing a SIM card for my cell phone and a quick trip to the grocery store, I was taken to our house!

Over the next couple days, I made preparations for the vehicle purchase, clearing our personal effects, secured internet to be put in at the house and stayed as busy as I could with catching up on some CEF tasks. Those few days without a vehicle, our belongings and largely without internet were a reminder of how much I missed my family. It is always hard to leave your family, must less when your daughter is only three months old.

Maddy and RG

Monday, our vehicle purchase was complete! There was quite a bit of paperwork that had to be done all around, but everything was thankfully completed same day. We give God praise for providing the funds through so many of you that donated and CYIAers who helped raised money for the vehicle. We spent months of due diligence to discover the TCI vehicle market, and from our experience in St. Kitts, we had strict criteria of what we were looking for. We wanted an American-made vehicle in good condition (so we can easily get parts), preferably one that can handle the often off-road conditions of island travel and one that can seat many people when we have visitors/short-term ministry teams. Additionally, we haul around quite a bit of CEF curriculum from the post office to churches and training events, so we were looking for something that had space for that as well.

God provided a very low mileage 2004 Ford Expedition for a fantastic price!

Our vehicle

Tuesday-Thursday were spent registering for various TCI work permit required insurance agencies and getting in touch with local CEF contacts.

Friday was a huge day of God sovereignly arranging many things for His glory. We were discouraged on Tuesday by an email from our shipping agency that said that 10 of our boxes were received “crushed” and “loss of contents unknown”. We were praying earnestly that our stuff, especially important things like the crib for Riley-Grace, was ok! Thankfully when I got there the items had merely shifted off the largely disintegrated pallet, and so far everything is still ok as I have been unpacking. God would still be good, faithful and working His Sovereign plan even if our boxes had been truly crushed. Them being fine causes us to be all the more thankful for His grace. Everything was cleared, delivered to the house and now the fun has been mine unpacking in preparation of Mandi and the girls coming!

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The pallet in question….shrink wrap held everything together!

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Unpacking

Lastly, a truly exciting part of this first week and a half climaxed on Saturday. That morning I had the privilege of attending the second ever official meeting of the CEF of Turks & Caicos national board. If you remember, CEF of South Carolina originally sent a short-term ministry trip team into TCI a few years ago. They have “adopted” Turks & Caicos to help get the chapter established. Through this trip and other chapter development trips that were made both by CEF of SC, the CEF Region, and our trip in January 2014, there were enough contacts in place for an initial national board training in April. We give God praise for raising up a starting group of six men and women, with the intention of soon having 11-13 board members (to be fully complemented).

National Board

It was a blessing to join with them in discussion of the future of the CEF national chapter, the big-picture vision and long-term goals of the ministry. Ultimately, CEF exists to reach out to children, train & equip local churches for dynamically effective ministry, and through that families, communities and even nations are changed for eternity. To see God moving in Turks & Caicos already to develop the ministry points directly to what HE is doing. We can in no way explain some of the events of this past week except for the directly intervening Sovereign grace of God.

May every island, church and home be filled with the true Gospel so that children and adults are changed for eternity.

Be in prayer for Mandi, our two daughters and my mom as they travel to Provo Wednesday the 10th. Pray for safety in travel, for everything to go ok as they come into the country and that their luggage and car seats arrive safely. Pray especially for Riley-Grace as this is her first time flying on a plane!

Soli Deo Gloria!