Trinidad & Tabago 2013
On this mission to Trinidad and Tobago, we experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. This was Delron’s third trip to the Caribbean island nation to train the local Every Home for Christ workers and Peggy’s first trip there where she was to speak at a large women’s gathering in the capitol city of Port of Spain.
We woke up on the morning of our departure to find that we had received messages from the airline that our flight out of Colorado Springs had been delayed for an hour because of a mechanical failure. This was no problem since we would still have plenty of time to make our connection in Houston. Then as we were loading the suitcase into the car for the drive to the airport, we received a follow-up text message stating that the flight had been delayed until noon, meaning that there was no way we could make the connection. Delron rushed to the phone to call the airline’s reservation office to see about getting rerouted. Unfortunately, all the other flights on our carrier were filled, and the agent couldn’t find any other airline that could accommodate us. After an hour on the phone, Delron decided that it might be better to actually drive to the airport and work face-to-face with an agent. The agent at the airport again went through all the possible options, even looking at flights to other Caribbean islands where we could take commuter flights into Port of Spain – but still nothing turned up. Our only option was to take same flights we had originally booked, only the next day. The agony of defeat because we would miss both Delron’s training session for the Every Home for Christ workers and Peggy’s women’s meeting.
After sending an email and making a phone call to our contact in Trinidad, we resigned ourselves to the fact that there was nothing else to do. So we reluctantly rebooked for the flight the following day. When we did arrive in Port of Spain, we learned that God had sewn a silver lining into the black cloud of our delay. He had provided a last-minute substitute for Peggy’s meeting. A women’s leader for the Foursquare Church just happened to be visiting on the island, and our contact just happened to be able to connect with her, and she just happened to be available to pinch hit for Peggy. Around a hundred and thirty women from about twenty-five different churches were present in the session and, all the reports we heard were very positive. A large number of the ladies came the following day to hear Peggy in the service at the church that had hosted the meeting.
In the case of the Every Home for Christ training session, the whole event seemed to actually be a “divine set up.” In fact, Delron had been encouraging the local Every Home for Christ coordinator that he was actually ready to start doing the trainings on his own without assistance form the international office; however, he was still reluctant to take on the responsibility. But, in this sink-or-swim situation, he discovered that he really could do the training and that he was actually far better prepared than he would have ever imagined. We heard nothing but good reports about his teaching, and as a result of the session twenty churches responded by joining with Every Home for Christ in their effort to reach every home in the nation with the gospel. The thrill of victory!
The next morning, both of us ministered in tag-team fashion at the Sunday service at the host church. Delron preached from his new book Interface, and Peggy followed up with a message about how God has a place for every one of us to serve in the kingdom of God. She focused on how to overcome the doubts and fears that hinder us from fulfilling that God-given calling. In addition to the regular congregation, there was a team of about twenty-five teenagers from the US who were in the country on a work project. Peggy felt that her message was especially directed to these young men and women that day and gave free copies of her book to all the gals in the group. At the end of the service, she called for those who felt that they had a call upon their lives but had been reluctant to step out to fulfill it to come forward for prayer. The entire mission team plus almost two hundred from the congregation responded. After the service, we were inundated by individuals who wanted to thank us for the message, saying that it had changed their lives. At lunch, the pastor told us that our ministry was exactly what the church needed at that exact moment in that he had already planned a meeting for the following Tuesday to initiate a new round of volunteer service in the church so that the members would have opportunity to serve in the ministry of helps and evangelism! We were also able to leave a large quantity of books with the pastor of the church to distribute among the emerging leaders as he felt led. Again, the thrill of victory!
Mission to Trinidad & Tobago
As the most southerly Caribbean island nation, Trinidad and Tobago at its nearest point is only seven miles from Venezuela on the South America continent; however, it is the birthplace of so much of all that is known as Caribbean culture: the steelpan, calypso music, and the limbo. Named “The Island of the Trinity” by Christopher Columbus in 1498,Trinidad is one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the Caribbean and is listed among the top forty of the high income countries in the world. Because the population is a mix of immigrants from India, Africa, and other parts of the world, the people follow many different religions, including Hinduism, and Islam as well as a number of Christian denominations. English, spoken with a heavy Caribbean accent, is the official language of the country.
Delron was in the country twice during the summer. On both trips he taught in pastors’ training conferences, preparing the church leaders to disciple the new believers that are coming to Christ through the intensive outreach that Every Home for Christ is conducting in the country. On the first trip he trained eighty-two the church leaders in one region of the country in the use of the Be Fruitful and Multiply discipleship method and curriculum. On the second trip, in addition to training almost one hundred pastors and leaders from another region of the country, he also had the opportunity to help lead one of the American teams that was in the country with the goal of visiting every home in the nation to present the gospel. In a coordinated effort between volunteers from the United States and members of the local churches, teams went out to canvass the neighborhoods to pray for the needs of the people, personally share the gospel, leave literature that gives a clear and comprehensible presentation of the salvation message, and get contact information for follow up by the local evangelical churches.
On the home-to-home visitation, the team found the people very receptive to the gospel, with individuals–and even whole families–responding to the salvation message in every home. In one encounter, Delron came upon a group of young men standing with money in their hands, apparently waiting for a drug deal. As he shared the gospel with them, they all responded positively and prayed the sinner’s prayer while still holding their drug money in their hands. At one home, a young man received the Lord after the presentation of the gospel using a bracelet made of colored beads that illustrate the plan of salvation. As an afterthought as the team was walking away from the young man’s home, one of the ladies in the team turned back and asked if he would like to have a couple bracelets to share with his friends. After crossing the street to share with a family there, the team crossed back to visit the gentleman’s next-door neighbor. When the man in the house came to the door, he was already wearing one of the beaded bracelets. The new convert had already been to his home and shared the gospel with him! The team asked for the phone numbers of everyone who prayed with them to pass along to a local church for follow up, and when families responded that they were willing to open their homes and host community Bible studies connections were made with the local pastor to arrange for someone from the church to come and disciple the new believers.
The team also made a couple visits to a local home for the elderly where they prayed for the patients and shared with them one-on-one. On the second visit, one of the ladies from the home said that she’s like to sing a hymn for the team before they left. Everyone was amazed as this frail old lady opened her mouth and began to worship the Lord. Immediately, all the others began to join in—even the ones who seemed too unresponsive to be aware. It was a tangible reminder of the power of the love of God.
Delron’s visit happened to coincide with the Summer Olympic Games, and one day during the trip was declared a national holiday in Trinidad because the country won a gold medal. Even though there was exuberant celebration throughout the island over the victory in London, there was even more rejoicing in heaven over the victories won in the hearts of the people in Trinidad. At the same time, there were repercussions in another spiritual dimensions demonstrated by the fact that we found a Hindu flag mounted in from of the sign of our host church, proof that some in the neighborhood were angry over fruit that the gospel was producing in the community.
On the last night of the trip, one of the young men on Delron’s evangelism team shared that as he had gone through the gospel presentations during the week, he suddenly realized that he had moved a lot further ahead in his own growth and relationship. Of course, it was really everyone on the team, not just this one individual, who had grown spiritually throughout the week. The experience blessed not just people of Trinidad, but the American team as well.
Delron says that from the time he boarded the plane in Colorado Springs he somehow felt that this particular trip was to be a special missionary experience. The pilot introduced himself as David Livingstone!