2013 Mission Trip to El Salvador
[Final Days] November 29-30 Mission Report: “The View from the Mountain of God”
This morning, our missions team was given the opportunity to sleep in and many took advantage of that opportunity after a long week of ministry in beautiful El Salvador. It is quiet here in the courtyard of our hotel and it’s an incredible time for me to reflect on the work that’s been done, the relationships we’ve built, the places we’ve seen, and the souls that have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In our own country, Christian evangelists are often painted as domestic terrorists forcing their religion down the throats of any passers-by. But in this nation, the people are hungry for the Word of God. They desperately want to own a copy of the Scriptures and it is inspiring to watch them begin flipping through its pages in the villages we visit. My prayer is that the Lord would help me to never be lacking in zeal but maintain my spiritual fervor as I seek to serve Him (Romans 12:11).
Unlike previous trips to El Salvador (according to our veteran team members), yesterday’s mission was the farthest we have traveled into the mountainous jungles. In fact, we traveled for three hours in our buses to a neighboring city at the foot of the San Miguel volcano, and then moved our supplies and people into flat bed trucks rigged for standing passengers. Only these vehicles were able to move our large ministry force into the jungle via dry riverbeds, dirt paths, and low-hanging thorny vines. During the rainy season, the village of Candelaria where we arrived is inaccessible and rarely receives visitors from outsiders, but they welcomed us warmly and we began to serve them at Mountain of God Baptist Church (Iglesia Bautista Monte de Jehova). From God’s perspective, 277 people received medial evaluations, 96 saw dentists, approximately 100 pairs of glasses were distributed, and somewhere between 15 and 20 people made the decision to follow Jesus Christ and receive His free gift of forgiveness.
If I were honest with myself, I would tell you that I was disappointed initially by the seeming lack of response. But that’s not really the view from the Mountain of God, is it? You see, we are called to go and make disciples, we have been commissioned with the ministry of reconciliation, and we are the bearers of Good News. Thankfully, we then have the privilege of seeing the Lord work and speak into hearts: we get to leave the results up to Him. Because the rainy seasons limit people’s travel to and from Candelaria, the pastor of the church has a captive audience that is thoroughly being ministered to. Nevertheless, there are many unbelievers yesterday who heard the Gospel again and seeds were planted with which the church can follow up. So let’s try to look at the BIG PICTURE: thousands of men, women and children have been able to receive desperate medical attention, hundreds of teeth were pulled to prevent rot (even as we gave out candy by the handfuls), medications were distributed to the tune of tens of thousands, physical sight was restored by glasses, and spiritual sight was restored for approximately 200 people who experienced saving faith in Christ. Not to mention, hundreds of children were ministered to and saw the love Jesus has for them through us.
It is now nearly time to leave our spiritual family here to begin our journey home. Honestly, our team is already looking forward to next year and hope that YOU will consider coming on board in our adventure proclaiming the Gospel and serving Salvadorians. I, for one, WILL be returning with mi esposa (my wife) by my side next time. It will mean so much to be home but this is a wonderful place to share with her and the rest of my family. Please allow me to thank you for your prayers and thoughts on behalf of our team. Continue interceding for local pastors and churches here as well as the people who have yet to respond to the Gospel. Pray for our safe return as the team returns to Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. Most importantly, I echo the words of Jesus to you today that you pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into the fields because there is much work to do and so few workers. Will you be the next laborer?
P.S. I want to personally thank the translators (including Katie Thompson) and local pastors (Ed, Clemente, Jonathan, Freddy, Pedro, and so many more) we have worked with who help to bridge the communication gap and make the Gospel resonate with native people. We appreciate your service and love for God’s Word and the sheep He is searching for. In addition, I’d like to mention our co-laborers on this trip from the US: Becky, Marty, Howard, Dianna, Grace, Madison, and Alex...it was one of my greatest pleasures serving with you this week. To Jonathan White, your leadership, strategic logistics, and advance preparation have made ministry in El Salvador a great experience. Finally, David and Sharon, we love you both and we appreciate your ground-breaking vision for this country. We appreciate you all very much and look forward to seeing you all again soon. Dios les bendigas a todos ustedes.
Day 6 Missions Report – “Feliz Dia De Gracias en San Salvador” (Happy Thanksgiving in San Salvador) “Rejoice always. Pray continuously. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 In a context like third-world El Salvador, it is easy to look at our lives and see just how blessed we really are. This week we moved hundreds of miles from a land of plenty to an impoverished nations that cannot even begin to imagine the luxuries we take for granted. That should teach us something about our priorities but it is something that can hardly be taught...only experienced firsthand. We celebrate Thanksgiving each year to commemorate the opportunities that new land, liberties, and relationships held for us. And, by and large, Americans still honor that tradition generations later in a nation far from home. Today, we awoke to a new day of ministry potential, eager to get started. Our mission team enjoyed a hot breakfast (a welcome change from ham & cheese at 5:30 AM) and some morning devotionals. The bus ride to the police academy and prison in San Salvador was short meaning that we could jump right into the task of setting up our medical clinic to serve Salvadorians police officers, other civil servants and their families. We saw 276 people including 83 for dental consultation and 180 receiving glasses. Several police chaplains as well as our team members shared the Gospel with each participant resulting in 23 salvations! Indeed, there was much for which to be thankful for today. When we arrived back at the hotel, many rested after a long day (and week) of ministry while other, perhaps more athletic missionaries took part in the First Annual San Salvadorian Turkey Trot 10K. We had more for which to be thankful when everyone returned safe and we didn’t have to search for any missing joggers. But the evening was topped off by homemade papusas, a Salvadorian delicacy, prepared by Martha and Veronica, Pastor Ed’s wife and daughter. But I couldn’t help but think about another night the Bible tells us about with Jesus and some of His closest followers in an upper room just before Passover. After a long day of ministry, Jesus and His disciples recline together and enjoy a meal especially prepared for them. I’m sure they laughed and talked together about any number of topics. All the while, surely Jesus’ heart was heavy with the task ahead of Him in just a number of hours. As He smiled at John and James, whom He had earlier nicknamed “Thunder-Boys” and now could be seen playfully wrestling around the table, Jesus stood and addressed His friends. The room grew quiet as they recognized the Master beginning to teach. They had seen that look before in Jesus’ eyes before He would show the multitudes some profound truths about His Father. In that moment, Jesus gave thanks, broke bread, poured out the wine into a cup and instituted the first communion. Isn’t it amazing to think that the Lord took a basic element of everyday life like eating a meal and used it to illustrate communion with His own life and death? But this really should come as no surprise – Jesus sanctified “bath time” as baptism, a reflection of inward cleansing as well as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And on that same night, Jesus turned the most base and degrading of tasks, washing another man’s soiled and stinky feet, into the example we all must follow to serve one another as obedient slaves of Jesus. And because Thanksgiving is a lot like that Last Supper evening, we partook of communion as a missions team and prayed for our last day on the field here in El Salvador. We would like for you to join us in doing the same. Today, we acknowledge our blessings but we know that above all else, we are thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for us and the assurance we have that nothing will ever separate us from the love of our Heavenly Father (Romans . That is the Good News. It’s the message we will travel the world to tell so that every nation, tribe, and tongue will be represented in heaven, having had the opportunity to respond and follow Jesus, and then ushering in the return of the King! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (I Peter 1:3). Amen.
November 27, 2013 – The Village of New Fruit
The view as we travel through this country is absolutely spectacular but it is the people of El Salvador that will inevitably capture your heart. They are hungry for the Word of God and eager to be reconciled with their heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. This isn’t to say that the enemy does not seek to thwart our efforts but we have truly come to understand that our God is greater, our God is stronger and if our God is for us, then who can be against us. Today, one of the tires on the bus began to sheer away so we had to stop and have it replaced. Just an hour later, the bus began to overheat and yet again we found ourselves on the side of the road. It took us three hours to arrive in Nueva Grenada (“New Fruit”) where masses had patiently been awaiting the arrival of our team.
I didn’t hear a single complaint from missionaries, church volunteers, or community members. We just jumped into action partnered with a substantial array of church members led by Pastor Pedro who is also the Police Commissioner of El Salvador. Truly, God is using that man in this communist nation for such a time as this to lead many souls to Jesus. And it is no wonder that Satan did not want to us to make it to Tabernaculo Biblico Bautista Amigos de Israel Nueva Grenada (“Bible Baptist Tabernacle Friends of Israel Church in Nueva Grenada”) because throughout the course of the day, we served a total of 418 people. 418 people heard the Gospel from our team through evangelistic preaching and one-on-one witnessing. 362 Salvadorians received medical attention. 83 saw dentists. 175 pairs of glasses were distributed and the barber’s chairs manned by Katie Thompson and Gary Graham, Jr. were never vacant! All in all, these efforts produced NEW SPIRITUAL FRUIT to the tune of 57 lost souls saved – Praise our great God and Savior!
But I’d like to mention one other ministry that is a true blessing. Our clown ministry in El Salvador is well-loved wherever we travel. Deanna Austin, Janice Peoples, one of our premier translators, Tanya, Becky (missions team member from Louisiana) and Joel (pronounced “Yo-El”, the son of Salvadorian pastor Jonathan) are such diligent and effective children’s ministry leaders. Every time I see them, they have an entourage of Hispanic children in tow, distributing trinkets or candy, playing games, performing magic tricks, and simply being the hands and feet of Jesus. Their services are truly invaluable and their love for the niños (“kids”) is evident.
However, as I look around my heart also breaks at the degree of fatherlessness in this nation. One teenage girl and her sister asked to take their picture with me just before we departed back to San Salvador. I didn’t know them but they told me that I looked like their father who had left them to live in the United States thirteen years ago. The older sister wept on my shoulder afterward as I counseled her through a translator, encouraged her in her faith, and kissed both girls on their heads like daddies should do. I am humbled and even now very emotional that God uses broken vessels like me to reflect His heart for His children. It is a tremendous pleasure to be here serving my King so my prayer is that we will continue to represent Jesus well this week. We covet your prayers as we draw our week to a close.
En el nombre de Jesus y para su Gloria
“In the name of Jesus and for His glory”
November 26, 2013 – Service in the City of San Salvador (“On Mission”) Over the years, I have embarked on a study of the modern phenomenon that is a mass exodus of teenagers from the church. It is troubling news for every youth pastor, parent, and investor in the next generation of believers. But it’s also been a pet project for me to begin cataloging the attributes of the students that remain engaged with the local church into adulthood. One of the defining characteristics of these “sticky sheep” is active involvement in worldwide missions and evangelism. But why? Because teens want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They desire to be used by God and to have a greater and altogether worthwhile purpose in life. The writer of Acts 1:8 records some of Jesus’ final words to His followers: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” That’s the heartbeat of our Savior. That’s the missions we as a church must always embrace and teach our children to embrace – changing our world as we evangelize our local communities, cities, states, nations, countries, continents and beyond! It’s a purpose worth living for as one teen member learned yesterday. One of the most personally meaningful salvations we have seen this week was a confession of faith by a teen from North Dakota. Ben White honestly shared his testimony and the Gospel with this student and she prayed to receive Jesus Christ. I am convinced that it’s because she was seeing what following Jesus is really supposed to look like. It’s relevant. It matters. And Jesus truly is AWESOME! Today at the Iglesia Bautista Zacamil, we faced new challenges regarding space constraints, logistics, and somewhere between 400 and 500 participants in our medical clinic. 360 patients received medical attention/consultation...199 were fitted for corrective lenses...dentists removed teeth from 61 needy Salvadorians and every one of these loved individuals heard the Good News that Jesus loves them and invites them to follow Him! Honestly, these people came to the church to receive much-needed services and without the team working diligently all morning and afternoon, so many might never have heard the Gospel. And that’s why we rejoice that 46 people prayed to receive Jesus Christ (47 when we include one of our own teen missionaries) and 16 more rededicated their lives to our Lord! To say the very least, it has been an awesome day, friends! In addition to our medical clinic, our resident clowns ministered to cancer and AIDS victims residing in El Salvador’s children’s hospital. Another contingent distributed hundreds of pounds of food to the people of Comasagua. As we celebrate more than 100 lives changed by the transforming power of the Gospel in just a few short days, I wanted to encourage you to pray for your specific Ramoth missionaries on the field and their role as we serve El Salvador: ➢ Bill Austin...clown assistance, evangelism, preaching, general help (and flight risk?) ➢ Deanna Austin & “Sonbeam”...clowning around, testimonials, hospital/jail ministry ➢ Thomas France...eyeglasses, general help, preaching, evangelism (PLUS roommate) ➢ Gary Graham...photography, videography, hair-cutting, testimonials, one-on-one evangelism ➢ Jon Morton...preaching, evangelism, photography, and general help ➢ Janice Peoples & “BuBu”...clowning around, one-on-one evangelism, hospital/jail ministry, general help ➢ Katie Thompson...soccer camps, hair-cutting, evangelism, translator, dentistry ➢ Seth Thompson...soccer camps, eye-glasses, food distribution, evangelism ➢ Ben White...one-on-one evangelism, pharmacy, general help as a veteran floater, and all-around entertainer ➢ Jonathan White...mission team coordinator, logistics, security, food distribution, long-term planning, relationship-building This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the ministries and services each member of our team has nor does it paint the full picture of how the Body of Christ is operating here in El Salvador. But let me assure you that these RBC members are representing you well and, more importantly, they are walking worthy of our high calling as believers in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:1). Please lift us all up in prayer and continue interceding on behalf of our new friends in Central America. We love you all and look forward to reporting back from this mission soon to regroup, debrief, and begin planning and strategizing our part in LOVING GOD, LOVING PEOPLE, and CHANGING OUR WORLD.
November 25, 2013 – A Beautiful Day at Beautiful Horizons (“LOST”)
Lost things can be a real frustration. Just think about the last time you left your car keys in the refrigerator when you were already late for a meeting. But lost people can bring fear and dread to our lives. After an incredible day of ministry at Bello Horizonte just outside Comasagua, we returned to our hotel to regroup, clean up and recharge for tomorrow. But we lost a member of our mission team – two members went for a jog in the city and were separated. One took a wrong turn and ended up miles from home. People left behind were confused and angry. Some cried. Others prayed. And everyone simply wanted to see our whole group together again, safe and sound. As of 9:50 PM, local time, we celebrated in front of our Villa Real hotel and reunited with our lost teammate - Because that which was lost was now found.
God loves to find lost people. Dr. Luke shares three stories that Jesus taught to illustrate this love in chapter 15. He begins with the parable of a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep to find one lost lamb. Next, Jesus tells us of a woman with only 10 silver coins who searches her home to find just one that becomes lost. But his final story is one of the most memorable and beloved in the entire New Testament. It has often been called the parable of two sons, or even the story of the prodigal son, but I prefer the title, “The Parable of the Loving Father.” Jesus explains that when one lost soul is found, the celebration in heaven is far greater than any earthly rejoicing over sheep, or coins, or even sons. When even one sinner repents and follows Jesus, the angels throw a party even bigger than a reunion with a long lost, jogging missionary!
Yesterday at Jeshua Ministries in Comasagua, 250 people heard the Gospel of Jesus, 90 people met with dentists, and 160 received medical treatment that may have otherwise been unavailable to them. At Bello Horizonte, 277 people heard the Gospel from various “preachers” including Pastor Jon, Katie Thompson, Bill Austin, and Pastor Ed. Eighty-eight folks received much-needed dental care and 189 were seen and treated during medical consultations. In addition, relationships continued to be built on the soccer field. To God’s glory and because He loves finding lost people even more than we do, 66 people have confessed faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!
I am incredibly thankful to be here in El Salvador preaching the Gospel to hundreds of Salvadorians each day. It is truly awesome to witness a great harvest of souls that God has long been preparing. To say that Bello Horizonte (“Beautiful Horizons”) is a truly breathtaking place is an extreme understatement. There are no words to describe the view from these mountains and the picturesque valley that serves as the backdrop to the village where we ministered. But the people here are so spiritually hungry and many are deprived of some of the most basic human needs. As we continue to work this week in various locations, please intercede on behalf of our team and our new Salvadorian brothers and sisters. As you pray this week, please also lift up Madeline, a young girl we met today who needs treatment for a very serious and aggressive fungal infection on her scalp. We are doing what we can to see that she is properly treated but pray specifically that the infection has not reached her bloodstream and that we will be able to secure the appropriate course of treatment for this beautiful young lady.
Quote of the Day: “Praise God – He’s back!” (Deanna Austin) — in San Salvador, El Salvador.
November 24, 2013 Greetings from Comasagua ("Good Medicine")
As a youth pastor, my favorite times are investing in the lives of teenagers and subsequently having the opportunity to sit at the “Cool Kids Table” at Wendy’s. I love when groups of teens are laughing so hard that we’re all having trouble breathing and drawing some stares from the folks around us too. Laughter is good medicine and this is especially true when a missions team including folks from every age group have been busy doing Kingdom work throughout the day. It has truly been a great pleasure developing new relationships and celebrating our camaraderie on and off the field.
Our day began before the sun has sense enough to rise, (o’dark thirty AM) and one team did not arrive back in the hotel until after 8 in the evening. But all of us would happily do it again to see the more than 40 Salvadorians confess faith in Jesus Christ – Praise the Lord! Plus, there may be nothing more beautiful or death defying than watching the sunrise over dormant volcanoes from a bus barreling up a mountain on a gravel road. But upon our arrival in the town of Comasuaga, approximately 250 people from the community were able to partake in services ranging from pharmaceuticals, doctors, dentists, eyeglass fittings, clothing distribution, and haircuts. Every participant heard a clear Gospel presentation from various preachers teaching us all a very important lesson about the Gospel – God has called us all to preach (Romans 10)...but He’s called a few to pastor too. Even the soccer players in our group can rejoice in knowing that we have “beautiful feet” as we take every opportunity to bring Good News to Salvadorians!
Another, smaller team conducted a soccer clinic at Beautiful Horizons church with more than 60 children equipping every student with jerseys, socks, and more. Bill and Deanna Austin shared a testimony and Gospel presentation planting many seeds for a future harvest. Before the day was over, four team members including Pastor Ed (Salvadorian church planter and missions team coordinator), myself, Gary Graham and Madison (from Tennessee) stayed in Comasuaga to participate in a church service where more local friends decided to follow Jesus Christ and became members of our family of God! During the service, Gary Graham Jr. was asked to share his testimony which powerfully moved in many people’s hearts and lives. I was also invited to preach. It has been an interesting transition learning to work with interpreters and is a humbling experience to say the very least. But to God’s glory, He speaks to hearts and we can leave all the results up to Him.
Tomorrow, we will return to Beautiful Horizons church for another medical clinic and hopefully to finish up our soccer tournament. We covet your prayers as we prepare to engage the people of El Salvador this week with the Greatest Story ever told – Jesus come, killed, and conqueror over death! Pray that hearts will remain open to the Gospel and the our team remains healthy, rested, and spiritually renewed each day so that we can continue to pour into others. We love you all and look forward to sharing even more in the days to come.
P.S. Quote of the Day: “That guy speaks like extra-fluent Salvadorian!” (Ben White) * By the way, Salvadorians speak Spanish and “extra-fluent” seems a little redundant – haha!
November 23, 2013 Mission Field Report: El Salvador ("Earthly Tourists")
So, have you ever just felt like a tourist? Kinda like the guy in your neighborhood who still wears his Mickey Mouse ears around town 6 months after the family vacation to Disney World?
Okay, so maybe that's a stretch...but El Salvador is a bit like a new planet. Roadside vendors selling papusas and fruit, 31 people squeezed into the bed of a mini-Nissan truck, and heavily-armed police escorts through the city at all times (for which we are incredibly grateful). But all this began to make me think about a passage we studied not long ago with the RBC teenagers from I Peter that called believers "sojourners" - strangers in a foreign land. As one fellow missionary aptly put it after stepping onto Salvadorian soil, "Today, we are the aliens." And yet, isn't that precisely how we should feel as followers of Jesus Christ?
We should look different and sound different as God-followers so that the people around us cannot help but think us strange - like aliens of the human race. The Christian's true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) so wherever we find ourselves and in whatever political disarray may abound, we can always be encouraged knowing that Jesus is still on HIS throne! Plus, as ambassadors of heaven we ALL are responsible for preaching the message of reconciliation to a lost and dying world in need of our Savior - whether you are home with your family or thousands of miles away.
Please be in prayer for our team here in El Salvador representing Ramoth Baptist Church and Jesus Christ. Today, a great deal of preparations were made for our various ministries in two different locations tomorrow. One team will be sharing the Gospel and conducting a soccer camp while another team will help organize a medical clinic and ensure that every person given aid will have the opportunity to know the Great Healer Himself. After a long day of flying, adjustment, and relationship-building we are all ready for some much-needed rest but we covet your prayers this week.
Also, please intercede for Cecilia and her two children Marsella and Daniel who are the first Salvadorians we met and shared the Gospel with on the plane ride this morning. Cecilia heard the truth and now we simply ask that the Lord intervenes in her heart and leads her to follow Him like so many El Salvadorians will do this week. But that will happen only when we PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
And now for a laugh and the Quote of the Day: "Just how many rubber chickens do we need anyway?" - Thomas France (A.K.A. "Roommate")
July 12, 2013
Greetings from El Salvador! We held our last clinic today in the city of Apopa with Tabernacle Baptist Church as a sponsoring church. It was an amazing day filled with God’s presence. To God’s glory 42 people confessed Jesus Christ as Lord which brings the total number of those receiving Christ to 271 for the week. Jesus saves to the uttermost and this team has shouted it from the housetops and proclaimed it from the mountaintops. Hallelujah!
The place that we served today was an incredible place. The poverty is beyond belief and the spiritual hunger is apparent. The first order of business was for a Gang Intervention Police team to make a sweep to be sure any gang members dispersed or agreed to be good boys. It was a safe and blessed day. Total numbers seen in the clinic approached 400 with 200 plus getting glasses, 90 seeing the dentists and 60 receiving haircuts. All heard the Gospel and many were saved.
Let me share a personal story. Before we left Apopa today a young woman cam up to me and asked if she could have a dollar for milk for her baby. Her request was so small but I had no money in my pocket so I asked Bill Austin for a couple of bucks which he gladly supplied. Think about this…15 years old with a 14 month old baby…no father for the baby….she was raped. My heart is broken. Yet, in the midst of the most severe poverty she has the hope that is in Jesus Christ! Her story can be multiplied many times in the lives of so many we have met and seen.
You should come with me on the next mission trip to this El Salvador! Your life will never be the same. No one on this team could have imagined all that God would do! We serve an awesome God!
See you soon! Home on Saturday! Yay! I am looking forward to being in my pulpit.
Pastor Brent Vickery
July 11, 2013
Greetings from your mission team in El Salvador! It has been a wonderful day and I look forward to sharing with you about all that God has done today. First and foremost I hope and pray that you can rejoice with me that 229 people have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior so far this week.! Hallelujah! God has truly been at work in the hearts of people and I can’t wait to share more when I return.
Today we had clinics in the city of Las Planes with Pastor Jonathan and his church family. It was the smallest attendance of the week but God used it miraculously and we saw at least 16 people receive Jesus as Lord of their lives. The clinic was supposed to be held in a school but that arrangement was cancelled somehow so we moved to the church which is in a remote, high altitude area near San Salvador. In addition to those saved, about 191 people saw the doctors. 150 received pharmacy products. 89 saw the dentists.100 plus received eyeglasses and more than 50 haircuts were given. In addition, as a part of the 16 saved today, I was able to share the Gospel at a police station where five more officers trusted Christ!
Heres a brief word about the each team member from Ramoth…
Pastor Brent…preaching…helping where I can…..one on one witnessing with translator.
Terry Vickery….haircuts, eyeglasses, loving on children.
Corbin Vickery…..blood pressures in clinic, eyeglasses, pharmacy….testimonies
Bill Austin…Eyeglasses, witnessing, sharing Gospel in groups…testimonies
Deana Austin…Sonbeam the clown, witnessing….anywhere needed.
Connie Knowles…working with dentists, one on one witnessing, sharing.
Janice Peoples…BuBu the clown’s helper…anywhere needed….sharing Christ.
Seth Thompson..sharing the Gospel in Groups, eyeglasses, soccer, and anywhere needed.
Katie Thompson….sharing the Gospel in groups….haircuts….eyeglasses…dentists…
Gary Graham Jr…testimonies, sharing the Gospel one on one, haircuts
Matthew Drinkwater….soccer, sharing Gospel one on one…testimonies…..pharmacy
Benjamin White….pharmacy, eyeglasses….any labor needed.
Jonathan White…logistics, witnessing, security
There is so much more and if I left something out I apologize but I can tell you that these folks are dynamite. There is no way to describe how God is opening doors through this team and we are learning that unlimited opportunities exist for future ministry. My prayer is that every life is changed for the glory of God and that every team member will return over and over to share Christ with the people of El Salvador.
Pray….we are in Apopa on Friday. It is our last day of clinics. Pray that many will be saved. May our Lord bless you richly.
Till the whole world hears…
July 10, 2013
Greetings from beautiful, wet, hot, El Salvador! It is with great joy that I write a brief summary of our day in Mariona with Pastor Carlos and his church. We had our clinics in the church and 300-400 people came to participate. To God’s glory 17 of them received Jesus as Lord and Savior and many more were touched by the Word of God. Final numbers look something like 325 for doctors, 300 for pharmacy, 151 for eyeglasses, 30 haircuts and 17 for salvation. God blessed us all richly and we will have many stories to tell.
Personally, I have been very busy. I preach during the day at the clinics but Pastor Clemente has been taking me to preach during the day to police officers and at night to different churches. This has been an awesome trip in that out team has been able to more than ever before. A special thanks to Bill Austin, and Seth and Katie Thompson as they have stepped up to share the Gospel to groups that come to the clinic when I am away preaching or need to take a breather.
On another note, it was awesome to go with Gary Graham Jr and Corbin Vickery to a Baptist church in Apopa last night. Both young men shared their testimony before I preached and it was my joy to listen as the Holy Spirit touched many through their words. Where do I begin when I speak of this team? Really, I don’t know! Every person has touched lives and have shared the Gospel of Jesus, Christ! To God be the glory!
-that many souls will be saved in Las Planes tomorrow at Pastor Jonathan’s Church.
-that the team has physical strength to finish the journey well. We are exhausted but trusting in our Lord.
-that our enemy will gain no foothold to hinder the work of God.
-that believers will be strengthened.
Until the Whole World Hears!
July 9, 2013
San Salvador, El Salvador
Greetings in the strong and mighty name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It is with great joy that I write these words to you! Today, to God’s glory alone, we saw 115 national law enforcement personnel come to saving faith in Christ! Can you imagine that? Hallelujah! This team gives God all of the glory and we recognize that we are witnesses to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Praise His name!
Let me give you some information about the clinic today. We set up in the national police headquarters and training compound hoping that law enforcement personnel would come to be blessed by the doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and eye care folks. When the day was over almost 400 personnel responded with more than a fourth of them responding to Christ! Hundreds saw the doctors. A hundred saw the dentists. 200 people received glasses and so much more. Also, as a part of my day I was invited to preach to a group of officers at another headquarters. What a joy it was to meet with and fellowship with such strong believers.
By the way….everyone on the team either works in medical, dental, optometry, clothing, or evangelism. Everyone has a job. Many exchange jobs each day so that they can experience everything the clinics offer. Also, the days are long and the weather is scorching but God is good!
For tonight’s spotlight on someone I want to talk about Seth Thompson. Since he has been here, that quiet, solid man of God has served the Lord in the clinics, futbol, and any other areas he could find. At every turn he has been faithful to be a godly example as he has shared Christ with all who will listen. Tonight, I smile as I write, as he preached the Word of God yesterday at the clinic in Soyapango and 4 people responded in faith to our Savior. My eyes swelled with tears as I rejoiced with him as he shared the Word of God. We are blessed to have Seth and his dear wife, Katie, at Ramoth.
Finally, pray for the team as we continue to minister to the people of El Salvador. Here is a brief list:
1. Pray for people of Mariona and Pastor Carlos Hernandez as we have a clinic there tomorrow, the 10th.
2. Pray for the almost 200 who have trusted Christ!
3. Pray for safety and health for the team. A few folks have been pretty sick. Please don’t worry as everyone seems to be recovering but definitely in need of your prayers.
4. Pray for boldness for the team.
I love you all and can’t wait to share the Word of God with you on Sunday! Until the whole world hears,
Pastor Brent Matthew 28:18-20
July 8, 2013
Soyapango, El Salvador
What a day! Wow! You would have had to be here to believe it. Our team went into a neighborhood controlled by one of the notorious gangs of El Salvador, MS 18, and saw more than 45 people confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Honestly, we will probably find out that as many as twice that number trusted Jesus when such things are revealed in eternity.
The clinic was set up in a church in Soyapango and shortly after 9a.m. the people began to show up in great numbers. When the day was done there were 400 people who saw the doctors after going through registration. In addition, 192 people received eyeglasses and 78 folks saw the dentists. O yes, 348 prescriptions were filled. It was an unbelievable day as our Lord showed up in a miraculous way.
Preaching the Word of God was a great joy and the Lord added to his church many who were saved. I am reminded that “whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” and that certainly applied to the clinic in Soyapango. At this point I want to simply describe how we do a clinic. First, the people register and file into a large room or worship center. When 25-30 people have sat down, we begin to preach the Gospel to them after which we give an invitation. After meeting those who receive Jesus, we do it all over again. Today, the Gospel was preached to over 400 people with many receiving Christ. Preaching was finished and that group is them dismissed to the clinic.
For my people spotlight tonight, I want to talk about Sonbeam the Clown(Deanna Austin.) She was a blessing to so many today under difficult circumstances as the temperature soared. Believe it or not, she led someone to Christ and still managed to avoid passing out under all of that makeup and clothing she calls a costume. One more thing…she has a great new helper form Ramoth whose name is BooBoo(Janice Peoples). Never, have a seen a clown and helper so dedicated to sharing the truth of God’s Word. This is one proud pastor.
Please pray about several things with me:
-Pray as we go to National Police Headquarters to put on a clinic tomorrow. We expect hundreds of officers and their families to participate with many trusting Christ as Savior.
-Pray for boldness to share the Gospel and for physical strength for the team.
-Pray that each person on the team will be drawn closer to Jesus through their obedience to the Great Commission.
Until the Whole World Hears….
July 7, 2013
Greetings from El Salvador which is translated “The Savior.” What a beautiful Sunday it has been as your mission team has been faithfully sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with hundreds of people in Belo Horizonte. Today was our 2nd day in that village and we saw amazing things happen for the glory of God alone.
The team saw 300 plus people at the medical clinic, fitted 100 pair of glasses, pulled 30 more teeth and filled countless prescriptions. Clothes were shared with hundreds of people and a soccer tournament drew huge amounts of interest. Honestly, throughout the entire day, the only negative thing was the weather. You can’t imagine how hot it was. O yes…we had a 5.9 earthquake tonight. It’s just another day in paradise. God is good.
As a pastor it has been such a joy to see the folks from our church step up to the plate and share Jesus at every opportunity. Evangelism has been awesome and to date we have had the privilege of leading 36 people to saving faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ! I wish you could have heard the testimonies of the team tonight as they talked of sharing Christ and seeing folks come to faith. By the way, it has been a joy to preach the Word of God and share with folks personally but to see my “sheep” doing it brings joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Tonight, I want to talk a few moments about Gary Graham, Jr. What a fine young man he is. He is making a first class documentary of this trip which you will be able to enjoy but far more importantly he is ministering to people and sharing his faith in Christ. He has spent two days cutting hair and talking about his love for Christ to anyone who will listen in heat approaching 100 degrees under a tin roof. If that isn’t enough, he has taught a young man named Jeremy to cut men’s hair so that he can make a small living after Gary is gone. My heart is full as I think of that young man’s deep faith and the influence that godly parents had upon him.
Finally, we covet your prayers. Tomorrow(Monday), we are going into Soyopango which is an area that is a hotbed of gang activity. Pray for safety and boldness as we conduct a medical clinic with the purpose of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for physical strength for the team and that each person will touch lives for the glory of God.
I am honored to be your pastor. Your loved ones are well and are being obedient to Christ. May God raise up a mighty army from Ramoth Church that will take the Gospel to the ends of the earth to the “least” of people.
Until All Have Heard,
Pastor Brent Vickery
July 6, 2013
Buenos Noches from the beautiful nation of El Salvador. It is with much excitement that I sit down to write this blog entry as the day was filled with God’s blessings and provision. Where do I even begin? Well, maybe this is a good place to start. It is 9:44p.m El Salvador time and I am reclining on my bed wishing Terry would get out of the shower. The weather was very hot and steamy and everyone is glad to be back to our hotel so that we can clean up and get some sleep. 5a.m. will come very early tomorrow.
The day started with the usual mission trip excitement…breakfast at our hotel was a bit late due to no fault of the owners. Therefore, we left 45 minutes later than we had hoped to leave for the 2 hour trip to the department of Comasagua and the town of Belo Horizonte. Considering the delayed start we should have known Satan was trying to derail us but it became obvious when the bus broke down and we had to wait 1.5 hours for a replacement. It reminded me that often times Satan means something for evil but God means it for good. The mission team bonded with the translators and many of the group was able to draw closer as friends and as servants of Jesus which prepared us for the day ahead..
Finally we arrived….. 2.5 hours late and set up our mission center in the local school. What had been a challenging day quickly changed into a mission team getting busy doing kingdom work. There were 258 people who saw the doctors at our clinic and 58 pairs of eyeglasses dispensed. O yes, for the first time we had dentists and they did almost 40 extractions which is very exciting. Haha. Don’t you think so? Add preparations for tomorrow’s soccer tournament and clothing give aways and you can imagine what it must have been like. Busyness is one thing, but this team is busy with a purpose. Because of their efforts we preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to hundreds of people and many came to faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ!
Let me say that I am so proud of our team. Each day I will highlight someone so that you can rejoice at what God is doing in them and through them. Today, I want to tell you about Matthew Drinkwater. What a blessing it is to see that young man serving our Lord and Savior. He is sharing his faith, playing soccer, taking video, and helping anywhere and everywhere he is needed. I sit here with a smile on my face knowing that this trip to El Salvador is being used by God to touch Matthew and call him closer to Himself.
Finally, I would ask you to pray for these things:
- That many will be born again as we preach the Gospel.
- That “followers of Christ” in El Salvador will be encouraged and strengthened by our ministry here.
- That every life on our mission team will be changed forever and that each member will understand a bit better the call of God on their lives.
Until the Whole World hears! Update each day! Pastor Brent
July 5, 2013
Benediciones to my Ramoth Church Family! Your mission team sends you a warm hello from the nation of El Salvador. I am pleased to announce that we arrived safely in the country around 2pm Stafford time and that life has been a whirlwind since we landed.
Our arrival at the airport was uneventful apart from the fact that most of our team had never seen the Pacific Ocean before. That was pretty cool until the pilot banked hard left and folks remembered that they were flying. After receiving our visa and clearing customs we stepped out into the El Salvadoran wet season and were reminded that it is brutally hot in Central America.
The Hotel Villa Real San Salvador is a warm and welcoming place even though a bit rustic by American standards. To be honest with you, most Americans could learn a whole lot from El Salvadoran people concerning kindness and hospitality so I think Sara(owner) and her staff are doing it right. Once settled it was time to organize the week’s activities and purchase the meds needed for seven medical clinics.
7p.m. was quickly upon us and we headed to El Camino Baptist Church in Soyapango for a wonderful time of worship. The church was celebrating their 13th anniversary from 6pm to 12 midnight and we were blessed to be a part of it. There was a praise band with six members who were police officers and who were fully armed. Wow! That was different but the worship was tremendous. Kelby, from Tennessee, and Bill Austin, from our church, shared testimonies after which I preached. Before we left, the church served us a great Salvadoran meal after which we arrived home around 10:30 as we have to be up at 5a.m. to travel to Belo Horizonte. While there we will be doing medical clinics, eyeglass fittings, evangelism through preaching and a soccer tournament. The joy is that we get to preach to every person. Hallelujah.
What a day. I am exhausted so I think I will turn in. Please pray for us to be bold in sharing the Gospel and that many will turn to Christ! I also ask that you pray for safety as El Salvador is a dangerous place. Ah yes, pray for health for the team because there are a few challenges that have arisen but all is truly well.
More tomorrow night….
Til the whole world hears,
Pastor Brent Vickery
2012 Mission Trip To El Salvatore
Thursday, November 22nd
Dear Ramoth Family,
It is Thursday evening in El Salvador and it has been a day that this team will never forget. We traveled through the town of Comasagua to a village named Beautiful Horizons. Honestly, it is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen and yet it is by far the most impoverished place I have visited on this or any other day in my life. To God’s great glory we were able to serve about 400 people through the medical clinic, eyeglass fitting, clothing donation and Gospel preaching ministries where many came to the Lord and all were blessed.
Let me tell you about the Pastor of the church in Beautiful Horizons. His name is Walter and he has been pastor of the church for 4 years. His family lives in San Salvador and he gets to see them only three days per week as His wife works and his children are in school in the capital. Each week he makes the trip over extremely mountainous roads to serve a village of 1200 plus other local areas with total compensation being beans, rice, and corn from his congregation. His story is such that called him out of a full time evangelistic ministry to reach Beautiful Horizons while being apart from his family and receiving no pay. To say the least, his people love him to death. Can you imagine worshipping in a building that is block, metal and mud and living in a community where there is zero inside plumbing in any home? You simply can’t imagine unless you have been there.
After we returned for the village I preached the Word of God at a mission church in the capital. God is Gracious and the fellowship we enjoyed is wonderful. Tomorrow we are headed to Sonsonate which is almost due west of the capital. Pray that out Lord will bring many people to Himself. Blessings in Christ!
Till All the World Hears…….
Wednesday, November 21st
Hello everyone! It is with great joy that I am able to tell you that mission work in El Salvador is going well. Up to this point the team has ministered in San Salvador, Victoria, and San Marcos. Tomorrow we are traveling west from San Salvador to a town called Comasagua. Before I tell you about a few highlights of the day I want to thank you for your support and for praying.
Today, we had the wonderful privilege of preaching the Gospel to approximately 385 people who came to our mission point in San Marcos. Many came to faith in Our Lord and all heard the Good News for which we give God all of the glory. The sick are being doctored. Those with eyesight problems are being examined and equipped with glasses on the spot. Hair is being cut. Clothes are distributed. It is truly amazing to be part of such a well run and focused mission endeavor.
Now, I want to share a story that is both funny and sad at the same time. A man sat down to get a haircut and he told the barber to please kill the fleas when he finds them. Well, that is a bizarre request and when the haircut was over he got up out of the seat praising God that the fleas had been taken away. Don’t you feel blessed that your life is a bit different from his? Yet, he could teach us all a lesson in gratitude….
The afternoon was eventful in that myself and other team members went to Baptist Medical Center in San Salvador to try to get help for a little boy who was born with a severe skin disease. In fact, I have never seen anything like it. Anyway, we met the hospital administrator and to God’s glory she is going to arrange to help this child. If that is not enough, she is coming to the mission on Friday to see how she can be involved. O yes, she helped a homeless man the mission had brought her for surgery last year. When the small amount the mission was asked to pay was paid it brought the hearts of the mission and this doctor together. Unbelievable things are going to happen through her I believe.
Headed to bed in San Salvador….blessings to all. Pray that the Word of God will touch lives!
Till the Whole World has heard!