Imagine a beautiful tropical island. A place with 365 beaches with white sand and crystal blue water. A location that plays hosts to thousands of vacationers from around the globe. Some may call it “paradise,” but the locals call this Caribbean gem—Antigua. However, one doesn’t have to travel but a few miles inland, away from tourist destinations and four-star resorts, to see that there is trouble in paradise!
I recently returned from this beautiful country, a part of the Leeward Island chain in the Eastern Caribbean, where we had been invited to consider Antigua as a site for a DiscipleTrip. Nat Cooper, a seasoned missionary and Director of Character Development at Lubbock Christian University has traveled to Antigua many times and told me it’s the perfect place for a DiscipleTrip. After seeing it for myself, I believe he’s right and we’re excited about plans for our first trip this summer in July.
I discovered many valuable assets that will make Antigua a great location for DiscipleTrips. First are the resources. The St. John’s Church of Christ is a well established work under the leadership of their preacher, Cornelius George, who has worked there as a minister for over forty years. He’s well known on the island and loved by the brethren. It’s the largest church of Christ on the island and one of the largest churches in the Caribbean. I met many Christians who are excited about hosting a DiscipleTrip and are ready to help and partner with us when we arrive.
The St. John’s Church of Christ has an excellent facility which was built in 1998. There are beds, showers and a kitchen which were designed to host visiting groups. This church has experience with mission teams and will be the site for the 43rd Annual Caribbean Lectureship this summer. They also have two church vans which we are welcome to use.
Another plus is the island, itself. As a tourist destination, it’s accustomed to welcoming visitors from around the world. Everyone speaks English and I found the people to be very friendly. While I would consider Antigua to be a poor and developing nation by the world’s standards, it is a very safe place with a stable government. There are good medical facilities including a new hospital. Travel to the island is an easy five hour flight from Dallas to Puerto Rico and then another hour flight from there.
Finally, the people of Antigua needs us! The trouble with “paradise” is it creates a false image and culture that worships creation rather than the Creator! I used to think that Christians who did missions in such a setting had ulterior motives. My bad! After taking a deeper look, I see a nation of poor people struggling to care for their families by catering to the whims of the wealthy. Though the church is established, I saw a group of Christians who feel isolated and overlooked by our brotherhood. Our mission is to encourage these faithful brethren. We’ll do so by visiting hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and an orphanage, conducting a VBS with outreach into the local neighborhood, doing basic service projects to help improve living conditions, and hosting a teenage outreach event to promote and encourage the local youth group. We’ll share Jesus with everyone we meet as we partner with the St. John’s church to be “salt and light” on their island!
We need your help! Prayerfully consider joining our team. The dates are June 26th -July 6th. Space is limited. If you can’t go, perhaps you can help send a student by providing scholarship funds. Yes, there is trouble in paradise, but we know the ONE who can help fix it and together, we can all be part of the solution!
Start the application process right now by clicking the "Apply" link at the top of www.discipletrips.com.