The first three days of the trip were spent in a town called Guardalavaca alongside the youth ministry from the church, for their annual youth camp. Guardalavaca has a beautiful beach, and the group spent plenty of time there, but it wasn't all beach time.
The camp started every morning with devotions, group discussion, and prayer, and closed each evening with a worship service and a karate demonstration that reinforced what was preached that evening.
The week was also used for evangelism. On Tuesday, the group set up free barber shops and hair salons in church members houses. The church's students cut and styled hair while others went out to tell the community about it and invite them to the evangelistic service in the evening.
Yilian came to a knowledge of the Lord on July 25, 2017!!
"I knew there was something different about Christians, but I never knew what it was." - Yilian
After talking for over an hour with one of the team members, God moved her heart to accept Christ as her Savior.
Pray for her as she begins following Jesus and sharing her faith with her family and community.
While sharing the message of the gospel, they were also modeling that every person can use the gifts, talents, and interests that God has given them in order to share the Word of God.
Ken reinforced this in some training time with the youth group's leadership later in the week.
"There is no power without the strength of God in your life."
Friday Sports Activity
The youth group at First Baptist Bayamo and a sister church play soccer weekly at a local school. They gather and invite their non-Christian friends to play sports with them, building relationships and inviting them to church. Many of the students from the youth group first started attending church because of this activity.
Friday, the team from the USA went and played alongside these students and took opportunities to share the gospel as well as build relationships with these students, inviting them to youth group on Saturday night.
Giancarlos introduced the team to Alex, the youth leader at a church near the school where they play soccer. They always have to borrow a ball because they have no means to obtain one of their own. Since the team had brought balls, they gave two of them (and a pump) to Alex and his youth group. They were excited to be able to use this equipment to invite their friends to play and hear the Word of God.
Giancarlos would later tell the group that Alex was in his youth group while he was studying the in the YMI Master's Program. Giancarlos discipled Alex and now he is serving as the youth pastor at this other church in a very difficult area where there is much spiritual oppression.
On Saturday, the group painted the inside of a small church building in Barrancas and helped put concrete on the outside walls of this tiny brick church building. The tiny church is being planted by a missionary from the church in Bayamo.
The youth group also did free hair styling in the community and invited people to an evangelistic service that afternoon, where Jeremy White preached the message of the gospel to many who had never attended that church before.
Later, the pastor told the group that, to his knowledge, no foreigner had ever gone into that community to serve in the way they had done that day. It was an incredible testimony to the community and will have lasting impact.