“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people…” Psalm 77:11-15

Here at Global Encounters, we like to take some time each fall to reflect on how God moved through the mission teams that were sent out over the Spring and Summer. This year Global Encounters sent ten teams across five continents, and it was a privilege to see first hand how God is working across the globe. Here’s a small glimpse of what we saw happen…


The people of Chiapas give everything they have, even when they don’t have anything. After speaking and playing my violin at a church in Arriaga Chiapas I felt like I had done my duty and was ready to go back to a nice bed and finally get some sleep. Instead, the Pastors wife came up to me and gave me a present that she had ran back to her house to get. Another girl, around 13, liked me and my playing so much she literally took the shirt that she was wearing off and gave it to me! I was shocked. How can these people be so selfless?! I remember what it says in Matthew 25 “Even if you have done it to the least of these you have done it for me.” But the roles were reversed. They weren’t the least of these. I was. –Ashley Dickson


Air horn blowing, thundering footsteps, and squeals of laughter… welcome to the start of rotations at camp in Romania! This is a group (or should I say “mob”) of kids who would not otherwise interact much on a routine basis. Some are from wealthy families and bring a backpack of snacks and a suitcase of clothes and cool camping gadgets. Others live in shacks, the forest, or face daily abuse; these come with the clothes on their back and hungry stomachs. Economic divide is strong in Romania, but here at camp they share rooms, play games together, and listen to the same stories of creation, redemption, kindness, love, and forgiveness. This was my fourth summer in Romania and I get so excited seeing some of the same campers each time! They come back a little taller but with the same summer camp enthusiasm! Kids who are learning to love their neighbor as themselves. Kids who are learning to show compassion instead of fist fighting. Kids who thrive and breathe a little sigh of relief in this safe environment, where no one is extinguishing cigarette butts on their bare skin or abusing siblings one by one while the others are forced to watch. Kids who are letting Jesus write the story of redemption on their hearts. These are “my” kids and this is what Jesus is doing in Romania.  –Amy Dickson


Sometimes, at the end of a mission trip, you feel like you saw the heavens open and mountains move. Other times, you’re left with more questions than answers and you wonder if you made a difference. Ecuador 2017 was the later for me. So many things just seemed so hard. The trip was marked by transportation troubles – a surprise refueling in Jamaica and return to Fort Lauderdale on the front end, bus confiscations and breakdowns in the middle, and a cancelled flight on the way out. One of those things is enough to make a trip interesting. All of them in one trip is just plain exhausting. The second week of the trip was spent working in a tiny little village on the northern coast of the country. Unemployment is high, abuse is widespread, devil worship is becoming common-place. The war for these kids’ souls was real, and, to be honest, most of the time it felt like we were losing. How any one could have heard the lessons we were trying to shout over the din of 300 noisy, high-energy kids is beyond me. The work we were doing wasn’t moving any mountains. But maybe success on the mission field looks different than my expectations. Maybe it’s not measured by the heavens opening or mountains moving. Maybe success looks like simply being there and encouraging the local church. Maybe it is continuing to give of yourself when you’re hot, tired, and sick. Maybe it looks like hugging a child who isn’t accustomed to receiving love. Maybe it’s planting seeds and having faith that someday those seeds will be strong trees, sheltering others from the storms of life. If that’s what success looks like, the members of the 2017 Ecuador summer team were wildly successful.  –Meagan Wanschura


It’s almost impossible to wrap your mind around numbers like 90% unemployment, 15% AIDS infection, 1.3 million orphans… until you go, and you know the faces and individual stories, and the statistics become real people to you. In one of the poorest countries in the world, we were able to spend two weeks loving orphans. We put on camps with stories, games, crafts, photography lessons (for the oldest kids), and some of the most intense friendly competition you’ve ever seen. You might expect that, with backgrounds that include abandonment, abuse, and hunger, these kids would be sad. Far from it. It takes a while to earn their trust, but once you have it they dive into activities with all the zest and excitement that comes from love-starved little hearts suddenly realizing that someone loves them and wants to spend time with them. As we gained their trust they also started to pour out their stories. Tears ran down everyone’s faces – the team and the kids – as Takudzwa talked about his longing to go to school, but no one would pay his school fees for him and Brendah told us how her mom tried to poison her and then abandoned her when she was only three. Our interaction with these kids is placed in the bigger context of the ministry of Hands of Hope, the organization that hosted the camp. Hands of Hope has established feeding stations all over the country where orphaned kids can go to receive a good meal every day and even some help with their school work. Most of these orphans live with aunts, uncles, or grandparents who will provide a roof over their head, but often are either unable or unwilling to give much beyond that. For the orphans who literally have no one, there are small orphanages as well. The orphans grow up within their communities so that as they grow up, they easily transition into being adult members of their culture. We were able to see the long-term success of this approach as many of the chaperones and translators for the camp were orphans who had grown up in this program themselves. It is a privilege to join Hands of Hope and be a part of their discipleship process with these kids. They are only able to provide camps when outside groups can come in to run them, so we were able to meet a need and help Hands of Hope invest further in the lives of the children. We can’t wait to go back and run camps in Zimbabwe again! When you know even one of those 1.3 million orphans, and you have cried, prayed, laughed, taken selfies, played games, roasted marshmallows, danced, sang, and acted out crazy stories together, your heart will never be the same. Hopefully theirs never will be either. One of the best thank you notes we received was from one of the 15 year olds at camp. It said, “You made me feel so loved.” –Elizabeth Fox
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