Following the instructions given in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation,” the First Christian Church of Van Alstyne is planning its 2020 mission trip to Ecuador. And although it’s several months away, June 8-16 to be exact, the church is making this trip known now so that interested people can receive more information and everyone who wishes to participate can make their plans.
To help accomplish that, the church is opening its doors at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 for people, especially youths, who may just be beginning to consider participating in this mission trip, to give them more information about the event.
This trip will be a return to a favorite spot in Ecuador, home of the indigenous Kichwa Indians. Church pastor Doug Deuel said they have three objectives in mind — first, they will have an eye clinic to fit people with glasses.
“Some of these people have lived their whole lives without being able to see clearly,” he said. “And young people who don’t get the glasses they need, their little brains don’t develop properly. Imagine the impact this will have on those lives.”
Deuel said that the trip participants will take a reactor that rests on the person’s forehead and reads their eye quality. It has a cable that connects to a laptop, and that reading will connect with an inventory of the more than 2,500 pairs of eyeglasses they can offer and choose the best for each individual’s eyes.
“Even some of our high school students will be trained to be a part of that,” the pastor said.
After providing the eyeglasses, the crew will have them checked to be sure they do enhance the recipient’s vision. Those who can read, will read; those who cannot read will be asked to thread a needle.
They also plan to host a Vacation Bible School program with the children of the village.
“Most of the people who have been to school speak English, and we will take Spanish interpreters with us,” Deuel said. “They will also provide Spanish-to-English interpreters, and even Indian-to-Spanish-to-English. It’ll work.”
Deuel added that the Kichwa Indians are “always extremely grateful. And everything they do expresses grace and love.”
The third objective of the trip will be construction. Participants will be helping build a home for a local family. Deuel said the family will have already been picked out, the lot provided and they probably will have already begun building it, so the mission team will add their manpower to the project.
And a fourth benefit, a sideline one, is that people who go on these trips bond more among themselves and with God,,” Deuel said.
“I felt so close to God and our community when I was a kid on a mission trip,” Deuel said, adding that’s one of the reasons he hopes they can fill up the trip with many youths.
To aid that along, he has obtained permission to promote the mission trip to Anna and Van Alstyne high school students.
And with so many teenagers being bombarded or bullied with ways to use drugs and alcohol in today’s world, First Christian Church member Collin Flynn said this type of trip can give those teens “something else to focus on.”
“These change the dynamics of everyone in the group, even after they return home,” Flynn said. “These teens don’t have to go to FCC to sign up, we’d love to have them come along, no matter where they go to school.”
First Christian Church of Van Alstyne is at 274 South Waco and Deuel can be reached 972-281-7007. Anyone is welcome to call him for more information.