The first-ever “Play & Witness” Caribbean missions trip took place in Jamaica from July 4 to 29, 2017. This trip was divided into three major components: training, outreach and camp, and it was designed to accomplish two major objectives: to significantly impact Jamaica for Jesus Christ through sport and play, and to significantly impact the participants so that they would be catalysts for the mission at home.
21 participants and facilitators from the Caribbean Field formed the Play and Witness team and they were from 6 different countries: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad. Their time in Jamaica began with an intensive training in sports ministry. The purpose of this time was to expose each participant to the power and potential of sport, and to explore ways sports can be used to transform their community, nation and region. Sports were presented as relevant and effective ways to both invite people to Christ and disciple them.
After this, they moved onto the second phase of the mission: the implementation of the information they had learned. They partnered with the Green Acres Church of the Nazarene in the Old Harbour community to start a new church plant using various forms of ministry (games for children and teens, etc.). Through the sporting activities, they forged a strong bond with the community in a very short time. The team also participated in the launching of the Denbigh Church of the Nazarene’s sports ministry program and, according to the senior pastor of this church, the sports ministry initiative created a new spiritual sensation in Denbigh as the attendance the following week at service had remarkably improved and there were further commitments for Christ.
The team was also involved in a youth camp and in a children’s camp as well. They were able to use the knowledge and experiences they had received earlier and transfer it to the campers during this time.
In total, 40 persons came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through the outreach and participation in camp. This is not only a testimony of the goodness of God, but also of the impact that they were able to make in Jamaica, accomplishing the first goal of the mission trip.
The second major goal of impacting the team so that they could continue the mission when they return home was also achieved. It has been amazing to see how participants have immediately implemented the information they have learned in their context, and how others are planning to do the same.
The next step is to see experiences of Play and Witness multiplied across the Caribbean. The intention is to present sports ministry as a relevant and effective tool for evangelism and discipleship within the Caribbean field. From all reports and testimonies, the first Play & Witness trip was a huge success!
–This information has been provided by Dario Richards, Global Mission Caribbean Field