GO (Global Outreach) Trip participants are experiencing miracles all around the world. Lives are being transformed in the name of Jesus.
Read how God has been working through His servants in locations like Nicaragua, Uganda, Peru, Kenya, and Ukraine!
NICARAGUA (March 2020)
Joining Our Waspam Church Family
“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” Psalm 33:1
Within the isolated area along the Rio Coco River, ShareWord Global GO Team members sat down with Tom and Netie, two missionaries who have served with the Indigenous Miskito communities over the last 40 years. They discussed the spiritual environment of the region and gathered insight into how they might best serve the local churches. Astonishingly, for an area secluded from the rest of the world, there are an abnormal amount of contradictory views about church doctrine.
18 independent churches are located in Waspam alone. Although the amount of believers living in this region calls for celebration, skewed theology has divided the masses. For example, many Christ-followers have grown up being told that if they are not acting 100% “holy,” the Spirit will leave them. This causes extreme fear regarding life after death. Despite these false theological ideas, each church steadfastly believes they hold the truest form of sound doctrine in comparison to other surrounding churches. This makes interdenominational collaboration nearly impossible.
Tom voiced his concern for the people he has been serving with, clearly outlining why Miskito pastors need better theological material.
“There are dear, dear Christians here, but a lot who don't really know the gospel. If Christians here want to go out and witness, they fast for three days and think you need an anointing. It's an attitude of superiority, like, ‘We're the holy people and you're the sinners…you have to become more like us!’ Everyone knows the Bible verses, but they're not able to contextualize them.”
This conversation causes us to ponder the dynamic of our friendship with the Miskito people. How can we come alongside the Waspam communities, mend this disconnected mentality, and help unite them as brothers and sisters in Christ?
In recognition that many of these churches are not equipped with appropriate Biblical material, we have begun distributing Scripture resources throughout the Rio Coco River regions. In fact, the government of Nicaragua has strongly encouraged us to give the Bila Kaikanka (“Hope” in the local Miskito language) magazine to adults and young people alike—within Waspam villages, schools, and churches. We have gifted pastors with study Bibles to immerse themselves in the true gospel message and share it with their congregations, using the holy Word of God.
UGANDA (January 2020)
Finding Strength in Him
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength…they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
The village landscape took my breath away. Ugandan hillsides are glorious, but keep you panting as you walk up their winding slopes. I tried to ignore my aching calves as I pressed on towards a flat landing partway up a steep incline.
Nearing stable ground, I noticed a boy sleeping awkwardly in the dirt. That’s odd, I thought. Most Ugandans hate sitting in full sun. I wonder why he's just lying there. Confused, I shifted closer to him. Tiny beads of sweat covered the child’s entire forehead and thick dust caked to his exposed skin. His lips were smothered in thick saliva.
“Oli-Mulwadde?” (“Are you sick?”)I called to him. No answer.
“Oli-Mulwadde?” I voiced again. Still nothing.
A young man who looked to be about 18 approached us, also kneeling beside the unresponsive child. The boy suddenly opened his eyes…they were unnervingly glazed. Clearly, this child was in need of immediate medical attention.
“Let us take him to the hospital.” I directed my gaze upward toward the village clinic. Standing on either side of the child, the two of us held his thin arms firm. We tried to help him walk, but the boy's legs dragged weakly behind us.
I again looked up at the clinic building and frantically realized that at this rate, the steep slope was going to keep us from reaching it in time. This boy couldn't walk. And suddenly, I knew I had to walk for him.
In that moment, the Lord gave me strength. I hoisted the boy's limp body into my arms. His head rested over my left arm, his legs hung over my right, and his hands dangled toward the ground. Holding him limp against me, I began to run straight up the slope towards the clinic doors.
The climb was a blur, but I reached the top, shaking. Astonishingly, I spotted one of our other group members witnessing there. He had been interacting with patients who were waiting outside the medical center. Steve, six-foot-seven and once a police officer, was unphased as I collapsed the child's body into his arms.
Steve rushed inside and placed the boy on a medical bed. I grabbed his hand, keeping him calm while the nurses began to run tests. Unsurprisingly, they suspected malaria. An IV was administered and I watched the boy's foggy eyes brighten as he became lucid once more. The sweat on his face dried and he began reacting to the doctor's directions. At this point, I asked the child for more information.
“I am called Colin; I’m 9 years old,” he whispered. I asked if his mother lived close by. “I go to boarding school, down there.” He pointed out the window. No family around…I held his hand a little tighter.
After a while, a nurse moved Colin into another room. The young man who had helped move his motionless body earlier joined us there. I quickly discovered he was employed by Colin's boarding school. He began contacting other school administrators for assistance.
I waited until Colin and I were alone in the hospital room, and asked if I could pray with him. He nodded. I lay my hands on his sticky forehead and called out to God, asking Him to heal Colin's sick body. The boy lay still, intently listening to every word flowing from my mouth. I ended the prayer with an “amina” and gifted Colin with a Hope magazine, reading a few verses from the section on Psalms.
After confirming further assistance for the child, I gave Colin a final word of encouragement, assuring him that Jesus was by his side. As I let myself out through the raggedy sheet covering the clinic door, I turned around to see Colin hugging the Hope magazine to his chest.
I cannot explain how I was able to carry an 80-pound child up a steep Ugandan bluff. Yet when I found the motionless Colin baking in the dirt, the Lord provided me with unexplainable physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. Even though I could hardly manage to see the top of the hillside where the medical clinic stood, God filled me with the supernatural power to get there.
In life, when Christians come across a steep “slope” ahead, it's difficult to imagine how the Lord will help us face the arduous journey. Reaching safety at the end may seem like too great a struggle to attempt the climb. But we can trust the power of Christ living in us, because when He calls you to move, God will assist you in overcoming any obstacle. No matter what physical, emotional, or spiritual state you find yourself in, He will pick you up and carry you to the top.
Jesus Loves Me; This I Know
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” John 4:8
After a long afternoon of sharing Essuubi (Hope) magazines in the heart of Entebbe with a local church, I noticed an unfamiliar little girl trailing behind the children in our group. She looked to be about two years old, though I suspected her small stature was due to malnutrition and guessed her age to be over three.
I'm usually able to sense when someone needs to be loved. I'm not afraid to boast about this…it's a spiritual gift of mine. I gently took the child's hand, and we walked along the muddy village roads together.
Nearing the church, I picked her up and whispered, "Bakuyita'ni?" (What is your name?)
"Lucky." She answered. Her voice was raspy and her timid demeanor made her difficult to understand.
At first, Lucky was hesitant to latch onto my arm. Although Ugandan children often fear the mzungu because of our unfamiliar pale skin, I could tell racial fear wasn't the reason she seemed distant. It was as if Lucky was hesitant to hold me because she wasn’t used to people loving on her. As we danced together, her grip became increasingly tighter, and her small head inched closer and closer to my chest.
About twenty minutes later, we walked inside the church and I placed Lucky on my lap. She snuggled in, and we sat like that for a long time. A woman eventually took the seat next to me. I asked if she had ever seen Lucky before. She hadn't.
We began asking her simple questions, trying to figure out where she had walked from. She didn’t know…Lucky had simply followed me towards the church! She shyly leaned over to the woman and whispered something in Luganda; I couldn't make it out.
"She wants to go home." The woman interpreted.
"Yes, please make sure she gets home safely," I responded firmly.
The woman pointed at my face and smiled. "Yes; but sister...she wants to go home with the mzungu."
My heart melted. Ugandan children often follow white people because they are simply hoping to receive candy or money. Yet Lucky was too young to understand any of these kinds of culturally-learned stereotypes. She just wanted to follow someone who might fill her with love.
That same day, I met Anthony. Like little Lucky, he too yearned for love. At 86 years old, Anthony obviously didn't want to be picked up or smothered in kisses like Lucky had…he simply wanted someone to stop, talk, and listen. Anthony wanted to feel a restored sense of love because he was lonely, spending his days sitting alone in front of his mud-brick house.
Greeting the elderly man appropriately, I knelt down in front of him. He had already received an Essuubi (Hope) magazine from one of our other GO Team members, but I sensed an emptiness in his elderly eyes.
I asked him, "Oli Mulokole?" meaning, "Are you a Christian?" He nodded his head slowly but admitted that he had not attended a church service in years, due to extreme back pain.
That launched us into an intimate conversation about how everyone will undergo difficult times but can be assured in the knowledge that God will never forsake us. I explained that all pain will cease in heaven and softly laid my hand on the arch of his back, praying for him quietly.
Suddenly, Anthony jumped up off of his wooden stool and began to dance! I joined in as he swung his arms about, his eyes filling with joyful tears. While his back wasn't totally cured, he had a renewed hope that God was on his side. Anthony understood that the Lord truly cherished him, and was overwhelmingly blessed that a young woman cared enough to tell him he was worthy of God's love.
Evangelism begins with love; it's about seeing someone like Christ would. Just like in Lucky's story, when love is shown, people can't help but follow. Whether you are 3 years old or 86, human beings all crave the same thing…everlasting love. Those of us who know unfailing love only comes through Jesus Christ need to find healthy ways to convince others of His love as well. And just like in Anthony's story, when someone truly understands that everlasting love for the first time, all of heaven rejoices.
UKRAINE (January 2020)
A Heart for Ukrainian Children
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Although Christmas is a joyful season, many of us dread the hecticness of purchasing, organizing, and wrapping gifts. We often end up buying dozens of presents: new toys for children, fancy chocolates for co-workers, gift cards for relatives and friends…some of us may have even bought a new chew-toy for our dog! Yet, in other areas of the globe, the act of exchanging this many gifts would seem extravagant.
The January GO Team serving in Ukraine noticed a lack of Christmas presents given to children and committed to participating in the distribution of hundreds of Gift of Hope boxes throughout the Zaporizhya region and beyond.
Our local ministry partner, Mission Eurasia, explained that over the course of the Ukrainian Orthodox holiday season (early January), over 127,000 Gift of Hope boxes are given to children across Eurasia. Sure enough, throughout their ten days of ministry, the GO Team gave out almost 20,000 parcels to Ukrainian children.
And these boxes are no ordinary Christmas packages! Each container is stuffed with little presents of toys, candies, and school supplies. As well, each gift box includes an illustrated Bible and Spark magazine! The box itself is an evangelism tool for parents and includes a code for the New Life app, allowing the recipient to digitally access Scripture in their local language.
A new addition to each Gift of Hope box this year was a little heart, with a blank space where the receiving child could write his or her name. This may jog your memory, as you might have found a similar paper heart in your mailbox at Christmastime! This is a clear reminder that the love of Christ has no borders; it spreads across every nation!
The following quote was sent to us from Mission Eurasia president, Sergey Rakhuba. It encompasses the passion the GO Team has for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with young people in Ukraine.
"Merry Orthodox Christmas from Ukraine! It is wonderful to be here witnessing the amazing gospel impact that the next generation leaders are making in their communities. During the Orthodox Christmas season, our Mission Eurasia leaders and my team of colleagues from Canada are mobilizing local churches to use the Christmas holiday as an opportunity to reach hurting children in their communities by distributing Gift of Hope boxes!"
Watch the video below to hear what one young Gift of Hope box recipient has to say about the outreach programs she attended lead by the GO Team and Mission Eurasia.
Stephen Zurakowsky - The Gift of Music
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16
Sunday morning worship brought on a wave of emotions for the GO Team serving in Eastern Europe. The team had the opportunity to participate in a service on January 6 at a vibrant, traditional church called New Hope Church in Zaporizhya, Ukraine. It didn’t take long for the team to discover that this was no ordinary Sunday morning celebration. According to Ukrainian holiday tradition, Christmas Day is celebrated on January 7, so the morning was filled with joyous caroling and Christmas Eve festivities.
The local church members felt blessed to have a Canadian team take part in their cultural Christmas service. They were eager to listen to the team share testimonies and passionately prayed alongside them. Yet it was an impromptu performance by GO Team member, Stephen Zurakowsky, that left the deepest spiritual impact…and few dry eyes in the entire sanctuary.
Stephen, not expecting to be asked to perform a solo on his acoustic guitar, hesitantly introduced himself in front of the congregation. But as he began to strum, the response was pure wonderment and his confidence grew. His fingers graced the strings, and a heavenly tune filled the room from end to end. “The whole church was overwhelmed by his playing,” said Brad Willey, GO Trip manager. As he humbly plucked the strings, Stephen suddenly knew why he had been sent to Ukraine. God called him to be a witness through music—a musician for Christ.
This realisation was divinely confirmed shortly thereafter. Following the service, a man who had been sitting timidly towards the back of the small sanctuary approached. The gentleman explained that the guitar solo had profoundly touched his heart, and Stephen’s faith story had resonated closely with his own spiritual journey. Both men had grown up in households ridden with pains from alcoholic parents. Yet, both had also been miraculously rescued by a new Father—the Heavenly Father.
God has given Stephen Zurakowsky the incredible gift of music. And it was only by His power that Stephen had the ability to deeply connect with a man hurting from the effects of alcoholism. Although not everyone is musically talented like Stephen, God has given each person specific gifts that can be used for His purposes. Don’t keep your gifts hidden!
God calls you to bring His gospel message—be it in your local area, or as a part of another GO Team in a foreign location. If you are struggling to see the many spiritual gifts you possess, ask God to reveal them to you! The Father has equipped all of His children with specific tools to bless others and share His Word with the world.
NICARAGUA (November 2019)
Liberation from Bondage
“I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck and tear off the chains of oppression.” Nahum 1:13 (NLT)
A hospital can be an intimidating place to share the gospel. People are sick, doctors are busy, and patients’ emotions are low. Though it may have been difficult for the Nicaragua GO Team members to muster up the emotional, physical, and spiritual strength to preach at Manolo Morales Hospital, God was with them, guiding their hearts and speech for His will to be done there.
GO Team member, Eddie Martin, reflects on the visit. “We were given complete freedom to witness, evangelize, and pray with so many patients in the wards. It was exhausting! But exciting to be exhausted [for Christ.]”
The Manolo Morales Hospital is a sizable facility that serves hundreds of people from surrounding cities. Although spacious, the institution struggles to address the constant medical needs of its many patients. “Life and death are very public and raw here, indeed,” remarks Rhonda Bourne, another GO Team member.
Team leader, Artur Borges, had an experience with a patient named Logan that put the physical and spiritual poverty of the hospital in perspective. A convicted criminal, Logan lay chained to his cot. He was suffering from a very dangerous combination of HIV and Dengue Fever; a brief conversation with a nurse confirmed Logan was shackled to his deathbed. Artur commented, “Logan’s body was very weak and the prison's conditions were not giving him hope that he would survive this last infirmity.”
Artur had no choice than to trust in the provision of Christ—only the Word of God could bring comfort to this dying man. Artur read passage after passage, reiterating that only the Lord brings true deliverance.
Logan slowly opened his mouth to speak. “I am now a born-again believer.” Artur’s hand immediately met Logan’s, and they prayed together. And as he let go of the man’s chained wrist, Artur knew the Lord had already freed Logan from the shackles which confined his broken spirit. He was now ready to be released. Artur and the team are confident that they will meet a liberated Logan in heaven one day.
Speaking about your faith can be scary, and you may feel inadequate to evangelize in a place like Manolo Morales Hospital. Yet God calls every one of his children to boldly proclaim His love—everywhere. Pray about it; He will give you courage. Christ may be challenging you to step forward and join a GO Team—to be a light in a dark place, and help release people from the bondage of life without Jesus.