Dear Family and Friends,
He is good to us always!
We greet you in the Name of the Lord Almighty and hope this letter finds you all well. So much has happened in these past few months. All we can say is
“Praise the Lord that He never leaves us nor forsakes us”. Sean and I have been leading teams for over 10 years now, and I think it is safe to say that this has been the most challenging and God-revealing summer yet. The Lord truly showed us His glory in the richest form this summer, and we know we will never be the same again.
Our team had a total of 28 with 22 team members, three leaders and three leader kids (our children). Upon the team members’ arrival here in Florida, we were faced with the challenge of trying to get 22 different personalities to meet and somehow get along for the next six weeks. Needless to say that it is easy for some, but a little hard for others. Teen Missions has what is called the Lord’s Boot Camp, a sort of preparation for the summer ahead. All of the team members meet here in Florida on our property and learn to live out the life of a missionary in the harshest climates, and learn to do it as a team. We have an Obstacle Course that is run in the early hours of the morning. Classes that run all through the day consist of several different things such as laying blocks, tying steel, digging, concrete mixing by hand, carpentry, evangelism training, puppets, music, etc. There are evening rallies with music and a speaker to help reflect on why they are there and what the Lord can teach them this summer. There is a time every morning for personal devotions, one-on-one time between them and God.
Living conditions are very different than home. A tent in the swampy terrain of Florida is what this Boot Camp has to offer, along with cleaning yourself and your clothes from a bucket. One thing that Boot Camp is well known for is what we call Special Blessing Training. A Special Blessing, or SB, is what one would get when a rule has been broken. Upon receiving an SB, that individual must work during their free time to remind them not to break this rule again. There are many rules at the Lord’s Boot Camp, which means there are many SBs given throughout its duration. Some who welcome challenges with open arms strive to do very well and are usually the ones who can uphold themselves with the highest esteem and yet still be humble. There are those who try very hard, but can’t seem to get a grip on all the rules with one stride and stumble. In that, they feel as though they have failed miserably. But we know that isn’t so. And lastly, we come upon the ones who have made up their minds entirely to not try at all. They feel it is best to just survive for the time being and give up when the time comes. In this team of 22 team members, we were blessed with all three. And we wouldn’t have traded a single one of them. Each and every one of these kids held a special place in our hearts, and we couldn’t have asked for a better summer with them. All of their personalities clashed in some way or form, but we have never had a team work so hard as a team from the get-go. It started in Boot Camp and it grew in Trinidad.
Trinidad and the church, Triumphant Ministries, imbedded themselves in us. Never have we been so blessed by the people of the country we worked in than the people of Triumphant Ministries. Pastor Gerald and his family welcomed us with arms wide open. Our facilities were in the bottom half of the church, fully equipped with living quarters, a kitchen and bathrooms, as well as a spacious area for eating and team time. This space of the church was devoted entirely to our team and we couldn’t have asked for more. The Pastor’s sons spent as much of their free time with us as possible, and we all grew quite fond of them as we did with many of the members of the church.
The church itself is split into four groups or ministry teams. Each week, one group was led to welcome us in a most generous manner—food. Every night, a member from the group would come with a local dish and treat us to a customary Trini meal. The team’s personal favorite was Bake-n-Shark. Fried shark stuffed into a fried bread with different toppings, making the most delicious mix of flavors to ever meet your palette. These meals were a marvelous blessing not only to the team, but also to myself as I was the team’s cook for the summer. Some of the church teams also held a time of worship with our team and lead an evening devotion. We were able to share testimonies with each other of how the Lord has moved in all of our lives, Trinis and Americans (Canadians too). God’s fire is burning in Triumphant Ministries and each of us were blessed to be consumed by it. The worship is so intense it is almost impossible to not be brought to tears from being in His presence.
Our project was to continue construction on the Pastor’s house. The team Sean lead in 2011 was able to dig the footers and pour the foundation. When our team arrived the church had laid the first four courses of block. The team started construction by backfilling those first four courses of block with dirt. After that they tied the steel for the concrete floor. A member of the church blessed the team by paying for the concrete to be poured by truck. Afterwards block walls started going up. In all the team was able to bring the building to the point it was ready to begin work on the second floor. They also dug a 450 ft trench to run a new water line from the water mains to the church. When the work was finished, it was not because we ran out of work, it was because we ran out of money for the project. The team devoted so much of themselves into this project, we only wish we were able to see it finished in its entirety.
Throughout the course of the summer there were many trials that came up, but none were too great for our Lord. It was through these trials that our team was
able to grow in the Lord in such a way we never thought possible. Each one went home a different person than when they came. All went home challenging themselves to live for the Lord in such a way that they never would have done if they never came. Yet, we are only human and we all make mistakes at some time in our day to day lives. Every one of us faced a trial of some sort this summer, but our reaction to them is what makes us who we are. We can choose to be angry and question God why these things are happening or we can just be still and know that He is God. He has everything in the palm of His hand and there is no other place that I would rather be. One thing is for sure, going through these trials was worth it. Two of our team members came to know the Lord by the end of the summer and it would not have happened if it weren’t for the trials that came up. There is a song that Sean loves to sing at the end of every summer. It is by a band called Disciple and the chorus goes like this, “It’s worth it all if I can just see you, feel you. It’s worth it all if there’s just one that sees you, feels you. I know it will be worth it all.”
We could not have asked for a better summer in Trinidad. The Lord worked in such an amazing way. We pray for each and every one of our team members and hope that they will not forget what they learned this summer, that they will continue to strive to live a life completely devoted to Him. That they would remember how much He loves them and how much we love them too. We miss our kids whom we have grown to love.
We would like to thank each and every one of you for your prayers that were lifted for us this summer and for all of your support financially as well. All in all it was a success to further His Kingdom and you were part of it. We ask for your continuing support for our family as we do our work here with Teen Missions. We don’t know what the Lord has in store, but like I said before, there is no other place I would want to be than in the palm of His hand. Thank you for everything and may the Lord bless you mightily.
In His Arms,
Sean and Sharon Deegan