Jezi, Millennials, & Family Ministry
Just over a week ago, my family and 14 college-aged Hopesters hopped on a plane and headed to Haiti. Three of our students had never been on a plane before, half had never been out of the country, and this was the first mission trip for many of them. Needless to say, it was a transformational experience for many on our team!
I’ll be pondering this trip for months but here are three initial takeaways:
#1 On a few separate occasions, we got to join the Haitian church for a time of worship. The national language in Haiti is Creole, so the worship services required a little extra effort. Yet, we were led in a passionate, upbeat, multigenerational worship. It was beautiful. During worship, we kept hearing the word “Jezi.” We quickly learned that Jezi was the Creole word for Jesus. For the rest of the week we praised the name of Jezi. Whether it is Jesus or Jezi, the Heavenly Father loves to hear us worship His Son!
#2 Millennials are the future leaders of the Church. As a whole, Millennials often get a bad rap as a generation. Yet, after spending the week with these 14 brilliant, innovative, Jesus loving millennials, I think the future is bright. Yes, as a team we took lots of selfies, found internet whenever possible, and posted on Snapchat and Facebook through the trip. But we also led numerous Haitians to Jesus, served the local Haitian church, and built lasting relationships. I was amazed to see some on our team form relationships with young Haitian Pastors in remote villages and before getting back on the bus, they had become “Facebook friends.” I also loved watching our college-age team dream and brainstorm ways to “crowdfund” future Haiti Jesus projects. They have many exciting ideas! Millennials have lots of energy, big dreams, and will soon be leading our church. We are wise to keep sending them on these eye-opening, heart expanding, Jesus-deepening experiences.
#3 Liz and I have been leading the College group at Hope for 11 years and we try to let our kids participate in as much of the group as they can. Our kids love the College students and every week look forward to students pouring into our home. So when the College Haiti trip became a reality, Liz and I knew deep down that meant we would be traveling with our 3 young kids to a 3rd world country. We knew it’d require financial sacrifice on our part, we took a few extra precautions, and we asked many to be praying for our family. And we are incredibly grateful we did it! It was a powerful experience for our family, and our kids did amazing. It’s often hard to do family ministry together, but kids are far more resilient and capable than we give them credit for. You obviously don’t have to hop on a plane to enter into ministry as a family, but I’m convinced we should be looking for more opportunities to do things together.
Thanks to our church family that freely sends our students and pastors on mission trips. I’m incredibly grateful!