I leaned in and whispered in Florenta’s ear, “Jesus says, ‘I love you very much.’”

She leaned back and grinned. Then she pulled me closer and whispered in my ear, “He loves you very much, and he thinks you are kind and wonderful…”

It was a simple exchange of words that had a lasting impact. That was the moment Lauren Kemp fell in love with the Bahamas. Her conversation with Florenta changed her view of the work she was doing.

For many people a short-term mission trip can be a fun and exciting way to explore the world and see God at work.  Others see mission trips as a necessary calling to help people and share the gospel. For Lauren, mission trips are a way to reconnect with her friend Florenta and dream big dreams about what God is doing in the Bahamas.

The heart of missions should always be people. Mission trip effectiveness can be calculated, quantified, and listed on a spreadsheet, but the human aspect must always come first. Construction projects, medical clinics, and VBS programs are all important, but their true value is that they bring us face to face with another person who God loves and cares for. The relationships we build provide the windows to share the Gospel in a real way. Anyone who spends time on the mission field will eventually come to the realization that what matters most is not how they are serving but who they are serving. The relationships that we make are immeasurably more important than the concrete we mix.

Mission Discovery leads short-term mission teams to the Bahamas every summer. Our teams build churches, host VBS programs, serve at the All Saints AIDS camp, and visit the boy’s and girl’s juvenile detention centers. Each week is another opportunity to do good work, but nothing can compare to the chance to connect on a basic level with another human being.

Lauren returns each year to serve and continue the work being done with our ministry partners. She has gradually given more and more of her time. Serving in the Bahamas has become one of her greatest passions. What began as a one-week mission trip is now a long-term investment, and it started with learning Florenta’s name.

Do you remember the names of the people you meet on a mission trip? A name is a powerful thing.

Come learn a name with us in the Bahamas.