Paul and Tracey Sims, missionaries originally from Thomasville, Alabama, have been serving in Progresso for three years. God sent a team of 9 men, through Grace Klein Community, to serve alongside Paul and Tracey, from October 29 to November 2, 2015. The goal for this trip was to assist Paul with building irrigation towers in the fields.
Read testimonies below from a few of the men who served on the team:
“I’ve been on several mission trips in the past. Each trip has been unique in how God has used me. I’ve always come back with a new perspective or knowledge that I felt has shaped my walk in different ways. One constant about each trip is a desire or longing to keep focused on the “Great Commission” (Mathew 28: 18-20). The focus on “GO therefore and make disciples of all nations” portion of that verse is the refreshing thing about mission trips. You’re removed from your everyday life and able to be planted in His work. However it’s not our purpose to only have that mindset when we GO to another context. We should have that mind set when we GO anywhere.
Paul and Tracey have lived a duration of time away from general comforts we take for granted. They’re training people in most basic life skills. The focus they put on the life skills allows the people they work with to be able to trust them and see that they truly love them. Paul and Tracey utilize the life training time to also sew threads of God’s Word to build their faith. It’s an awesome picture of Christ’s love. However it’s not unique to only be performed during mission trips or in the mission field.
The “take away” I pray never fades from the experience of this trip, as it has with other trips, is the urgency to disciple. We can always find lost people to share with and we should always focus on sharing the gospel to them. What I also want to keep a focus on is still further on in the verse’s I mentioned about. “Teaching them all that I have commanded you” (Mathew 28:20) is a call to disciple. Paul and Tracey set an example of how to disciple while living life with the people God put in their path.
God places a ton of people in my path through relationships at work, neighborhood, church and family. I need to be bold to focus more on those relationships rather than keep everything surface level. It’s hard to dig in deep during conversations. Especially when we’ve taken the easy road for so long. However, there is one part of the Great Commission that I love to focus in on. Jesus ends it with “and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mathew 28:20). He’s always there not just on missions or on Sundays but ALWAYS. I pray that I will always be focused on missions in everyday life as Paul and Tracey have done so faithfully.” – Greg O’Connor
“The village, where Paul and Tracey live and work, is a very poor village, only dirt roads, and very few businesses. Most of the villagers have no transportation, except for using the bus system. The closest city is named Orange Walk and is about 24 miles (a hour drive on the dirt roads) from Progresso. I do not know how far the two fields were from Progresso, but we drove down a very wide (maybe about three lanes width) dirt road, turned onto a two lane dirt road, turned onto a one lane dirt road, turned onto a one lane “road” that had two tracks for the tires with low grass between the tire tracks, turned onto a one lane “road” that had two tracks for the tires with tall grass between the tracks, then turned on the final road/path/track that you could almost see tracks for the tires.
One of the things that I had asked for prayer for was protection from the mosquitoes. God was very gracious to us, because the DEET repellent that we took was effective at keeping the mosquitoes at bay. They were the largest mosquitoes I have ever seen, without a doubt. Any time we went out we used the DEET and I do not think I had a single bite! Praise God!
Another thing that was prayed for us was safety. Again praise God, no one got injured. That was amazing because the local wood that was used to construct the water towers was unbelievably HARD! We had to use concrete nails because regular nails would bend trying to hammer them into the wood. And if someone did not hit the concrete nail cleanly, and the hammer slipped off the side, the concrete nail would shoot off to one side. Fortunately none of the “shooting” nails hit anyone. Praise God!” – Joel Gilbert
“God blessed us with allowing us to be born in the USA, we didn’t control one point of that decision, we were placed in the south where church is pretty dominant. We have access to Jesus and a Bible; we are forced to learn to read and write, so what are we doing with it? Am I making the choice to study the word of God, pastors are not the only ones who need to study the word. Christian are all supposed to study to show ourselves approved. Point is…I need to make the most of being born in America and not allow it to make me lazy.” – Bobby Fox