Reflecting on Our Sr High Mission Trip to the All Saints AIDS Camp, Nassau Bahamas – Post 1

We just got back from our student mission trip to the All Saints AIDS Camp located in Nassau, Bahamas and I have to say it was fantastic. We had a great experience the last time we went as well and deep down inside, a few of us feared that it wouldn’t be as special as last time. But we also knew that we don’t go on mission trips to simply “get special feelings” and I think that’s why we ended up with one. That makes sense right?

If this is your first time reading about this here’s a bit of context. About 15 miles from the beautiful beach resorts sits this camp for about 30 people who have HIV/AIDS and/or have no other place to turn. Their conditions are deplorable and a couple of organizations like Next Step Ministries and missionaries (like Tim and Felicia who arrived a couple years ago) are committed to improving their living standards while serving in the name of Jesus. (You can check out my other posts for more starting here).

As I have been thinking about the trip these last few days, I find myself grateful that a number of concerns that I had been praying for worked out as well as they did. As mentioned, our group was here two years ago and it was such an incredible experience that I know I was not the only one who was afraid that the glory of old would potentially become a stumbling block for us. I am grateful that it wasn’t. It seemed to me that the returning students were intent on letting this year’s trip be this year’s trip.

Another concern was our first-timers.   They’re usually young, idealistic, and I still like them.  It’s exciting to have them but there is always concern if they believe the trip is going to be something that it isn’t. I am grateful to say they came ready to work and build relationships.

Then there was my concern/hope that all would work out with our leaders. Because of the way things went, we ended up bringing 7 leaders. Each of them are wonderful and have great hearts. Each of them different, each of them opinionated like most Northeasterners (yeah we definitely lack that friggin’ Midwest charm), and then add me to the mix :). All I know is that we have the best leaders a youth pastor and his students (and a church family) could ask for. Amazing and wonderful people and I continue to be so grateful for their sacrifices and hearts.

I get very sensitive regarding short-term missions. I was not always a believer of them and I understand the concerns/objections some have towards them, especially if the trip is reduced to a form of “poverty tourism” and the theme becomes, “We don’t have it so bad where we are from – aren’t you glad you’re not them.” (But if you are not careful, you might be even worse off – more on that in a future post that might morph into next week’s sermon). But that didn’t happen either, instead I felt that we were truly broken for the hurt we saw as we asked God to help us see everyone the way He saw them (and may we have the courage to see ourselves as He sees us).

We absolutely loved the Next Step Staff. The recruiting they do is pretty impressive. A bad staff could potentially hurt a trip but between their talents and their hearts, they really were an incredible blessing to all of us. I hope they have a great rest of the summer and find ways for God to continue to use them so powerfully. What was also great about it was there was 8 of them this year (as opposed to 4 the last time. And for the record, the 4 last time were amazing and I know the Lord multiplied their efforts. But a bigger staff was really helpful, especially since there more than 50 us this time as opposed to 17). So fellow youth pastors, please consider this a strong endorsement for Next Step Ministries – check them out here.

Then there was the “other youth group”. Raise your hand if you have ever served with another church and that be …. hmm … looking for the right word … “interesting” experience (I have a few of my hands raised ;) and I am sure we can be that group for others too).  That said, a very special aspect of our trip was sharing this week with the youth group from Minnesota. They were a great bunch of students and they had a wonderful leaders as well. We were broken up into crews and our projects included roof work on two cabins, demolishing an old one, cement mixing for a parking lot, painting, and construction of a handrail to make the new sidewalks safer (I was on the handrail crew). All of us felt a great connection serving and talking with each other. The only lamentable thing about them was that they are Twins fans – Oh well :)

There were a few other things to highlight and I’ll begin there tomorrow as I can not wait to write a good bit about the residents, the missionaries, and the video series Next Step created and showed us this week. Thanks for reading!


  1. Dot Elwood says:

    Looking forward to part 2, Tim.

  2. Thanks for reading Dot and thanks for serving with us.

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