Serve & Support!
We seek to give back to those in need love the world through mission trips and opportunities which involve assistance, service and support in other countries. We visited Upala, Costa Rica in July of 2018 and in July of 2019. Below is a testimony from Amber Hatfield, member of St. John’s Baptist Church, who attended the 2018 missions trip in Costa Rica:
The Bible places great emphasis on love. The word “love” appears hundreds of times through the bible. God tells us not only how much He loves us but how we are to love others like Jesus does. While in Costa Rica it did not take me long to see the connections between love and humility. Love is impossible without humility.
I really thought I knew how to be humble and I do for the most part. To learn how to let our own happiness be less important than the joy and happiness of others is Pastor Omar and his church.
I think of Reo and how much he loves it when I make this funny face. And no, I won’t make the face! Or how when my 22-year-old daughter was small she thought our “sneaky snake” game was hilarious! I got no pleasure from making that face or doing “sneaky snake,” but the endless amounts of their laughter and pure happiness brought me pleasure, I received happiness by making them laugh. It really is that simple.
Pastor Omar could be spending countless hours working on his church, but he chooses to give pure love to his community, finding happiness by pleasing them. Until I saw him put his own much needed church building “work” aside and how he was so happy to see the people in the community, how they were so happy to interact with him, that is when I realized I wasn’t loving like Christ really, really wants me to love. Pastor Omar showed me, he taught me, that I can do better and I will do better.
Humility before God is a humility before His Word. Psalm 25:9 says “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” God will guide and teach us if we humble ourselves to him and his word and if we let him. I can’t put into words yet how seeing the humility in Pastor Omar has changed me, it just has.
I believe Pastor Omar’s attitude of humility is what separates those believers who really “get it” like Pastor Omar, from the masses of professed believers who never do. The people who do not allow Him to change them and mold them to the person He intended them to be.
I can think of so many people I know who never humbled themselves before His Word, myself included. When they read about sin, they see other people, not themselves. When they read the scriptures that guide and demand to make the changes needed in their lives they still refused to humble themselves-thinking they know better or His words don’t apply.
Imagine for a minute how our lives would change if we were more like Pastor Omar. Imagine if we used the time we waste pleasing ourselves like watching tv, playing mindless games on our phones or spending hours on the computer and we chose instead to seek out true pleasure from the joy of helping others and putting their needs first. Imagine how we as Christians could impact our church, our community, our city, our world-even the person sitting beside you right now.
Lastly, one of the most influential moments in this mission came after Sunday service when everyone hugged each other. I wasn’t prepared for that. This was their tradition! I was sweaty, it was hot, I didn’t know these people touching me! How did Erick and Paula tell us to do this again? Do I shake his hand? Was I supposed to hug him or not! How am I supposed to hug the ladies again? What I noticed, it didn’t matter. We shook hands, we hugged, everyone embraced each other out of love and I felt their love for me by the intensity and strength of each and every hug that evening, and that was because they meant those gestures. Fast forward to our final evening and the departing hugs began, no one wanted to let go of anyone, it was like my heart had never felt that kind of love before. That is the kind of love Christ wants us to share. What Pastor Omar is doing in that community is a miracle. Thank you that we will be able to go back. I know I will never ever be the same. I pray for God to give each of us humble hearts like Pastor Omar.”
- Our members volunteer at Three Oaks Elementary School in Virginia Beach. Anyone who can commit to spending an hour or two a week in the classroom working with teachers and students are welcome to participate.
- We periodically invite speakers into our church to speak to the congregation.
- Each October, St. John’s Baptist feeds the homeless in our church for one week. We do this ministry in cooperation with the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center in Virginia Beach, and usually 40-50 people will participate.
- In October and November, we prepare 400 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a program that helps bring Bibles and study materials to children and communities in need. We want to honor the part of our mission that speaks to discipling believers, and we feel that this project brings the Word of God to those who do not currently have the means to purchase a Bible. It is such a fantastic program and one we hope to continue to do for years to come.
If you’d like to become involved in any of these ministries, please email or call us, and we can help you find the community ministry that best fits your interest.
Random Acts of Kindness #Love Your Neighbor
We encourage our members #Love Your Neighbor is an emphasis to practice random acts of kindness by leaving a card with our church logo and the message “#Love Your Neighbor” on one side. and our and our church logo on the opposite side. The opposite side is blank in the event a member wants to leave a more personal message. Examples include paying for a person’s meal who is behind you at a drive-through restaurant and having the cashier give them the card. Another idea is leaving a dollar bill paper clipped to a card on the toy isle at Dollar Tree. There is no right way to perform a random act of kindness, we just want to help spread the message of passing on kindness, as well as letting others know about our church and mission. We want all community members to assist us in these efforts and share your stories with us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your random act of kindness!
- Each year, St. John’s Baptist church provides a Vacation Bible School for children age 3 and potty-trained through 5th grade. This year’s dates for Vacation Bible School are coming soon. Check back for more details coming soon!
- Centrikid Camp is for children who have completed 3rd – 6th grade, and takes place June 27 – July 1, 2022.
- Youth will participate in the missional Impact Virginia on the Eastern Shore from July 24-30, 2022.