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‘Rewarding’ trip to Venezuela by seminary team sees 300 professions of faith

MILL VALLEY, Calif.(BP)–A 30-person team of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary students and local church members conducted a 12-day evangelical and medical mission trip to Venezuela this summer.

The Golden Gate students were from three of Golden Gate’s five campuses: the Pacific Northwest, Southern California and Northern California; the rest of the team was from Seattle Korean First Baptist Church.

For many on the trip the poverty they saw was shocking. One of the members recounts seeing a Venezuelan child digging through the trash trying to find food someone had thrown away.

“It really made me realize how much food we have here in the U.S. and how we waste so much food,” said Gabriel Lee, a youth from Seattle Korean First Baptist Church. “You’re not going to realize this until you’re in a Third World country and experience it. The trip really humbled me.”

By the end of the trip the team had provided 1,500 people with free medical and dental treatment and had seen 300 people commit their lives to Christ and 100 rededicate their lives.

Golden Gate student Kyung Chung, who ministered in Venezuela for 25 years, organized the trip. He worked as a research scientist at the Venezuelan Institute of Oceanography, and during that time he began ministering to the Venezuelan people. After coming to Golden Gate as a student, he began recruiting students for a summer mission trip to the South American country.

BeyondTeams (formerly SiiP Teams) organized the team. BeyondTeams, a program offered by Golden Gate, allows students to earn seminary credit during the summer while ministering around the world.

The team held eight evangelical worship services at six different churches. Local churches led the praise and worship. The team members led in drama, dance, testimonies and preaching.

Erik Suh, a member of First Korean Baptist Church of Seattle, was the team doctor.

“The poverty was unimaginable and the pictures of the small kids with malnutrition are engraved in my mind,” he said. “I am most grateful for the fact we were able to deliver health care to these people who don’t even have money to buy Tylenol. They were so grateful for a small bottle of Tylenol and Robittusin.”

Since returning from the trip Suh has a new perspective on ministry and has started volunteering at a free health clinic in Seattle once a month. God has granted him a talent he should use, Suh said.

“I shouldn’t have to travel halfway around the globe to help people,” he said.

The mission trip had a lasting impact on many in the group. One of those was Kim Ko, a team member and spouse of a Golden Gate student.

“Our Lord demonstrated His willingness to use us if we made ourselves available to Him,” Ko said. “Pastor Chong and his wife have dedicated lives that are beautiful to God and His Kingdom, and their lives are living examples for all Christians.”

Said Daniel Suh, a Golden Gate student: “It was a very rewarding experience and it goes to prove that God can truly use your efforts in amazing ways.”

For more information on opportunities to become involved in mission work with BeyondTeams, contact Stacey Harris at 888-442-8710.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: MEDICAL TREATMENT and WITNESSING.

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  • Jeff Jones