Over the course of the past two years, a variety of factors have prevented the local church from safely sending church and community members overseas to minister to unreached people groups. Between a global pandemic, threatening racial and political tensions and natural disaster, it seemed the church had to press pause on international missions.
However, members of the local church have managed to navigate the storm of global strife, solve problems, support one another and find ways to send people out to the global mission field.
Katherine Broussard, a member of Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, spent two months of the 2021 summer abroad in Chogoria, Kenya. She was placed with a RCC-supported family of six on long-term mission in Kenya. Although she travelled alone, she was able to volunteer and shadow in the local Samaritan’s Purse hospital, assisted with homeschooling, and shared the gospel with the local people alongside the native chaplain’s of Chogoria.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions and travel booking challenges along the way, Broussard was able to travel with the help of the mission sending agency, Serge.
Serge, an international sending agency and missionary support organization, assists in facilitation of overseas mission work for over 300 missionaries in 25 countries across the globe.
“Serge is the same agency that the family I lived with serves through and communicates with,” Broussard said. “I felt God calling me to explore how I could use my nursing degree overseas to leverage my life for the sake of the gospel. I felt called to this family specifically because of their relationship with my church.”
While Broussard was abroad, she faced certain challenges from the Kenyan government regarding COVID-19 protocol and travel limitations.
Before she was able to leave the United States, she had to reroute her flights from arriving in London to travelling through Qatar.
“In Kenya, it is still law to wear a mask at all times, unless in the confines of your own house,” Broussard said. “While many locals didn’t adhere to that law, as foreigners, we wore masks all the time — inside and outside.”
She added, “When I was leaving the country at the end of the summer, we were out driving past curfew to get to the airport. We were stopped at a barricade where government authorities demanded to see identification of everyone in the vehicle. They asked for my boarding passes, passport, the medical licence of my friend and the post-curfew driving certificate of our taxi driver. They shined bright lights in our faces, blinding us throughout the whole experience. That was one moment in my time in Kenya when I really was scared.”
While the Redeemer community has been able to continue their support of abroad families and mission groups, Broussard said “I thought getting to Kenya this summer was nothing but a far off dream. Despite my doubts, God made it a reality.”
She added, “I would definitely measure my trip as successful. I got to see what it looks like to use medicine to share the gospel cross culturally, raise children in another country far from family and familiarity and how God made a way for me to travel, overcome hardship and grow from this entire experience.”
As the year is coming to an end, Redeemer Community Church has a number of international missions planned for the spring and summer.
Camryn Pierce, also a member of Redeemer Community Church, is planning to travel to Panama in spring of 2022 with the RCC college ministry. The action of their mission is to install water filters in homes and share the Gospel with the people of the village in which they will be staying.
“We travel with the organization Filter of Hope,” Pierce explained. “Unfortunately COVID-19 has already impacted this trip. Originally we were supposed to be going to Cuba, which changed to Colombia, which now has changed to Panama. Due to vaccine requirements and pricing, we have had to make several adjustments. Regardless, I am praying that this will be a successful trip like our international missions have been successful in the past.”
Despite barriers, challenges and pushback, churches like Redeemer continue to keep the mission at the forefront of their work. While there is great challenge in our world, there is also great hope.