Gracie Matherne with two local children from Millington TN
2018 Youth MERGE Trip
July 2, 2018
The youth of Barataria Baptist Church have traveled on mission trips for many years, and have successfully changed countless lives by bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to other children. But 2018's trip to Millington First Baptist Church outside of Memphis, Tennessee was truly one to be remembered.
God's amazing power was on display in many overt ways during the MERGE trip at the beginning of July. As each day started, it seemed as if the devil was trying to interfere in our plans.
When our group arrived at a local youth center on the first morning, we expected to be coordinating several VBS-type activities that were already planned out. But when our chaperones met with the center's leaders, it was obvious that we were expected to run the whole affair from beginning to end.
Instead of giving in to confusion and panic, our adults and youth quickly huddled, prayed together, and broke up into groups. They started by using what supplies were already available. Others went out to purchase more items. Because several of our adults were already familiar with running VBS at our own church, they were able to successfully show what the love of Jesus looks like through the same types of activities, games, crafts, and skits that we plan for our own VBS.
Not only did the center's leaders appreciate our hard work and dedication, they had no idea that our plans were put together with no planning beforehand. Our faith in Jesus and love for others carried us through the week.
While it is one thing to believe in your heart that miracles are happening all around us, it is truly a humbling experience to see a miracle materialize right before our eyes.
On the second to last day of the MERGE trip, the CEO of the center stopped by to thank Barataria Baptist for putting on such a successful program. As he was speaking, our adult chaperones noticed that he was walking with a severe limp, and that one of his ankles was swollen.
He explained how he had experienced this pain and swelling in his ankle to the point where he had not even able to wear his normal shoes for the last two weeks. After asking him if we could do anything to help, he responded that he was going to see his doctor in the morning.
Our amazing BBC group then asked if they could pray over him for relief and healing, which he gladly accepted. He was grateful for our concern, and he left for the evening.
The next afternoon, he returned to see us again before we were scheduled to leave for home. Our group immediately noticed that he wasn't limping, and he was wearing both of his regular shoes. When we went up to greet him, we were amazed at what he had to say.
While driving home the previous night, he started noticing that his leg felt less painful. Although he planned to apply some ice for the swelling that night, by the time he went to bed, it was obvious the ice was unnecessary. When he woke up the next morning, not only was he able to wear his normal shoes, his leg appeared to be completely healed.
Although he kept his doctor's appointment to be safe, he already suspected what his doctor would say. And it turned out that, after a full exam and several x-rays, there was nothing at all wrong with his leg. His doctor even questioned why he was there in the first place!
By the time he finished sharing his story with our group, everyone (including him) was shedding tears of joy. This man was living and breathing proof of the immediate and overwhelming healing power of Jesus Christ.
He was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that he promised that he would help put our church in touch with someone locally that would be able to create an after-school youth center in Lafitte, with his sponsorship.