Among the Nations

By Karissa Uhlig

After digging into the tasty arroz con pollo and yucca fries, the group from Compassion Christian Church in Savannah, Georgia, sat around the fire, eyes fixed on Rick Herr as he told stories of his and his wife’s experiences as mission workers in Colombia. The audience gasped as he described encountering an anaconda and laughed as he detailed nearly falling out of his canoe.

The group sits by the fire.

Rick’s stories were a crucial part of the JAARS event known as CrossVenture, a weekend or week-long event where participants learn all about their part in the Great Commission through Bible lessons and other educational and fun activities. Compassion Christian Church was at CrossVenture for a week. 

The campers stayed in Belisi, which means peaceful in Tok Pisin. They were in a world unlike their own. They stayed in wooden structures, raised off the ground on stilts and  slept in hammocks. Also, they had no access to electricity. Even the names of the buildings encouraged the participants to learn about other cultures; each building has a name from a different language! The pavilion is designated by the Colombian word Maloka; while the cabins are designated by the Spanish word champa, native to Mexico. Other buildings include the Choo, or outhouse (Swahili), and the Mandi, shower or bath house (Indonesian).

As the campers walked along the CrossVenture prayer path, they delved into experiential prayer at different stations along the way. One station contained different types of shoes and asked them to consider what type of shoes they were “wearing.” Any camper wearing running shoes was spurred to ponder whether the shoes hinted the camper was too busy and might have trouble stopping and listening to the voice of God.On the other hand, any camper wearing lounge shoes was nudged to ask silently, “Am I too relaxed? Maybe I’m not really focused on the goal of sharing God’s Word with the unreached.”

Groups of all ages enjoy their time at Belisi, and most of the groups that come through are middle school or high school age. However, the team that came from Compassion Christian Church was multigenerational. There were several different families, with kids as young as eight years old. 

The group still enjoyed their time in the woods learning about God and his plan for the unreached. One woman said, “This was such a great weekend for our family, and [Tracy, the director of the program] did a really good job of putting [the lessons] on a level for the younger kids, yet not losing any of [the information] for the adults.”

Some members of the group pose in front of a champa.

Volunteer Mike Buchanan led one of the lessons at CrossVenture. He presented the need for people around the world to hear the gospel. He encouraged the campers to focus on their personal commitment to the unreached. Their eyes grew wide when they heard that more than six million people around the world still didn’t have access to God’s Word! “We all have a part to play in what God is doing among the nations,” Mike challenged the group. He encouraged them to use their talents for the glory of God’s kingdom. CrossVenture provides groups such as the one from Compassion Christian Church opportunities to consider their part in helping those who have never heard of Jesus. 

Pray about how you might be able to take part in CrossVenture today!