Brian and Jonathan Phillips (Host of the Word of Life Podcast) team up to have a conversation with Kevin Ross about how our students can impact the world even if they can’t go on a missions trip. Kevin is the President of Helping Hands Foreign Missions a ministry that is focused on developing thriving and sustainable Christ-based communities among the most needy and suffering, producing disciples who follow Christ.
We focus on the gospel, discipling children and work with the local churches in Uganda. Our Saturday discipleship program for kids ministers to 1800 children weekly, and 3000 kids came to camp. We have partnered on several occasions with Word of Life to build facilities and our discipleship programs.
What is the response to the gospel message in Uganda? – We serve in remote areas that have not heard the gospel before. We impact those within a 2-hour radius. Churches are planted, and pastors are trained. There is always opposition, and in Uganda it comes from other growing religions and the indigenous culture. However, the response is great because we meet practical needs and share the gospel.
Once you get students out of their environment and into the mission field, their idea of God expands.
Fill Water Bottles Project: fillwaterbottles.com
The families we minister to do not have easy access to clean water. The water bottles go with teams on missions trips to distribute as they share the gospel. While we really want you to experience leading someone to Christ on a missions trip with us, filling a water bottle is a practical and impactful way to involve those here in the US. How it works: Fill reusable water bottles with 5 categories of essential items. 1. Hygiene 2. Personal Care 3. School Supplies 4. Something Fun 5. $5 bill to help with the cost of getting the bottle there.
How to get involved – Fill a water bottle you own but don’t use, or purchase one. Get groups together and have parties to fill the water bottles. Write messages or verses on the bottles with a marker and say a prayer over them. Challenge your students to get involved and fill water bottles, even as a group.
Giving the families in Uganda a reusable water bottle allows them to carry water with them wherever they go, which is vital in Uganda’s climate. This project impacts both the recipients and the receivers. Many who go on trips know who packed the bottles they brought and can bring back pictures and stories of the recipients. Seeing kids carry the bottles around visually represents the gospel having been presented to that family.
Resources for your own trips – Go to helpinghandsmissions.org for downloadable free resources and advice. We asked the kids what they loved about the water bottles, and they absolutely loved the bandanas because there is so much they can do with them. Finger nail clippers were hard to find and very expensive in one area, and they always loved the something fun. We have lots of information and advice we would love to share to help you get ready for your missions trip.
Family in Uganda – In real poverty, the family environment is not typically healthy and wholesome. Kids are left to themselves and help each other grow up. Kids just want to be loved on, so when you share how God loved them enough to send Jesus, they light up. Children take time to understand the gospel, which is why we focus on discipleship with children.
Missions Focus in Local Church Ministries – The ministries that focus the best on missions are the ones that get their students involved through missions trips, supporting missionaries, and sponsoring kids. Many ministries are not doing enough to get their students involved. If they did, their students would jump on it. Teenagers want to be involved and make a difference.
What is the response from students here in the US about filling water bottles? – They loved it! Students enjoy filling the bottles, choosing where they go, and they often decide to sponsor children in those same areas. Even other missionary representatives and staff at conferences were participating and supporting the project. People everywhere get excited about the fill a water bottle project because it is simple, inexpensive and practical.
Giving students a chance to give sacrificially changes the perspective of where the gift is coming from, making it matter. Experiencing something for yourself makes you more compelled and responsive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Helping Hands Foreign Missions – “God has your heart. We need your hands.” helpinghandsmissions.org
The filling a water bottle project is a chance to get your students involved in missions. Challenge your students and you will be challenged with how far they run with it.