When my family and I moved to Fort Smith last August, more than one person told me about the annual Medical Missions trip to Guyana that West-Ark has participated in since 1991. Those who had been there previously told me how the Guyanese people were willing to accept medical help - but even more importantly, they were open and extremely receptive to obeying the Gospel. I heard about how the people in Guyana would get up before the sun rises so they could walk several miles to our clinic site and then stand in line for hours to have the privilege of participating in a Bible study and also receive medical attention. After hearing this I wondered silently to myself, "What would it be like to meet these Guyanese people, share the Good News of Jesus with them, and then see them obey the Gospel and become a part of the Family of God?"

Then I asked myself if I should be a part of the 1999 Mission Team from West-Ark to go to Guyana, and I decided to pray and ask God for guidance. I was then reminded of these words found in Matthew 9:35-38, Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." After I read those Scriptures, I knew that the Lord could use me to help reach people for Him in Guyana.

Because I spent a week in Guyana with 44 others from our group, God has blessed me in more ways than I’ll be able to express in this short space available here. Let me say, "Thank You!" to all who supported our team through your financial donations and prayers. This trip would not be possible without your help. I am also especially grateful for the leadership that Michael and Jeannie Cole provide in making these trips a reality. Prior to our departure, they worked for months to iron out various details and make preparations for the week that we would be in Guyana.

Since this was my first time to Guyana … the week was full of emotional ups and downs as I interacted with men, women, and children of all ages. It was an incredible week that has changed my life forever. The days were filled with teaching the Gospel to men and women who were from many different religious backgrounds -- from Pentecostal to Hindu to Muslim -- and everywhere in between. The public schools allowed us to come in during the mornings and openly teach Bible stories to the children as well as sing songs about Jesus. In the afternoon at 3 p.m., Bart Jones and others would teach the children at the Nismes church building in VBS style (with songs, a lesson and craft activity). Each evening during the preaching at the clinic site the children would have their own separate class.

Every evening there were four different projects occurring simultaneously. Roy Dunavin preached at the Bagotville Community Center where we held the clinic. Larry Roper preached at Canal Number One. And I went to the village of Wales to preach at the local church there and encourage the brethren. The lowest evening total was around 150 for the night and the highest evening total topped out at 363.

The total patients seen by the doctors and nurses was 1,661. Most all of those individuals had a personal Bible study where the Gospel was explained clearly. It is so encouraging to know that 31 precious souls were baptized into Christ and added to His Church.

Without a doubt, the people in those villages will never be the same because of our efforts to plant the Seed in the hearts of men, women, and children. We praise God for all He accomplished with us and through us and to Him be the glory both now and into eternity.

By the way, on Sunday night, July 11, we’ll have a video presentation along with a detailed report that you won't want to miss. Mark your calendars now for June 2000 for our next Guyana Medical Missions, Y2KG (Year 2000 Guyana) - Take Part in the Excitement! There is a place for you to serve and use your talents.

Oh! Don’t forget to participate in Bible class this week.

Ted Edwards

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 June 1999

 See related Team Leader Report

 Link to Ted Edwards Home Page

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