By Caroline Odum and Kimmie Brady
"I love missions. I have had the opportunity to go on a few mission trips both with my church and with Helping Hands, so when I felt the Lord calling me to go to Bolivia, I was excited. I had seen the Lord move in past trips, and I knew this one would be no different. About a month prior to the trip, the Lord revealed to me several unhealthy areas of my heart that been plaguing my life for far too long. I needed to truly surrender every area of my life if I wanted to be used by Him.
When we landed in Cochabamba, I was thrilled to finally be there. My team and I were partnering with Emi and Paige Almeida, new Helping Hands church planters in Bolivia. We were there for the sole purpose of sharing the Gospel, and I knew that. I wasn’t nervous about it until our first day of ministry. I put on a brave face, but all morning, I was freaking out on the inside. I had shared the Gospel before, but this time felt different. This time I was fully surrendered—broken but ready and willing to be used by a powerful God. Spiritual warfare was evident that morning to say the least.
My team and I were in the town of Tarata and headed down a dirt road to find anyone who would be willing to listen to our message about Jesus. We came across a teenager who had been watching us slowly make our way down the street. As we approached him, I was nervous, but once I stared talking, the words began to flow out of my mouth. I was telling him the most important news of his life, but I don’t even remember what I said. He said that he was not ready to receive Christ at that time, but his friend, who had been standing a few feet away, heard me share about the Gospel. I asked him if he would like to receive Christ, and he said yes.
That yes was one of the most exciting and shocking words I had heard in my life. Jaier was the first person I had ever led to Christ, and this trip to Bolivia was the first mission trip I had been on where I was truly surrendered to Christ. I do not believe this was a coincidence. During the rest of the trip, my team and I had countless Gospel conversations saw many people come to know Christ! The Lord did immeasurably more than I ever imagined, and I am so thankful that God showed me what he can do with a life fully surrendered to him."
- Caroline Odum
"When I was asked to go to Cochabamba, Bolivia, with Helping Hands on a mission trip, I was nervous. Even though I grew up in church, this would be my first mission trip. I felt unprepared and unqualified. Despite my concerns, I still felt led to go, so I said yes. Going to Bolivia was completely out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was incredible to see what God was doing there at the Word of Life campus. Our team was able to work with the students and missionaries as we evangelized door-to-door.
The day we went out for evangelism, Emi Almeida—a church planter in Bolivia—said that 90% of Christians never share the gospel. That resonated with me. How are we supposed to win people to Christ if we don’t ever share with them how they can have eternal life? It was that same day that God used me to share the gospel with a 15-year-old boy named Moises. After asking many questions, he stated that he wanted to accept Christ as his own personal Savior.
In that moment, I was humbled by God’s power and so thankful that he allowed me to be a part of such a life-changing experience. I saw how God used me in such a great way, and I felt fearless. Everything that was holding me back before disappeared because of God’s strength that was enabling me to keep moving forward. I took away a new-found boldness from this trip. I pushed personal boundaries that I never thought I would. I finally let God use me and move through me in ways that I never thought would be possible. All I had to do was say yes."
- Kimmie Brady