Church Spotlight: Glasses Outreach Shifts Focus for Church Missions Team posted by Evangelism Explosion on Apr 25, 2019
For more than 15 years, Vista Grande Baptist Church in Colorado Springs has been taking teams of youth and adults to build homes for people living in one of the most dangerous cities on earth: Juarez, Mexico. But in the last three years, the church has added something new to the short-term experience: Glasses for Missions.
“Glasses for Missions has added another level of excitement to the trip,” said Devin Knuckles, Administrative Pastor at Vista Grande, who has participated in five different trips to Mexico. That excitement was evangelism.
Vista Grande is no stranger to evangelism. The congregation has been involved with EE since 1990 and currently regularly holds regular Share Your Faith workshops, Everyday Evangelism semesters, and Hope for Kids training events every year. But evangelism wasn’t the focus of their annual mission trip.
“Before Glasses for Missions, evangelism was a part of the trip, but our focus was on building a house,” said Knuckles. “But with Glasses for Missions, we now have a totally evangelistic component that we know will be a part of every trip we take.”
Every spring, Vista Grande partners with Casa por Cristo in Juarez to build two or three houses for families living in poverty. They also lead a vacation Bible school for neighborhood children and reach out to families and the community. While there, the team stay with a local host church Iglesia Rosa de Sharon. Until 2017, Rosa de Sharon had no further involvement.
When EE field worker, Kevin Green approached Knuckles including Glasses for Missions as an additional outreach for the Mexico trip, Knuckles immediately saw the value of it – for their team and their host church.
They connected Rosa de Sharon with an EE Mexico team who trained them how to share the Gospel through providing eyeglasses to people living in poverty within their community. Each year, members at Vista Grande purchase the materials and assemble the glasses before the team leaves for Mexico. Rosa de Sharon manages the rest – from distributing glasses to sharing the Gospel.
“A few volunteers stay behind to adjust glasses for each person,” said Green. “We also give them a Bible and ask them to read John 6:47 with their new glasses.”
Every year, the Mexico team returns and reports back to the church about the lives that were changed. This past March, the team took 177 pairs of eyeglasses to the team in Mexico. During the outreach, they provided glasses for 54 people; 21 of them prayed to receive Jesus Christ. The team plans to use the remaining glasses during medical outreaches throughout the year.
“No one thinks about the Mexico trip without seeing Glasses for Missions as a part of that,” said Knuckles. “It has heightened that experience for everyone in our church.”
Vista Grande is not done yet. They have adopted another local church in Pueblo to help train them to share their faith. In addition, they are looking into the possibility of integrating Glasses for Missions into their homeless outreach at a local rescue mission.
Knuckles says that the church will continue to do Glasses for Missions as part of the Mexico trip as long as they are able to support the effort.
“The exciting part about this is that Vista Grande has been doing EE for many years,” adds Green. “But now we’re partnering other churches that are sharing the Gospel!”