When Adela Huezo recruits a team of short-term volunteers, she’s honest about everything. She tells of the stifling heat of West Africa and long days of work. She explains most in the area belong to the majority religion, Islam, and it can be a hard ministry environment. Then, her serious look turns to pure joy as she tells of West African friends who now know Jesus as their Savior because someone took time to share the gospel.
Huezo asks her network of Hispanic churches to partner with International Mission Board missionaries working in West Africa. The law student from Virginia always tells short-term mission teams, ranging in age from 18 to late 60s, that God chose each of them for this specific task.
“Your obedience to go isn’t where it stops,” she bluntly adds. “It’s where it begins!
“You are bringing hope to people who thought there was no hope. I believe this is how God uses us to be the church,” Huezo continues. “This is how He uses us to bring the Kingdom to people who might not have even known the name of Christ until we arrived.”
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Huezo’s team returned earlier this summer from working with IMB missionaries Charles and Greta Michelson. She’s already searching for 10–12 people to go back to West Africa with her in May 2024 to continue supporting the long-term missionaries and their local partners. Each year, her missions team builds on what they did on the last trip. She sees the benefits of partnering with long-term missionary presence in an area through their stability and investment in the community. It allows short-term teams to join where God is working and provide a boost.
“Having a partnership with Adela’s team is like expanding our team and having more people to participate in the missionary task,” Charles explained. “I think for the local believers, it is an encouragement to have teams come and work alongside them.”
Encouraging the local believers to reach their community with the gospel is something Huezo is passionate about. Her team starts their time in West Africa working in villages and doing door-to-door evangelism. The volunteers from Alabama, Louisiana and Virginia form small teams with local pastors and church members to canvas the area for the afternoon. They strike up conversations with people in the market and build relationships. They invite community members to a Christian-themed movie at night.
Normally the movie projector and screen are set up in the main gathering spot of the village. During intermission, a local pastor steps up and explains more about Jesus and His saving grace. Local believers are on hand to help answer questions and pray with those who come to faith. Back in May, 50 chose to follow Jesus through this evangelism effort.
“Our mission team is made up of a lot of young adults and it’s phenomenal how God used them,” Huezo said. They saw 50 people pray to accept Christ and attended the village’s very first worship service. The new believers are still meeting and growing as a church.
This team also works with a Deaf school. The goal is to help students have a trade when they finish school and enter the world. Each trip, team members teach a new sewing project to help build on skills their teachers instill.
“We take every opportunity to spread the gospel — whether that’s an encounter in the market or where we eat,” Huezo, who attends The Mount in Virginia, stressed.
Her church saw the growth in Huezo’s faith and enthusiasm for evangelism after the first trip in 2022 to West Africa. So, they sent others from their congregation to join three other churches — Iglesia Biblica Fe in Montgomery, Alabama, First Baptist Church of Centerpoint in Birmingham, Alabama, and El Renuevo Mission in Lafayette, Louisiana — joining God at work in this ministry.
The Mount’s passion for this ministry ignited with the reports from Huezo’s team, and now, the church has committed to partner in prayer and take an annual trip. Huezo is overjoyed at seeing others get so involved and pulled outside of their comfort zones.
Two years ago, someone asked her to experience the gifts God had for her by going on a mission trip. Now, the young adult is busy recruiting and planning for future trips. She’s challenging others to discover their passion for sharing the gospel.
“Don’t just take a step of faith,” she encouraged, “take a leap and go for it.”
To learn more about going on a short-term trip, contact Annel Robayna, IMB Hispanic church mobilization strategist, at email@example.com.