Several Rim Country residents participated in a mission program to the U.S. Virgin Islands last July. They were part of the Arizona Southern Baptist Denomination, which has partnered with the United States Virgin Islands Project for more than two years now.
It was an honor to be asked to lead a missionary trip to the Virgin Islands.
I’ve lead a few missionary trips before, however, the challenge of this trip was the fact that five out of the 12 people I had never met.
Those from our area were myself; my husband, Pastor John Lake from Church on Randall Place; Gene Watts of East Verde Baptist Church; Mike and Diane Wing, who are missionary members of Church on Randall Place (attending Calvary Chapel); Scott and JoEllen Fischer, missionary members of Church on Randall Place.
Most of the 12 members of the team live in Arizona, with three living in Tennessee. Through networking with like churches, we were able to connect and join in this overall endeavor which, to date, has ended up being the best missionary trip that I have planned.
The team left Arizona in July 2009 and flew to St. Thomas. It was an incredible joy to minister to the Bovoni Baptist Church in St. Thomas Virgin Islands. The mission included leading a Bible conference in the evenings and leading church services during the day at the hospital, nursing homes and other care facilities as well as prayer walking, evangelism, one-on-one ministering and more.
Prior to our arrival, our churches in the islands had a week-long prayer focus. Each day, there was a new prayer format. Prayer was covered all over the island by walking, by boat, by plane and other transportation.
This 5-year project came about from meetings with pastors and leaders desperately wanting Bible and church leadership teaching, training and equipping. Although many people consider these islands for vacation only, churches and ministries there were wanting ministry-type trainings to help assist with spiritual growth and development of their leaders as well as others.
Some of the many ways we ministered, included:
• A five-day Bible conference
• Church strengthening
• Prayer walking
• Hospital chaplaincy, nursing home
• Leadership development
• Children’s ministry
• Women’s ministry
• Youth ministry
In the Bible conference, Watts taught the evangelism workshop, Wing taught the parenting and family workshop.
I taught two workshops on prayer and spiritual warfare. Pastor John Lake taught two workshops on Old and New Testament. Scott and JoEllen Fisher taught the marriage workshop. Diane Wing helped with the children during their lesson, as well as helped keep us all healthy by fixing delicious meals. Adam, Angela and Maddy Pace, from Tennessee, taught the youth and children. Jesse and Clara Olvera lead praise and worship.
I have been invited to plan another trip in 2011. More than likely, once again, we will be leading a Bible training institute as well as chaplaincy work in the hospital.
We have heard the area’s pastors continue to get calls from the hospitals asking when our team will return.
We brought back many fond memories:
• A 90-year-old woman shaking the
• musical instrument to the hymn
• “Amazing Grace” at one care facility
• Praying and ministering Christ with
• the clerk of the grocery store
• Praying and giving gifts to women
• who just had babies at the hospital
• Ministering to the pastor’s wife and
• women’s group
• Teaching the Bible — my passion and
• great joy
• The sweet, little girl who came and
• sat by me in the pew at the church
• Going to homes and sharing Christ,
• praying and giving gifts to those who
• welcomed us
• Encouraging a store employee in
• Christ (when he hands out food to the
• homeless, they curse him and his
• mother, who is deceased)
About the author
Simone Lake is a full-time minister and serves in the areas of Bible teacher, speaker, missionary, mentor, chaplain and author. She holds a master’s degree in Theological Studies and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake.
Read more about her speaking engagements, Bible studies and upcoming events at: