ServiceMaster 24 Hour Team Members Return from Mission Trip in Laos
At ServiceMaster 24 Hour, we are not only dedicated to providing those in the Tampa Bay area with reliable disaster restoration and cleaning services, but also to giving back in any way we can. We have long sponsored many charities and events throughout the area that help our local communities and we also participate in mission trips to spread the Christian faith and goodwill throughout the world. Last year, our president Scott Hudson and his son Michael had a highly successful mission trip to Laos in which they teamed up with ECHO Farms and other volunteers to work with local women and children.
Return to Laos
This trip was the latest such mission trip that Scott and Michael have taken to Laos. This past mission trip was a major success compared to the previous year. They were able to serve many more people in the Hope Home, 59 Laotians and 180 children compared to 33 Laotians and 60 children the previous year. They were also able to expand their ministry efforts and spend more time working with the locals each day. In previous years, they had a ministry for the local women, medical team, prayer and discipleship team, and construction team. This past trip, they teamed up with ECHO Farms agricultural ministry to add a meal-time program. The mission team spent more time each day on-site with the locals, sharing lunch and dinner with them and holding classes until 9 or 9:30 every night.
ECHO Farms is a non-profit organization that helps solve hunger problems throughout the world by teaching farmers about sustainable farming, helpful technologies, and nutritional plants that they can grow and harvest. The mission team was very happy to work with ECHO Farms to help Laotians who rely on farming for food.
Approximately 80 percent of Laotians are farmers which makes the information from ECHO Farms extremely valuable and even life-saving. Team members from ECHO Farms, which included three members from Laos, taught the Laotians seed saving and planting techniques, how to set up a pigsty, grafting, and techniques for making biochar which helps retain water and nutrients in the soil. They also supplied them with seeds of nutritious plants and taught them how to plant, grow, and harvest these crops. Laotian children received lessons on planting vegetables and preparing garden beds. ECHO Farms is located in Thailand which allows them to maintain their relationship with those at Hope Home. The connection with ECHO Farms was truly a blessing,
The medical team taught the locals some very important information that will help them take care of their health. Their teachings included first aide, triage techniques, diagnosing basic illnesses, using medications, and taking blood pressure and other vital signs. The medical team not only spent hours explaining these concepts, but also examined patients. Attendees who completed these classes were given certificates of completion. The mission team was very happy to see the proud looks on their faces as they received their certificates.
On this trip, the construction team went above and beyond to answer the prayers of Hope Home and the mission team. When the mission team arrived, Hope Home was waiting for the installation of 29 locker doors that were needed in the girl’s dorm to accommodate the influx of children. The pastor of Hope Home was praying for help to ensure that the doors would be installed by the end of the week so the girls could move in. The construction team made each individual door, stained them, and installed them in time for the girls to move in. They also helped with other tasks that needed to be completed in the dorm.
Prayer and Discipleship
The prayer and discipleship team gave lessons on prayer, leadership, and love. The Laotians were very eager to learn and took notes so they could teach the lessons they learned to their children and in their churches. They arrived early each day ready to learn and many of them have continued with their Bible training to learn and spread the Word of God. The Laotians also led the worship services on this trip.
The women’s ministry did some amazing work with the local women. The women were taught important information regarding women’s health and pregnancy including labor and delivery, as well as Bible lessons and crafts. During the bible lessons, the women asked plenty of questions and poured their hearts out about the persecution and troubles they experienced. Many of the women were taken by the crafts activities as many of them had never made a craft before and they were excited to teach these crafts to their children. The whole experience was touching for the local women as they laughed and cried together, learned about the Word of God, and created a monthly devotional calendar to bring them together in prayer.
Successes of the Mission Trip
This mission trip was successful on many levels. The mission team was not only able to reach more people than in previous years, but the locals were also highly engaged and ready to learn. The mission team met the challenge of preparing lunch and dinner for so many people and helping the ministries better serve the locals. During each meal, a leader was assigned to each table with a few questions so the locals and the mission team could get to know each other better. The comradery between the mission team and the Laotians became strong within the first couple of days.
Before leaving Laos, the mission team took a picture and a prayer request from each of the locals who attended the ministry. Our staff at ServiceMaster 24 Hour will be praying for the Laotians throughout the year. On behalf of the mission team, we would like to thank everyone who helped make this mission trip such a great success including ECHO Farms; Dr. Brian Merritt, Dr. Melinda Rivera, and Viola of the medical team; the construction team; Camille Armstrong for organizing the mealtime fellowship; and Christian and Georgia of the Hope Home team.