KW Editor's Note: Ryan Hellpap is the Kingdom Workers Caribbean Regional Manager in Grenada. He and his wife Jenni are partnering with Grace Lutheran church and school in St. George's, Grenada to serve and share the gospel with the community.
Habari! My name is Ryan Hellpap, and I am blessed to be the new Caribbean Regional Manager. Habari means “Hi there!” in Swahili. Other than an interesting way to say hello, perhaps you may be wondering “Why does this note about Grenada start with a word in Swahili?” A good question. They do not speak Swahili in Grenada, but I do! All joking aside, my wife Jenni and I served in the United States Peace Corps from 2013-2014 in Kenya, where we learned Swahili and the true fundamentals of international volunteering – where we learned the kind of passion and energy required to help make a difference in the lives of God’s people. We intend to bring that same drive and passion to this mission field.
So why is Grenada important to Kingdom Workers? Another good question! There are many places that could use help and partnership. The blessing here is that the Grace congregation on the island has identified a clear need for volunteer programs. They have also grown a strong, diverse congregation and made many fruitful relationships with local leaders and community members. They laid a foundation that is ideal for volunteers from many walks of life, and use the skills God has given them. That makes this an ideal situation for Kingdom Workers to build on what is started.
Why should this matter to you? For people as varied as marine biology students to those functioning in the construction trade, the chance to gain international exposure to the wonder of God’s creation and use the talents He has given them are available. At the same time, addressing the need to spread the Gospel using those talents in one of the most beautiful places in God’s creation can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The need is there in full measure. From poverty issues to a failing school system to low public health standards, the physical needs are there. Spiritually, the amazing light of the Grace congregation is needed on the island as an uplifting place for Christ’s message to shine.
What are volunteers doing now and what will be done in the future? Many projects have been completed and several programs are ongoing. Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) has established programs to partner with St. George’s University to help in protecting the coral reef system that lines part of the coast. Mission teams from WLC have also come down to train teachers at Grace innovative techniques, while at the same time reaching out to children through science fairs organized through Grace. Many other volunteers have come down as service teams building and repairing houses and businesses following the recent hurricane damage. The opportunities are almost endless! Through it all, only programs focused on spreading the message of the gospel while addressing needs expressed by the community will be created.
That leads me to one tip for all volunteer adventurers out there like Jenni and me. When volunteering and helping others, keep in mind that anything done to help another one of God’s children must be done in a way where we do not do something for someone that they can do for themselves. In Kenya, we saw how much ownership and satisfaction people took through the accomplishments God blessed them with. Now it’s our job to help others have those same feelings of empowerment.
Love for God’s people is at the heart of our work. The excitement of seeing others benefit from their own contributions in partnership with that of volunteers is almost indescribable, and one that we pray will continue and grow on the island. As we begin our journey in the Caribbean, please join us in that prayer for the ongoing mission in Grenada!
In : Grenada