International (MNN) – Community Transformation. This term can mean a lot of things, but at e3 Partners, it means helping communities solve problems with the love of Christ. By meeting both the physical and spiritual needs, these trips are making double the impact.
e3’s Jeff Johnston says, “If we could get into these communities and over the course of several trips just develop relationships with them, and really help them grow as a community and strengthen their community, that right there’s the perfect avenue to infuse the Gospel or infuse Jesus into their lives.”
Community Transformation Trips
Helping communities can look like introducing accessible clean water sources or providing resources for tackling local issues. e3 Partners does this through regular Community Transformation trips.
“You’re not just going to go on one trip and then all of a sudden their community is forever changed and is all of a sudden this perfect community. It takes several trips, it takes years, and it takes just a lot of persistence and the building of relationships,” Johnston explains.
However, these relationships begin with trust. Trust is not built by showing up and treating people like they are a project or by pushing an agenda. Instead, it is built by showing these people true compassion and by asking them what they need and how you can help. Sometimes this help looks like physical labor, or it could just be a conversation. Whatever it may be, this heart of serving helps build trust during the short-term trips.
“We’re always pointing it back to Jesus. And so, throughout the course of these trips, there’s always people that come to know Jesus, come to have a relationship with Jesus,” Johnston says.
Building Impactful Relationships
Many times, trip leaders will return in the fall to an area they previously served in the spring. When they do, they often find the people who accepted Christ before have now led even more people to His love.
But it’s more than just growing numbers; something in their new faith makes them stand out. The people themselves are different. There is a change that has taken place as they have become a new creation in Christ.
Johnston says the people have a different hope, a different attitude, and even a different joy about them. These changes represent the fruits of the spirit. Furthermore, as e3 Community Transformation trips continue to invest in these communities, they also get to see them flourish spiritually.
“On this most recent trip they had, they had already raised up quite a few Christians leaders in that community. And they came back and kept pouring into those people and equipping those people with ways to disciple others within the community. They came back and said that over the course of a week and a half, 150 people from that community accepted Christ,” Johnston says.
“I think that that ultimately shows the power of these trips, of these relationships, and just the consistent message that we give them that you know we love you. We are here because we love you. We [want to] help you. We are here because Jesus loves us and we want you to feel that same love that we feel.”
Johnston has never seen a Community Transformation team return without being impactful. Will you be a part of the next Community Transformation team?
Also, pray for community transformation in your backyard and abroad. Pray these communities will be open to the Gospel. Ask God to bring the right people to e3’s upcoming Community Transformation trips.
Header photo courtesy of e3 Partners.