Summer Interns: Jeremiah
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Mark 16:15
Freshwater friends, please take a moment to read a testimonial from one of our summer interns, Jeremiah, and be blessed!
Hello, my name is Jeremiah Vera-Burgos. I grew up in Garden City, Michigan, which is about 20 minutes outside of Detroit. I just turned 20 years old in June. God blessed me with a very strong Christian family, and I have been surrounded by good, Godly people my entire life. I am very fortunate to have this firm Christian upbringing. I decided to be a part of this summer mission trip to the island of St. John for multiple reasons. I first heard of the plans for the trip one Sunday morning back at home at my church, Merriman Road Baptist Church. My good friend, Austin, was talking about plans for the trip and some of the things that were going to take place, and I immediately felt the Holy Spirit working in me. It didn’t take long for me to realize that God was calling me to St. John. Naturally, God was the main reason I wanted to be a part of this mission trip. Austin had also mentioned that we would be leading a youth baseball league clinic. I love baseball, so I knew that would be something I would be comfortable helping in. Also, I needed some time to recharge my batteries. Not to recharge my energy, but recharge my own spiritual walk. What better way to get closer to God than to go on a mission trip? But the main reason I wanted to be a part of this trip was because God commanded me to. In Matthew 28:19-20 it says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I am commanded to partake in the Great Commission. It is my sole purpose as a Christian to advance God’s Kingdom.
My experience on St. John has been amazing! For starters, the island is beautiful! It’s hard to deny a Supreme Creator when you look at these beautiful islands. Also, the people are really friendly here! I have met so many kind people here, and I’ve been able to establish great friendships with those people. As far as working goes, I have been extremely busy! When I first arrived on the island, one of my first projects was to help paint the grandstand bleachers at the roundabout in Cruz Bay. A mission team of 20, from Houston, helped us out with that. It was great getting to know them all. A couple weeks later, we started the Summer Slam basketball camp and the Kid’s Carnival. Man, that was a busy week. A mission team from New York, as well as a few others from different parts of the country, greatly helped us with those two events. We would run the basketball camp in the morning and run the Kid’s Carnival at night. It was a hectic week, but definitely a week I’ll never forget. It was also very nice to get to know those missionaries. All throughout the time I’ve spent here, Austin and I, with the help of others, have been running Love City T-Ball and Baseball. We help teach kids from ages 5-12 how to place baseball two nights a week. It has been a ton of fun! Austin and I have also been picking up shifts a few nights a week at the Fish Trap, a local restaurant owned by a couple from Freshwater Church. We have also tried to help Freshwater Church in whatever way we can. This trip has been busy, but a true blessing for sure.
This mission trip, I feel, has really strengthened my walk with God. Yes, it has taken me out of my comfort zone, but God never said I was going to be comfortable in this life. In fact, he said I would persecuted. In 2 Corinthians 12:10 it says: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This trip has been a difficult one indeed, because I did receive the occasional laugh or chuckle when I tried to witness to someone, but if that’s the worst thing I have to deal with then I know I’ll be just fine. And when they did laugh at me I knew they were not denying me, they were denying Christ, and that’s something between them and God. I have no reason to feel ashamed for being laughed at. But every time I was, it made me a little stronger and a little less nervous to share with the next person. Yes, I have been placed out of my comfort zone, but in a place exactly where I’m supposed to be. This mission trip has definitely impacted my future ministry. I know God is calling me to a life on mission. Whether it’s a 5,000 miles away or across the street or maybe even back to St. John, I know God wants me to go and tell the good news.
I am so glad I was a part of this mission trip. Of course, dedicating my summer to this trip, I missed out on a lot back home, but I know for the rest of my life there will never be a time where I’ll regret advancing the Kingdom of God. Working with these kids on the island was truly a blessing. I will never forget the expressions on their faces when we interacted with them. They may think that we made their day, but honestly, they made our day. I would like to thank Pastor Terry and Marta for everything they have taught us and helped us with. I would also like to thank everyone on the islands who helped in making all these activities possible that we were a part of. This mission trip has changed my life. And like Pastor Terry always tells me, “Life on missions is an everyday thing.” That will stick with me forever. Every day, for the rest of my life, I am on a mission for God.
We were immensely blessed to have Jeremiah with us this summer, and I know he touched dozens of lives in his short time here! What a testament to being obedient to God’s calling!
Please join us in praying over Jeremiah and his future ministry and in praying that God will expand Jeremiah’s efforts in St. John beyond what we could ever perceive. And check back soon for Shannon’s testimonial from her summer with Freshwater.
In His Service,
Jeremiah and Freshwater Church