Couple celebrates wedding anniversary serving God

November 12, 2012

Dave and Carrie Wood

CUSTER TWP. – Pastor Dave and Carrie Wood celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary this year with a trip to Latin America. However, their trip was not a vacation. Instead it was with a purpose, to serve God’s kingdom.

The Woods pastor Sugar Ridge Church of the Brethren on East Wilson Road. They had been talking for quite some time about how they would observe their anniversary. They looked at trips to Alaska or Europe, but those options just didn’t pan out.

Then a new door opened. Back in the spring, Carrie was attending the Acquire the Fire conference with their church’s youth group. One of the breakout session topics was on leadership opportunities in the missions field.

Acquire the Fire is part of an international organization called Teen Mania. The organization also operates Global Exhibitions, an outreach designed to give teenagers a chance to serve and learn about other cultures while sharing their love for God on both stateside and overseas mission trips ranging from one week to two months.

According to the organization’s website, trip leadership is committed to mentoring the missionaries and helping them to develop personal character that is Christ-like. Global Expeditions has sent 67,783 missionaries on the field to 69 countries and has documented 1,324,637 reported decisions for Christ.

The Woods were selected to be trip leaders.

“I filled out some paperwork and then they were pretty persistent in calling us,” Carrie says. “They were interested in us because they want husband and wife teams to go on short term mission trips as examples of godly marriages serving together.”

After an interview and more paperwork, the Woods received word that they would be sent to London to work with missionaries at the Olympics.

“We really didn’t care where we went,” Dave says. “We would go where the Lord wanted us to go.”

Then, the plans changed.

“In early summer they contacted us and said they had a different trip planned for us,” Dave says. “They wanted us to go to Guatemala.”

Carrie and Dave had a short time to raise the funds for their three-week trip. The trip would begin in late July at Global Expeditions headquarters in Texas where the two would train to become group leaders. They would then train 15 high school and college age students who would be traveling along with them.

“Our job was to train them and equip them with the tools and skills to be successful in the field,” Dave says.

The team learned dramas that would be performed at schools, churches and parks. They also learned how to present the Gospel. Their main target audience were children.

“Guatemala City was our hub,” Carrie says. “We served in and around the city and then went to some remote villages outside the city. While in the city we stayed at a retreat center. We would have breakfast and dinner there and then lunch on the road. Lunch was always peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we made at the retreat center. This helped prevent food-related illnesses from occurring.”

“We were blessed with good health,” Dave says. “We carried our own food and water which met international standards.”

The Woods both believe the trip was a success.

“I was expecting to see see God do something huge,” Carrie says. “I was expecting him to do something we don’t see here in our world. For example, I wanted to see miraculous healing over somebody. I really wrestled with that and the the Lord revealed to me that through us and our team we shared with the people God’s greatest miracle, Christ. He gave them the ultimate healing by raising Jesus from the death back to life. We saw hundreds of people come to Christ and that was way more important than their suffering. For me, that was a really big thing.”

The skits performed by the team members were designed to help the audience understand God’s love. “After the presentation we would talk about those things with the kids,” Dave says. “The presentation was the Gospel. We would speak very clearly that God loves them. They have sin in their life that separates them from God and Jesus can take that punishment away. They then could have a relationship but they need to make a choice: They could continue to live going through the motions or they can make the choice.

“We found them to be very open and when we would talk to them one-on-one tears would just start flowing.”

Dave says each person had a different circumstances and for them to be at the performances was a big deal for many people.

“You have no idea what God has done to bring them to that point. It’s really cool to see how God orchestrates these circumstances.”

Dave and Carrie say they plan on going on another trip.

Story by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

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