The Youth Committee of the Presbytery of Southern California sends out short-term mission teams each summer called “Team Praha” and “Team Haiti.” Team members are mainly drawn from Southern California where the teams are organized and trained, but men and women over 16-18 years of age from other presbyteries are also welcome to apply to participate in these short-term mission trips. Following are details about each team.
The following information is derived from the 2016 brochure for “Team Praha.”
Team Praha’s ministry takes place over a 3-week period in the Czech Republic, including time spent in Prague (“Praha”). The team works with OP missionaries Marilyn and Jerry Farnik, who have more than 29 years of missionary experience in the Czech Republic. The Farniks serve as guides and translators for Czech culture and language, while the team serves as their hands, feet, and mouthpieces for gospel outreach during this 3 weeks of ministry.
The team is accompanied by a Pastor/Team Leader. In 2016, the leader was Rev. Joshua Lyon (Grace OPC, Carson, California), assisted by his wife, Jessica. The leaders help prepare the team and keep them focused on their work.
Team Praha’s Ministry:
1st week: The team runs a Vacation Bible School for the children of adults attending a Christian counseling conference taught by Rev. George Scipione.
2nd week: The team participates in a Czech Mountain Adventure focusing on friendship evangelism and discipleship with Czech teens and young adults (Christian and non-Christian) as part of a road trip/hiking trip in the mountains of the Czech Republic. The goal is to form relationships that allow team members to bear witness in word and deed to the creating and saving work of Jesus Christ. This is a rigorous adventure.
3rd week: The team runs a Vacation Bible School for neighborhood children in Prague, where the Farniks are planting a church. There are also Evening Youth Events for further outreach to Czech teens and young adults.
Team Praha’s work is punctuated by three Sundays of rest and worship at the Farniks’ church plant in Modrany.
Qualifications of Team Praha Membership:
- Communicant member of your church
- Faithful service in your home church (pastoral reference required)
- Minimum age is 16
- Desire to share your faith in Christ
- Various talents: teaching, music, sports, arts and crafts, and/or skits
- Ability to organize and participate in VBS-style activities
- Good physical condition
- Friendly cooperation with teammates
- A balanced co-ed team is sought
- Willingness to submit to the team leadership and to Pastor and Mrs. Farnik
Costs in 2016:
The team registration fee in 2016 was $800 per person. In addition, each member was responsible for purchasing his or her own airline ticket, estimated at $1,500-$1,800. As part of the application process, it is important for each applicant to contact his or her pastor or session to ask if their church will participate with the applicant’s family in providing financial support.
The application deadline for Team Praha is generally in February. Stay tuned to this website, the OPC’s short-term missions Facebook page, and the OPC’s monthly S.T.O.R.M. Report in late fall/early winter for announcements about applying to the following summer’s team.
The following information is derived from the 2015 brochure for “Team Haiti.” (The trip did not occur in 2016 due to missionary furlough.)
The beautiful Caribbean island of Haiti, once claimed for Christ by early European explorers, is today plagued by poverty, illiteracy, and disease. The ravages of earthquakes and storms are exacerbated by the sinfulness of men who in various ways suppress the truth about God in unrighteousness. Above all else, the people of Haiti need the life-giving, transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Team Haiti works alongside OPC missionaries Rev. and Mrs. Ben Hopp and their four children, who have been serving in Haiti since 2007. The team is accompanied by a Pastor/Team Leader. In 2016, the leader was Rev. Broc Seaman, assisted by Jennifer Winslow.
Team Haiti’s Ministry:
Team Haiti flies into the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the following day accompanies the Hopps to the island of Lagonav, off the coast of Haiti, where the OPC is actively working with a number of churches. After setting up base at the OPC’s Guest House, the team conducts mini VBS programs with 3 churches. The teaching program is based on Reformed catechetical instruction in the Creole language with the assistance of translators. Rev. Hopp believes that the spread of the gospel in Haiti will be more effective if it is taught to the rising generation. Thus the prayer is that their work will be vital to the ministry of our missionaries in Haiti. The team also has the opportunity to assist in various other work projects.
Qualifications of Team Haiti Membership:
- Communicant church membership
- Minimum age is 18
- Recommendation from pastor or elder
- Assets include teaching and musical gifts, a desire to share your faith in Christ, and an ability to organize and participate in sports, games and crafts
- Friendly cooperation with others and submission to team leadership
- Good health is important as this trip involves rugged, dusty travel
In 2016, the cost to participate on Team Haiti was estimated at $1,500.00, including airfare, plus gifts and supplies for the Hopp residence.
The application deadline for Team Haiti is generally in February. Stay tuned to this website, the OPC’s short-term missions Facebook page, and the OPC’s monthly S.T.O.R.M. Report in late fall/early winter for announcements about applying to the following summer’s team.