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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Shocco team shares food, Christ in Guatemalacomment (0)

April 22, 2010


Five kernels of corn spilled upon the Guatemalan ground, tiny morsels from a basketful of food meant as a gift from Americans on a mission for Christ.

As the Americans looked back, seeing women on their knees digging in the dirt to rescue those five kernels of corn, they knew they had not come in vain.

Theirs was a special mission, travel that took them into the heartland of abject poverty to spread the hope of Jesus Christ.

During the weeklong trip to Camp Eden in Guatemala, staff members of Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega labored in the heat to build a wall around the camp, a means of keeping it safer in this poverty-stricken country. They visited families and schools and shared an uplifting message of salvation.

Fresh from the March mission, Cory Horton, Shocco Executive Director Buster Taylor and others were visibly moved by what they had encountered on the trip. They had traveled to San Pablo — a 30-minute boat ride from where they were staying — as the first American team to go into the village and hold activities for the children in the school there and share the gospel.

“It is the poorest of the poor,” said Horton, who was serving as recreation coordinator at Shocco Springs at the time of the trip.

“It is a place to go back to because it needs a lot of attention.”

The team also visited 30 homes, bringing them staples like corn, coffee, sugar, salt, soap, cooking oil and beans.

“That is a month’s worth of food to them,” Horton said. “It’s poverty you can’t imagine. They’re homeless in their own home.”

And despite the villagers’ circumstances of need and poverty, they prayed “for us and our ministry,” said Tara Stracener, Shocco’s recreation assistant coordinator.

Barbara Miller, sales and marketing representative for Shocco, added, “We went into the homes to see how they lived, and yet they prayed for me. It was very touching.”

And the impact on her twin teenage sons, who also participated in the trip, was evident. They now realize just how much they do have and how they can help others. Upon their return, they gave testimony in their church, sharing what they had learned and seen.

The Shocco representatives were joined by a youth group from First Baptist Church, Pelham, and a group from Florida. The “cooperation of the three groups made [the trip] 10 times more successful,” Taylor said.

The youth went into the schools, teaching the gospel through an Evangecube.

“They shared Christ through the cube and bracelets they gave the children and gave them a chance to pray. Teachers had tears in their eyes.”

In the schools, teachers are not allowed to talk about religion but one of the teachers acknowledged that “these kids need Jesus.”

From the First, Pelham, group, 15-year-old Mallory Sisk, talked of what Americans take for granted. “These kids didn’t have anything. They were grateful for the corn and beans we gave them. It will sit with me forever.”

Her sister, Maegan Sisk, 17, added, “Seeing them and their faces, knowing I made an impact on their lives is going to stay with me forever. I have so much and they have so little.”

The trip taught Kelsey Culbreth, 16, “how God can use us through a basket of food or a piece of candy. They were so grateful for just a bag of beans or one prayer from someone they didn’t even know.”

The week gave Stephanie Bunch, 18, the opportunity to help people, she said. “Seeing how grateful the kids were, responding to us being there. I’m glad I came.”

Josh Wheeler, 17, reaped rewards in seeing the wall at the end of the week — “to see what we had done together.”

And their youth minister, Donnie Sisk, said it truly was the Great Commission — going to all parts of the world and making disciples.

It was the first time in 28 years that his entire family traveled on a missions trip together.

“I have been a big fan of Shocco for years, and it was so refreshing working hand in hand, side by side. You couldn’t tell one group from the other. It was a great opportunity for my family, my church family and for my Shocco family.” (Shocco)

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