By SARAH MCLAUGHLIN
Student leaders reflect on
sharing the gospel in Guatemala
For years, students from Hartfield Academy have spent spring break spreading the gospel, building relationships and growing in their faith. Hartfield’s trip to Guatemala last spring bears testament to several student leaders who made an impact for the cause of Christ.
In 2019, Hartfield sent two student teams to Guatemala from March 5–12: a sports team and a children’s ministry team. One student, Regan Henderson, explained that traveling to Guatemala to serve with the sports ministry was his first time going out of the country. But during his short time there, he built relationships with people on the basketball team and shared his testimony.
“One of my main takeaways was that no matter the language barrier, God is still working, and even though we live two totally different lives, it’s still the same God and He still loves us the same,” Regan said.
Alongside Regan, Tre Huddleston left the country for the first time to serve on the sports ministry team. By working on the basketball team and visiting a local HIV orphanage, Tre developed strong relationships with children in Guatemala, which he still maintains today through social media.
“People think those kids are outcasts, and it truly showed God’s love through the opportunity we had to go and talk and have fun,” Tre said. “They were a blessing to us, like we were to them.” By spending time in Guatemala, Tre reflected on how much God had blessed him and realized how fortunate he was to live in Mississippi, to make an impact on those children who looked up to him and learned from him.
Jesslyn O’Reilly also made an impact on the children in Guatemala, where she served with the children’s ministry team. The first day Jesslyn was there, she went to a church to play with some of the students and she noticed an older student was off by himself. She felt led to play with him and eventually shared her testimony.
Remembering that time, Jesslyn said, “I shouldn’t be afraid to share my testimony, I should just trust God and share Him.” Today, Jesslyn is constantly reminded of her time in Guatemala and remembers the student who enabled her to step out of her comfort zone and share her faith.
Another student, Mattie Frances Powell, gained the courage to share her testimony with several students she worked with during her time with the children’s ministry. Mattie remembers walking to a church service, seeing children running around outside — and seeing their smiles.
“I got to see God that day by getting to know the kids with the little bit of Spanish that I knew,” Mattie explained. Ultimately, she says, “They left more of an impact on me than I think I had on them.”
This year, several more students from Hartfield will experience the power of God and share their testimonies, just like Regan, Tre, Jesslyn, and Mattie. Hartfield plans on taking students to serve in Matamoros, Mexico; Marks, Mississippi; the Dominican Republic; Guatemala; and Haiti, as a part of their vision of seeing every student fulfill their God-given purpose.
Sarah McLaughlin is a junior at Mississippi College, and plans to graduate with a B.A. in English education. She attends Pinehaven Presbyterian Church in Clinton. You’ll often find her reading, listening to vinyl records, and drinking coffee.