LAKELAND (FBCH)—Amy Newsome had always dreamed of going on a family mission trip. She wasn’t sure when it would happen or where they would go, but she knew this was something she wanted to do.
One day after church she was invited to pray about going with a mother-daughter team, organized by Julie Boyd of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. The international ministry of FBCH, Orphan’s Heart, takes mission teams throughout the year to serve at the Children’s Malnutrition Center in San Juan, Guatemala.
For Newsome, that meant her son and husband would not be able to go, and she was torn. God was opening a door for her family, but things would be a little different from what she had planned.
She continued to pray and God opened her mind to this opportunity. What if she were able to take her three daughters? What if she could involve her mom? What if her sisters were interested?
Newsome was concerned about the difficulties in coordinating a trip that involved three generations of family serving together. Issues such as finding childcare and taking time off for work were just some of the obstacles they faced. She even prepared herself for a “speech” to give one possibly reluctant family member. As soon as she called and said her first sentence about the trip, her sister enthusiastically replied, “I’m in.” Her mother and sister also made arrangements to be able to attend.
Newsome said she believes sharing family history regarding how the trip came about is important so others, “can be encouraged that God is bigger than any barrier man can put in our way.”
God kept removing obstacles and opening doors. Finally, their dream became a reality when last April the seven Newsomes, including one grandmother, three mothers, and three children, flew out with a team to the Malnutrition Center in Guatemala.
FBCH and Orphan’s Heart mission work in Guatemala focuses on supporting the Children’s Malnutrition Center in San Juan, which originally operated as a tuberculosis hospital. In the mid seventies the hospital focus shifted to meet the extensive needs of large numbers of children in the area suffering from malnutrition. Today mission volunteers help out by feeding, holding, bathing, and nurturing the children in the center, which range in age from newborn to age ten.
While there, Newsome and her family ministered to the children in various ways. They bathed them, brushed their hair, changed their diapers, fed them, held them, and loved them. They also ministered to older children in the center by reading Bible stories, teaching songs, making crafts and building a playground.
“We had a wonderful trip and saw God soften the hearts of all of us as we stepped out of our comfort zones,” Newsome said.
Returning from the mission field with enthusiasm, Newsome said she and her family are able to tap quickly into their memories of the malnutrition center to bring a transforming perspective to their days.
“It was a reward this side of Heaven for me to see my children serve Jesus alongside their grandma and aunt and love on those precious Guatemalan children,” Newsome said.
Her three daughters brought insights and perspectives of their own after reflecting on the trip.
Britnee Newsome, 10, said she saw the children eat pureed chicken fat, noting, “they loved it because it was all they had, and it was better than nothing. I adored going and helping these wonderful children, and I pray that I can go back another day and visit them.”
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