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Camp connects children in Texas with children in Guatemala
by Christine Bolaños
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Faith Explosion Kid’s Camp may be small in scale but its impact spreads far beyond its facility in Lone Star, Texas. The camp evangelizes children in third to sixth grades providing them with a fun and safe place to worship and grow in their faith. This summer, the children learned about the opportunity to touch the lives of children in rural Guatemala and immediately sprung to action.

Connie Harper, who began traveling to Guatemala with Orphan Outreach in 2013, talked to the children about her experiences in the Central American country. After visiting with the Guatemalan people seven different times Connie says her life and that of her family has forever changed.

“This last trip was a very emotional trip. We saw poverty like we’ve never seen before in Cerro de Oro,” she says.

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She, along with others on her missionary trip, built stoves and water filters for 36 families in the community. Rey Diaz was the trip leader and reminded the group that “God puts heartbreak in [their] hearts for a reason.”

“So, we would do something about it,” Connie explains. “He challenged us to not put our ‘mission trip’ in a box and leave it there. He challenged us to do something about what we saw. That’s what I wanted to do.”

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She found that by serving as camp missionary over the summer where she could convey the message of how Guatemala impacted her to the children. She has been involved with the camp for 15 years and helps as needed.

“I made a PowerPoint presentation and talked to the kids for two days about Guatemala,” she says. “They always take an offering at camp for the missionary to donate to an organization and I chose Orphan Outreach.”

The offering totaled $1,500. “Literally a miracle,” Connie exclaims.

Nine-year-old Laney was so moved by Connie’s presentation that when camp was over that is the first thing she talked to her mother, Jennifer Schroder, about.

“She told me she missed me and then almost immediately said, “Mom, Jesus spoke to me about helping children in Guatemala and then I was like, ‘Tell me more.’”

Laney began brainstorming ways to help the Guatemalan children and passionately spoke to her mom about her impressions from the video Connie showed the children at camp.

“I feel that I want to help. They have nothing and we have so much compared to them,” Laney says. “I want to give back to those who don’t have enough. It just makes me feel good to give back to them.”

She recalls the video vividly. She said the children were shown in their shacks with their families who were cooking on an open-fire stove that appeared to pollute the air. Some of the people in the video were coughing.

It struck a chord in Laney.

“We were planning a trip to Colorado over Christmas break and Laney said, ‘We don’t need to do that. These kids need help,” Jennifer shares.

The proud mom was touched by her daughter’s selflessness and call to action. She explained to Laney she thought she was too young to travel to Guatemala but is open to traveling on a mission trip as a family soon.

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After the brainstorming session, mom and daughter decided to have a garage sale. Laney went through her closet, her sibling’s closet and had her friends clean out their closets to collect items for the garage sale.

Word spread about the purpose for the garage sale via social media and informational fliers were passed out during the event. Despite a rainy morning, Laney collected $820 for the children of Guatemala. This includes proceeds from the sales as well as money collected in a tip jar.

People outside of camp also heard about what the children were doing. Carrie Parsons, a morning show co-host for Christian-based KVNE, did a radio segment live from camp. She was invited by Connie to learn about the great work the children were doing for fellow kids in Guatemala.

“Our radio station has been doing trips to Guatemala through Orphan Outreach for years so it was a no-brainer to accept the invitation,” Carrie continues.

She says the radio station has a “great relationship” with Orphan Outreach and is glad to expose the great work the organization is doing.

“I loved the camp’s passion for reaching out to others with the message of Jesus,” Carrie says. “The people, the need and the organization (Orphan Outreach) make it so easy to go and be a part of it.”

The children at Faith Explosion Kid’s Camp are equally passionate.

“I had kids coming up to me after the presentation and telling me, ‘This was so special,’” Connie shares. “One girl who was deaf had someone signing to her the whole time. She ran up to me and said she was ready to get on airplane and go to Guatemala.”

The experience of connecting with a deaf child was special to Connie.

“She kept signing about airplanes and Guatemala and the kids,” Connie says, with a big smile across her face.

 


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