The Duncan Banner

March 25, 2011

First Baptist mission returns from Guatemala

Joshua Kellogg
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — For the 11 missionaries that traveled to Guatemala over spring break, the trip was nothing short of success.

The group from First Baptist Church left the morning of March 12 for a seven day journey from Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City.

“We flew out at 7 a.m. to Houston and had a hour layover in Houston,” Dianna Carr, said. “It’s about a two hour and 45 minute plane ride from Houston to Guatemala City, we arrived around noon.”

The main purpose of the trip was to visit with college students from the local universities and stage various exhibitions of sports like soccer, basketball and tennis to help foster a relationship with those students.

Before meeting up with the university students, the group toured parts of the city on March 13rd before heading to church on the 14th.

It was on Monday the 15th when the group made their way to the university and met the university students for the first time.

“On our first day at the university, they had a ping pong tournament set up for us and they whipped us,” Carr said.

Through the week, the group ended up playing basketball and soccer at the university and venturing to the Delfines Sport Club three times during the week.

“It started out as a aquatic center with a huge pool and they added Squash and tennis courts, it’s like the Simmons center but with indoor tennis courts,” Carr said.

The university students ended up being more of a challenge than the missionaries anticipated during the exhibitions.

“They have really good players there, we ended up doing some drills and the kids joined in,” Carr said. “We helped establish friendships and connections for the local Baptist mission there, so she could come and visit with those people.”

Student Pastor John Parker feels that they accomplished their goal on several levels.

“We were able to meet students through tennis and various other types of sports, connect them with local missionaries and local bible studies,” Parker said. “We helped start their relationship with Christ and it happened through out the week.”

Unfortunately for Parker, the trip was cut short after breaking his leg during a soccer exhibition on Mar. 15.

“On Tuesday, while playing soccer with some of the university students, I stepped on the ball and turned my foot backwards and broke my leg,” Parker said. “Fortunately, Paul Scott was there and with his 22 years in Radiology, was able to set it right there.”

Due to a complication involving a blood condition called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP, Parker opted to not have leg surgery in Guatemala and flew back to America that night. Another complication appeared as Parker’s spleen needed to be removed before they operate on the broken leg.

“I meet up with Dr. Miller before I left and he suggested I not go on this trip,” Parker said. “I headed down there, thinking nothing’s going to happen.

He is currently residing in Duncan Regional Hospital, recovering from his leg surgery on Thursday. His surgery was delayed to make sure all the Predisone, a steroid, that he was taking for his ITP had left the body before surgery.

“It broke my heart that I had to leave, God was doing so many good things, after the first day, I had six or seven Facebook friends from people we met,” Parker said. “The kids did a good job after I left, maybe God removed me so the kids would take a bigger leadership role and ownership and a key role in the mission and making things happen.”

The visit from the missionaries went so well, Carr said, the students were suggesting that they make the trip up to Oklahoma and visit our home.

“They were interested in bringing a basketball group or a tennis here to visit and play some exhibitions here,” Carr said. “This mission trip was a little different, we weren’t offering medical help or building anything. We made friends from another country and we came back with an appreciation of their culture and thank God for helping us open doors for the students.”