A Beacon of Light
April 30, 2012
Cheerleaders Serve in Guatemala
By Julius Williams
In this harsh and unfortunate society, things can become very difficult at times. Many countries face extreme poverty while others are under distress from diplomatic issues. In every region of the world, many continuous problems preside, angling activist and governmental officials to fight for awareness and assistance. Even though we go through our tribulations here in the United States, they are no match for some of the devastating dilemmas other countries face every day. With the world’s constant turmoil and troubles, having someone to simply show compassion and care could make the world of a difference. Here at Southeastern, we strive to provide that beacon of light to others.
Recently Coach Deb Beck and the cheerleading team went to Guatemala on a missions trip in support of children in need. Although a close proximity geographically, Guatemala possess some extreme differences that Coach Beck and her team would soon learn. “Leaving for this trip none of us knew quite what to expect, including the missionaries who hosted us,” Coach Beck stated. “We were there first ever Cheerleading team and they really didn’t know what they were going to do with us. We hit the ground running so to speak as we went directly from the airport to our first visit. It was an orphanage that housed approximately 500 children. It was apparent from our first assembly that cheerleading was going to make a huge impact on those we met in Guatemala.”
The goal was to touch as many lives as possible while serving in the orphanage. Each day, the cheerleading team pushed themselves to make that difference. Sophomore Jessica Holland believes that their efforts did not go unnoticed. “In Guatemala, cheerleading is not that popular and they really didn’t know what it was until we got there. The missionaries that we were with kept on saying to us that y’all are really getting to these kids because they are being told my everyone around them that they can’t do what they are passionate about, and they are not worthy, smart enough, etc. For us being there and showing them differently affected them dramatically.”
But not only were the children from Guatemala affected. The cheerleading team spent several hours helping nurse and care for special needs patients at the orphanage. With having the up close experience of abandonment and severe illness, it became eminent that poverty was a surreal reality that these children have to deal with everyday. This sudden realization changed many of our team’s perspectives on poor communities, especially senior Megan Linder’s. “Just seeing how these kids lived and just having us go there was the biggest difference in the world. If we had people come from different countries, it would be fun but, they wouldn’t have made the difference that we did there. You could really see it in the kid’s faces. It’s difficult to think that they have to go through this hard life because they have to live in certain situations and elements that are fighting against them like poverty and their living conditions.”
Through the process of simply caring and being compassionate to the needy, both the children in Guatemala and our students here at Southeastern have grown in so many levels. This life changing experience has altered the outlook on reality, and has provided the opportunity for our athletic team to be a witness to many others. “After leaving Guatemala I just wanted to come back to the states and just come up to every person I see and just share the Gospel to them because that is what this mission trip did to me,” Holland said. “It’s so amazing how great our God really is and I think we should all share that everywhere we go.”
“It really taught me to grow and connect with kids,” stated Linder, as she reflects on her time in Guatemala. “It reassured me that I really want to work within relationships and with kids. I want to have an impact on their life.” With the success of the missions trip, Coach Beck is very eager to continue making an impact in any way she can. “We are already planning our next mission trip. We are hoping to return to Guatemala to see how some of the seeds we planted have grown. We are looking forward to working with T.C.C.I and the Dream Center in Guatemala.”
With the power of a loving heart, we can help change the world, one step at a time.