Hartfield Academy seeks to be a school community that serves all people - locally and internationally - and Upper School students had the opportunity to witness first-hand the transformative experience of serving God in a new place through this year's Spring Break mission trips. Three mission teams from Hartfield Academy set out in obedience to serve God in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Marks, MS.
Dominican Republic: Hartfield seniors traveled overseas to serve right in the middle of the beautiful landscapes and weather of Pedernales, DR! These students were the hands and feet of Jesus as they participated in preparing packages of rice and beans as a way to share the gospel in local homes, partnering with a local church to have a Vacation Bible School, and their joyful presence in the community allowed for many gospel conversations to happen within the local community and Hartfield community. Upon arrival, our group was welcomed by Hispaniola Mountain Ministries who welcomed them with open arms as they partnered together for a week of sharing Christ in all things.
Rachel Stegall, Hartfield senior, had the unique opportunity to get baptized in the Dominican. The Lord evidently worked in her life during her time on mission and we are praising God for another sister in Christ! Rachel took to Facebook to share her experience. “This was the most rewarding trip because I was able to find Jesus in myself as well as share His love with these incredible people. I want to shout this from the mountains: when God feels the farthest, He’s closer than you’ve ever known. Don’t give up. Look for Him anyways. I will be going back as soon as I possibly can.” It was evident the Lord worked through the life of our students!
Guatemala: A group of Upper School students traveled to Guatemala to serve in different schools and interact with the people there. The students quickly build relationships with the people and were able to share about Jesus through worship, dancing, and skits. Students even had the opportunity to visit a nearby orphanage where many left with a new perspective on life. It was truly a reminder that God is the only source for our hope and happiness in life - “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. ” 1 John 2:17
With four baptisms in their time in Guatemala, it was evident that God was present and working in the lives of our students and leaders. Abby Bishop, a Hartfield tenth grader, had a forever life change moment that we had the opportunity to hear about. “One night while we were there, I shared my testimony with a Church in the village. I had prayed about it and I knew it was the right decision to do so. Before I went up on the stage I prayed and said, “God please let my story be an inspiration to at least ONE person here.” After the Church service, a girl from the village walked up to me and told me that she often has the same thoughts that I had, thoughts of loneliness and thoughts that she was never good enough. She went on to tell me that every morning she wakes up and is consumed by the thoughts of the enemy. What she told me next would completely shock me. She said that after hearing my testimony, she was inspired. Inspired to keep going and choose to listen to the voice of God! The day we returned back to the US, she sent me a message through instagram saying “Today I woke up in a different way, God is good at all times!” Knowing that the hard times in my life inspired another girl to keep going with her life brings me pure joy. That is such a God thing.” Sometimes we never get to see the seeds that God allows us to plant in someone’s life, but for Abby, she was able to see how the Lord worked through her and showed her that He is ALWAYS there.
Abby left with a new sense of closeness to God that we feel many students experienced. Sometimes we have the thought that we are there to serve others, but sometimes God allows us to be humbled and see that our life apart from the Lord is unsatisfying. Our students came back on fire for Jesus and we are thrilled to see what comes of their new found passion!
Marks, MS: The first couple days of Spring Break for a group of Hartfield students and adult leaders were spent serving a unique place in the Mississippi Delta: the humble yet special town of Marks, Mississippi. Marks is a rural town largely dependent upon farming and has experienced significant amounts of poverty due to the nation’s radical farming operations changes in recent decades. While in Marks, our mission team participated in service days in the community, and other days partnered with a group from First Baptist Starkville to help kick off the first day of their Spring Break camp at First Baptist Marks. Our students were excited to serve, and it was really encouraging to see the Lord at work throughout the trip! This mission trip was packed with intentional service opportunities, and Hartfield is blessed to be able to meet the needs of those most vulnerable in the state of Mississippi.
“The Lord revealed how much He works through sharing our stories of how He has been at work in our lives, even if we feel as though we do not have such a huge story laid out. The evening of sharing how the Lord has been working was such a special time!” shared Hartfield leader, Martha Rayner. "I noticed that even in our own state, people go to church and worship differently but all have one thing in common which is that we all worship the same God."
When we give God our "yes," He moves! We certainly saw His evident work throughout each mission trip story brought back home. Our students served so well, and we know that God is going to continue to water the seeds that have been planted within the hearts of those ministered to!
Hartfield Academy is fully accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Southern Association of independent Schools (SAIS).