FLATWOODS Brenda Prescott is on a mission — much of the time.
The retired teacher has served on mission trips since her first one in 1982, when she was in college and witnessed to other students on spring break in Fort Lauderdale.
“The ones on the beach were the ones you could talk to because they were just sunbathing,” the 58-year-old recalled. “Occasionally, we ran across an inebriated one, which was interesting.”
On that trip, she said she learned a lesson. “I ran out of money twice,” she said, noting she had faith and soon found a 20-dollar bill in the street. “I saw the Lord provide in many ways,” she said.
As a member of the Flatwoods Freewill Baptist Church, Prescott plays piano and violin in church. She also works in children’s church and Sunday school. It’s her role as mission representative that takes her all over the world to help and to share her beliefs.
“I will go anywhere that the Lord sends me. I will go to the ends of the earth to tell them God loves them,” she said. “All they have to do is give their heart to the lord. ... I love to tell the story to those who have never heard.”
A Texas native, Prescott taught at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville. She also has taught everything from life skills to special needs students to arts and humanities. She saved her money all year so she could pay her own expenses on a summer break mission trip.
Her missions have taken her to Navajo and Hopi reservations to do “whatever was needed, from cleaning and painting to playing with the kids,” she said.
Her first international trip was in 1987, when she attended a missions fair and spoke with a representative from Kenya. She already knew a Kenyan family while in college, learned some Swahili and served as a nanny to their baby, so she was familiar with the culture. She decided to go on the mission and spend 10 weeks there; it was the longest mission she’s served.
By 1990, Prescott’s missions switched direction, traveling to China and places like Haiti, Ecuador and Guatemala, where she would visit at least a dozen times.
She got involved because her pastor’s wife, Geri McCracken, a nurse, served on missions to Guatemala.
“A young man in the church said they needed help,” she recalled.
Prescott said in all her trips to Guatemala, she has had just a couple of scary incidents.
“I got staph and strep in my toe once and could hardly walk,” she said. “We were swimming in a lake and then we saw sewer pipes going into the water.” She said she had an injury to the toe, which allowed bacteria to enter her body.
Then there was the trip in 2000 when she and McCracken took a taxi from the airport to their hotel and were robbed.
“A car pulled up in front and a car pulled up behind. They men had knives and the crawled into the back seat on top of us,” she said. “They wanted our money. They started choking us. He chocked me until I saw stars.”
The robber sliced the strap to her fanny pack and gave her a superficial wound in the process. Eventually, the robbers pushed the women from the vehicle and left.
“We saw some Guatemalan Indians and hailed them,” Prescott said. “They brought us water and we explained what happened. A motorcycle cop came by. ... We went to their office, which was a trailer. There was no computer.”
She said they heard gunshots while at the police substation; shortly thereafter, the officers took the women to their hotel, where they found an American woman who had her husband, a missionary doctor, check the women over. He then took them to the American embassy.
“He stayed with us until the village pastor found a car and came to get us,” she continued. “We lost all the medicine and Bible school material. The ladies in the village made us skirts and took us to their version of Good Will. We ate and slept and went to church with them. They ministered to us.”
Before they left, the village even took up an offering for them — $56, which was a years’ wage for them. “The next year, we went back and we made sure they were doubly blessed.”
She said she enjoys pleasure travel, too, but mission trips allow travelers to get to know the people of the region and have a more immersive experience while helping them.
This year, Prescott has a new travel agenda: She will go to Romania with a group led by Dr. David Bush, a member of Rose Hill Baptist Church. Bush has led mission trips their for 18 years.
Prescott said she’s still learning what to expect on the trip, but said she’s sure it will consist of Bible study, witnessing and praying, as well as providing some basic needs.
Prescott has already started learning Romania through a DVD program at the Flatwoods branch of the Greenup County Public Library; she already speaks some Spanish, French and Swahili.
The unknown obviously doesn’t deter Prescott.
“The Lord is going to be with us and take of us whatever we do,” she said.
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