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Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Serving as a Way of Life

By Melissa Simmons

When you do something repeatedly it becomes a habit; some habits become so ingrained that it becomes a way of life. This is the case for Scott and Gail Shelton of the Apopka SDA Church in Apopka, Florida.

Once a year beginning in June 2007 and twice a year since 2013, Scott and Gail, and sometimes a team of up to 16 volunteers, travel to a small town called Villa Real, nestled on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Scott spends his time helping the locals with home improvement projects and assistance with food and clothing. While Gail spends her time teaching local ladies how to sew and crochet, enabling them with a craft that they can in turn use to make an income.

Over the years, five homes have either been rebuilt or improved upon. Many of the families live in poverty with homes that have dirt floors and outhouses with no indoor plumbing. These families live in a way that many of us can’t fathom. Scott and Gail and their team of volunteers are often an answer to prayer – giving them a glimmer of hope that they do matter.

During their time in Costa Rica, evenings are spent teaching 40+ young children about how much God loves them during Vacation Bible School. The children enjoy crafts, activities, reading, and singing – for many it is the first experience of God’s love in a tangible way.

The work the Shelton’s have begun does not stop when they return home. During one of their trips a small church was built and one of the locals became employed as the Bible worker. Through him the word of God continues to spread. He has studied with over 150 people in the community, spreading the gospel. This would not have taken place without the seed being planted through the work of Scott and Gail.

God impressed on the Shelton’s many years ago His need for them to go and serve, and as a result many have been blessed and rely on this assistance every year. It is no small task to coordinate and plan a mission trip abroad, but with God’s clear direction nothing is impossible.

If you would be interested in joining the Shelton’s on their yearly mission trips or for more information please, visit

Article from the 2020 Spring issue of Florida Focus