Hello all you lovely people! Hope this letter finds you well.
Thank you all so much for supporting my trip to Costa Rica! Whether that meant supporting me financially, emotionally, prayerfully, or mentally. I am so grateful to have gone on this trip! As always, God taught me a thing or two.
We had a great time as our team bonded instantly and created so many memories to last a lifetime!
Our mission was to work with Roblealto, a childcare center for children who are at-risk due to poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, abuse, behavioral problems, and substance abuse in the home. Currently there are approximately 700 children receiving services through Roblealto.
Our team was divided into two groups where we worked directly and indirectly with the children. One group went to 15 de Setiembre and the other went to El Manantiel. My group (15 de Setiembre) scraped old paint off a large outside concrete wall, cleaned trashcans and the kitchen, and worked with children in their classrooms helping them learn, eat, and dress/groom themselves.
We prepared workshops for classrooms of various ages. When I say “we,” I really mean one of the adult leaders of our trip, Britni. God used her in an amazing way on this trip. Kind of similar to how I was used so specifically last year. God is so cool, huh? Britni already had over 50 Spanish/English lesson plans prepared as she volunteers at North Point Community Church by teaching Spanish to preschool aged children. This was SUCH a blessing. She orchestrated and strategically planned every lesson and taught us what to say and do! She provided crafts, songs, and games for 120 children in Spanish and English!
My partner and I were assigned to the 2 and 3 year old classroom. I thought, “easy, I got this. I work with 2 and 3 year old children all day, everyday.” Working with 2 and 3 year olds that speak English is vastly different than working with 2 and 3 year olds who speak Spanish. And for some reason, my Spanish was NOT coming back to me. AT ALL. Imagine me timidly singing a lengthy body part song, in Spanish, afraid of what those toddlers thought of my Spanglish. It was pretty comico. They were adorable, but not convinced. How was I going to make a life-lasting impression on these kids when I couldn’t even speak their language?
Lets get back to the wall. THE WALL. Oh man. At first, this goal seemed totally obtainable. We were so pumped to get the old paint off the wall and start a fresh new coat of paint on that bad boy. Well, to this day, that wall still remains half chipped away at. Kind of like my heart. Haha, just kidding. But seriously. We all started getting stir crazy as we chipped away and chipped away. And chipped away. My performance driven nature was being chipped away at. We did this for 7 hours for 2 days. On the bright side of things, our group really got to know each other! Also, 15 de Setiembre was very appreciative of our diligent work! We made small gains for a bigger purpose.
In the wee hours of the morning on the 3rd workday, I was called to duty as the team nurse. One of the students woke up in the middle of the night with some pretty gut wrenching stomach pains. I came in with my backpack full of goodies and anti-this and anti-thats to ease the pain. Well, it kind of worked. I stayed back with this student all day at the hotel and nursed her back to life. Okay, I made her drink water and laid there watching Friends all day. Nothing life-changing, right? Another moment of making small gains for a bigger purpose, maybe?
So that was kind of the theme of my trip this year. This might be cheesy, but a quote by Vincent Van Gogh sums up the trip for me- “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” A verse in 2 Corinthians also comes to mind: “For we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.”
This year I went on a trip expecting some big things; some life-changing, obvious, apparent moments that needed to be seen by all. But God had other plans for me. He was using me in a small, unseen way that softened my heart a little bit more. The tiny chips of paint, quietly staying with a sick student, singing broken Spanish to 2 and 3 year olds. Those things may seem small, insignificant, or may appear unseen to some. But I believe those series of small things may add up to great things. Great things that are eternal and aren’t temporary.
This also encouraged me through everyday life. Everyday life is not like a mission trip. We do mundane, small things most of our days. But that is okay. Better than okay. God can use us in great ways by doing smaller things day by day.
Love you all. Thank you again for supporting, loving, praying, and being there for me. Those texts, donations, emails, and prayers may have seemed small, but they helped me out in a huge way. I want to encourage you to seriously think about going on a mission trip. It is such an amazing and eye-opening experience!