Mission Trip Recap
I had the privilege of going to Costa Rica last week for a mission trip with my Charis Bible College classmates. It was a great time that I am thankful I had the opportunity to experience. I’ll give you guys a quick recap of the trip along with some personal highlights and then talk about my takeaway at the end.
First off, we had an absolutely awesome host family. If you ever consider going to Costa Rica with a group, I would highly recommend the Wisdom family with Simple Wisdom Ministries and In Motion Ministries who helped facilitate our trip as well. I feel a little sorry because only the guys got to stay with the Wisdom family while the women and one couple we had in our group stayed offsite in a motel. We had much better food from what I understand and got to spend more time with the Wisdom family, who were really fun to hang out with. They far exceeded our expectations.
Here is what we did on each day of the trip:
- Sunday: Met with missionaries from Costa Rica.
- Monday: Intro meeting with In Motion. Practice sharing with an interpreter. Youth Rally at night.
- Tuesday: Met with local outreach that ministers to prostitutes. Helped them with their housing project. Street ministry with their team at night.
- Wednesday: Went to an orphanage. Helped them paint. Played with the kids. Debrief in the afternoon. Dinner and fellowship at night.
- Thursday: Shopping at the local market. Visited an orphanage. Church at night.
- Friday: Visited a church in one of the slums in Costa Rica. Put on a show for their kids. Gave them food and played games with them.
- Saturday: fun day at the beach.
- Sunday: return flight home.
There were three particular parts that stood out for me. The first was the outreach we worked with on Tuesday. Because of the situations they deal with, they try to stay under the radar if possible so I’m not sure I’m even able to mention the name of their ministry, so I won’t. We weren’t allowed to take pictures while we were out with them to give you an idea. Anyways, I was really impressed with the two girls who headed up this organization. They gave us a presentation to help us understand the severity of the prostitution problem in Costa Rica and what these people deal with. I was not aware before I came, but prostitution is legal in Costa Rica. We came away with a much different perspective. As we joined them on their regular outreach they do on Tuesdays, we saw firsthand the relationships they have developed with these people on the street. They bring them coffee or tea, hang out and see how they can pray with them. I was thinking there would be some resistance from the other end, but they were all very open and excited to see the girls. These girls really showed them the unconditional love of God. I came away humbled and inspired.
The second highlight of the trip for me was when I got to speak at the church we went to on Thursday. There weren’t very many people there, only about 50, half of which were my classmates but it’s all good. My focus was on the Costa Ricans that were there. I wanted to preach something simple to ensure my point would get across. I taught on the first part of John 21 and emphasized God’s ability to work in our lives and His heart to spend time with us. I gave some practically examples of how God has worked in my life. I thought it went pretty well…except for the end when I asked people to come up for prayer and nobody did #Akward. After it happened I was thinking about it and asked myself why I didn’t just go ahead and pray for them myself. Then I remembered one of the reasons I went the direction I did with the speech is because I knew many of my classmates wanted to pray for these people and see God work in miraculous ways. I saw my speech as an opportunity to usher the people up to get blessed and my classmates to put to practice some things we learned in school. I never even fathomed that nobody would come up. My heart was right…just didn’t quite get the execution down this time. But all in all it was fun and I’m glad I was able to minister to them and get another opportunity to work on my public speaking skills.
The third highlight was going to the slum village on Friday and ministering to the kids. This is how I envisioned most of the trip being like. We saw some extreme examples of poverty there. The church was small. The temperatures were very hot (over 100 degrees). The needs were great. To give some context, we brought a few soccer balls to play soccer and dodge ball with. I probably had about 10 kids ask me if they could have the soccer ball we were playing with (Note to self: bring soccer balls next time we go). It was cool for me to see how much of a difference we could make in their lives just by spending some time with them. Their faces lit up when we gave them some attention. The pastor of the church we visited was going through a particularly tough time and we were able to bless her with a gift from the group.
The other thing that was really cool was the boat ride we took on our fun day at the beach. I negotiated an awesome group rate for my team…$1 off per person which was 20% off because the ride was only $5 :). Some people were questioning whether it would be safe or not, but then we noticed the boat owner had a scripture on the back of his shirt, so we knew it would be ok. I was busy Deejaying the ride with my phone through a wireless speaker, so unfortunately I did not get any pictures, but I remember feeling God’s presence very much so. Granted, we can’t always go by feelings, we need to know He is there with us whether we feel it or not, but it was good to get that feeling. We listened to Amazed, Good Good Father and more songs that I thought were pretty appropriate for the situation and others on the ride with me seemed to be very blessed by it as well.
Going into the trip I always thought of myself as more of a “sender” then a “goer” in regards to mission trips. My attitude was that I am happy to help anybody I know who is willing to go, but I wasn’t really interested in going myself. I went on this trip because it is required to graduate and I was a little curious to experience what it’s like to be a missionary. Turns out Andrew Wommack knows what’s he’s doing when it comes to his Bible school curriculum. There is a reason he wants every graduate to go on a mission trip. Bible school graduates tend to get a little arrogant and puffed up from the knowledge they get. When you go on a mission trip, it humbles you. You walk away thankful for everything you have in your life. You walk away inspired to see how you can help in any way possible. You walk away closer to God from the experience because it forces you to rely upon Him.
This doesn’t mean God is more pleased with me now or that I’m better than anybody else because I went. It was a lot of fun though and helped me get a different perspective on things that will help me going forward. I would definitely give it a shot if you ever have a chance to go on a mission trip. In the meantime, enjoy my picture gallery below as the next best thing. Thanks to all who helped support both financially and prayerfully! See ya guys next week.