“’For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
A Message From The 2020 Team
Our team has taken this time to reflect on the trip and what God did in our hearts as we settled back into our daily lives here at home. Your support in the preparation, funding, and prayer during our time in Costa Rica made this experience possible, and we want to each share a bit about what we learned in our week at La Montaña Christian Camp:
This trip to Costa Rica was my first (Lord willing not my last) international mission trip. I had zero expectations of what our living environment would be like BUT I did have some expectations of the jobs I’d be a part of doing and ways I would be serving our AMAZING GOD. I wasn’t expecting to be “sidelined” so to speak. Clearly God had other plans for me. God showed me I needed to step aside and let Him use me where He wants me. God showed me that even though the heart wants to, sometimes the body can’t, and I need to be okay with that. I learned a new level of trust in God. I also came away with a much higher appreciation for being obedient to God’s call right where I’m at. He will do mighty things through me, I just need to let Him. The time spent at La Montaña and with the camp staff was such an enormous blessing! I am so thankful for the support of everyone who donated to send our team, and for all who prayed for us throughout our entire trip.
When I first heard about the possibilities of partnering with La Montaña Christian Camps for a mission trip, I must admit, I was selfishly excited. It was an opportunity to work with students all the while developing leaders–my two passions. This trip did not disappoint. Obviously, this was a small team, but it contained strong and faithful young adults. They worked hard, and left everything they had on the field every day. There was not one thing they said no to, nor one challenge they turned away from. They encouraged me with every activity they led and prop they made. On top of that, the people we met were amazing examples of what God could do with a life. Many of the employees and volunteers at the camp were once students that first heard of Jesus, at the camp, and wanted to give their time so other students could hear about Jesus’ love. On top of that, the students we encountered were full of joy and love: as one student told us, “It doesn’t matter if you speak Spanish, you are family now.”
I have been on countless mission trips to Mexico, primarily as an interpreter and as a leader for the High School group. However, this was a completely different experience. This time around, I was able to reflect on my own understanding of the Lord and where I am in my walk. Being able to disconnect from the distractions and comfort of “home,” I was able to really see where God has been evident and faithful in my life. I am thankful for the reminders I was shown through the people of La Montaña and my team members. This was an experience like no other in which I am thankful and blessed to have had experienced with the help from those who supported us!
I went on the trip with very little of what to expect. La Montaña has been called the “Hume Lake“ of Costa Rica. I’ve heard about Hume and the type of programs they run there but have never experienced it, so it was neat to see how a youth camp is run and the mountains of work it takes to get the program running for the year. One “Take Away”: God works just as much (if not more) through prayer, as he does through productivity.
Through our trip to Costa Rica, I was able to be reminded of the simple truth – “God loves me.” Growing up Christian, this is something you hear all the time, yet it is obnoxiously challenging to constantly embrace. I could say I know that truth, yet I wouldn’t live in it. Though those same words are said just as powerfully or intentionally here as in Costa Rica, it took me going all the way over there to be willing to hear them.
My experience was a little different than I expected. Although I told myself I was going in with zero expectations, I definitely had a few. I expected to be working constantly, but that’s not what God had in his plan for me. I ended up getting sick for a few days, and for a while, I felt so disheartened, and asked God constantly why I was even on this trip if I couldn’t be of help. Of course, I was able to help work on the stage later on and whatever else they needed, but during that time of sickness, I felt useless. However, Bill once briefly mentioned that prayer is just as powerful as serving, if not more powerful. I came to realize that God isn’t always going to put me on the front lines, and that He can use me wherever I am. I was able to pray constantly while resting (when I wasn’t sleeping, that is). Additionally, I got to know some of the staff better and totally fell in love with the camp, as well as growing very close to all our team members. God willing, I’m hoping to return next year and serve in whatever capacity God wants me to.
First and foremost, this trip was a privilege to experience. Not just because an opportunity was given to serve somewhere away from home, but because it proclaimed God’s character. He is consistent. Distance, time, fear, change, confusion- nothing separates us from His presence. He meets us where we are, in the moment, in the very room. His presence is not only what I could feel, but tangibly see in those around me. In the labor, the love, the people, the worship. It was incredible to see the people of Costa Rica (and our team) love others, as a result of love from the very same God we serve here. He is no different of a Father to them than He is to me. No closer of a friend, no less of a King. He is the same. Mighty. Faithful. Consistent. It was my privilege to see such a thing, an honor to know and feel, and a blessing to hold as a model for truth.
Definitely one of the greater things the trip in Costa Rica did for me is remind me how to be uncomfortable. Whether it was bugs, beds or cold showers, it reminded me to be content with whatever I’m being given, because it is enough. These things railed against my American sensibilities, but when I got home and took that first hot shower, it was a real moment of thankfulness, because it truly is a blessing, not a need.
This trip was an amazing experience that I won’t forget in a hurry. Being a part of the “behind the scenes” work was such a privilege as God has always given me a heart for manual labor and helping others through my hands rather than my voice. However, God reminded me that week that I can be used through my voice as well. I can only hope that my testimony gave some of the campers hope and a certainty that God can bring you out of any dark situation.
I was reminded of a lot through the process of preparing to go to Costa Rica. Mostly that we are not the ones that are ultimately in control of anything. I prepared with the team and was fully prepared to go but I got sick pretty much the day right before we were to fly out. I’m reminded of Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” NKJV It was a privilege to help mentor and prepare the team before going out of the country. The lasting effects of the little I feel that I accomplished will go much further than I will ever know. God just reminded me to do whatever I do seeking Him with my whole heart, mind and soul and it will be used for His glory, no matter if the outcome is the way that I thought it would turn out or not.
I am so grateful to those of you who have supported me and my team through this experience, whether in prayer, financially, or simply by asking to hear more about our week. One of the most impactful parts of our time in La Montaña was the power of people’s stories. I was struck time and again by the life stories of the staff at the camp, the struggles they’ve overcome, their memories of “meeting Jesus” at the base of the chapel, the love of God that they cling to and share with everyone who comes across their path. I have been inspired by their stubborn joy and constant energy that is poured out daily in every task, and am grateful God brought me to experience a piece of that life in order to emulate it here at home.
Thank you again for your continuous support – our experience with La Montaña has sparked some wonderful conversations, friendships, and growth in our knowledge of God. We hope this is just the beginning of a partnership with the staff there in Costa Rica that may be continued in the coming years. It has been our blessing to take part in the kingdom in whatever way we could, and to know that God continues to go before us in whatever he has in store next.
It has been decided, once again in 2021, The Young Adults group will be going to Costa Rica to serve at the La Montana Christian Camp. This camp is where many of the students in Costa Rica have their only opportunity to see youth specific programming during the entire year. The Young Adults group will be assisting by running activities and counseling the students.
This trip does come at a cost. The team will need to raise $20,000 for transportation, room and board. If you are interested in being a part of this journey, there are three ways you can help:
- Share: Tell your friends about this team of students who are willing to give up their winter break to serve students.
- Pray: We believe in an all powerful God that can do all things. We also see that throughout the Bible, God is moved as we intercede for one another in prayer. This, which often appears to be the least we can do, is literally the most we can do!
- Donate: If you have the means, please prayerfully consider donating to the group.
We look forward to returning to share the stories of how God changed the lives of the students in Costa Rica!