Today, the first day of the Costa Rica mission trip, was a rough day at the start, but eventually became very streamline and relaxed. Getting up at 2:30 a.m., in order to allow myself to properly wake up, before leaving for the airport, was hard to do and made accomplishing tasks early in the morning tough, but once everyone was through security at Dulles everything was easy and I was wide awake. That was the roughest part of the day by far and the rest was actually very relaxing.
Being able to sleep on the plane, talk to old friends, meet new friends, and play games made the day very fun. On the first flight the majority of the youth and the leadership were asleep, but some were wide awake playing games keeping the others awake. Once we had arrived at the Methodist Center in Alajuela, everyone was very relaxed and optimistic for what awaited them inside. First impressions: very nice facilities, very nice staff, and most of all GREAT FOOD! We had lunch almost immediately after arriving then we got to have a break until dinner. We played games outside and intense card games until the dinner bell. Then we had dinner, our evening program, and then we got to relax again, mostly involving card games. Our first day in Costa Rica has been a great one and it is unforgettable.
When leaving my house this morning I was tentative about this trip. Not because I was nervous about going out of the country and was unsure if I would have a good time, but I unexpectedly got ill the day before our departure and while standing in the airport I felt worse than I had in a long time. Thankfully I was surrounded by some of the kindest and most understanding people I have ever met and I could feel their good wishes gravitating towards me and it gave me the will power to go through my day as if I felt fine. I still felt really sick, but once I arrived in Costa Rica and saw the beauty surrounding me, I knew that I had so much to look forward to that I would easily be able to momentarily forget this trial.
Ironically enough, this evening at program we began to go through the book of James. We looked deeply into the context of the book and tore apart the first few verses. “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete.” As Mr. Berlin discussed in one of his sermons, bad situations are not actions of God’s will- it was not God’s will for me to get sick right before this trip. However, it is how I will grow from it that will define not only myself as a person but myself as a Christian.
One of my favorite bible verses is I Timothy 4:12 which states that just because we are young we must not let others look down upon us, but we must set an example for other believers in speech, life, love, faith, and purity. I feel that at this time when we are all learning how to conquer our trials and grow as individuals, we are also showing the global community that it doesn’t matter our age or in my case my lack of Spanish abilities, and that as long as we set an example of faith, we can make a change on the world.
As we sit at the tables in the dining room playing cards, reminiscing on our amazing food, thinking of our nice hosts, and preparing for the week ahead of us I am full of excitement. I don’t know what jobs I will be doing, how many kids I will have in my VBS class, but I know that at the end of the trip we will all feel truly blessed to have been part of such a journey.
Today was a very long, but greatly fulfilling day. We arrived at the airport around 3:30 and checked our baggage at the station before making our way to the gate. Although it was early, some good breakfast places were open and most of us were able to get a bite to eat before sitting on our 2 hour flight into Miami.
In Miami we had a slight layover. During this time I didn’t know very many people so I was afraid I would have trouble making friends, but the second I started playing cards, a whole group of us got together and have been playing ever since. No, I’m serious we are playing right now. The games here have really helped me get to know people I might not otherwise have known as well.
Another highlight for me was the pool. Although there were some quirks, such as bugs (but what can you expect, we’re in the tropics) it was yet another great way to strengthen our cohesion as a group. I now know basically everyone’s name, whereas this morning I only knew a few. I am extremely grateful for the new relationships I have made in just one day here in this beautiful country and am looking forward to new ones I will make tomorrow.