By: AJ Toler, Shield Editor
The sweet singing voices of young children filled the Costa Rican ministry as they were led in worship. The high schoolers of NRCA may not have understood the Spanish lyrics, but they undoubtedly felt the love of Christ flowing throughout the room.
NRCA’s high school students were blessed with the opportunity to travel to San José, Costa Rica, with Metro Ministries to share the gospel with children of all ages in local communities. A total of 22 students attended the mission trip over spring break to host three days of Vacation Bible School and returned to the States with rich life lessons, everlasting memories, and flushed complexions.
Tenth grader Reese Ritter said, “Sometimes we played soccer with [the children], we colored with them, and you could just see how happy they were…and they kind of got to escape from the struggles that they have.”
Kicking around a soccer ball and pouring out a box of crayons were simple acts meant to help the children feel cared for, showing that a small thing we take for granted can be a blessing for another. The high school students spent time preparing their Vacation Bible School prior to the trip and exemplified excellent teamwork skills to provide a fun experience for the children.
“We all had the same goal in mind,” Ritter said. “We were all trying to get there to help the kids because they are struggling in their communities.”
Children in the communities NRCA visited are often impacted by poverty and domestic instability. The high school students strived to share the glory of God to instill hope.
Student Body Vice President Lillie Wright also attended the mission trip and said, “I was talking to one of the pastors in Spanish, and he asked if I could get together a group to deliver a pamphlet to the village describing how Jesus loves them and encouraging them to get involved in the church.”
Not only did the NRCA high schoolers spread the gospel to children in Costa Rica, but they also reached out to adults in hopes of creating a community that is rooted in Christ.
Wright said, “I will never forget hearing the phrase ‘Dios te ama’ [God loves you] and the people there who showed kindness and joy in everything they do.”
The NRCA students were welcomed with open arms and shown how one’s love for God is expressed in different cultures.
“I’ve learned to never take anything for granted and that I am fully reliant on God for my every need,” Wright said. “You will understand more of who Jesus is by going on a trip like this.”
The mission trip attendees hope that other students will take advantage of the opportunities at NRCA to travel around the world and spread God’s Word, both to help others and to grow their own faith.
“It’s good to give [the children] some hope and a time that they can remember, hopefully, for the rest of their lives,” said Ritter.
The NRCA high schoolers may regret not wearing enough sunscreen while in Costa Rica, but they are more than grateful for the knowledge they gained while immersing themselves in a different culture and spreading the love of Jesus.