My heart is so beyond full.
This past week, God blessed me with the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with 70 other high school seniors. To start off, I was a little nervous to go on this trip. Originally, I applied to Honduras, but Darren (our youth pastor) called me and asked if I would want to go to Costa Rica instead since there weren't a lot of seniors going on that trip. It took me a while to pray over it and decide that I was going to trust Darren and go. Boy, Darren was right. This trip was nothing less than amazing.
The children. Man, oh man. Those children have my heart. My team was at a public school named Leon XIII. This was in deep San Jose in one of the poorest parts. When we first walked in, all the children started smiling, screaming, laughing and giving us high fives. SO much joy was in the air. Some of those children had nothing, but they had so much love. We would spend about an hour and a half with each classroom. Monday and Wednesday were our days with the kids. The language barrier was very difficult, but something kept reminding me that love has no language. One of my favorite moments of that week was when I had the opportunity to talk to these two girls for almost an hour and a half. All in spanish, but it was so amazing to build a relationship with them. One of the two girls had so much grace that even when I apologized for my broken spanish she replied with, "it's okay. You are still learning." Just like that, she showed me so much grace at such a young age. She was 9. Another moment that stood out to me was that when I was painting one day a little girl ran up to me and asked, "when are you coming to my class?!" It broke my heart. These kids strive for affection and love and attention. Words can't begin to describe the way I love those children.
Tuesday and Thursday we painted. Compared to building a relationship with the children, painting seemed so little, but I found out quickly it wasn't. When we started to paint, all the kids ran up to us to see what we were doing. With smiles on their face, they were so happy that we were painting. During the day, they ran up to us to help us paint and talk to us. Our team painted two hallways and decorated the walls with trees. The way just a simple act of painting changed the whole atmosphere in that school.
Words can't begin to describe how blessed I am to have been able to go on this mission trip. Part of my heart will always be in Costa Rica. Thank you to all our leaders, OpenHouse and our team for being incredible influences and helping us deepen our faith. I am so thankful for my team and how we all just bonded so well. Senior year watch out, IO seniors are coming for you!