Posted by Christine Szekeres in Costa Rica on March 18, 2016
What can I say about spending a month in Costa Rica? It was exciting, yet challenging and frustrating at times. Most of all though, it was beautiful. From the mountains, to the sunrise and the sunsets, God’s creation was all around me. I saw the most beauty of God’s creation however, in the people. It was incredible to see that all these people are also made in the image of God, the same as you and me.
I spent a month serving at Campamento Roblealto in the mountains in San Jose de la Montaña, Barva, Heredia, Costa Rica with another intern, Griffey. My time there was a huge opportunity for growth personally and spiritually. God chose me to be used to further His kingdom. I accepted the calling and I cheerfully served in whatever way I was needed. There’s something so beautiful about humbling yourself and putting others before yourself, and just being cheerful about serving them. I was able to let the light of Christ shine through me, and I believe the people I interacted with saw that through my actions.
My first week was spent working on service team in the kitchen. It was a great time of bonding with the staff and learning to become humble and serve where we were needed. We set tables, put out food, swept, and mopped, and hand washed hundreds of dishes every day. Week two, I was with the preschool group taking pictures and working programs. I got to play with the kids, run activities, and even was asked to come up with a game. Taking pictures that week was a great opportunity to catch a smile on the face of kids just having fun, and playing with each other. Doing the mud course with the kids was the most fun part of that week. Getting to run through mud, and just get messy with the kids was a blast. The joy on their faces was totally worth being out of my comfort zone and getting muddy. Later that week I was with the school aged kids doing programs, and the activities were so much fun. From getting water thrown on me by kids, to a whole bucket dumped on me by someone on program staff, that week was full of surprises.
During my third week there, I was back in the kitchen. This time there were less people that spoke English. I was thrown back into an uncomfortable place, and if I’m being totally honest, I really struggled that week. I was serving, and doing so happily. However, I being someone who struggles daily with anxiety, hit a wall, and I was a mess. They rearranged the tables in the dining hall, to make it more interesting for the kids. Along with that, because new people had come in, they didn’t know my system for the dishes. I immediately struggled with my need for organization. I had to quickly learn that I couldn’t have things be organized the way I wanted. This was for the kids, not for me. That is when God used Griffey in my life the most. Without Griffey, that day I would have totally lost focus. We prayed together, and talked, and I went back to work. The Lord knew what he was doing when he didn’t send us alone. Having each other during that month was crucial. We helped each other, but most of all we learned from each other. I learned more that week than any other. I saw myself grow, and sought to connect with God even deeper than I had before.
As we entered our final week, I experienced many emotions and feelings. We had two days of work that week before the rest of our team arrived for a week of service. When our team was to arrive, it was going to be a totally different week than we had experienced before. We didn’t know what to expect. I had been in a routine for a few weeks, and that routine was about to totally change. Though it was difficult changing routine, it was totally worth it. Our final week was spent working with kids from the Hope Project. These are kids that live in a slum community. I’ve spent time working with homeless, and kids from poor communities, but this was the first time I had gone into a slum community. My heart broke. Not out of pity, but the way that God’s heart breaks when He sees broken people. I immediately just desired to love those kids like our Father loves us. After all is said and done, Costa Rica gave me the chance to change who I am. I am being molded into who God wants me to be. I am furthering His kingdom every day. Pura Vida!
Written by Kady Treagesser