3Circle Students - Costa Rica Trip
By: Madison Calkins
On June 15th of this year, I embarked on my 2nd trip to Playa Azul, Costa Rica. It was early, 5A early, but that did not quiet the buzz of excitement coming from our group of North Campus students and leaders.
When I found out, months prior, that we would be returning to Costa Rica, I was initially somewhat bummed. I wanted to see new places and meet new people. I wanted to be able to check off another country and add it to my resume, so to speak, of cool places I had visited. Little did I know that this second trip to Costa Rica would change everything.
Playa Azul is in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. It is a small beach village that originated from only 60 families. Since then, it has grown and become home to many more families, as well as a place called Casa Vida.
Casa Vida is a church that hosts missionaries and helps care for the people of Playa Azul. There, we stayed in bungalows, ate our daily meals, worked, and bonded. We would not have been able to return to Costa Rica or accomplish the things we did without our Casa Vida family!
While in Playa Azul we worked long, hot, and humid days. We dug out foundations, scaffolded, made rebar, mixed concrete, carried concrete slabs and poles, and more. In the trying times of exhaustion, the Lord gave us strength that we did not know we had. Despite the language barrier, we were able to communicate in our own ways and execute the plans set before us.
With work, comes play, and in Playa Azul there was lots of play. We must have played dozens of games of ping pong, foosball, and cards. One night in particular, we invited some children from the village to come and hangout with us. We had handmade bracelets, bibles, and bookmarks ready to give out, and my heart fluttered in anticipation for all of them to arrive. When the gates opened and all the kids ran in, my heart stopped. I recognized them, and I knew them.
I feel as though, in that moment, the Lord probably chuckled and said, “See Madison, there is a reason I wanted you back in Playa Azul.”
I had been so blinded by the fact we were going somewhere I had already been that did not see the beauty in that very thing.
I had the opportunity to return to a country where relationships had already been established, and I had the opportunity to strengthen those very relationships.
Today, 2 months after my trip, I have been able to reunite with Pastor Chespi, his wife Mile, and their son Emmanuel. I have been able to video chat with our wonderful translator and friend, Alvaro, as well as speak to others in the village.
Not everyone can say they have family in Costa Rica, but I am lucky enough to say I do. With that, I encourage you to take a leap of faith and pursue a global mission trip, and if you have the opportunity, go back to that country. It is so fulfilling to return and see the progress and change that occurred while you were away.
Without 3Circle Church, I would not have returned to Casa Vida and reunited with our friends there. Their drive to serve locally, regionally, and globally is what is changing the world as we know it today. When we serve we are putting our faith into action and doing what we are called to do: love others and share the Gospel.
Thank you, CVPA and 3Circle Church, for showing me that barriers can be broken and relationships can stand strong, even 2,765 miles away.