Sophomore Sarah Wright traveled to Costa Rica with Discovery this spring. When she returned, she sent this note of thanks to the family and friends that supported her trip.
Thank you so much for all of the prayers and support before and during my mission trip. I am writing to give a brief summary of my amazing trip as it would not have been possible without you all and the Lord. My team and I spent 10 days down in the beautiful and hot Costa Rica. Our main goal was to build a house for a woman in need, and we did exactly that and actually finished two days early! The woman we built the house for was Mayra and her son and daughter-in-law had just had a baby, so there was almost no space left in her house for them. Fortunately, God told Mayra to buy a plot of land 18 years ago and she has been working hard to pay and keep that land the past 18 years. She had no idea what that land would bring and why God told her to buy it until one amazing day at church she received the news that we would build a house for her!
We built the panels for her house and put them up, built the windows and put them in, painted her house, and even helped with the roof. On the day we dedicated the house that she could finally call her own we were blessed with hearing her very moving testimony. It was evident that God had been providing for Mayra her entire life, even amidst struggles. He had been preparing for this exact moment! It could not have been done without the work of the Lord.
Another important area of mission was playing soccer and giving soccer gear to the locals. We played soccer most nights of the trip and got to experience their culture. Whether it was playing with kids on the sideline, trying to spark conversations in Spanish, or just playing our hearts out in soccer, the locals loved it! We gave away over 26 large duffle bags of gear to kids and players and it forever changed their lives. For example, some of the kids we played in soccer didn’t even have shoes to play with, so when we gave them their own pair of cleats, it made them overflow with joy! Every year, the locals, also known as ticos, look forward to the Valor team coming because of how prized a pair of cleats are.
Each member of our team also brought one backpack with whatever God called us to put in it, and the goal was to give it away to whoever we felt called to. So many amazing stories came from that unique project. I gave my backpack to a little girl named Camilla. I had played with her during a soccer game we were watching and she had the cutest smile that I will never forget. When we were leaving she randomly asked me if I had markers, pencils, and paper. Now normally you wouldn’t bring that to a soccer game, but I had brought my backpack and it had just that stuff in it! She did not know I had it but yet asked for it, which shows that God has a plan and is constantly working for our favor! When she opened the backpack and saw the supplies and other stuff in it as well, her eyes completely lit up and I’ve never seen someone more happy!
Another cool backpack story includes one of my teammates, Sylve, and a girl about our age. We were all at church, and Sylve felt called to give her backpack to a girl handing out drinks on a hot day. She gave the girl her backpack and didn’t think much of it, but suddenly the girl burst into tears when she opened it. Her mom and dad also started crying. Sylve did not know why until the pastor came up and said that the girl had asked for everything in that backpack just the day before, but her mom told her they could not afford it, so she wouldn’t get the stuff. It was an amazing moment for her and her family!
One of the biggest lessons we learned on this trip is that God is always looking out for us and is working in mysterious ways to lead us to His glory! Relating that back to the gear giveaways, when the people receive something as simple as a pair of cleats, it means the world to them because they know we are doing it in the name of the Lord. They will forever cherish their cleats and remember who gave it them and why we did.
Soccer is the way of life down there, and whether it be a stress reliever or place to escape all the troubles in the world, it presents a big opportunity for ministering! There were many miracles within soccer too, for example, we had just enough backpacks for a local soccer team, and the smallest pair of cleats we brought, and almost didn’t bother to bring, fit this little kid. It was an amazing experience and God showed up in everything, whether it be swimming in the ocean, driving through the chaotic town, playing soccer, working in the 90-degree weather, and meeting new people.
I will never forget the relationships I made down in the towns of Santa Rosa and Tamarindo and it makes me completely overfilled with joy to know that Mayra is now living in a house with the Lord by her side. Please continue to pray for the locals, Mayra, and Camilla down in Costa Rica and thank you all again for everything! Pura Vida!