Welcome to GU Blogs! My name is Sidney Webster, and I will be entering my junior year in the fall. For the Summer of 2019, I will be updating you all on my trips, plans, and adventures as I go. This summer will not be a typical summer for me, for I am traveling a lot and will not be working as much. I wish I could say that by reading this summer blog series you will gain some insight into the life of a college student during the summer, but I don’t think my summer is “normal” enough to call it so. However, college life is pretty chaotic and all over the place at times, so maybe I can. Either way, I hope you join me as I tell the story of my summer 2019!
Summer ‘19 Blog #1: Costa Rica
Every three years, the GU women’s basketball team goes on a mission trip to a third world country. This summer, my opportunity to be a part of the trip arose, so from May 18th through the 25th, I spent my time in San Jose, Costa Rica. The week was full of serving, giving, playing, learning, and praying. It makes sense to tell this story by dividing it into three parts: the before, the during, and the after. So here it goes!
The Before: I was nervous. Long trips like this seem so awesome written down on my bucket list, but when it comes time to leave, my nerves get the best of me. We left Greenville super early in the morning (2 AM to be exact), so I stayed with a friend in Greenville the night before. If I told you that I didn’t shed anxious tears, I would be lying. I knew that it was going to be a trip of a lifetime, but I was afraid of leaving the comfort of my own community.
The During: Our trip was through a company called Score International. They housed us, fed us, drove us, and become our friends. Our motto was, “It’s about them, for Him.” This means that we enter Costa Rica to serve, not to be served, because of our faith in Christ. This mission trip was a basketball mission trip, so of course, we also played basketball. Not only did we play, but we coached too! Each day we hosted at least one, if not two or three, basketball clinics. Soccer is the most popular sport in Costa Rica, so some of the kids had no idea how even to dribble the ball. They also spoke Spanish, and we spoke English, so there was a language barrier present. Even so, we did not let the ability or language stop us from making an impact on these kids. If I learned anything on this trip, it is that there is power in the act of a high-five and a smile. At the end of each day, Coach Mo challenged us to journal about what we saw, what we heard, and what we learned. Throughout the week I saw crazy traffic with motorcycles driving in, out, and between cars, tin homes really close together, lots of greenery and iguanas, communities in poverty, the beach, and friendships form quickly. I heard the rain, Spanish, honking, “Gringos!” (which is Spanish for someone that is not from a Latin-American country), laughter, and ocean waves. I learned to not refer to myself as American if I am thinking about the United States because South Americans are American too, there are no street signs in Costa Rica, happiness comes from following God’s will and not my own, sharing the Gospel is essential, and language is not an excuse to not make connections.
The After: When I returned to the states, and people asked me what my favorite part was, my response was, “Probably the food.” While the food was beyond delicious, the spiritual stirrings of my heart and the meaningful connections I made with the Costa Ricans were better than the food, which is saying a lot. This trip will be one that I remember forever. I encourage all to go on a mission trip if you feel led by God.