March 29, 2019
Kelsie: Guess where I spent for spring break!
This past spring break, a group of Grace students traveled down to Puerto Rico for a mission trip. Maybe you saw the photos, read sappy posts about some “life-changing” experiences, or watched the video (created by Daniel “Danny G” Garcia) that played in chapel this past Friday about what the team did in Puerto Rico. But what really happened in Puerto Rico that has fourteen students and one professor so hyped?
A quick briefing: The team arrived in Puerto Rico on Saturday night. Our home for the week, Camp Caribe, was a two-hour drive from the airport. The next morning, we went to church and spent the rest of the day chilling at Camp Caribe before diving into the work week from Monday-Thursday. Friday was our last full day and we spent it jumping off cliffs in the rainforest and driving through the mountains.
It wasn’t just Patrick McGillicuddy or our fearless leader Ben Lorenz that made this trip so great, it was everything. And by everything I mean the work we did, the kids we met, and that one time Dani Tanner got a frappe shot up her nose.
THE WORK WE DID
First and foremost, I want to get something straight: this was a mission trip, not a vacation. We worked, we sweated, three of us got absolutely fried by the sun, and one girl got exactly 147 mosquito bites on her legs. In the end, all of us will be picking paint out of our hair for the next couple months. This was not a “vacation.”
The main part of our labor consisted of painting. Every morning, we split off into two groups to paint. After lunch, half the group would go play with kids at Club Maravilla (an afterschool kids club), while the other half stayed to shovel piles of rocks into other piles of rocks (and various other odd jobs). We each got two days with the kids and two days with the rocks.
Throughout the entire week, the team was full of joy – no complaints and no frustrations. Each task brought a new blessing with it. We laughed, danced, and the hard work made our friendships even stronger.
THE KIDS WE MET
Club Maravilla, the kids club where we spent half of our days, was my highlight. This club was where our cultures collided, language barriers broke down, and we all realized that foursquare needs to be taken more seriously.
King John, gentle Genesis, and sweet little Jose–these three kids, along with all the rest will stick around in all of our memories. Their sweet smiles were priceless. One might imagine that language would have be an obstacle, but it hardly had an impact. The high fives, thumbs up, and giggles said more than language ever could. However, the kids did try to speak English and we tried to keep up with their Spanish.
THAT ONE TIME DANI TANNER GOT A FRAPPE SHOT UP HER NOSE
Jon-Michael Clark sling-shot a frappe up Dani’s nose, and it stands as a reference for the entire trip. By this I mean that our entire trip was full of goofiness and laughter everywhere we went. Truly, there was never a dull moment. In the car rides, we played games. During work, we sang, danced and laughed. At meal times, we became obsessed with the card game “scum.” There were so many little jokes and funny things that happened constantly that I cannot begin to explain them all to you.
Praise the Lord for Daniel Garcia and Ellie Glass who took pictures and both made videos that we can look back on for the rest of our lives.
Arguably the best part about the entire Puerto Rico experience was the group. In a single week, the strongest of friendships were created. The atmosphere, the joy, and the relationships are all things that will be treasured for the years to come.
What other team members have said about Puerto Rico…
“This probably sums it all up: it made the world a bigger and more realistic place.” – Danny G.
“Working with the kids definitely opened my eyes and helped me realize that, even though some people are less fortunate than we are, everyone is still equal.” – Justin McMaster
“It impacted me in just solidifying that I want to do mission work for a living.” – Jess South
“It was a time for me to really reflect on God’s direction in my life, while I also got a really good cross-cultural experience that impacted what I want to do with my future.” – Joelle Gort
Favorite part or moment about/on the trip?
“The group and all the new friendships!” – Jess South
“My favorite moment was when we were at the church and they were doing the service in Spanish and worshiping in Spanish… just to see how worship has no boundaries and we could connect and understand our brothers and sisters in Christ.” – Joelle Gort
Written By Kelsie Knebl