This summer, churches are sending people all over the world — to Germany, Brazil, India, France, England and many other countries to spread the gospel. Among them, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is sending youth to Costa Rica and Christ Fellowship youth are traveling to Bolivia to answer the call to go into the world and make disciples. It is an opportunity for middle and high school students to get out of their comfort zone and put their faith into practice.
From Coral Ridge to Costa Rica
Costa Rica, a former colony of the Spanish Empire, has a huge religious presence. According to “World Factbook,” about 92 percent of the population claims some Christian denomination and only 3.1 percent claims no religion at all. However, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale believes they are called to help out an already established church in Jacó, Costa Rica.
“I feel as if God has brought us Holly Bunch as a blessing. [A woman]from First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale told us about a group of churches building a home for a family,” said Pastor Dylan Kallioinen, adding, “We are excited to join this sustained effort and bring kids into the mission field.”
While they are there, the short term mission team will participate in a surf ministry and assist in building a house for a local family. Pastor Dylan hopes that the kids would be able to leave this short-term mission trip with long-term love for the people they served.
The team will be in Costa Rica for 8 days and assist with Radical Life Church. The team includes 19 students and 6 adult leaders. “There are many reasons why I am excited to go on this summer’s Costa Rica trip,” exclaimed Student Grace Gutwein before they left. “I am excited to experience the Central American culture and see how they live… I know that God is working all around the world (not just here in the United States) and this is a great chance to see it for myself.”
Chris MacCluggage, who has travelled to Nicaragua, Chicago and Puerto Rico with Coral Ridge Youth Ministries in the past, said, “I love connecting with the kids so much that I was inspired to learn to speak Spanish, so I could better communicate with them. I have had awesome experiences on these past trips and plan to have another great and life changing trip to Costa Rica.”
Another student returning to missions, Jason Saenz, said “It was awesome to see the impact we made at the church by playing with the kids and also doing work around the church. I grew closer to God while on these trips and I think that short term mission trips help to glorify God.”
Christ Fellowship in Bolivia
Taking a team of students to Bolivia this summer, Christ Fellowship saw an opportunity to dispel a popular misconception that mission trips are nothing more than over glorified vacations.
“To those who believe this, it is worth stepping out of your comfort zone and committing yourself to something bigger,” said Nick Mills of Christ Fellowship, adding, “instead of seeing God only work here in Florida, you get to see him work in different cultures!”
They will be travelling to Cochabamba, a small valley city nestled in the Andes mountain range in central Bolivia. Being landlocked, Bolivia is deprived of much of the tourism and fame that most other South American nations receive.
Children’s Impact Network partnered with Christ Fellowship in order for this trip to happen. The team went to the Bolivia Life Center for 8 days where they built relationships with the people and worked hard at the Life Center. The humble missionaries knew this wasn’t an easy trip to make; yet, they were excited for what God had in store for them.
How to Assist With Missions
Many kids, who have a heart for the Great Commission, need financial support. What they need is for family and friends alike to help donate to the expenditures.
“A lot of times the students will reach out to people, and sometimes people will reach out to donate themselves,” said Nick. “These students want to serve and many want to assist them in this goal.”
If you would like to assist in a mission trip, ask your pastors to see how you may assist in the Great Commission. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Geoffrey Still is an intern with Good News, and former student editor of Calvary Christian Academy’s SOAR.ccaeagles.org and founder of the “Crusader Corner” at Coral Springs Christian Academy.