Spreading God’s Love in Costa Rica

March 28, 2019

Maddie Shah is a familiar face at Galilee. She’s been attending our church with her parents, Ameet and Jen, since she was little. If you haven’t seen much of her or her sister Olivia recently, it’s because they are both at school at JMU. But Maddie returned during Spring Break to speak at the pulpit about her commitment to Galilee’s mission work. 

We talked to Maddie and asked her more about the Costa Rica mission experience.

Mickie Stalcup says hi to returning student Maddie Shah.

Galilee: How many times have you been to Costa Rica? 

Maddie:  I have been to Costa Rica twice in the past two years, and am excited to return this summer! This year I am co-leading the June mission trip with my mom and am grateful for the opportunity to lead. Costa Rica is where I met people I consider family and life-long friends. Trips to Costa Rica have been transformative experiences, as I have grown in what I am capable of and learned what it means to live a life of service. I have learned much about myself, others, and my relationship with God.

Galilee: What is important about the work in Costa Rica? 

Maddie: The collaborative work provides a great way for team members to learn about themselves and the Ticos–another name for Costa Ricans–and to learn about life. When working together, there is a sense of unity and togetherness that brings people together. On a mission trip, nothing is done by just one person. Everything is a group effort.

Galilee: Is it expensive to go to Costa Rica?

Maddie: This year, we have two mission teams traveling and working in Costa Rica in June and July. We raise funds for transportation to and within the country, food, tools and on-site equipment, travel insurance, and more. There will be 23 missioners this year, nearly twice as many as previously, so our fundraising needs are considerable. Galilee members can help! Our fourth annual mission-focused rummage sale will take place on May 4-5. Also, you can take an envelope from the Costa Rica Wall of Giving in the narthex. 

The Wall of Giving goes away after this weekend, so take an envelope this Sunday.

Galilee: What lessons from Costa Rica stick with you in “ordinary life” back in the States?

Maddie: The idea of “Pura Vida.” The words literally mean “pure life” or “simple life.” For Ticos, it means more than that. Pura Vida is a way of life that emphasizes gratitude, not fixating on worries. If a problem occurs at the work site, such as bad weather or a split support beam, the Ticos don’t get frustrated. They’re flexible and find a new way to work through the issue, never placing blame on anyone or anything. I wish more people in the United States would learn not to get caught up in worries.

Maddie with the 2017 Costa Rica team.

Galilee: When you’re down in Costa Rica, you’ll be building a church?

Maddie: The main purpose of a mission trip is not just to complete construction projects. Instead, it is about joining together with people all around the world and building relationships with them. It is about making the world a better place by spreading God’s love to all.

Remember to take an envelope from the Costa Rica Wall of Giving to help our missioners spread love in Costa Rica.