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The Importance of Serving

Posted on Apr 26, 2017 11:30:00 AM by Laurel Robinson

Service hours. Volunteering. Giving back.  Whatever the label it is an important part of growing up into a wonderful human being.

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At Liberty Christian School, 8th graders recently invited and fed homeless men from the Helping Up Mission (HUM) in Baltimore. In February, the 8th graders also traveled to Costa Rica for a week long missions trip. As we think through what that was like for everyone involved, we can easily see the importance of service, whether it is providing food or clothing for those in need, picking up trash, helping to build a house or a playground, or going on a summer missions trip:

Helping others.  In doing some acts of service you may not feel as though you are filling a huge need but simply putting a “drop in the bucket.”  However, every little bit does help--and what would happen if we all declined to help because our individual contribution was not going to make a huge difference?

Inspiring others. The stories that we read in which a young person starts a campaign, reaches out, or gives back are often the most inspiring stories of all.  Sometimes grown-ups can get jaded, or too absorbed in their own responsibilities or troubles. Each young person doing good in the community may inspire several adults to get back into the spirit of giving, or at least regain their trust that kids are capable of kind and selfless acts.

Developing compassion. Many service projects start with a compassionate vision of a person or a group of people; however, some of us may go along because we have to or because others are doing it.  But once we actually show up, we may be stretched outside of our comfort zones; we will see the real needs that prompted the project and our hearts may be touched. We may be moved to greater ways of helping and find more rewards than we knew possible.

Developing humility.  Similarly, when you come face to face with a homeless person you will experience the fact that they are a person. You may realize that any of us could be homeless if only a couple of details in our circumstances were to change.  You will develop a greater awareness of your own neediness and possibly of ways in which your living differently could impact others.  Other forms of service can humble us simply due to the fact that we spent a day scrubbing dirty things instead of entertaining ourselves. However it is developed, humility is a wonderful quality.

Sharing the Gospel with others.  If you meet the physical or material need of a person it may touch their heart more than you know.  It may open up a “door” for you to talk about deeper needs or discuss the Gospel. In her book  Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis describes how she feeds, clothes, and cares for orphans in Uganda. They know the love of Jesus because they see the love that she has for them. In many cases this is a love that no one had shown them before.

Experiencing the power of God. Katie Davis writes, “People are people.  They all need food and water and medicine, but mostly they need love and truth and Jesus. I can do that. We can do that.  We can give people food, water, medicine, love, truth, and Jesus. ...We can’t do it in our own strength or out of our own resources, but as we follow God to wherever He is leading us, He makes the impossible happen.”

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In Matthew 25, Jesus paints us a picture:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. ...Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

When it comes to “giving back,” that is really what it’s all about. We love because He first loved us.  We give generously because we have received generous blessings from God.  It’s never too late to start!

Costa Rica Reflections

Posted on Mar 15, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Judah Lyles

Judah Lyles

Awe. Probably the best word I can use to describe the feeling when arriving in Costa Rica. I honestly couldn’t believe that after 6 years of waiting, I was finally there. I was finally experiencing what could hardly be put into words by previous graduates.

San Jose was exactly what I expected: busy. Everything was all hustle and bustle, but still as, and oddly, peaceful as could be. Everyone seemed so connected to one another, like one big family. We spent the first two days as regular tourists: going to the market, exploring a coffee plantation, ziplining, hiking (dragging one another along the path) up to the volcano Poás, and eating some of the best food I’ve ever had. Then, on Tuesday, we began our work with the children of La Carpio.

La Carpio

Driving into the town and seeing the conditions they lived in was rather eye-opening. As we neared our drop-off destination, I could feel the nerves growing in my stomach. The chatter on the bus was growing louder as it really began to set in: This was happening. We walked off of the bus and started off down the streets of La Carpio. We watched as dogs trotted by, small children peeked curiously out of their houses, wanting to get a glimpse of the strange-looking people walking their streets. After a few touch-and-go moments, we made it to the church. It was really an amazing building. I fell in love with it as soon as we walked in. We set up our materials, and just started playing around in anticipation of the kids. About an hour or so later, kids began walking in.

I remember these kids just walking up to us and sitting on our laps, not even afraid of the unfamiliarity we brought with us. A native tongue was one of the most nerve-wracking things for most of us. I personally believe that God called me on that trip to show me I knew a lot more than I thought I did. He guided my tongue and allowed me to communicate with the children.

A few kids who really impacted me? Nadia, my favorite little bandita. Lucy, the little girl who seemed shy, but cracked a smile every time we turned our head. Andres, AKA Pedro, who was the one of the cutest little boys I’ve ever seen. Watching these kids learn, forming relationships with them so quickly, everything about it. The hardest part was saying goodbye. We all cried. I don’t know if some of the kids will remember us, but they changed our lives, for the better.

Judah in Costa Rica

In a few months, we will all be graduating. I watched as bonds grew on this trip. We all experienced these things together, we grew together, we laughed together, we cried, we danced, and now, we’re about to depart. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with my friends. Thanks to this trip, we’re the family that we’ve dreamt about being for years. We are now young men and women, about to go out into the world, and we have been thoroughly prepared by this journey and this school. As much as we may deny it, we all will miss this school. I’m going to miss the classrooms. The teachers, the laughs, I’m even going to miss seeing my annoying little sister (who I love to death) in the hallways every day. Just thinking about the unknown, it kinda scares me. But I know I have perfect peace. This trip has given me even more of an incentive to go into everything with a willing heart, to always laugh at the funny things, cry at the sad things, and reminisce over the bittersweet.

Costa Rica 2016 mission team

I’m going to miss this school. I will. I’ve grown up in this school, and now I’m leaving my childhood behind. We’ve been shown how to live for God, and how to continue on His path in the world. I can only pray that my fellow classmates will follow the path, and that we would stay in touch, stay a family, and spread the love of God wherever we go. God bless Liberty Christian School. I’ll always wear my sweatshirt proudly.

With Love,

Judah Lyles, Class of ‘16

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My Costa Rica Mission Trip Memory Log

Posted on Mar 17, 2015 3:00:00 PM by Maya Thurston

2015 Costa Rica Team

The following is Maya Thurston’s account of her recent adventures during the 2015 annual 8th Grade LCS Costa Rica Mission Trip.

February 11,2015

Pre-Trip Thoughts

I’ve been going to LCS for more than eight years. I’ve been working towards this trip for a long time. Learning as much Spanish and the Gospel as possible. God has clearly watched me get ready over the years. By His grace and mercy, God has given me this opportunity. We as a group hope to empower the people of Costa Rica and send them the message of God. For all people are to be given the gift and the knowledge of this story of Christ. Although it has been very challenging to prepare for this trip, I am very much looking forward to it. I’m hoping this trip will impact my life and start a new chapter and phase for me. I'm very much going into this trip with a new outlook on life.

February 14, 2015

Flight In

Although a flight delay was announced, the delay was misleading and the flights were fine. The view from the plane was gorgeous. We got to follow the map of what we were over, such as Cuba, Miami, and the Florida coastline. The day was easier than I thought. We arrived and went straight to the hotel to unpack. I roomed with the lovely Ballahs and my mom. I knew from the jump it was gonna be a breathtaking trip.

February 15,2015

Sightseeing

The volcano and lagoon were fun, so many interesting things to see on the walk up and down. I walked the whole way up, along with a couple of other students and parents. However, this walk was nothing compared to the zip lines. With a total of 12 zip lines situated more than two miles high in the air, I experienced the Costa Rica rainforest, soil and agriculture. I would personally say the view was incredible and every bit worth the long trip.

February 16, 2015

First Ministry Day

Maya and La Carpio StudentsToday we started our ministry days. The morning was hard.  I had to walk through a community of families who weren’t as fortunate as I am. I began the day working at our English school. I’ve never seen 11-year-old kids so happy to learn. As a gift, the church provided lunch for us every day. My classmates and I looked at each other… was that spaghetti on the tables!? The women of the church were amazing.  They thought of the best “American” food possible each day, along with rice and beans.

February 16-19, 2015

Siesta Baby and Me

The first afternoon, I helped at Vacation Bible School. My classmate Mark and I met this little girl. She was adorably cute, coloring in the corner. Mark scared the poor girl away. She was tired from where she had just come from. This little girl fell asleep right in front of us. That’s how she got her nickname, Siesta Baby. That is all she did that afternoon.

The next afternoon, I began my mission. Siesta Baby came into the classroom somewhat awake. She wasn’t very eager to play, though. My classmate, Xavier, tried his hardest to entertain her. Then, we finally got out the bubbles. They were a big hit, every kid in the room was drawn to them. Siesta Baby cracked a smile, popping bubbles with a friend of hers.Siesta baby

Siesta Baby colored away the following day. I finally found out this beautiful girl was named Jayla. I called her by her name. Smiles filled her face as we continued to play her favorite activities. Bubbles, Hide and Seek, and Dance Moves helped to keep this little girl in a good mood. My mom would say “She has a lot of attitude for a one-year-old girl.”

It took a long going run of energy to keep her happy. Then it was the end of that day and we sat in the back of the classroom. There we were, sitting and watching a Veggie Tale story, but it didn't entertain her very long. I took her shoe, hoping to get a laugh out of her. I got a lot more than a laugh, though.  I would say this new little trip of excitement led to a happy Jayla.  I took her shoe again and hid it behind my back. Silence. Was this little girl upset?  No!  She smiled giggled and found her shoe. This game went on for the rest of the afternoon.

Then came the day I had to say goodbye to this brilliant little girl.  I had fallen in love with her. She was the happiest little thing.  Inside her little body, her heart beat strongly.

February 20,2015

Beach Day

My class and I were fortunate enough to go to Tortuga Island. We got to enjoy ourselves and relax by swimming, playing volleyball, getting on banana boats, and snorkeling. As a class, we had a blast.  Many memories were created, including this day and the trip within itself. I enjoyed meeting people from other places and making new friends. The boat ride itself was incredible. The breeze and view of the water and other islands were amazing, not to mention the mini pool and drink bar on ship. That experience was a key to helping me draw closer with many classmates.

February 22,2015

Post-Trip Thoughts

Wow! It's crazy how fast the trip went by. I loved this experience. I've grown closer with my classmates, my teachers, and God himself.  This trip helped me understand how thankful I should be.  I appreciated the support from everyone back home, and look forward to hearing all about next year's trip!

maya teaching in La Carpio

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A Long-Awaited Costa Rica Adventure Becomes a Reality for a Liberty Christian School 8th Grader

Posted on Apr 12, 2014 6:30:00 AM by Tanner Crampton

Ok, so the Costa Rica trip was probably the one trip I've been on where I had fun as well as made a difference in people's lives. When I think back on the trip, it makes me feel warm inside as I did something good. I had been looking forward to this trip since kindergarten.  When I look even deeper into the trip, my experience with the local food, La Carpio and our activity days really brought the whole trip together.

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I guess I will start off with food!!! Okay, the food there was interesting.  I mean it was nothing out of the ordinary; it was just stuff that Americans don't eat often. We had rice and beans every day, and at every meal.  Each meal was a different type of rice and beans as well as flavors. The portions they gave us were very small; unlike Americans (that shows how unhealthy Americans are). With the rice and beans, we had an entree with each meal that varied, like one day we would have chicken or beef chunks or eggs and pancakes. The beverages there were always some very interesting fruit juices that sometimes were good and some were bad. Overall, the food was okay, just not the best in my opinion.

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Next are activities that we did the day after we landed (Monday), the day before we left (Saturday), and some during the week as well. Some of the activities were fun and somewhere not, but it was all still worth it. Some of my favorite activities were the volcano trip and zip-line. The volcano trip was a cool hike up to the crater and lagoon. It was a lot of walking, but once you got up to the top it was worth all the hiking.  The zip-line was the best out of all the activities, in my opinion. The view from above the trees, the breeze, and just the experience overall were really cool.  There is nothing greater than the feeling on that zip-line.

When we first arrived in La Carpio, I was a little scared because of what we were told to do, like when you got off the bus the male adults had to form a circle around us as we walked.  I guess it was also the area we were in, it was a place where I've never been, never seen, and I was not sure what it was going to be like. When we finally met the children it brought smiles to my face. Just seeing all of them come in smiling just made me forget all the struggles in life and focus on what God wants me to do.   I spent my time in the morning at VBS and in the afternoon in English school for the older kids. It was just a great overall experience with all the kids and I encourage everyone to go on this trip.

I think the trip was very successful overall, I think. I was happy I could spend the time with my mom and some of my closest friends. It was a good last trip for the eighth grade. The food, activities, and La Carpio are what made the whole trip worth it.