TMI Students Experience Community and Service in Costa Rica

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June 19, 2017
From May 29 to June 4, a group of Upper School students from TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas went on a Servant Leader Adventure to Jaco, Costa Rica, where they worked at local helping agencies and had encounters with people and places far from what they are used to at home.

Led by the Rev. Nathan Bostian, TMI chaplain, and Tracy Carter, director of academic support, the students stayed at a base camp near the beach community that is popular with Costa Ricans and international visitors. Beyond Jaco’s resort atmosphere, there are residents in need; during the mission trip, the TMI students met many of them as they engaged in service projects.

The group worked at the Ocean’s Edge Ministry Base, a community center that supports and facilitates local ministries, positive community activities and cross-cultural missions. The students helped prepare the organization’s retreat center for renovation to host an orphanage from another city. “Axes were swinging, trees cut, trenches dug, weeds pulled – it never ceases to amaze me at what so many hands can accomplish,” said Mrs. Carter.

The TMI team also cleared rubble and overgrowth from Jaco’s Invu Park, making way for a church to hold Vacation Bible School and after-school programs at the site. Partnering with a local church, the students fed homeless people who suffer from addictions, pouring drinks and handing out plates of rice, beans and bread – “totally out of their comfort zones, handing a stranger a plate of food and looking them straight in the eyes,” said Mrs. Carter. “Even in an uncomfortable situation, (our) children continued to shine with God’s light.”

At Casa Fe, a surf youth ministry, the TMI students got to try out jumping waves on boogie boards. They swam at Baldi Hot Springs and La Fortuna waterfall and took a scenic drive to hike in the mountains and to see the Arenal Volcano. The students also visited a woodworking shop that trains young men to learn a trade and make products to sell. and heard testimony from Jiro Perez Quiros, a world champion surfer who grew up in Jaco; and from a young female missionary from Texas who works with a church there.

The Costa Rica adventure gave the visiting teens “a chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and just let go,” said TMI rising senior Jacob Carter, a veteran of four mission trips. “This puts us in a situation where we are no longer worrying about what the next day will bring. We are entirely committed to the service we are doing in the present.”
Stephanie Livsey, Dir of Community Relations & Webmaster
(210) 564-6194