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Sophomore Maddie Urso says, “I am so thankful I was able to go on this trip. It was an incredible experience.”

AHN Missionaries Take On Costa Rica

March 30, 2017

This year, Academy missionaries embarked on their inaugural trip to Samara, Costa Rica. Throughout their time in Samara they worked with the organization “CREAR”. The mission of this organization is to provide educational, recreational, and career opportunities for primarily young people who have limited resources living in the rural beach communities of Samara.

Photo Credit: Morgan Salzsieder (used with permission). Samara is a small rural town in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.

Senior Reilly Sleater said, “When we arrived in Costa Rica, you could tell none of us knew what to expect. Since it was the trip’s first year, we just had to roll with whatever surprises came our way.”

Photo Credit: Morgan Salzsieder (used with permission). Salzsieder says, “I did not expect to see as many monkeys as we did. They are like squirrels there. You could hear them running on the roof at night and along with their loud howls.”

The missionaries stayed at an inn off the beach, run by host Dona Christina. The living arrangements were one of the many surprises the girls were faced with, but they quickly learned to adapt to the heat and live at peace with critters.

Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). Junior Maddie Williams says, “After several close encounters with massive spiders in my room, I decided to move in and share a bed with Morgan.”

After their arrival, the missionaries took a tour of the town and had an introductory session with Andrea and Paul, the leaders of CREAR.

Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). The missionaries worked with the non- profit organization, CREAR.

The next morning, AHN missionaries took a trip up a mountain to the village of Chinampas. They began a service project on a small church, where they painted both the inside and outside. Throughout the trip, they returned to Chinampas every day to continue their project.

Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). Junior Morgan Salzsieder and sophomore Maddie Urso work together to get the job done.
Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). Junior Mia Lopez says, “The texture of the building was very difficult to paint and we had very limited tools to work with. Although there were several obstacles thrown in the way of our project, we still finished on time and I think we did a pretty good job.”
Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). A young local boy, Amelio, joins in on the painting project.”

After long days of work, the girls went swimming in the ocean during their free time and play lacrosse on the beach. They also got to go shopping in the village on the last night of the trip.

Photo Credit: Morgan Salzsieder (used with permission). Junior Aleeza Garcia says, “I had never played lacrosse before, but it was fun to learn on the beautiful beach of Samara.”

On the last day of service, the missionaries completed their painting project and they were presented with a meal from the people of Chinampas thanking them for their work.

Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). Chinampas villager, Carmen, recieves an AHN missionary shirt.

Following the meal, the missionaries held a lacrosse clinic for the children where they taught the kids how to pass and catch the ball. They brought a large bag of lacrosse sticks that were all left with the children as a donation. After the clinic, the children challenged the girls to a game of soccer.

Photo Credit: Morgan Salzsieder (used with permission). Junior Mia Lopez says, “I enjoyed teaching the kids lacrosse. It was so cute to see them smile and jump up and down when they caught the ball.”
Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). Junior Alexandra Fonseca says, “I can’t wait to hopefully come back next year and see these adorable kids again.”

When AHN missionaries said their goodbyes to the people of Chinampas, rain began to pour down on them.

Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). The dry clay and the steep hills made walking downhill very challenging. Many missionaries including leader Coach Louder took a spill down the hill.

Sleater said, “It had not rained in over four months at Chinampas. I believe God sent the rain to bless our work and the people of Chinampas.”

Photo Credit: Reilly Sleater (used with permission). Senior Meredith Butler says, “This trip was an unforgettable experience and I am so glad I was able to be a part of it.”

The inaugural mission trip to Samara, Costa Rica was a great success and an unforgettable experience for all.

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