During the past week, I have had the absolute pleasure of working alongside some of the best people in serving the communities of Puerto Rico. Carolina is a beautiful city just outside of San Juan and has some of the sweetest, funniest, God-loving, and most positive people you will ever meet. Throughout the week we were able to go to the beach, serve in the community, learn some pretty fun dances, and see God work in some amazing ways. During these 8 days, I worked in one of the VBS groups and got to meet some of the kids who were at the bible school.
Upon arriving to Iglesia Bautista Del Lago, we were greeted with open arms by Pastor Lillian who gave us a rundown of the plan for the week. We had prepared crafts and bible stories to do with the kids, however we soon found out most of that stuff was not needed as the church already had their own plan for the week. All of us were so so excited to meet the kids and help in any way we could! On the first day all of us high schoolers were split up to be with different age groups which each had their own teacher. The kids also overwhelmed us with their love and fascination of older kids who spoke another language but who wanted to be there with them. It was awesome seeing God flowing in all of them while they were singing, praising, and learning more about our amazing Father. The love and patience shown by all the teachers at the church was definitely somewhere else where I could feel God’s presence in that place. I could tell that God had spoken to all of those volunteers and that He had called them to be in those kid’s lives.
As the week progressed, I could feel that God was speaking to me through all of these beautiful people who in the midst of political struggle still praised God and trusted in Him and His plan. I was inspired by how much hope and joy all the people in Puerto Rico acted with, saying that they would just keep praying because they knew that God would provide for them and make sure they were taken care of. Being in a place as beautiful as Puerto Rico, the ways you see God working are quite incredible. As we visited places like the beaches, El Yunque, and the church, we were able to experience some of the beauty that God has blessed us with on this Earth.
Going to Puerto Rico was an experience that I will never forget and one that I am certainly thankful for. It has brought me new friends and a new place to call home. I learned so much about not only serving, but also about myself and the ways that God can use me to glorify Him. Thank you Trinity for giving me some of my best friends and for allowing all 96 of us to go to a new place to serve our incredible God.
-Tori Strickland, Rising Senior