Recently, I had the chance to experience a life-changing event.  That’s right, I had that chance and I’m only13-years-old and in the 8th grade.  What did I do, you may ask?  Well, it was something I had looked forward to since I was five-years-old. 

So, a little about me.  My name is Gabriella Wiggins and I live in Baltimore, MD.  I attend Liberty Christian School.  Since the start of my schooling, I have been hearing about the missionary trip that 8th graders take every year to Costa Rica in Central America.  They go to La Carpio, which is a community on the outskirts of San Jose, made up mostly of Nicaraguans who have left their homes to escape to the peace and tranquility of Costa Rica.  La Carpio has over 100,000 inhabitants who live on one square mile situated at the end of a road overlooking a landfill.  The church there is the largest open space in La Carpio and provides a great place for the kids to be able to run around and play. 

The school’s strategy for this trip every year is to partner with the church to provide various activities for the children of La Carpio.  We had a carnival and performed other special activities, and we did all of this communicating in Spanish.  For many of the children of this region, it is the only time they can be kids as they are often responsible for caring for younger siblings and maintaining the household while their parents work.

Seeing poverty up close is not something that is foreign to me.  But seeing the people of La Carpio living at this level of poverty, while remaining quite thankful for the little bit that they have, was new.  I thought that this trip would be a fun adventure that would give me the chance to see a part of the world that I was unfamiliar with.  But, it did so much more.  It taught me that I should be grateful for every opportunity and chance to share the gifts God has given me with others.  I lived and practiced the verse from 1 Peter 4:10 which says: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.”  I am forever changed because of the La Carpio community.

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