HRC Mission Trip Partners with One More Child in Costa Rica

May 30, 2024
HRC Mission Trip Costa Rica

To kick off the summer, Honors Residential College (HRC) students traveled to Costa Rica to continue a partnership with One More Child. Since 2017, the HRC has hosted a mission trip to help extend the service happening within the walls of the HRC out into the world. This year’s program, led by HRC Faculty Steward Jason Whitt, Ph.D., served alongside two One More Child partners: Iglesia Biblica Conce-Sion (IBCS) and Transforma.  

“Our students had the privilege of working with IBCS church members to visit with numerous families in their homes and hear their stories,” Whitt said. “We led VBS for the children, painted a mural, prepared meals and packed food baskets, and transformed a storeroom into a computer lab. We also spent several days with Transforma where our students spent the morning learning about the program and then visiting women who were part of the ministry. Many were refugees from Nicaragua, who were victims of domestic violence or sex trafficking. Part of our team led VBS for the children of these women, while the others on our team treated the mothers to manicures and bracelet making.” 

To help prepare for the trip, students met every Friday afternoon throughout the semester as part of a 1-hour class. They learned about short-term missions, best practices for ministry, and important information about the history, life, and culture of Costa Rica.

“Even though our students had been learning about what they might experience during the Spring semester, they were truly moved by the poverty they encountered,” Whitt said. “They are coming back with a new desire to live lives of gratitude for all that they have, but also a sense that their faith calls them to find ways of making a difference in the places where they live.” 

For University Scholar Ella Whatley, this was her second time participating in an HRC mission trip and serving with One More Child. 

“With my last HRC mission trip with One More Child, I learned so much from the leaders, our team, and the work we did that I knew I wanted to join this year’s trip,” Whatley said. “During this trip, I encountered extreme openness within the community. Families welcomed us into their homes to tell us their stories, so we could pray with them. This was very different from my experiences in the United States, where people are far less open about their struggles. It was a refreshing and eye-opening experience.”

According to Whatley, her time in Costa Rica changed her perspective on the importance of the local church. 

“This experience gave me a new perspective on how the church should serve and engage with its community,” Whatley said. “In Costa Rica, these churches are the center of the community and invite anyone to come to their feeding programs and children’s programming. As I return home, I want to remember how these churches embody the Gospel by operating just as Jesus did: going into difficult spaces and providing care and healing, regardless of someone's background.” 

To learn more about the HRC’s service initiatives in Waco and beyond, visit their website.