Serving is a Blessing3 min read

Twenty-two Valley Lutheran High School (VLHS) students traveled to Costa Rica with a mission to share love with orphans. There the international language of love knew no boundaries.

Gabby Neuman noticed, “The children didn’t care if you couldn’t speak Spanish. All they wanted was your love.”

As he shared the story of letting a little girl paint his fingernails orange, David Becker recalled, “I can’t remember a time when I brought that many smiles to so many people.”

Rachel Vogel shared her learning experience, “When Fabiola smiled at me and kissed me on the cheek when I left, I realized I made a difference in her life, and in return she made a difference in mine.”

Sharing the Easter story with the local children during a vacation Bible school evening event developed a bond for eternity for Libby Bradley. “I had to say bye to this one little girl and she said ‘Hasta Luego’ through tears, and I’d like to think that she meant she would see me later in heaven,” she explained.

Laying a rock foundation for a church impacted a number of the young adults. Rachel Haiderer was “just so proud to be part of the church’s movement.”

For Jake Bradley, “It really brought a physical aspect to the idea we were planting a seed.”

For Junior Campbell it meant, “We were making a spot for people to keep growing in their faith for years to come.”

Andres Niederstadt added, “To be able to say that I literally laid the foundation of a church is incredible. I know that I can visit later in my life and know the work that we did put that church together.”

The beauty and majesty of God’s creation was in abundance in Costa Rica along with a sense of contentment and religious passion. The students saw a culture that lacked so many material things, yet Hannah Scott sensed happiness, and concluded, “They have so much more than most of us do, just not in the way we usually think of.”

Alex Holcomb discovered, “God is the God of all peoples and rejoices when we worship no matter who we are or where we’re from.”

Valley students also had the opportunity to serve locally. When a mission trip to Alabama did not materialize, teacher Doug Guenther gathered a group of nine VLHS students and one alumnus to help clean out the crawl space under the Saginaw YMCA, a job very much appreciated by the maintenance staff of the Y.

Carly Peil was on board and helped recruit others to join the day of heavy labor. Alumnus Kerry Hofmeister (‘08) was glad to “give back” during his free time at Easter break. At the end of the day, a job that continued to be pushed to the end of a to-do list for the Y was completed with pride and smiles by the Valley crew.

This article first appeared in the May 2013 issue of Valley Vision, the official school newsletter of Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw, Mich. Visit or connect at

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About the Author

Krista Flory is the assistant to the Executive Director at Valley Lutheran High School, Saginaw. Prior to this position, she served 29 years as a teacher at three Lutheran schools in Michigan.

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