Zambia 2023: LET’S GO!!!

Hello from the Chicago airport! We have had an eventful day and a half being back on campus. Yesterday (Thursday) we had our pre-trip training where we learned how to use the Sawyer water filters, participated in icebreakers, and prepared for the next week and a half. The team was able to get to know each other better as we bonded over conversations, laughter, and packing. We are so excited! We started today (Friday) with meeting and sharing our stories over DeBoer Donuts (thank you Lance!!). After a great time of sharing, we ate lunch and soon left for the airport. It’s only day two and we are having so much fun together. The bus ride was filled with laughs and games as we made our way to Chicago. Once we arrived, we navigated a few bumps with check-in and made our way to our gate where we would soon board a double-decker airplane. So cool! We also had the joy of experiencing Tilly’s first ever plane ride – he will be a flying pro after our 8-hour ride over the pond to London. Overall, we have been blessed with a great day of preparation, great travel and even greater company. We can’t wait to see how God will continue to show up during our time together. Looking forward to what adventures lie ahead.


Jonathan and Delaney

Almost home

A 4:15 am wakeup call shocked all of us, but seeing our leader John and fearless bus driver Javier brightened everything for today. We made it safely through Customs in Miami and then landed in Chicago. The bus is just through rush hour traffic and we have a couple of hours left until we make it back to Holland. Thank you to Coach V for the dinner food (the homemade Rice Krispie treats were amazing) on the bus so we didn’t have to stop. We are grateful for the angels that protected us this entire week and for the impact a trip like this can have. We pray that the seeds that were planted may multiply and help to transform the world. Special thanks to our friends at Go Ministries (what an outstanding organization) who are doing amazing things that are literally changing the world for people. Check out their work at We also want to thank Sawyer ( who financially supports these trips for Hope Athletics. Click the link above to learn more about the opportunity SEED trips are given to help bring clean water to communities who still live without safe water to drink. Providing the chance for student-athletes and staff to be a part of experiences like this is truly life changing and transformational. If you would like to hear more about what Hope Athletics is doing to create men and women who transform the world, please reach out to us. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. We are grateful for what we have, what we are able to do and for how God has blessed this trip.

God Bless and Go Hope!

Last Day in the DR!

Final Goodbyes and Chocolate

Hola everyone! We started this morning with a bright and early sunrise on the beach. We used this time to soak in beautiful views and God’s greater calling for us in our own life back home. John (our missionary host) prompted us to think deeper about our experiences and how we are going to bring them back home. After the sunrise, some of the squad went back to sleep while others worked out.  We all then headed to breakfast and probably ate a little too much. A few of us left the resort and checked out a few of the souvenir shops where we practiced our bartering skills and then we soaked up the rest of our time in the sun at the pool or beach. A few beachgoers attempted to snorkel, and at the pool, people enjoyed the juice options and volleyball. We indulged in one final meal at the resort and climbed onto our carriage where trusty Javier drove us to the Del Oro chocolate factory. We toured the organic factory and learned about their process of making chocolate, sampled chocolate cashew butter, hot chocolate, brownies, and some pieces of chocolate. If you’re lucky you might get to try some too! We got to experience the beautiful country on our drive home for the last time. A few of the guys worked hard on their newfound skill of friendship bracelet making while others napped. We packed our bags to get ready for our early departure tomorrow before GO’s closing ceremony with the three other teams that GO has been hosting this week. We were served a delicious meal of tacos, worshipped, and heard a lovely message to sum up GO’s ministry and our work this week on planting mustard seeds in our own community. Our teammate Christian shared with everyone how he has seen God’s kingdom come to earth this week in the joy that came with playing with the kids at Batey Nueve. Our intern Maddie compiled a video of various clips from our week, which we watched before saying adios to our other intern Daniel and John. We wrapped up the day with powerful life-stories from our three leaders and each student received an individual blessing. It’s time for our long-awaited euchre tournament, so we need to sign off! Please pray for safe travels as we head home and keep the GO ministries team in your prayers, especially Javier, John, Maddie, Daniel, Mike, Brett, Marie, and Maria who have all served us in different ways this week. Adios!

Jess and Lucas

Church Day at the Hole

Hi Families, Happy Dominican Father’s Day! Today we went to a local church where our bus driver (Javier) is the pastor. Although we couldn’t understand the pastor’s message, the music created a great loving environment. After church we visited some of the members of the community. We then took a two-hour bus ride to our resort. On our way we stopped at a local fruit stand and got a very large bag of limoncello. When we arrived at our resort we checked in, ate some lunch and hit the pool for some much needed relaxation. We followed this with an intense volleyball game (which we won), and a dip in the ocean. After the ocean we had an all you can eat dinner and then went down to the beach to debrief our trip. Today was a good time of reflection on takeaways and things we can implement in our lives back home. Overall great day of bonding with our team. Can’t wait to see you all soon, even though we are sad it’s coming to an end.

Teagan & Nile

Grateful for a great day!

Day 5

Hi everyone! Greetings from the Caribbean! We started our morning with a run for Shae and the XC folk and omelets for breakfast for everyone else! We also tried dragon fruit for the first time (it kinda tastes like a kiwi) before heading off to the Go! Sports complex across town in Tamboril. The guys played basketball against a mix of club athletes and 18U athletes while the girls did a quick English lesson with some of the baseball athletes. After that we got to tour the facilities (which were awesome) and we got to see the plans for the new women’s facilities and the additions they have planned for the next few years. The plans included new stadiums for basketball, volleyball, and soccer, a new weight room, athletic training space, women’s dorms, and new community facilities including two new baseball practice fields. Once the tour was over we took our siesta break, which was held at headquarters at Calle Dos. Siesta is a time to eat lunch, rest, play cards, shower, etc. during the work day from about 12-2 where no work takes place. We theorize that it’s a time given to workers due to the extreme heat in the middle of the day. Following siesta we played with children at one of the planted churches in the city. We brought balls, jump ropes, bubbles, supplies for making bracelets, nail polish, and other fun things to play with local kids with. The kids loved the bracelets and the balls and never lost an ounce of energy. After an exhausting few hours, we returned to Calle Dos to shower and get prepared for dinner. For dinner tonight, we had a special treat of local empanadas from a stand downtown and enjoyed conversation beneath the Domino’s Pizza sign and to the tune of the local passersby. Following dinner, we took a field trip to Bon Ice Cream where we practiced ordering in Spanish and enjoyed a cold treat. The group’s (Shae & Jess’s) favorite has been Don Alfonzo, which is chocolate, coconut, and coffee flavored ice cream. We returned once more to Calle Dos to debrief and heard the lovely testimonies of Tanner (Twigs), Janie, and Jess. Now we will probably wrap this up and go dance in the streets because of the awesome (and SO loud) partying tactics of the Dominicans (JK we will probably play a cutthroat round of Euchre and go to bed). We look forward to church tomorrow and a relaxing night on the beach with each other.

Shae & Cole

P.S. Don’t worry Moms, we’re okay! We love ya! Enjoy a photo from today (if it loads)!

Day 4

Water Filtration Demonstration

We started the morning with Dominican eggs and fruit that helped cure our lost sleep from the fiesta in Batey Nueve the previous night. They played loud music until 3 am, and we did not attend because the church does not support it. After breakfast, we did our daily devotional and talked about Matthew 13. Next, Christian and Tanner began the water filter demonstration for the families of Batey Nueve. Everyone who wanted to learn was able to put together their own water filter as we walked around offering help. Then we had another opportunity to play with the amazing kids. We had fun with basketball, football, chalk, bubbles, and piggy back rides, all in the scorching heat. After that we had another great lunch of chicken, rice, fruit, and Batey bread straight from the oven. We then said goodbye to the people in the village and boarded the bus for our trek back to Santiago. The five hour ride was filled with music, many naps, and card games. We were welcomed back to the dorm with chicken, potatoes, peas, and fruit. We met as a group and talked about our day. Soon after that we headed to bed and we are looking forward to our sports-filled day tomorrow!

Gabe and Janie

Day 3 (one day late)

To Batey Nueve We Go…

This morning we started off by traveling to the local medical clinic which was just down the road. We learned that the site functioned as an urgent care for medical and dental purposes throughout the community we were staying at for the week. One unique aspect of this clinic is that the patients are not needed to pay money to receive any care. They’re overall goal is to educate the community on bettering their health to promote good habits to share.

After our visit, we started our 6-hour journey to Batey Nueve, the remote location where we would spend the next 24 hours distributing water filters along the community and experience their living. We were welcomed with children waving their hands eager to meet us. We were given a tour of the community and then given the opportunity to play with the children until dinner time. One thing that struck us was how much energy they had.

For dinner we were served Dominican spaghetti, fresh fruit, and homemade “Batey” bread (a staple of the village). Alexandria, the local leader of the church, shared her story of coming to Christ and how she has shaped the community through Him. We then ended the night with devotion and a couple more stories. Tomorrow we are excited to present the water filters that will be distributed through the community and to continue loving on the kids.

Mady and Ashish

Building in the community

Day 2:

Today we traveled to a small community called La Mina. Upon arriving, we were warmly welcomed by the children of the community waving to us as we drove in. Walking in the church, we got the opportunity to meet the community leaders, and learned about how we would be doing various tasks for the community including laying cement, painting a house, and helping lay the foundation for a basketball court for the ministry being built up there. We all divided up the tasks and worked hard all morning. Throughout the day, we all took turns spending time with the children playing jump rope, coloring, and catch. Spending time with them helped us keep a positive attitude throughout the day. After a quick rain storm, we took time for siesta to have lunch, play catch with the avocado pit from lunch, and listen to Ito’s (a local pastorl) story. After siesta we got back to work until the day wrapped up and we headed back to our complex for dinner. After dinner, we got the chance to go to a local grocery store to pick out some local Dominican snacks and ice cream. We closed with devotion and listened to our first round of stories. Tomorrow we are off to Batey Nueve, a remote village where we will not have any internet.  We will plan to update the blog when we are back Saturday morning.  Thanks for your prayers and support. 

Isabella and Christian

We made it!! Day 1

Yesterday was our training day, it was full of conversations, learning about what our trip consists of, and many laughs. At the start of the day we did a lot of ice breakers, learning more about each other and how Schoonie has a good whale sound. We also took time to learn about the organization and prepared our hearts and minds for what God is going to do during this week! We had an early wake up but were blessed with some doughnuts (Shoutout Coach V)!! After arriving to Chicago, everyone found some food to grub on and a few of us played the Alphabet game to pass the time before we boarded for Miami. We had a quick layover with a stressful trip to Subway and then we were off to DR! When we landed in Santiago, we got through customs and were welcomed by the DR heat and humidity and met the people from GO Ministries! Then we loaded the bus for a quick 20 minute drive and headed to our dorms where we will be until Thursday. We were greeted with an amazing dinner of tacos and were very happy to eat after the long day of travel, specifically the pineapple was out of this world! Then we got a little bit of the lay of the land and some tips and then headed for bed to get rested for our day tomorrow! Madeline and Tanner (Twigs)

Costa Rica Day 9: Monkey Business

Hola from San Jose! We are excited to return home, but also sad to leave.

Our day started out in the Air BnB, where we were woken up to monkeys bombarding the tin roof with missiles of fruit. Breakfast was ready as soon as we woke up, consisting of eggs, toast (with long awaited peanut butter), mango, pineapple, strawberries, orange juice accompanied by some monkeys throwing fruit. We finished the morning by loading the bus and leaving for the National Park.

Upon arrival to Cahuita National Park, we unloaded and embarked on our journey to settle on Playa Blanca. On our walk, we became immersed into the beauty of the surrounding jungle. With views of the ocean, the 2km hike was inhabited by a variety of tropical animals including monkeys, a tamanduas anteater, eyelash viper snake, crabs, lizards, and insects.

At Playa Blanca, we constructed a fort out of beach branches, continued a hike within the park, soaked up the sun, and body surfing. The experience was both bonding and irreplaceable.

On our way back to the bus, we toured the nearby gift shops and stocked up on supplies for our journey. We bought some souvenirs before gathering for lunch at a local park restaurant. The food was a large variety of Costa Rican dishes and fresh batidos (smoothies). Our view overlooked the ocean and landscape of the park.

After lunch, we loaded the bus to begin our five-hour drive back to AMCA house in San Jose. Much like our previous rides, our time consisted of games, sleep, fun conversations, and traumatic bug encounters (shoutout to Luke the exterminator).

When we arrived, we were greeted with another scrumptious dinner. We ate what we like to call “chicken pot-pie lasagna” with bread, salad, and coconut flan. We concluded dinner with a debrief of our trip. There were many emotions upon group reflection and receiving the letters we wrote to ourselves from January.

In concluding the day, we showered up, applied much-needed aloe, packed, and spent our last few hours enjoying each-other’s company. Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to glorify you more.

Prayers for our travels, hasta luego!

Bella, Luke, Kerrigan

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