While most teens were spending the last week of summer vacation trying to soak in all the rays they could, eleventh-graders and twin sisters Kaitlyn and Rebekah Carico were traveling the world, spreading their generosity to those in need. Pursuing their devotion to religion, the sisters each took part in mission trips, with Kaitlyn in the Dominican Republic and Rebekah in the Czech Republic.
Rebekah attended this expedition through her church, the 360 Church, which is partnered with Prague 13 Church in the Czech Republic. This partnership was created in 2011 to expand their relationships with Christian youth from around the world.
The youth group spent their mornings teaching English to Czech students, ranging from age 15 to early 20s, and reflected on their experience during the evening programs.
Every night, an adult speaker on the trip would address a biblical topic, and then would lead a discussion group regarding that specific topic and how it relates to their benevolent work. “It was really cool to see the impact God is having in this mostly atheist country, it’s very rare to be Christian. So, it was really awesome to see the courage and love they have for God,” Rebekah said.
After the English learning day camp, the Czech families extended a warm invitation to the youth group members to stay in their homes, which allowed them to become fully immersed in the culture.
During her down time, Carico traveled around Prague. The youth group visited both St. Vincent’s Cathedral and the John Lennon Wall — both significant scenes of Czech culture. “During communist rule, [the John Lennon Wall] was a place where teenagers could go to express themselves because they couldn’t do so elsewhere,” Rebekah said.
Rebekah’s older sisters, Pine View Class of 2015 alumni Brooke and Courtney Carico, stirred her inspiration to attend the trip. “Being able to see how the trip impacted my sisters and the youth group really inspired me to go and experience it myself,” Rebekah said.
“Normally [on a mission trip] you go do a construction project or vacation, but this trip was more about connecting with the students and making a difference in their life through teaching them English and making more personal connections,” she said.
Alongside 18 other altruistic teens and parents, Kaitlyn journeyed to the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo for a mission trip, focusing on the construction of a day care center. “I’ve always wanted to go to the Dominican Republic. I’ve always had a heart and a desire for that,” she said.
During morning hours, Kaitlyn and 17 others mission trip volunteers began construction on the daycare center attached to the church La Iglesia de Roca. “In this community, there are a lot of single moms who are not able to work because they have to take care of their children,” Kaitlyn said. With the implementation of this day care center, mothers will be able to drop off their kids for the day to contribute their full attention to an occupation.
Iglesia Del Rocka and the 360 Church have been international partners for two years in hopes to connect and expand their religious network. “We’ve helped them with discipleship and learning to make one-on-one relationships before, but this is our first physical mission trip there,” Kaitlyn said, “It was really cool to see how we came together as a team and worked alongside the Dominicans there.”
Kaitlyn had the opportunity to attend these mission trips through their church, the 360 Church, which was involved with an organization called LoveServes. “The whole mission statement of LoveServes is that we aren’t going and giving [the people] things or doing things for them. It’s that we are working alongside of them and helping them,” Kaitlyn said. The youth group’s mission was to produce long-lasting solutions to the not only the community’s physical needs, but emotional and spiritual needs as well.