Charley Vegas’ job as a tourism bus driver in Costa Rica took a surprising turn when he was asked to transport a group of WinShape Camps International (WSCI) staff one summer.
What seemed like any other ordinary route ended up being far from ordinary.
At first, Charley’s responsibility was simply to pick up WinShape Camps staff and take them to and from the camp site each day. That quickly led to him also picking up the campers and taking them to and from camp, a job that technically wasn’t in his contract. From sunup to sundown on weekdays and through the weekend, Charley spent hours each day with this team.
It didn’t take long for Charley to realize something was different about his new group. He began to notice a change taking place in his heart – a change he could only describe as a fire that transformed his once cold heart into one “booming and exploding, full of love and joy.”
“My job was only to do the transportation, but I fell in love with the group,” Charley says.
Soon enough, Charley wasn’t just the bus driver for WinShape Camps in Costa Rica; he was family, says Allie Gassner, WSCI Costa Rica Summer Director.
From painting campers’ faces and leading cheers to facilitating discussions and distributing snacks, Charley dove head first into in the mission of WinShape Camps.
Through WinShape, Charley was able to experience the gospel in a new way – a way that was real, personable and fun. Once his heart had been transformed by the truths of God’s love, he wanted the same for the campers.
“It means so much because it doesn’t just change the life of the kids; it also changed my life.”
And that it did. Something in Charley began to shift that summer as he worked with the campers and shared the message of God with them.
“I love to watch the faces of the kids when we talk about God,” he says, remembering how their faces would light up as they began to understand the Gospel.
Throughout the summer, Charley’s contract with the tourism company never changed, but his heart did. And that was enough for him to dedicate countless hours to loving and serving at WinShape Camps.
For Allie, Charley was and still is a great reminder that the Lord is faithful to multiply our efforts far beyond what we could ever imagine.
Moving forward, she says her team in Costa Rica wouldn’t be complete without Charley.