Thursday, August 8, 2013

R & R

Hey, I'm Courtney and I am a senior. We had another great day in Costa Rica. After our last run in San Jose, this morning we packed up everything and put it on a bus. We drove through the mountains and looked at the country side, which is a lot different from where we have been working in the city. We took in amazing scenes of God's creation. We were also able to get to know each other better since we were all together on the bus instead of at different worksites. Our final destination was La Fortuna where we spent the afternoon at the hot springs, which are heated by a volcano. We were able to enjoy a great view of the volcano, mountains, and jungle as we relaxed, reflected, and enjoyed each others company in the super hot water! It was a refreshing day after a lot of hard work and it was perfect to be able to reflect on the things we have seen and done on this trip. It was also great to be together as a full team.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A chat with Devon and Taylor

Hello, this is Taylor Diehl (T) and Devon Zweifel (D), and we are juniors on the Asbury cross country team. We are going to take turns telling you about the wonderful experiences we had in Costa Rica today!

T - We started our day with another lovely run at the track.
D -Well, I'm not quite sure that lovely would be the correct descriptive word...
T - Anyways, after our run we all went back to the church to finish the concrete floor.
D - Wait Taylor, we have to tell everyone why we ALL went back to the church. Yesterday we finished the last of the painting at the children's home.  All the children and tias (meaning "aunt" in Spanish, the nannies who care for the children) loved the bright green and purple that we used in the home, and it brightened up the whole house.  So today we all decided to join the others at the church to knock out the last of the concrete flooring project.
T - I was so glad that the whole team got to spend our last day of work together. It gave the rest of us a chance to experience the toils of mixing concrete from scratch. We all had a lot of fun with each other, and with the other people working with us.
D - For those of us who hadn't been working at the church, though, it was a bit intimidating to come in on a job that the rest of the team had been a part of for the past three workdays.  Despite the hesitancy, it wasn't long before we all just jumped in to help one another out: constructing bucket brigades for sand and gravel, passing the shovel to help mix the concrete, and passing those same buckets back to pour the newly mixed concrete.  It was quite the endeavor, but so awesome to see our team work together so well with the members of the church to finish the project.
T- It was hard (but kinda fun) work mixing all of gravel, dirt, and cement into concrete with shovels! We had no cement mixer, but mixed it all on the ground.
D - Halfway through the concrete mixing process, myself and three other girls went back to the children's home to say one last goodbye before we leave. Before we even walked through the gate, the kids began yelling and running to come see us.  They came bounding out of their rooms and began playing with us - just like we had never left.  Between the picture taking and farewells, it was so nice to reflect on the crazy, hectic, and wonderful times that we spent in that home, serving the children and the tias each day.  And by the time we returned to the church, the group was nearly done with their project there!
T - My favorite thing that we did today took place after we finished pouring the concrete floors. The guy in charge of the project, Luis, brought us all over to the wall and began to plaster it with cement. As we all tried to figure out what he was doing, he handed us four coins. The first was a nickel from the US, and the other three were coins from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. "Remembrance this moment" he said. We then realized that each coin was a representation of all of the different people who had helped on this project. (There were teams from Guatemala and Nicaragua also helping.) Once we had cemented each coin to the wall, Louis drew lines connecting each of them and said "unity." It was so neat to see such a creative representation of the four different cultures that came together to work on this project. We all put our thumbprints on the wall and took lots of photos of the occasion.
D - After each member of our group made our mark in the concrete, we all sat down to listen to the pastor express his appreciation for the work we had done.  After previously going to worship with the pastor and his congregation on Friday night, it made all the work we had done a little bit sweeter, knowing that the expansion to the church would allow so many more people from the community come to worship with this amazing group of people we had come to know over our time working there.
T- I actually hadn't felt like we had done all that much, but hearing them thank us helped me to realize just how much all of our work meant to them. It made me so happy that we were able to be a blessing to them and their church. Afterwards, we gave them a poster that we had made and a soccer ball which we had all signed as a small thank you to them for letting us be a part of the crew.
D - To wrap up our day, we all returned to the house we are staying at to listen to the testimony of the man who had set all of our projects up for us, and had been working alongside us throughout the week to ease us into the experience - Steve.  Without going into too much detail, I will say that we were all deeply touched by the stories he told us and the amazing work that God has done, and is still doing, in his life.  It was a wonderful way to end our last day of hard work in Costa Rica, and a great way to reflect on the amazing power that God has in all of our lives.
 T- We ended the night with a little trip to the mall, where we quickly found that everything seems to be expensive in Costa Rica. We did get some delicious mora flavored ice cream though! All in all it was a wonderful day.
T & D - Hasta luego amigos! Thanks for all of your prayers!

Mixing cement without a mixer

saying goodbye to the kids at the children's home

Today was also the last day running the bible school at Carla's house. We walked through the neighborhood recruiting kids to come. We did the same activities we did for the previous days. Coloring, puzzles, a bible story, a song, and craft. The kids were so excited to sing the song and make the craft. It made us so happy because the previous days the kids didn't really want to sing, but today they sang so loud!
we look forward to a day of fun tomorrow touring around Costa Rica and going to some natural hot springs. Hasta Luego!

For your enjoyment...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Las burbujas

My name is Katy Falkenberg, and I'm a new freshman this year. Today I'm going to give you an update on our trip.
After a morning of sleeping in and a breakfast of pancakes, we went off to work. I was on the painting crew at the Children's Home, which was empty of all children except little David. While everyone else was at school, David got to learn new words and take a long nap. We finished painting the kitchen purple and then worked on painting the office purple as well. We took turns climbing up the rickety old ladder to paint the top of the wall.
Later in the afternoon, Shelly, Kajsa, Justine, Courtney, and I left to do VBS. When we got there we walked through the streets calling any kids we saw to come to "la casa de Carla" for bible school. We started out blowing bubbles (burbujas) and coloring. Then we put together our John 3:16 puzzles. Some people made the puzzles too hard (Taylor and Eric), so a few of the kids needed a lot of help. After that we sang a song in Spanish, which has been stuck in my head all day, about Jesus being in our heart always. Steve then told the story of David and Goliath, and we made necklaces and bracelets and celebrated Carla's birthday with "Tres Leches" cake. We all really enjoyed the time with these kids, and they all responded well to the activities Shelly and Courtney planned.
While all this was happening the group at the church did some hard manual labor. They spent the day mixing concrete. They all came back sore and tired after a hard day of work.
After work we went to the track to run and came back to have dinner with missionaries from Ecuador. Now we are all relaxing and preparing for another day of work. We appreciate all of your prayers and support and look forward to telling everyone more when we get home!

Monday, August 5, 2013

I like spikeball

Hi there! We are known as The Preshy Freshies! (aka The 3 Musketeers)  (aka. Mason, Josh, and Caleb).  Today we worked again at the church adding in some new improvements.  First off we created a large batch of cement mixture using dirt, gravel, water, and cement.  We then placed rows of cement as foundation for the new addition to the church floor. These rows are called "maestras" in Spanish, which means teachers or guidelines for placing the rest of the concrete tomorrow.  Eric made a major contribution today by welding for the first time in his life!  He welded support beams that held up the roof which was made of sheet metal.  The Costa Ricans that were helping us gave us some coffee along with buttered bread for a tasty snack.  Later in the afternoon they also provided some tortillas with local cheese.  After eating these treats we then attempted to converse with the local members of the church despite the language barrier and were successful to a certain degree. Another group continued to paint the children's home and did a VBS which they will discuss tomorrow.
After these activities we headed back to the house and prepared for supper.  We had "picadillo" (rice with mixed vegetables and some meat in tortillas)

along with some fried plantains. It was delicioso!  Then we headed to a local gym where we learned
a new game by the name of Spikeball.  This game resembles volleyball but on a much smaller scale with a mini trampoline and a circle of players around it.  We are very much enjoying this trip and growing closer to God as we help others.  Now we are about to end our section of the blog.  Time for devotions, see you soon!

-Caleb, Josh, Mason

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day of rest and sight seeing

Hey, my name is Madison Gaither. I wanted to continue on and give everyone an update on what happened today. Today was great, full of unexpected events. We went to church, went on a bus ride to see the scenic side of the country, and ran. Church was composed of many different things, praise through singing, reading scripture, then the sermon. My favorite part was how we were given a translator, which happened to be sitting in front of Taylor and I; was such a blessing. The service was about troubles that we face, and that it is okay to have them and mourn, but rely on God to get through them. Then seeing the scenic side of the country gave me a whole different appreciation for Costa Rica. During this bus ride we saw a few different things. The main thing we noticed was all the mountains. We also saw a volcano, a river with a dam, and a water fall. Something we saw in the inner city that was beautiful was the basilica. It was breath taking; the outside, and the inside with stain glass windows. What moved me the most was how much dedication people have to there faith. Yesterday there was a special service, which people had walked many miles and days to get there. They did it to humble themselves like Mary, even going to the point where some of them would crawl or would put rice or beans in there shoes. Anyone should give respect to someone who goes above and beyond in putting there faith in action. After that stop we went on back to where we were staying and did our run. All in all it was a great day and was a much needed part of our trip.


Basilica in Cartago, CR

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hairy Cherries

Hola Amigos! Our names are Savannah and Justine. It is day three here in Costa Rica and we can already see the Lord working in awesome ways. This morning we started out our day by heading to a park to help feed the homeless. We met a few people who have been called to work with the homeless in the area.  They not only provide food for them but also tell them about the love of God. Although it was hard to understand them sometimes, we had fun getting to know there names and trying to communicate. We got a kick out the guys asking every girl if they had a boyfriend and telling us we were pretty. One guy asked which one of us would like to marry him so he could go to America. Although we had fun meeting and loving on the new people, it was very hard to see the situation they were in. They were all very hungry and after beginning to pass out the sandwiches, we realized just how hungry they were. We were glad to help in anyway we could. One way we helped besides serving food was by buying handmade bracelets from one of the men we met. He used string and little white pieces to make colorful handmade bracelets. He even made a bunch for us for free that said "Fishers of Men". We have all been wearing ours all week. It is encouraging to see him taking this step to provide for his kids.
      Later that day we went back to El Polideportiva, which is the park with a track, for our cross country workout. It was cool seeing all the locals playing soccer, basketball, and selling various items at a market. From there we went to lunch at Frescas. We are thinking of going back tonight to try out some of their milkshakes. It is a blast getting to try all the new foods and flavors that are here in Costa Rica. We are very proud of everyone on our team for being brave and branching out to try these new foods. A favorite snack of the team has become "hairy cherries", a small red (and hairy ) fruit that has a gooey white inside.
     Another treat we had today was a visit from a missionary family that are on their way to Mexico to work in Mexico City. Their story of faith was inspiring to us all and they encouraged us to use our majors we have been studying and see how God can use us in special ways. It was such a blessing to meet them and their kids. We look forward to tomorrow to go to a church service.

-Savannah and Justine


Friday, August 2, 2013

Hallelujah Pintura!

Hola, mi nombre es Julia! Today has been our first full day in Costa Rica and what a day it has been. We woke up pretty early to go for a short run and then split into two groups. My group went to a church here in San Jose that is working on extending their building in order to accommodate their growing congregation. At first, we had to overcome that awkward moment when the 8 other members of my group and I realized that our translator had disappeared and we all spoke very poor Spanish and the crew from the church spoke no English. Eventually we worked out a system of hand motions and grunts that we could all use to attempt to understand one another. We worked with them to tear down their walls, shovel in dirt, paint multiple bars and lay down new gravel. Despite the language barrier, we created great relationships with the other workers and I was surprised by how much Spanish I actually remembered from my High School days. By the end of the work day, we all knew so many new Spanish phrases and the Costa Ricans were learning to speak to us in broken English! We had a great time working with them and ended if off with sharing a yummy meal of tortillas with them. The church invited us to attend their service later in the day which we did and that was an incredible experience. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong there and I loved being able to stand in the back and just watch these people fill this space that we had just knocked down the walls for them to fill earlier and praise Jesus. I learned that the church started off having service in a garage, and now today, on the mark of their 2 year anniversary, had people filling up the space all the way out the door. Even though we did not understand a lot of what was said, none of us wanted to leave the church when it was time to go. As we were walking out the door they began to express their thanks for what we are doing and it was just amazing so worship with these wonderful people and be able to serve them. I shared my testimony with the team today, explaining how I feel called into ministry and want to at some point become a missionary and it's just amazing to see how God is working in my life and filling my heart with so much joy to be around these people and answer the call He has for my life.  I have so many more thoughts and feelings about today which is crazy because it's only day 1 but God is working and I am so excited for what else He has in store for us!
From Julia :)

Another group went to El Alberge de Lincoln, which was a home for children who have been abused. We painted the living room and played with the kids all day. The kids really enjoyed helping us paint. One time coach had to fill the paint tray with more paint and it was taking a while and the kids got impatient. When it finally came one kid yelled "alleluia pintura!" which means Hallelujah more paint! It was funny. Another time the youngest boy at the home, fell face first into the paint tray. His whole arm and face was covered, but he didn't even cry he was actually smiling.
After working at the home, we went back to the house we are staying at and ate dinner. Then we went to a worship service at the church where the other group helped build. In Julia's words "there is no party like a holy ghost party!" After church we strolled down the street and got "Helado Trita"(Ice Cream Treats). It was a perfect way to end day 1.
Pura Vida Mae!!
-Shelly y Kajsa...and Eric helped too.

Shout out to my mom, Love You!!