Thursday, June 21, 2012

Back Home

We have arrive in Miami and awaiting our flight.  We all craved some American food, so most of us ended up with a good old fashioned American burger.

I thank everyone for their prayers as the helped us greatly.  This trip impacted everyone in different even though we are all attempting to catch up with news from back home.  Everyone has their phones out and is hardly talking.

Well it's time to catch or fight back to Chicago.  Wet well see everyone shortly!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And on the seventh day we rested

Today we woke in Cahuita to the sound of the surf and beautiful sunshine.  We started the day with breakfast at a Cafe across the road.  Wonderful crepes, omelets and amazing coffee.  Blaine, Susan and Larry went to Zip Line in the jungle.  They were a bit nervous, but went off determined to see wildlife and have fun.  Debbie, Mary, Doug and Jack had a leisure morning laying in hammocks and reading....maybe sneaking in a siesta or two!. 

When our adventurers came back with tales of vipers, monkeys and sloths.  The had a wonderful time and enjoyed it all.  The sleepy group pulled themselves together and lunch was on the agenda and then off to the beach.  The beach is in a national park so lots of nature along with amazing waves.  The group had fun in the sun.

After much needed showers we are now gathering in the hammocks again and getting ready for a Jamaican style dinner!  What a great way to end the amazing adventure.  We have been blessed with the fellowship and memories which we will cherish for a very long time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last Work Day

Today is out last work day. We went over to Yolena's house to do some last minute demolition work and dig some more holes. Even though our shift was only four hours, we were exhausted when we came back to the compound for lunch. We will be packing up today and heading to Cahuita, a beach town on the Caribbean coast.

An update on the little boy, Estevan... He is showing some signs of improvement! Please continue to lift him up.

Day Four of Fun in the Sun on the Jobsite

We had our day of rest on Sunday and were raring to go for our last full day of work. Our small group was joined by a rambunctious bunch of high schoolers from Florida. Our intern for the day was Nicole , a young lady from Pennsylvania who helped us organize for the day so that we could finish a few of the projects that we had started. The septic hole was finally proclaimed finished at 7'4" deep and 40" by Wilbur our construction supervisor which was good news for Jack who was the "Master of the hole in the Ground". There was a little more concrete work and trench digging to get ready for connecting the plumbing for the new bathroom that we worked on. We also started demo on the existing house to prepare for the connection to the new addition, which helped us visualize how the project would evolve. We all decided that today was the warmest and sunniest day of the week with copious amounts of water consumed, and as always delicious beans and rice at every meal. At the end of the work day we had a prayer request for a classmate of the homeowners daughter, Sharon. The eight year old named Estevan has been critically ill with meningitis. We gathered with all the workers at our site and were joined by Charlie, the founder of Strong Missions to say a prayer for him. Please keep this young man in your prayers too. In closing, we had a lot of fun reflecting about the week in the evening, where we had a lot of laughs retelling the stories that have brought our small group so close together.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Worship in Costa Rica

Today was a beautiful lazy day in Costa Rica. We started the day with worshipping with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at Inglesia Evangelica Metodista Palabra Viva. It was a 20 minute walk to/from church (up hills both ways) in the early morning heat but the church was well shaded with a heavenly breeze. We were welcomed with opened arms and felt right at home. The worship songs were sung in Spanish but we were able to follow along to a few of them in English with the help of our resident worship team member (Susan). The pastor gave a wonderful sermon, translated for us by another volunteer at the church, and was very spirit-filled. After the service, and a long uphill walk back home, we had lunch and spent the afternoon sight-seeing and souvenir shopping. There were too many beautiful choices and we spent too much time looking around (just ask Jack). For dinner, we walked to a nearby pizzeria and had some delicious pizza and then met some Costa Rican friends of Blaine's for a short drive to a lovely ice cream parlor. Can't ask for a more peaceful and restful day. Now time for some shut-eye so we can get up and continue the work we started the first two days.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 2 from Lucy the Mission Dog

Hello my name is Lucy and I run the Strong mission in Costa Rica. Charlie Strong thinks he runs the mission, but I really keep it running. Today I took the WSC Costa Rica mission team to their second day building a home for Yolena and her wonderful children. It started as a beautiful day, the team was very excited to get back to the house site. I of course led the way protecting them from strange dogs and odd cats.

Jack really wanted to finish digging a 7 foot deep hole, Blaine started the plumbing, Debbie took the lead on finishing the painting and everyone else started mixing cement. Emily from Texas joined the group. I like Emily, she pets me alot and i sleep outside her cabin. Two of my fellow mission helpers jenny and Wilbur gave human directions, but kept me eye on the group and made sure they did everything right. Well until my friend a small black dog my size came to visit, then i took a little break.

The group got a ton done in the morning and we took a very late break for lunch. I led the way home and we were all happy to get spaghetti and garlic bread for lunch! Yum. Charlie had lunch with the team and explained the amazing work we do at Strong Missions, feeding the poor, building homes and changing the lives of the people in Costa Rica and the hundreds of people like the WSC team who come to help every year.

After lunch the crazy team decided to move some huge boulders from the front yard of the site to the back, jack almost had a boulder roll into the hole with him, but Blaines quick heroics saved the day. I of course assisted by. barking loudly. A huge lightning strike right next to the site ended the day. We cleaned up quick and marched home in the rain.

Another successful day at Strong Missions and time for this puppy to eat dinner and go to bed!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our first work day

Morning came early. We were all to bed late and my mind was already on the morning. Our coordinator/translator, Jenny, told us we were building a house addition for for one of the parishioners; Yolena, a single mother of five. I've never done or even participated in something like this before so I wasn't sure what to expect. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes and sausage, Jenny led us to our site for the day. The mix of motorcycles, tiny homes and the sub-tropical environment was full of life and beauty. Yolena's home is a very small two room dwelling. The jobs for the day included: cleaning and painting purlin, which are ceiling beams use to support the metal corrugated ceiling, mixing and pouring the cement floor for the addition and finish digging a 7' deep hole for the septic tank. Along with our 7 team members, a youth team from San Antonio was also assigned to the site. Mary, Debbie and Sue were on purlin cleaning and painting duty, Blaine and Larry were on plumbing and cement and Jack and I worked on digging out the septic. We take for granted the tools and materials at our use at home when taking on a job like this. The cement was mixed by hand. Loads of sand and rock are dropped off by truck and unloaded with shovels, mixed with cement and wheelbarrowed into place. It was truly a blessing to see all these hands working together, serving, in Jesus' name. We also had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Strong today on site. He is quite an inspiring individual.

Dinner, devotion, bed a back at it tomorrow.


We made it to Costa Rica, breezing through immigration and customs. We arrived at the Strong Mission compound around 9:45pm, local time. Even in the dark, the area is beautiful. I wasn't sure what to expect as far as our lodging. I'd envisioned everything from hammocks in tents to a red roof inn-style hotel. We are being housed by gender in a former cabin-style hotel. We ladies have a double bed and twin bunks. We have a nice little bathroom with a shower and a small kitchen area. The boys have two sets of bunks, one of which collapsed when they sat on it. They've fixed it temporarily and we are headed to bed. We will be up for breakfast at 7:15 am and off to our work site by 9. I'm looking forward to getting my first daylight glimpses of Costa Rica!

Please pray for us as we head out to the site to help build an addition for a single mother of five.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Costa Rica Travels

The day has arrived!  We are sitting at O'Hare awaiting or flight to serve the people of Costa Rica through the body of Christ.  With the exception of a late transportation company, things have been really smooth.  Please pray for a meaningful and safe trip. 

I can't believe I am blogging from my phone!

Peace and Godbless

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Have you ever had a fear that was so silly that you didn't even want to admit that you were afraid?  I've got to admit that I've got one right now.  It seems as if every single person I know who has gone on a mission trip has come back saying how much their experiences on the trip have changed them.  I'm afraid that I will come back from Costa Rica and feel no differently than I do now.  In my mind, I know that no matter what happens, I will be returning a changed person.  I've never been out of the country (well, except to Canada) before.  I've never been on a mission trip before.  Even if I weren't to experience anything more than those two things, I will return changed.  Intellectually, I realize that, but I still have that niggling fear that I will be unmoved by what I see, do or experience.   I know that God will use each member of our team to do His work in Costa Rica.  I'm praying that God will bless this trip so many times over that not only will we be of service to others, that I will be one of those who returns from this mission trip with renewed purpose and a greater love for God, humanity, and nature. 

Please continue to lift our team up in prayer as we venture forth as representatives of our congregation and as the hands/feet/faces of God.