So, this week has been fantastic. Quick recap:
Day 0- the long travel day was brutal, and I felt completely grimy and gross when we got to San Jose international. We went out of DFW around 5pm and had some good times playing mafia beforehand. we landed in ft Lauderdale about 2 ½ hours later. We saw the mavs take home the championship at a sport’s bar. Dakota and I had an epic round of ninja that lasted around 5 minutes. We left ft Lauderdale a few hours later and landed in San Jose. We got off and went through customs ok. Now the 3-5 hour bus ride was afoot. It took a while, but we got there
Day 1- zip lines (I’ll write more concise now). They were a blast and we went through in the rain so that was neat. I went upside down on one and the last one was the most fun. We continued into thermo mania for the rest of the day. I got some cool video of the ziplines and pretty cool water shots w/ the disposable camera.
Day 2- ditch digging. That’s all this day consisted of. It was good to get it done, so I’m happy about that. I got bit up a bit by ants, but nothing too serious. I tried starfruit for the first time, and its really good, even when it’s not ripe. I smashed some concrete a little bit too (very fun).
Day 3- continuing the ditch digging. We accomplished the drainage ditch from the day before and it was great, a bit more rain today, so that’s good. We also made the basketball court less of a flood risk after we finished the ditch. After all this is the carnival for the kids. It was a lot of fun, but those kids are wild. Their water balloons hurt! We had Connor, nick, and Dakota do a scene of Jonah and the whale for the young’uns. Lots of fun this day
Day 4- we got to sleep in a bit, but then we got to work on laying concrete in the mess hall. It was hilarious b/c we had to mix it by hand, and there was an electric mixer right next to it. We worked even until after the quittin bell sounded and we got the job done. We had a movie night for the local couples and I helped pass out popcorn and drinks. Afterwards, nick and about 10 of us were worshiping behind the kitchen, just havin fun and lovin God
Day 5- beach day. I kinda wish we had stayed and mixed more concrete in fortuna. Mainly b/c I’m a lobster as I type this, despite the hefty coat of sunscreen. It was fun w/ cold steel (Andrew) and cheddar (Ryan) dunking Brendan out in the ocean. Unfortunately I lost my spectacles, and am borrowing someone’s w/ better vision right now. It was cool shopping, I got some gifts for the family, and I went down to the beach to get seashells for the little dudes.
All in all, this week has been amazing, and I feel like I’ve grown closer to Christ. I worked hard and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
p.s. I made a small highlight video for days 0-3. I didn’t get 4 or 5 b/c my battery was dead. I think it turned out ok
First Blog and way too much to say! What an unbelievable week it’s been. We’ve seen the Lord move in some incredible ways, and it’s an understatement to say that we’re all coming home having experienced Him in new ways. I have to believe that each of us have embraced our mission in CR and have really enjoyed the journey we’ve been taken on. We’re all very grateful for the opportunity we’ve been given and we know that it’s because of a Faithful God and faithful friends and family like you! Thanks for the many prayers and thoughts this week. We’ve felt them. We’ve had a few long, hard days but it’s been worth it. One more early wake-up call and we’re leaving on a jet plane, but we are all already looking forward to a return trip to serve these beautiful people.
Amanda, Karys, Hannah-I can’t wait to see you! Thank you for being so supportive for this fly-by-night (literally!) change of plans. I’ve thought of you every day several times a day and can’t wait to tell you all about it! I Love You and will see you in one more sleep!!!
Humbled to be a very small part in God’s very big plan-
Man what a week. Can’t believe it is already over I have seen and felt the Lord everywhere around me. He has put some things that have been bothering my heart to rest so that I can finally have inner peace. Not only have I felt the Lord but I have also felt the pain of working with every kind of tool on earth from shoveling dirt in wheelbarrows to hand mixing concrete (which will kill your shoulders by the way). I just had an amazing day at the beach surfing that after some practice I finally caught an awesome wave and I rode it all the way into the shore. I have learned so much from this trip that I can barely take it all in because we were completely submerged in the culture. I learned that God works thoughout everything and we don't notice because we just don’t open our eyes to see what he is doing. I am sad that this is the last day of the trip I really want to stay and finish this project so bad. So to keep doing this I think that I will apply to become an intern at GTD because I love this place and I love what God is doing here.
Steven James Dakota Elliott signing off see you guys tomorrow
The highlight of my day was not the fact that we went to the beach and I learned I’m a natural at surfing. And it’s definitely not the fact that I’m burned worse than toast. But my highlight happened when we got back from the beach. The little girl I met earlier this week (the same one I gave my “I am second” bracelet to) was waiting for me outside the church to give me a big hug and to say goodbye. She even gave me a small candy bar for remembrance. It wasn’t the candy that really touched me, it was the note that came with it. It reads “Un abrazo de oso para ti, De: Jessica”. Which translates to “A hug from me to you, Love: Jessica”. That made me realize I met my goals for this week. I impacted the life of a local little girl, and my life is changed forever. It is so disheartening to go home, but I can wait to get there.
This week has been an amazing life-changing experience for me. Seeing the smiles on all the kids faces and just seeing how happy they are with what they have, has taught me that I am incredibly blessed. I feel like God has really used me this week just to touch the lives of the youth here in Costa Rica. On Thursday night, the church held a movie night kind of thing and some of the kids from our youth group were responsible for watching the children of the parents who came to the movie. And there was this one little boy named Daniel, he was the most adorable little boy ever! He was only about three or four years old so he was pretty quiet at the beginning. And he just had this tired look on his face so I picked him up and sat down with him in my lap and just rocked him back and forth. And he almost fell asleep, but then his cousin came over and he just lit up. He started talking and laughing and running around. It was so cute. And I feel like God used this little boy to bring me joy. This three-year-old little boy made me smile the whole time. I truly loved the experience.
Before this mission trip, I was laying in my bed just thinking about what Costa Rica would be like. And then I started thinking about all the work and what kind of impact I could have. So I started praying and I simply said, “God, use me this week to help spread your word. Use me however you want too. I’m giving you everything I have and I am using it all for you this week.” And I feel like He did, in so many ways. This mission trip has truly been a life changing experience for me. I have learned so many things, it’s like crazy. But I have loved every minute of it. I have fallen in love with this place and everyone here. I cannot wait to see how God uses me next year. Adios Costa Rica! Pura Vida! I love you and everyone here! You have a very special place in my heart forever! You are truly a beautiful place full of worship and loving people.
This week has definitely been one of my favorites. God never ceases to amaze me with how he works. The kids here have taught me to be thankful for every little thing. Thursday night was so much fun. I helped watch local kids while their parents watched the movie “Fireproof”. I met a ten-year-old boy who definitely has a special place in my heart. His name is Arron. Arron was very outgoing. He was so funny and we got along really well. By the end of the night we were joking around like we were family. I was so sad to say good-bye. Another special moment for me on Thursday was when a boy named Alejandro asked me about my “I am second” bracelet. I explained to him that it meant “Christ is first, and you are second. Always put Christ before yourself.” He asked me if he could have it, and so I let him. In return I not only got a bracelet he was wearing, but also gained the feeling of brightening his day. Giving truly is better than receiving in the long run. My favorite part of this week would have to be just trying to communicate with the locals. Everyone is so sweet, and so caring and patient to try and understand what you are trying to ask, say, or explain. It was so much fun trying to figure out what the locals were saying also. The conversations helped me grow these relationships because of the language barrier. It was amazing to be able to understand each other in bilingual conversation. We all got along so well! I miss everyone already. I love all of my new friends, and Costa Rica!
I am so blessed to have been able to come on this trip. I cannot wait to come back next year and continue to grow my relationships with my new friends, and practice my Spanish! Pura Vida!
We all went to the beach today, and did something very exciting!
Jessica and I got to surf! We LOVED every minute of it. I got on my knees and Jess actually stood up! She is such a natural and I’m so proud of her!
For our first time surfing, I think we did great! And it was so much fun to just encourage each other and see each other’s progress. Bayli and I are so happy about our success. And as my boyfriend would say, “You better be glad there weren’t any sharks!” He’s a dork, but oh well. We can’t wait to surf again! By this time next year, we will be pros! J
-Jessica Rodriguez & Bayli Bishop
So, I went on this trip with a wish, I guess, to get something in particular out of this experience. I wanted to have a moment were I really felt the presence of God. I wanted to feel as if he was standing there right next to me. Those types of moments can be rare for us at times, or at least I know for me they are. So, in previous blogs, you may have heard of when the youth at the church here, did a night of praise and worship. Well, as the singing part came to an end, the worship leader asked all of us foreigners, or Gringos, to make a circle in the middle of the room. Then he asked the natives, or Ticos, to gather around us in a bigger circle, circling ours. He began to pray, and the Ticos put a hand on our backs to flow the prayer from Christ, through the worship leader, through them (the Ticos), and into us. That moment had a feeling that I have only felt a small number of times. God was in that room. He was standing there in front of me, looking down at my bowed head. I couldn’t see him, but the presence of God is a supernatural feeling you cannot mistake for anything else. There was this line that kept popping into my head, without me even thinking it up. I kept repeating in my head, “He is here.” It felt like the moment in Batman the Dark Knight, when the villain in the movie was pouring a poison into Gothom cities water supply. The workers had begun to freak out because they had heard a loud noise coming from the roof. They asked, “what is that?” or “what was that?” And the villain answered, “it’s the BAT!” So, to me it was as if God got the recognition he deserved, and made an entry that topped any super hero ever, from Super Man, to Iron Man combined. So, for that reason and others, this trip has been completely life changing, and I can’t wait for my return.
- Nick Edwards