Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pre-PRAYER-ing For Our Next Mission Trip!!

Over the next 6 days 40 gringos (slang for Americans) will be on their way down for next week's mission trip with Harvest Church of TX. There are a lot of little things to get done. After a 3 day "work-cation" in La Fortuna de San Carlos, Laurie and I are back at the church in La Fortuna de Bagaces (about 3 hours away) chipping away at the tasks.

We are thrilled to be hosting such a large group and are very excited about the things they are planning on accomplishing while they are here. This is the third time in seven years that we've had a group of 40 or more, but the first time the group will be hosting a conference at a local high school. Pastor Danilo says we should expect a few hundred people to attend.

Join us in praying for a God-awesome impact through this conference and in the lives of those in this community as well as all our participants!! As always, we look forward to all that God is going to do!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Random Blog Posts By Students (HCA Mission Trip)

Below are several blog posts that I wasn't able to enter until now. They were written by the wild & crazy guys from Harvest Christian Academy. The posts range from silly to sincere, but they are all fun... hope you enjoy =)

Friday was a lot of fun. There were so many activities that went on.  My favorite part of the day was working on a new church in San Bernardo.  I had my first experience of laying concrete, and I enjoyed the hard work because it was work that helps the Kingdom of God.   –Chase Caywood

On Friday we did  a lot of fun things but my favorite was playing soccer with the locals, it was a lot of fun tto communicate with them through sports.  –Palmer Jones

I like turtles. –robert warner

Hola senors y senoritas. me diverti toda la semana.  Playing soccer with the costa Ricans was mucho fun.  I met someone from DC but cant remember his llamo.  La comida era muy deliciosa. I am driving to the beach with a car full of boys and we are all muy consado but very excited to get our sun tan on.  Adios amigos -Collin theisner/ wileer(my favorite translator that is sitting next to mi)

Querro comer un Perro<3  Playing soccer with the locals was mucho funo. This trip not only brought me closer to my amigos but brought me closer to God. I enjoyed the morning devotionals that were led by Doug and Laurie. I will never forget the experiences that I encountered along with my friend Henry. We are on are way to the beach, so I am looking forward to another muy buen day with the “always smiling” Costa Ricans.      –Aj McCort

This whole week has been amazing, helping the community while building relationships with the locals has been a blast. The weather down here is freezing, but the service for God and the fellowship with the Costa Ricans is definitely worth the discomfort. -Landry Alexander

The climate isn’t as bad down here as I was told it would be.  The rain is very predictable, and it only rains once a day.  It is very humid down here but the temperature is lower than in Texas.  My Spanish has consisted of many uhhs, facial expressions, shrugs, nods, translated nouns and verbs, and lots and lots of charades.  The time down here has been very fun and enjoyable; at least once my room got fans for every bunk hooked up to one outlet using a converter and 2 extension cords.  The service we have done the community will last for a long time.  We cleaned up the area we stayed in, poured concrete walkways for a new church building, put lights and outlets in a new church, and prayed with many members of the community, and blogged about all of it in the back of a moving van on the way to the beach.

Estoy meyondo! This whole week has been a life changing experience for me. I not only grew closer with my friends and the locals, but with my relationship with God. I Love working at the church and learning how to make concrete, I thought that was a pretty cool experience. One of my best memories on this trip was playing soccer with the locals and trying to make conversations with them even though they laughed at my Spanish lol. We are on our way to the beach now and hopefully to make some more memories that we will never forget! ADIOS ;)

Come at me bro -Kaleb Schweitzer


Monday, May 28, 2012

Teacher's Blog (HCA Mission Trip)

I hope you love this blog post by HCA teacher, Audrey Barto, as much as we do... enjoy!

It’s midnight in Costa Rica and our group is piled into our two vans for the drive to the airport in San Jose.  Some of us are thrilled to be returning to America, and some of us said tearful goodbyes.  We’ve learned the word “onmigos” (ants) and the phrase “Dios de bendiga” (God bless you).  The people of Costa Rica welcomed us into their homes, and judging by their many personal prayers tonight, into their hearts as well.  Our last day in Costa Rica began with a trip to the beach and ended with the most passionate prayer vigil I have ever experienced.  Worship, music, and celebration lasted several hours even before the praying began.

I think I can speak for our group when I say that many things surprised us this week: bugs, humidity, new foods, and sometimes a lack of the extreme wealth to which Americans are accustomed.  What surprised me more than anything is the pure joy among the Christians we have come to know.  It is so very evident that Jesus has changed their lives.  We experienced joy in the worship tonight, but we also observed a strong, enduring joy that saturates daily life for the people in this church.

Our goodbyes tonight have left me thinking about the true fellowship that believers have because of our relationships with Christ.  I feel as though I have always known some of the people we have only just met.  I have also watched our group work together and also love together.  We began the week with team meetings giving our highlights of the day, but we ended the week with heartfelt sharing of the work that Christ is doing in our lives.  The love of Jesus has bonded us and taught us the meaning of unity, joy, and peace. 

Serving in Costa Rica this week has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life.  I believe God brought each of us here for a very specific reason.  For me, this reason was to impress on my heart a desire to return to Latin America permanently as soon as possible.  I so selfishly love to be in control of my life, and I believe God brought me to this country to soften my heart and surround me with people who encouraged me to give up this control.  I know God is teaching each of us something different, and it has been my joy and privilege to watch His work as he changes our hearts.  Praise God for his salvation, His extreme mercy, and His overwhelming love.



Fantastic Finish to HCA Mission Trip

Worship started at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night and was still going on at 10 p.m.! The church was praising God and lifting up their communities in prayer! At 2 a.m. they headed out to walk the streets of the town and pray! Harvest Christian Academy was invited in to be prayed over before leaving for the airport at midnight and even participated in leading a song of praise and worship! The team arrived at the airport at 3 a.m. and Doug and I slept in our vans at the airport. Now we are in Arenal to relax and recoop for a few days! God is sooooooooo good! This week has been amazing! We will greatly miss the HCA team. They were incredible to work with!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

HCA Airport Arrival

The HCA team has arrived safely at the airport for their departure. More blogs to come soon!

Airport Arrival

The HCA team arrived safely at the airport and is awaiting their flight. More blogs to come soon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Work Project & Oxen Pics (HCA Mission Trip)

The HCA Mission Team has been working hard!! Check out these pics on the GTD Facebook Page from our work projects plus a few pics of the team sitting on oxen =)


196 More Pics Uploaded (HCA Mission Trip)

We had a wonderful time on our local Cultural Tour and God blessed us with a great turnout for our Carnival Day with the kids in San Bernardo. Check out the pics on the GTD Facebook Page!!


Headmaster Blog (Terry Caywood of HCA Mission Trip)

Harvest Christian Academy had another awesome day in Costa Rica.  Our parents, faculty and staff have every reason to be extremely proud of our juniors and seniors as they build relationships and worked hard to continue God’s work in La Fortuna de Bagaces, CR.  There are so many great events each day that become special and sometimes funny memories instantly.  For instance, Collin continues to impress us with his every expanding Spanish vocabulary including profound words like “cat”.  Landry portrayed a mean Goliath in our Biblical skit for children, but Ellis won out as he depicted the young shepherd boy, David.  John and Laura shared their testimonies through an interpreter for the first time.  Chase and Cody bravely went door to door speaking something like Spanish inviting kids to our carnival.  Ellis and Robert are dreaming of Whataburger constantly, but working hard anyway.  Palmer, Jayson, Robert, Ellis, Kristen, and Alexa were fired up when the church praise band allowed them to borrow their instruments for worship songs.  Hannah, Toure and Rachel wowed the local NiƱo’s with face painting and fingernail polish.  We surprised AJ by celebrating his birthday with a cake from the local bakery.  And Kaleb was able to practice soccer with some locals and scored almost every time.  As you can tell, they are all engaged and allowing God to use them well.

We all thank you for your prayers and sacrificing to allow us to spend this time learning how to serve God in another culture.  Our experience has been everything we have prayed for over the years in preparing for HCA’s first ever international mission trip.  Not only have we been openly accepted, experienced the culture, but our group was also blessed to be the group that held the inaugural event in a church built only 20+ days ago.  We stay exhausted, but energetic as we learn patience and flexibility as guests in another culture.  Our kids have truly learned to appreciate their homes and their families.  This time away from the USA and together as a group has been so beneficial for us.  At times like these, God seems to move and grow us quickly.

Four days are already complete, and we look forward to our work projects tomorrow.  Please continue to pray for our focus to be on the Lord and our safety as we serve.

Serving the Saints,
Terry Caywood, Headmaster, HCA

171 More Pics Added (HCA Mission Trip)

171 more pics from our God-awesome mission trip in Costa Rica with Harvest Christian Academy of Watauga, TX!!! See them on the GTD Facebook Page here.


Student Blog (Laura Abasi of HCA Mission Trip)

Hola from Costa Rica~

       Yesterday was an adventure for sure! We started off the day heading to see petroglyphs and for mountainside morning devotionals with a man named Alfredo! We got to trace the petroglyphs with clay which was super cool! There were so many designs in the lava rocks, it blew my mind! Later we went to Alfredo's sister in law’s home and we got to see how coffee was made. It was probably the best coffee we have ever had! Alfredo and his family were so generous; he gave us all sorts of fruits and honey from his backyard. He was even generous enough to go to the neighbors and grab everyone mangos which were incredible. Later we went to go see how sugar candy was made back in the Costa Rican day.  I would be expecting some cavities in the near future (hopefully kidding).  While leaving, we had our own little adventure with the bus in a pretty place called the ditch. After getting the bus out with the help of every Costa Rican that passed by, we were on our way to get ready for the carnival for the town of San Bernardo.

       The carnival was so exciting. The boys did a skit about David and goliath and it was a huge success! There was face painting, fingernail painting, hair dressing, bead making, jump roping, water balloon fighting, and pretty tiaras that all the girls got. They were truly princesses. The HCA boys even got their nails painted all sorts of color.

       We are learning Spanish one day at a time. Collin learned how to say “I wet my pants” in Spanish and even shared it with Alfredo many times later that day.  The children changed my life much more than I could ever change theirs. The smiles on their faces lit up the town.

       Costa Rica is a beautiful country with even more beautiful people. In our devotions today we talked about creation and how God’s love and beauty shine through all of Costa Rica and through us. In this week alone I have noticed a growth in our group. I am still trying to get over the bugs; I was bit by who knows how many bugs while writing this blog but it was totally worth it! 

Laura Abasi


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Awesome Mission Trip!!

Wow, God is blessing us with an AWESOME mission trip!! So much to say... working on several blog posts. Everyone is safe & sound... and blessed!!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012 HCA Mission Trip (Ziplines 2)

More zipline pics from our mission trip in Costa Rica w/ Harvest Christian Academy!! Click here to see them on facebook!!

Zipline Pics (Album 1 - HCA Mission Trip)

Check out some pics from our zipline adventure in Costa Rica with Harvest Christian Academy on our 8 day mission trip!! God-awesome times!!! (Photos are on the GTD Facebook Page)

Wednesday In Costa Rica w/ HCA

HCA MISSION TRIP WEDNESDAY PLAN: We are about to depart for some mountain side devotions and our local cultural tour including a sugar processing & coffee making tour. It's a wonderful way to see and appreciate the hard work that goes into these 2 "vital" food groups =). This afternoon we are holding the first ever carnival outreach day in a small unreached town of San Bernardo. Pray for a good turnout & powerful impact!! We don't know if 1 person or 30 people will show up today, but we can't wait!!


A Few Pics From HCA Mission Trip

We've been going nonstop since the mission trip began so I haven't had much time to upload pictures to the blog, but here are a few from our breakfast, morning devotions and an impromptu soccer practice in the town square... enjoy =)

more pics coming...


In The Student's Words (HCA Mission Trip)

It was another great day in Costa Rica. Pastor Danilo spoke at our morning devotions and shared the vision that God has laid on his heart for this area. La Fortuna de Bagaces has a population of around 3000 people and the pastor has a passion to reach them & the surrounding towns with the gospel of Jesus Christ. A lot of what he needs revolves around construction projects on the church property as well as within the community. Through the years God has used GTD to bring many groups down to assist the pastor in fulfilling that vision. We have a long way to go, but it's so amazing to see all the projects God has allowed our ministry to be a part of. But as for today, we started working on several work projects on the church property and also worked on a new church in a nearby town of San Bernardo. It is the first church in this small town and we are so excited to be the first group to reach out to the children of this area. Below are posts by 2 HCA students. We love to see how God is already at work in each student's life. Keep checking back for more updates & pictures =)


My trip in Costa Rica has been a blast so far. I have been shown so many things just in the two days that I've been here! It humbles me to see how good I have it back at home because here in Costa Rica they don't have a lot of things or money. The people here are so loving even though they might not know you personally they show love towards you and all they want is love back. In America people aren't always willing to listen or have the patience for one another like they do here.

I have true compassion for these people and they say that they look up to us, but I look up to them! They don't care if they don't have the nicest things or the coolest new toy or the biggest house all they care about is loving each other and wanting to have friends to talk to. But in America all people want is a lot of money big houses the fastest most expensive cars and to be "cool".

Every night two guys come over and talk to us and hang out with us and every time I see them it brightens my day because they always have a smile on thier face. Today we worked on the church ground that we are staying at on multiple tasks and even when it started raining no one rushed inside we all continued with what we were doing so that we could best help the church. Afterwards we went to another church to continue the same thing just at a different location. Once we finished we came back to get ready for Hot Springs! Hot Springs use a variety of pools that are heated by a few of the channels from the volcano that is very close.
When we all finished swimming we ate a very nice meal and bought just about all of their ice cream!

Even though i cant wait to get back to the States where there is nice and cool air conditioning I do love it in Costa Rica. I don't think that I could make it here becauase of how hot it is and all the creatures, its nice to see the wild animals roaming the streets and just see how non shalount everybody is! We saw horses and bulls and wild dogs roaming the streets but no one seemed to care very much!

ADIOS! -Cody May


We have been here in Costa Rica for two days so far. It has been really interesting. I have been ziplining  and to the hot springs. Besides all the fun activities we actually had a good nice day of hard work. It was really hard, but it felt good to accomplish something. To start something from scratch and see how far
and how well it developes is the greatest feeling ever, especially when you do it with your own hands and you know that when it is done your heart and sweat were put into it. Today we got to see this take place at the church. We had multiple groups working to get one job done. The boys were breaking ground, literally, and moving rocks so that another group could level the ground with dirt they had shoveled. Nevertheless, we worked hard and worked together and got the job done. It felt good to help in such a good and needed way. Also the people here are sweet, intersting and funny; I cant wait for the rest of the week to see what God has in store for us.

~Toure Manning


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What An Amazing Day!! (HCA Mission Trip)

The Harvest Christian Academy mission trip in Costa Rica is already off to an amazing start. We have been enjoying getting to know this great group of Juniors & Seniors as they embark on their first international mission trip. God is already stirring up His Spirit within these young people. After our delicious breakfast, morning devos, and church property tour the group was able to interact in the community and quickly jumped into some soccer practice with Costa Rican high school students at the soccer field in the center of the small town. The locals embraced our students and seemed to really enjoy interacting & playing soccer with them. It was then time for our main adventure of the day - the canopy zipline tour through the rain forest. The students LOVED it!! Once we were harnessed up we hiked up the base of a volcano about half of a mile and began to ride back down on a total of 11 different ziplines. Each zipline is connected to a huge tree. As we approached the tree we used a hand brake to slow down. Once we arrived at the tree we stood on a platform as guides switched us from one zipline to the next (we were constantly attached to a safety line as we transitioned from zipline to zipline). Usually the platforms were 50-75 feet above the ground. It was so much fun! The final zipline was about a third of a mile long. It was incredible! After the ziplines we had lunch and then went to tour the nearby town of Guayabo. We got to observe the day-to-day work life of typical Costa Ricans as well as check out their local stores & very small restaurants. It's always eye opening to see how people in another country live. We then toured the Banyan Resources property to see the fish farm and bunkhouses prior teams have worked on. We talked about the property vision for the 100 acres of land and prayed for the entire property project. We returned back to the church at 6pm in time for the best meal ever - Lela's chalupas!!! They are so delicious!! The HCA students and the local church youth group then hooked up for an impromptu worship jam session in the church. It's so cool to hear the same worship songs that we sing in the US are many of the same songs they sing (but in Spanish). We serve a mighty God who is worshiped all over the world =). We finished up with some quality team time praying for the upcoming days & sharing highlights of the day. It was not just a good day... it was an amazing day!! Praise God =)

PS: More pictures to come tomorrow


Monday, May 21, 2012

Quick Update (HCA)

We love this group!!! Harvest Christian Academy arrived safe & sound late last night. After a few hours of sleep the group has already had breakfast, completed morning devotions out of John 15, and done a church property tour. They are currently at the town square watching a local soccer tournament. We are about to go to the Canopy zip lining tour in the rain forest. The group is very fun, engaging, and helpful... we already love them!! Keep checking back for more updates & pictures!! =)



Harvest Christian Academy has arrived safely!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Day Back In Fortuna

From the moment I woke up, to my favorite Costa Rican meal made by Mayling (the Pastor's wife), to buying our new Costa Rican phones!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Doug, Lorena and myself went shopping for the group coming in tomorrow!