Monday July 10th

Today began our first day of work including gardening, tinning, digging, concrete mixing, welding and spackling paste. We divided up our total team of 50 with Indiana + Texas included to each task and went to work. I love how everyone took their task given even if they had no experience in that particular area and tackled it without complaint. We worked together with people we had just met one day ago as if we had known them for years. Some of the Indiana team had activities ready for VBS with about 15 kids from the community where they discussed 1st Corinthians chapter 13 focusing on verses 4-8 :

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no recored of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But when there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 

The children are amazing at soccer which they love displaying for us to see and enjoy seeing our attempts to play. The language barrier is overcome as soon as you begin connecting on another level with the children. We had everything from bubbles, jump rope, beach balls and cross crafts and friendship bracelets to play with the kids. The joy on their faces brings so much happiness to those around them.

We also had the unique opportunity to learn salsa dancing. Most of our team members jumped right in without missing a step. Such a fun way to end the activities for the evening!

Devotions tonight included going around the group and saying what we have learned so far on this trip. We all agree we it's unreal that it's only our 1st full day here, it seems like we arrived weeks ago because we have already done so much. Most people discussed the fact that we are are so overprivileged in the US with the basic necessities we have readily available with an overabundance and just how much we take for granted. We also talked about how the people here are genuinely overjoyed with the simples things in life.

Side note: The cooks here have been absolutely incredible. Typically on past mission trips we have had rice and beans as a main dish, I don't like beans so the options were limited. We have had everything from tacos to chicken stir fry with fresh fruit and juice paired with each meal.

Tuesday July 11th

Today is our last full day of work. My group was working on putting the tin up on the outside walls yesterday and we are now onto the drywall portion as well as pouring some concrete. A couple of us learned our hand at drilling screws into the drywall, it was a rough start at first but then we began rocking it out. It has been awesome learning new trades and knowing that we are doing these tasks as a service to others to be the hands and feet of Jesus makes it that much more powerful.

The afternoon was filled with our last day of VBS with the kids, today we had about 30 kids from the community. The children really tug at my heartstrings on these missions. Their free spirits, loving hearts and realization of the important things in life as such young kids amazes me.

Charlie Strong, the director of Strong Missions leads a children's and adult's karate class on a weekly basis. We had the opportunity to watch him lead the karate kids in hour long intense sessions. The purpose of the activity is to instill a sense of belonging and community in them to keep them out of the gangs and off the streets, in hopes they will positively influence their own family and friends at home.

A group from our team went to the convenient store just down the road right before dinner, the uphills were grueling to say the least but we managed. It was a great workout! And to follow this wonderful workout, we got ice cream and sweets to help end the evening. :)

Wednesday July 12th

Good morning! Today we began the morning with our construction projects in which each group finished what they could. All in all, every group came a long way! It's amazing the progress to be seen with hard work, teamwork, and getting your hands dirty.

After our morning work, we hiked down to a beautiful river flowing not far from the mission base. It was so refreshing to hear the sound of the river flow and the greenery surrounding it. A couple people were brave enough to climb a couple of rocks and swing back on a sketchy rope swing. No falls were noted. :)

We hurried lunch along and headed to Latin American Biblical University where we got to hear the president speak as well as a few students originally from Peru and Chile. They shared a mixture of their testimonies and how they arrived at UBL. Their stories were very inspiring. I especially enjoyed one in particular who shared how she tries her hardest to be the light in the midst of darkness when surrounded by people who are not like minded in her faith. The joy that radiated naturally from here was infectious.

The artwork in this University was beautiful with spiritual meaning behind them. My favorite was the cross filled with earthly things we tend to discriminate people on. All of these discriminations on the cross are mixed together because God welcomes all of our brokenness. He is just that great of a God!

Tomorrow we leave for Cahuita on the Caribbean side after breakfast. We are all so excited to see all of the ways God continues to use us on this journey.

Thank you everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to venture our way through Costa Rica. We truly appreciate the support. :)

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