I’m home from Costa Rica. I forgot to mention on here that I was getting ready for that trip, mostly because I was so busy getting everything together that I didn’t have a chance to write a post.
We left Saturday the 23rd and got back last night. Josh, Emily, and their youngest (4-month-old Matthew) went with us, along with my dad and 5 other people from our church. For most of the group, it was a short-term mission trip with an emphasis on construction and childrens ministry. For me and Emily, it was preparation for our big move. She and I stayed in San Jose with the missionaries on the team we’ll be joining next year, while the rest of the group was about 2-3 hours away in a community called La Montana, the poorest area of the country.
I’ll post more throughout this week about some specifics, but here’s a run-down of what we did on our trip…
Saturday, we got up early, left Jackson at 6am, and made it to Costa Rica by lunchtime. We explored downtown, had team orientation, and enjoyed a fruit-tasting party. (Here’s the post about Saturday on our missions blog.)
Sunday, we attended ICRICEN, the church in San Jose that the MTW missionaries are associated with. Nate had the opportunity to preach through a translator (click here to see a clip of Nate preaching). I loved the service, particularly the hymns because they were tunes that I knew. We ate lunch at the church, then the rest of the group hit the road for their 2-3 hour drive to La Montana, while Emily, the baby, and I got settled in at the Vaughn’s house in San Jose. (Here’s the post about Sunday on our missions blog)
Monday, the team did their first day of children’s ministry, which included telling the creation story, talking about being made to have relationship with God, and making nametags and creation coloring books. They also got started on their construction project, which was laying a floor and putting a roof on the church being built in the community. Meanwhile, Emily and I spent time getting to know the other women on our future team (Heather and Jana), and also visited a few stores to get a feel for prices and availability on various things we know we’ll need….in order to help us decide whether to ship things from home or just buy them when we get here. That evening, the team did some visitations in the community, getting to know some of the families there and praying for them.
Tuesday, the team continued working on their construction project – they had ALOT to accomplish in 4 short days! Back in San Jose, Emily, Heather and I went to the language school and met the administrators, visited with some students and asked tons of questions, toured the home of some students living in the area (a house similar to what we’ll have next year), and walked all around the area of town we’ll most likely live. It was extremely helpful! That night, back in La Montana, the team participated in a community worship service, where Josh had the opportunity to preach through a translator.
Wednesday, the team in La Montana continued the construction on the church. They also did another day of children’s ministry, which included telling the gospel, talking about Jesus, and making gospel bead bracelets. Then the rains came… big time. The roads flooded and quickly turned into a river, and the team had to help alot of the children get home through the rushing water. Nate and Josh carried little children home on their backs, because the water was too deep and too fast for them to walk in it. This whole incident deserves a post in itself! Meanwhile, back in San Jose, Emily and I walked all over Tres Rios (a small part of San Jose), just getting a feel for the place. This is the area that the other missionaries on the Costa Rica team live, and this is most likely close to where we will move during or after language school.
Thursday, the team finished up a few more hours of construction at the church…they completed it in time for the community to be able to worship in it for the first time THIS MORNING! Then they loaded up (stinky and sweaty) into a bus for the 2-3 hour drive back to San Jose. Meanwhile, Emily and I ate lunch with Rodney and Jana (our future team leaders) and their children, then spent some time getting to know them better. Afterward, we met up with the team at a Methodist camp in San Jose, where we would all be spending the next 2 nights. It was great to be reunited with the rest of our group and hear all about their week.
Friday was our “off” day. We got up early and drove about an hour to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which is a beautiful place with tons of wildlife (jungle cats, monkeys, snakes, frogs, butterflies, birds, etc), beautiful natural gardens, and amazing waterfalls. We explored most of the day, then drove back to the Methodist camp (with a couple of quick stops for souvenirs and fresh Costa Rican coffee! Then we had to say goodbye to our new friends and future teammates, the Davilas and the Vaughns. Later, we spent some time as a group sharing the parts of the week that were most meaningful for us, and it was a really sweet time of fellowship and remembrance of God’s faithfulness throughout the week.
Saturday, we left for the airport around 9:30am and spent the entire day traveling. Unfortunately our trip home wasn’t as quick as our trip to Costa Rica… we ended up with several delays and had a very long day. Thankfully, we all made it back (with our luggage!) safe and sound by about 11pm.
Now we’re all trying to readjust to being back at home… I’m absolutely thrilled to be back with my boys again, but I miss Costa Rica already. But it won’t be long until we’re back!
(check back this week for a few more detailed posts about our trip!)