Mission trips have a rhythm - you arrive in this new place, you don’t know a soul, you don’t recognize the food, you can’t drink the water, you
don’t even speak the language. You start doing various tasks & projects, you meet the locals, you get to know your teammates as you sweat together & attempt some Spanglish.
Before you know it, you’ve fallen in love with these people & this little community & you realize the days are slipping by and it’s time to head home! This is where our Costa Rica team is right now. They’ve built, re-built, torn-down, painted, installed, carried, prayed, sang, chased kids, kicked soccer balls, washed dishes, fixed lunches, decorated, crafted, learned more Spanglish, taught, learned, colored, hula-hooped, and more! Now it’s time for a free day to see this beautiful country and then … heading home.
Thursday & Friday were “rush to complete every project” days! Chad installed a new toilet for a neighbor while teammates, gringos & Ticos, painted the walls. Steve & Dylan & others finished the new shed, opening up more seating area & building a stronger more “attractive” storage building. Cathy has spent the week painting a glorious mural of tropical birds on one of the church walls and Kathy-with-a-K helped her finish the beautiful blue butterflies!
The very rustic driftwood cross made by the founding missionary & pastor Rodney LaFrance has stood in this room for over 15 years - it suddenly succumbed to age & termites a few months ago right in the middle of a church service so Craig was able to take a beautiful piece of donated wood & construct a new cross for the church platform.
Cassity painted & decorated a long neglected wall for the Kid’s area. Others painted various neighbor’s houses, played soccer with the local kids, cleaned & organized, repaired & repainted the front church patio & the wrought iron fence out front. Oh! Remember it’s the hottest few months in Central America- it was well into the 80’s all week with burning sun right on the Equator & no a/c!
Friday afternoon brought a quick trip to the Artisan Market for souvenirs & a trip into downtown San Jose. Our team got a great picture of life in Anonos - you take a bus downtown for jobs or markets. You walk a far distance to run your errands, then you carry your bags & packages back to the bus, then you walk back up & down the hills to your home. Everything is a much bigger deal than our car-based quick suburban lifestyle. =
On Friday, the team invited many of those who helped them all week to go to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, about an hour or so up into the beautiful mountains. On the winding mountain roads, you can see rural homes & farms, schools, churches, fields of onions, coffee, strawberries and more - Costa Rica is a rich farming nation.
At La Paz there are native CR animals that have been injured or rescued and they are on display in a beautiful setting. You’ll see birds of every description, one more beautiful than the next, parrots, toucans, hummingbirds- just gorgeous birds!
You’ll see a butterfly building full of huge bright blue butterflies, plus tiny poisonous tree frogs, bugs, snakes & more. Sloths, monkeys, even big cats like jaguars & ocelots! There’s an old-fashioned cabin full of historical tools & furnishings, complete with two giant oxen, Samson & Hercules!
The grand finale consists of seven breath-taking waterfalls, though the price tag is many many stairs up & down & around! And then… a tired, long drive in the heavy traffic back to the church, the final team dinner, lots of hugs & some tears, a de-brief with Angie & David, then back to the hotel to pack & get ready for a long day of travel!
This team has had a lot of stumbling blocks, plus a lot of sickness but they worked together and the church family at La Viña loved them so much! They were a great blessing to the church & community & I know they were blessed as well with the people they met and those they worked with! Pray as they leave Costa Rica Sunday morning for a long day’s travel through Baltimore & landing in Columbus late Sunday night! We are thankful for all the ways the Lord used this team - maybe YOU are next to explore what God is doing in Los Anonos! Keep an eye out for upcoming trips this summer & fall! Pura Vida!