Posted by: mckcrservice | March 17, 2012

To Everything There Is a Season

Well, it is Friday and boy are we worn out!  After a few short hours of sleep, we woke up to start our day.  This day (Viernes), we got the pleasure of having two classes and a Bible study.  The first class was taught by a retired professor, Roy May, whose father-in-law was on the Board of Trustees for McKendree for many years.  It is a small world after all.

Our second class was taught by the Vice President of U.B.L., Nidia Fonseca.  Later, in the afternoon, we enjoyed an insightful Bible study on Acts 5 with the president of U.B.L. Seminary, Violeta Rocha.  Although it has been a very long day, it didn’t stop us from throwing Dona Emma a pizza party to repay her for all of the wonderful meals that she has prepared for us all week!

On another note, our time here in Costa Rica is running out.  Although many of us are missing our families, I think I could speak for the entire group when I say that I wish that we had more time to spend here in this beautiful country.  Natalie shared a song tonight about challenges in her devotion and it seemed as if it were perfect timing for our group.

A number of us are considering the idea of returning to volunteer at U.B.L. and the Kids Klub in the near future.  I believe that we will all know when it is our time for us to return.  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  (Ecclesiastics 3:1)

Caitlin

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 16, 2012

A Day to Remember or What an Amazing Day!

Today, we drove three and a half hours to a natural park area with hanging bridges in the rain forest.  On the way there, we made several interesting stops.  The first was at an amazing roadside fruit stand.  It was an unplanned stop thanks to one of the team members getting a mild case of motion sickness.  When we got out they began to show us how they squeeze juice out of sugar cane plants with what looked like a press.  It tasted delicious and sweet.

The next stop was for our lunch at an outdoor restaurant.  The chicken and rice dish I ordered was very tasty and they even had some local Costa Rican music playing during lunch.

Following lunch, we headed out to the rain forest which was about thirty minutes away.  The two and a half hour trek was incredibly educational.  We learned about the many diverse trees, plants, animals, and insects that live there from our guide, Oscar.

There were also six hanging bridges along the trail that we had to cross.  Each encounter with a bridge was both exhilarating and terrifying especially if you are afraid of heights like Tabitha, Chase and me.  But we made it.  When the team arrived at the last bridge, which turned out to be the highest at 150 feet above the ground, it began to pour down a hard rain.  I was somewhat scared but also just as excited as we crossed over and were able to look at the beautiful forest below.  It was well worth it!

Once we left the rain forest, it was on to Baldi Hot Springs for relaxation.  Once we changed, we discovered that there were at least fifteen different pools with varying degrees of water temperature for us to try.  I had the most enjoyable time there and it felt good on my tired muscles.  To finish off the evening, we had a buffet dinner full of great food and desserts.

Today has been filled with so many amazing experiences that I could not have asked for a better day out!  We arrived home late and I am ready to call it a day!

Kendra

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 15, 2012

Wednesday: A day of study

Today was a exciting day for the group. We were able to listen to  a couple of presentations by Dr. Mora and Dr Boehler, two U.B.L. professors on the topics of Geopolitics in Latin-America and Liberation Theology. I personally enjoyed Liberation Theology because of my background  as a religion major, although the other class was also very enjoyable. Both classes challenges our view of the world by focusing on the role of “North America” in Latin-American politics and in its economy.

We then had the opportunity to go to the University bookstore.  There I purchased a book in English about how Theatre could be used to teach Religion. The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for the next day and resting.

That evening we had a wonderful time with the Texas mission group that came this week. We held a joint worship with them and ended the night with games. As a part of the worship,Tabitha offered the entire group an awesome reflection on evangelism’s connection to communication. Overall, today was amazing and just another day in paradise. I want to give a “shout out” to Caitlin for her interesting hairdo.

Brad

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 14, 2012

Tuesday (A little late…)

Sorry for not getting this post up last night.  We were experiencing difficulties with our internet connection.  Here is the post from yesterday (Tuesday)-

Today was very busy.  We put in another hard day of work on our construction project.  The buildings which  we are working on will be new housing units for U.B. L.  seminary students who bring their families to live with them.  Some of us shoveled rocks and sand into wheelbarrows and transported them to the concrete mixers for later use.  Our wheelbarrow/shovel team moved the entire load of sand and a significant portion of the rocks.  Another group worked on cutting and bending rebar into structural frames for the apartments.  A few members of our teams worked alongside the Corpus Christi, Texas Work Team breaking rock and moving dirt to prepare a road to the apartments.  Amazingly, with both teams working on the road we were able to make a drivable road.

After lunch and much needed showers,  the two work teams and our coordinator Becky piled into a van to head over to the indoor soccer field for another day of bible school for the kids.  We played many games of soccer with every type of team we could arrange: Gringos vs. Ticos, Kids vs. Adults, and McKendree vs. Corpus Christi.  It was an amazing time.  Watching Tim running around as a referee was a comical scene to behold.  What especially struck me about our soccer was that the Spanish-English barrier did not matter.  The kids and I were able to have fun and bond with very few spoken words.  It was pretty powerful how that could happen.

The favorite part of our Vacation Bible School by far for me was the story time and music.  Johnny who is an associate minister from the United Methodist Church of Corpus Christi, taught us a Spanish song about having faith like a mustard seed.  We shared it with the children there, and in return, they taught us their favorite song in Spanish.  The music tied in perfectly with our story of David´s trust in God in defeating Goliath.  Brad played an amazingly scary Goliath with Robert (a high school freshman from Texas) taking on the role of David.

The end of our Vacation Bible School proved bittersweet because this was our last day there.  In  our three days there with the kids, we have really come to love them.  The goodbyes were sad but we had a great time sharing God and playing with the children.

I am looking forward to another exciting day in Costa Rica.

-Ben

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 13, 2012

More than words

I was reflecting today on our full day of work at the construction site, playing with the children, and listening to a special speaker from the Dominican Republic who spoke to us of his work on HIV AIDS through an interpreter.  Although we are in a country where the culture and language are unfamiliar to most of us, we seem to be adapting well!  The people here have been very welcoming and loving.  Sometimes we still get lost in the conversation due to our lack of language proficiency.  But I believe and feel that the people we have met here have accepted us as an extension of their own families.

This afternoon we were accompanied to the indoor soccer field by a mission group from Corpus Christi, Texas.  This experience was very rewarding for me because we were able to share God’s word with people whom we may never get the chance to see again.  Today, “we seized the opportunity and moment” to share in God’s love and unity.  For this, I know that God is truly pleased!

Tabitha

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 12, 2012

Domingo in Costa Rica

Oh what a busy day!  We started off by going to an indoor soccer field in the “Isla barrio”.  Every Sunday, members from the U.B. L. go to the “barrio” to have a time with the children that is similar to church.  The children come and play soccer, listen to a bible story, and then have the chance to participate in a craft activity.  During this time, parents are invited to interact in an English lesson.  The kids are treated to a snack at the end of the time.

Today, we played two soccer games; the first with the girls and the second with the boys.  We were known as the “Gringos”.  I personally was terrified since I knew that these kids played soccer all the time and I am terrible at it.  The “Gringos” ended up winning both games and the best part was I scored a goal!  After our time at the soccer field, we were invited to a festival being held in the community.  The festival was to help raise funds to build a clinic in the area.

In the afternoon, we headed out to Basilica de La Virgen de Los Angeles in Cartago.  The Basilica is well known as a pilgrimage site for healing.  Afterwards, we returned to U.B.L. and got in a tortilla making lesson from our cook, Dona Emma.  We have been enjoying her delicious meals the last two days!  We ended the night by playing several different versions of “uno” and listening to a devotion from Ray, our Eden Seminary Intern, who encouraged us to not give begrudgingly but offer our gifts with a cheerful heart.

The mission team is great and I look forward to working and getting to know them throughout the week.  I can’t wait until tomorrow to start working!

Courtney

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 11, 2012

Denver Airport / First Day in Costa Rica!!

I had way too much fun at the Denver Airport with LaTia and Caitlin! We met an adorable Vietnamese 17 month old baby who kept bowing to us and falling down.  It was so cute! We also met a male college student who was originally from Honduras, and has been studying in Texas for the last three years. We had a five hour layover in Denver. So, along with reading books and hanging out, I also could not resist the call of the automated walkways! Later, the mission team sat and planned for our work with the children this week. We are going to give them a “Vacation Bible School” experience, and it made me so excited because I get to sing with the children for my station with Tabitha. I feel so overjoyed that I have the chance to use my gifts to bond with these beautiful children!

We arrived at 6 am in Costa Rica, and we immediately boarded the bus and met our hosts, Becky and Rick.  Becky is a Methodist missionary who has lived in Costa Rica since 2009, coordinating the work teams and study teams for the Latin American Biblical University (UBL). Rick was originally a UCC pastor in Oklahoma, and he felt his new call was to do mission work at the seminary in Costa Rica.  They are amazing people, and I look forward to getting to know them more during the week.

We are staying at apartments a block away from the campus.  The crazy thing was that I felt like I was walking straight into a dream I had early this school year.  The apartment I am staying in looks EXACTLY like the apartment I have seen in my dream.  I feel as if God was saying to me through my subconscious that I was really meant to be here.  That was very powerful for me!

Natalie

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 5, 2012

A guide explaining the rain forest

A guide explaining the rain forest

Posted by: mckcrservice | March 5, 2012

Looking Ahead!!

The excitement is building for our trip to Costa Rica.  It is hard to believe that we will be leaving this Friday!  We will be offering a couple of small group V.B.S. opportunities for some of the children there in San Jose.  We will also be doing a short study course on the land history, politics, geography, and Latin American theology.  Our construction skills will be put to test in helping build living quarters for several of the seminary students and their families.  Finally, we will be taking in the culture with a tour of the rain forest and volcanoes, music and food.  I hope you will stay tuned and read our blog while we are there.  It promises to be a life changing experience full of new friendships and spiritual growth.  Keep us in your prayers and thoughts!

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