The month of August has been filled with adventure and excitement it has been wonderful to be part of God’s work in Costa Rica. Time after time God shows me why He keeps bringing me back to the Bribri reservation. I truly feel like I have a family among the indigenous people of Costa Rica, from the community in Watsi at the entrance of the reservation all the way to Alto Coen, one of the remote villages in the Talamaca mountain range.
The week of the 5th - 13th I was in Coroma, Talamanca. Experience Mission has been working in this community for the last few years partnering with the community to build a high school. Currently there are about fifty-five students attending the Coroma High School. A couple of years ago when the high school was started there was only twelve students and there was only a couple of standing building, currently there are four functioning classrooms, and one kitchen with a small dining room.
Our project this week was to help continue building a two-story classroom at the local high school. The First level will be used as a classroom, the second level will be used for dormitories since the three teachers that are currently teaching have to walk about an hour and a half to teach in Coroma everyday.
There was a couple of highlights of this trip, one of the main highlights of this mission trip was that the local church in Coroma received 2 proclaimers. The Proclaimer is a digital player dedicated to playing God’s Word in the local language which in this case is the Bribri language.
Here’s the way it works:
This device is perfect for the Talamanca area since there is no electricity in the coroma area. This will be a great tool to share the gospel in the reservation. I felt so excited and privileged to be part of this project to take this playback device to people who may not have any other source to hear God’s Word.
August 31, 2010
One of the main work projects that we have been doing here in Pikeville, Kentucky is building wheelchair ramps for people who are elderly and disabled. When our last group was here they installed three different ramps throughout the week, (on top of a few other work projects).
One of the women who we installed a ramp for was Miss Linda Cochran. She is not in a wheelchair yet, but she does anticipate to be put into one in the near future. She has only been outside of her house two times in the past six months because she needed so much help getting down the stairs and out to the car. Our group didn’t actually finish her ramp because a thunderstorm blew up on their last day of work, so Nathan, Steph, and I decided to go and finish it for her on Friday evening.
The only work that needed to be done on the ramp was putting on the handrails, so Nathan and Linda’s son, Seth, worked on that while Steph and I just chatted with Linda. She was such a sweet lady, and she was so grateful for this ramp. She already had three dates all planned since she could finally get out of her house and down to the car. Both of her sons were going to take her out to do something fun, and her sister was going to take her out to dinner at a restaurant.
Watching her walk down that ramp all by herself, (even without her walker), brought me so much joy, and I knew that there was absolutely no other place on earth that I would want to be at that moment. It really made me understand the concept of being more blessed to give then to receive. The pure delight that I could see on her face brought me more happiness than I could have ever experienced had I been receiving something. Also, it was so awesome to be able to share the love of Jesus with her by doing such a practical thing. All it took was some two by fours and a drill, and we were being the hands of Jesus to Linda. This moment is one that I will remember for a long time, and I look forward to many more like it here in Kentucky!
Note: Check out all the exciting things that are going on with Experience Mission on our website www.ExperienceMission.org
Outreach in Pike County, Kentucky looks a little different than it does in some of the other Experience Mission communities. There is a very high population of shut-ins here who are mainly elderly, disabled, or many times both. Since there is such a high number of these folks, our main outreach opportunity is to go and visit with them. Most of them are pretty lonely, so they really enjoy just sitting and visiting for a little while with us “young folk”.
Miss Myrtle Bartley is a prime example of one of our outreach visits. She is 100 years old (but she told us not to tell anyone or she might not get a boyfriend), and she loves to just sit and chat with us. When our last group was here, I took out four girls to visit with her. While we were there she asked all kinds of questions. One of these was if any of us had boyfriends or husbands. We all told her no, we were too young for that! She proceeded to say that she thought we would all make great “hillbilly wives” and she would work on finding us some husbands! Then she told me that she’d try to find me an old man with a Cadillac and a lot of money to marry who was about to “slip on a banana peel right into the grave”. According to her, that’s how people do it nowadays! Obviously we all got quite a laugh out of that, and I’m pretty sure that she really enjoyed seeing us all get a kick out of it! Miss Myrtle is such a great lady, and I’m so glad that I have the privilege of bringing other people out to meet her and hear her stories!
“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them…When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do, they have received their reward in full…But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” -Matthew 6:1-4
This week the EM staff and team from Fleming Island, Florida are learning about what it means to be humble as we serve together. This morning during team devotions, I stumbled across one of my favorite portions in Matthew. Chapter six talks about how we can keep our hearts in check as we serve people around us. Although I try to keep pure motivations when I’m serving, too often I focus on myself. It’s a strangely easy trap to get caught in during mission trips, a time when we are supposed to be focused on others.
Sometimes when I’m serving I think about how uncomfortable I am, or how tired I am. Even worse, I think about how my actions are making me look—Are others impressed by my efforts? Do they think I’m spiritual enough? Will people remember my name at the end of the week? Will I get credit for doing the little things? And when I start asking these selfish questions I have to remind myself, serving isn’t supposed to be about me.
The verse in Matthew 6:1-4 snapped me back into place this morning. As a servant, I must be humble. In fact, I shouldn’t even let my left hand know what my right hand is doing! Going on a mission trip or serving on a mission team is not about me.
Today I’ve made an intentional step toward humility. When I’m doing things merely to make myself look good, when I’m serving others so that I get a warm feeling inside—I stop. Because the truth about serving is, I should be invisible. When I step out of the spotlight, others can see God’s work more clearly.
Heather D. Moline
Note: Experience Mission is sending our many more great trips to Atlanta and many more great communities throughout the summer of 2011 and are now posting trips for 2011! Check out our website for more information at www.experiencemission.org.
Year round trips starting in August 2010.
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” -Romans 12:9-10
Week one of work in Atlanta has officially begun. Throughout the week the large group from Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas has been running kid camps, digging trenches, and navigating the highways of south Atlanta with one goal—to build real relationships.
The students of Memorial Drive’s youth group are no strangers to hard work. Many of the students have served on mission trips both domestically and internationally, so the team came ready for a week of physically demanding work. Although they have tackled several tough, meaningful projects—painting and digging an irrigation trench at the Initiative for Affordable Housing’s newest worksite, most of their Atlanta projects have been an exercise in developing relationships.
Trevor, a summer intern at Memorial Drive, spent Monday morning playing Bingo and chatting with an elderly man at Hapeville Care Home. Although the conversation seemed difficult and forced at first, Trevor was persistent—he wanted to be a real friend to the wheelchair bound man with a fading memory. He succeeded.
One of the adult leaders, Mary, said that she was impacted by the kids at the Kroc Day Camp because of the way they responded to a Bible lesson. The kids seemed genuinely interested in the skit and story that the team presented—grasping pieces of truth from the simple Bible message. When the afternoon ended, the team was sent off with a round of hugs from the campers. Another success.
Despite the successes of the team, they admit that doing relational ministry is difficult because you don’t always get to see the results. In fact, sometimes it might feel like you’re failing. Unlike a building or painting project, you don’t always get to see the difference you’ve made in the life of another person. You might walk away from a kids’ camp or a nursing home wondering if you made a lasting impact. But one thing the EM staff and Memorial Drive team has learned this week is that building relationships is rewarding work. At the end of the day, loving people and reflecting Christ into their lives is what matters most.
Heather D. Moline
Note: Experience Mission is sending out many more great trips to Atlanta and many more great communities throughout the summer of 2011! Check out our website for more information at www.experiencemission.org.
This week has been filled with wonderful moments that show how great our God really is. It has been awesome to see Him work through the teams and the people in the Shiroles community. One of the areas in which His hand was evident was at the painting and building of an addition to a home for a family.
The team that worked here was able to receive instruction from Victor, the father/husband in the household. At the beginning of the week, he was very shy and reserved. By the end of the week, however, he and the team had inside jokes and communicated often, whether it be through the English they had taught him, their Spanish, or some hand signals that they had developed as a new language between them all. It was great to see by the end of the week that they were all laughing together and enjoying each other’s company.
To thank the teams for the work they did this week, Sara (Victor‘s wife) wanted to bake a cake for everyone. During our Friday evening program with the team, their whole family stopped by with a piece of (delicious) cake for each one of us! They expressed their gratitude towards everyone and it was rewarding to see how they had all opened up to and were going to miss one another. The family joined us for a time of worship and we all enjoyed being able to share that time with each other and with a God who spans any and all cultural boundaries. How great is our God!
Team Costa Rica
June 25, 2010
Experience Mission is offering summer 2011 mission trips to Costa Rica. Learn more at www.experiencemission.org or by calling the EM Office at (360) 554-8060.
Well, it’s been another week here in Costa Rica and God has shown His face more and more every day. We had an awesome group of people this last week and they had a huge impact on the community of Shiroles where we were working. There have been so many great stories and changed lives.
One of the many projects from this last week was one at the school of Shiroles. Among all the other projects done there, one group made a ramp up the main stairway. We found out that there is a child at the school who is blind. In the past, he has literally had to climb up the steps by feeling them with his hands. We have been learning that we have a lot to be thankful for. Whether it be something as small as ice water on a hot day, or something as big as our sight, there are plenty of things, all over the place, that we should be giving God the glory for.
Once we informed the team about what they would be doing, and the reasoning for it, they couldn’t wait to get started. Mixing cement down here is a very difficult task in and of itself, but there were no complaints, even during the hottest time of day. They quickly split up the team into mixers and spreaders and made sure to drink plenty of water.
The Lord provided so much during this trip in both, the teams that were working, and the kids that were passing on their way to their next classes. It was so much fun getting to watch the hard work of these teams. But even more than that, seeing the lasting impact that the teams have had on this community can only be explained by the incredible love of God.
For His Glory,
Team Costa Rica
June 25, 2010
Note: Experience Mission has been working in the Bribri reservation for several years. To check out more exciting trips Experience Mission has to offer, visit our website at www.experiencemission.org
This week we got to work alongside team leader Kelly and five other teenagers from Jupiter First Church doing VBS this week. Throughout the week we had lessons, crafts, games, and snacks for kids who were anywhere from 2-14 years old.
At the end of the week, Kelly decided to have a fun day where we had a small lesson about God’s holy water, played with water balloons, and took a trip to a nearby river. When the kids arrived on Friday, they were anxious for the afternoon to come because they knew they’d be playing with water. With the help of some visual aides in the form of puppets, the kids were able to focus a little better.
If the kids were able to answer a question correctly, they would be allowed to pop a water balloon over any member of the team. In short, they were very excited and the team ended up soaking wet by the end.
Once we ran out of water balloons we all went to the river to meet up with the other teams who had been doing construction projects for the week. It was amazing being with everyone in the river and seeing God’s love through the kids’ actions and expressions while speaking or playing with Jupiter’s youth group.
Of course the saddest part was saying goodbye to the kids, but I know that they will always remember us because I believe that a seed was planted in their hearts and it will continue growing throughout their years. The love that the Jupiter youth group showed to this kids will never be forgotten because it was all for God’s glory.
Team Costa Rica
June 11, 2010
*To learn more about what Experience Mission in Talamanca, Costa Rica, visit our website at www.experiencemission.org.