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
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.
At the end of every work day this week our group has been winding down by identifying the high and low points of our day, and especially times when we saw Jesus. Today was a great day for everyone here and we even got to spend the second half of it together, playing in the river with the local kids. All of the projects were successfully wrapped up and the team members have regretfully said most of their good-byes with the people they’ve met.
After a week’s worth of work, the team feels good about the projects they have accomplished and the relationships they have built. Karen is a very proud owner of a home that she can call her own, and she and her family moved in today. Our community partner now has a covered porch where his family (and many other members of the community who spend time at his house) can relax and enjoy each others’ company. Finally, the Watsi neighborhood now has a vibrant, colorful community center that is used for everything from a locker room to a clinic.
At the end of every day, when we talk about what we experienced, there was one story in particular that came up several times. The team that was at the community center has been working with a man named Carlos. He has been leading the team and showing them how to make the necessary repairs.
During Friday’s lunch, the team had a chance to ask him about the origins of the Bribri culture. As he told the story, the team got to see one of the things about which Carlos is really passionate: the Bribri culture and history. Through the telling of this story, the team was able not only to learn more about the Bribri traditions and past, but also about this man Carlos, with whom they had been working all week. Everyone really enjoyed asking questions and hearing what Carlos wanted to share, making it a great end of the week for this group.
Team Costa Rica
June 11, 2010
*Note: Interested in going on a trip with Experience Mission? Visit our website at www.experiencemission.org to learn more and watch for our Summer 2011 trips.
It’s been awhile since we have had Internet access as we have been away from our home at the Finca Educativa. This last week we went up to Alto Coen to help in the building of a suspension bridge. This bridge has been a dream for the BriBri families for many years-one that they have been working on for the past 6 years. It has been a long, difficult process for the BriBri as they have fought to find aid and funds to build this much needed bridge. For many of the families, they are unable to get to the nearest clinic and school as the only way of crossing is through a river that contains raging rapids. These ever swelling rapids have separated a village for years and this past week, a group of 7 of us had the privilege to be part of God connecting the two sides. As we arrived with clamps in hand and an excitement to build, one could feel the joy and elation that spread through the air as locals traveled from near and afar to be part of their long journey of building a bridge. Everyone wanted to assist in some way and in many ways it was neat to see the bridge not only physically join a community but also by bringing people together. The men of our team: Yon, Donovan, Monas, Ben, and Kory worked alongside the BriBri men: Abdul, Margarito, Moises, Cesar, and Arielle to name just a few as they began drilling holes in the planks and setting up clamps that would connect the two wires. As Americans and Costa Ricans worked together, with each plank that was laid and each clamp put in place, one could witness the formation of this long awaited project. While we finished the work we came up to do, more work remains to be done on the bridge however with each step the people are finding themselves able to finally see their dream take shape.
Team Costa Rica
*Go to www.experiencemission.org to sign up for one of Experience Mission’s trips in 2010.
Team Costa Rica here checking in. Just wanted to fill y’all in on the rest of the happenings during this week’s mission trip. It’s been a busy week but God has been truly at work. Along with project Christina, the teams have also been serving the community in Costa Rica through two other work projects as well as VBS. The two projects consisted of the construction of a roof for a family of 6 as well as the laying of concrete for a kitchen. The teams worked hard through the heat of each day and the uncertainty of the rainy season in order to get as much completed for these families. They were a hardworking group as they hauled sand, mixed concrete, carried wood, and all the while intentionally interacting with the families they were serving to create friendships that would remain after the projects were completed. Teams worked alongside the Costa Ricans and found language differences to be of little barriers as they taught one another Spanish, English, BriBri, and a little Southern as well. Each day teams would return with tales of laughter and joy that was the fruit of the relationships between them and the families they had the pleasure of serving. While the teams have left Costa Rica, and the projects will be continued by future mission trips, the relationships that were formed will forever be remembered.
See y’all in the next blog,
Team Costa Rica
**To learn more about what Experience Mission is doing, visit our website at www.experiencemission.org.
This past week God worked in a mighty way while 13 members of the Illinois team made the long journey up to Alto Coen, a small village in the jungles of Talamanca, Costa Rica. Their mission for the week was to continue work on a bridge that would provide the BriBri people a safe way to cross the Coen River in order to access medical services and school facilities. Knowing that the long journey to Alto Coen, which had to be done on foot, would not be easy, the team only brought the bare necessities such as a change of dry clothing, food, and all of the supplies for the bridge project. The team left early Friday morning, excited to see what God had in store for them. The journey consisted of long days of travel up the mountain and it required accommodations that most Americans would not find comfortable such as having no electricity or clean water, sleeping above cattle and being woken up by roosters that crowed from 2 in the morning until sunrise. As the long journey continued with 40 - 60 lbs. packs up the mountain, only encouragement from the team and faith in God helped us reach the village. Even though it had been a long hike up the mountain, the team members were excited to be there and got down to business. As we arrived, people from each side of the village came down to the river to welcome us and were excited that a team was there to help them in the process of completing the bridge. The most important task while we were there was to help them connect a 1″ cable from side to side, which was about 400 ft. across a treacherous Coen River. Since it was in the middle of the rainy season and the Coen River was higher than normal it wasn’t an easy task to get the cable from one bank to another. Margarito, the Alto Coen president in charge of the bridge project, was the reason we were able to accomplish this nearly impossible task. Since there was no communication from bank to bank due to the noise of the raging current of the river, Margarito voluntarily swam from one side to another to help communicate and execute the work plan. The river crossing was a difficult task on its own and the team was able to understand the necessity of the completion of this bridge. It rained and poured while we completed this task and the BriBri people were impressed with the abilities the team provided. Due to the continual downpour, the river was rising and it would quickly be impossible to cross if we didn’t cut the trip short by a day. There were many struggles on the way down such as river crossings and weather related conditions but trusting on God made this trip a success. Not only did the team deliver the much needed bridge supplies but they also learned how to fully rely on God to get them through the hardest of times.
Costa Rica Summer Staff
Note: Experience Mission has been working on the bridge with the Bribri reservation for several trips. To check out more exciting trips Experience Mission has to offer, visit our website at www.experiencemission.org!
At 6:00 last night I left my house in Chimacum, WA and flew all night arriving successfully in San Jose at 12:50 pm. My plan was to meet former EM summer staff, Chris Salmon, who will be serving as a translator for the next few days. Amazingly, Chris and I ran into each other right away and in short order we were through immigration. Our bus driver Rodrigo and his friend Oscar were waiting for us. After lunch with Rodrigo and Oscar, we went straight to a hostel owned by Rodrigo. It is very nice by Central-American standards, so this is a good place for teams to stay in the future. Read the full story