Through South Ridge Church, my family and I joined a team on a one week mission trip to Guapiles, Costa Rica. South Ridge Church in North Central West Virginia has partnered with a local church there, Iglesia Gran Comisión, that provides many services to the local community.
11/18/2018 | We are fully committed to taking this trip in June. I set up a gofundme page and have sent out letters to request friends and family to partner with us. Can't wait to see how God provides.
5/18/2019 | We went through several training classes that missionaries have to attend before going abroad. I learned I am event oriented and not time oriented like my spouse which is most likely why we work so well together.
5/19/2019 | We had lunch with a great friend from the church that is helping us with our conversational Spanish which is the native language in Costa Rica. She is from a Latin American country so the experience is great. None of us expect to be fluent but it is comforting to know some important vocabulary like, el bano.
6/7/2019 | Things are getting real, we are planning what to pack and where to pack it. It is quickly approaching. We have had a couple prayer meetings and have many people praying for us. If you are one of those, thank you so much. If not, start now. Pray that our work would be fruitful and that those we come in contact with see Jesus' light in each of us.
6/14/2019 | The day has come. My family and I are being picked up at noon by a van transporting us to the Pittsburgh, PA airport. This is the point where you hope you thought of all the what if situations and packed accordingly. As a team we decided to only use carry-on luggage and our personal item bags to avoid luggage check-ins and save cost. I am a big everyday carry (EDC) guy so this made me very nervous not being able to have my pocket knife and pocket multi-tool. We departed the airport to Houston and ended up with a one minute layover before boarding our flight to San Jose. All of our flights were advertised as full and on our flight from Houston to San Jose, all of my family's seat assignments were separate. Whether it was coincidence, or what I believe to be providence, both seats next to Jennifer were empty after take-off. We arrived at the airport in San Jose and the plan was to sleep there until morning when we were picked up by our host church. So we would start off our week with little food and little sleep but very blessed by God.
6/15/2019 | This morning we were picked up from airport after a night of interesting sleep with messages about having your liquids packed correctly for TSA and not leaving your luggage unattended blaring over the intercom every few minutes. We jumped on the bus and headed to Guapiles to meet our host family. On the way we were able to see a lot of flora and fauna as we went through the rain forest. Everything grows in Costa Rica. We arrived at the home of our host family and they are great people. We were so tired, we slept till lunch time. During lunch we were able to spend some time with the pastor (Oscar) to discuss the possible plans for the week. We had an agenda set and then it seemed it was already time for dinner. I am not accustomed to eating three meals a day so this will be an adjustment.
6/16/2019 | Today I had to give the message at the church service. They usually have services on Saturdays but changed it this week since we were going to be there. I was incredibly nervous but not of giving the message but because it had to go through a translator and I was still unsure of their cultural differences. Like, they probably don't get the jokes or references that we have in the US. It was one of the best times though because, Air Conditioning. It was blowing right down on the lectern. I talked about identifying ourselves as Holy in Christ instead of sinners with Christ. We spent the rest of the day at a pool with the church members. It was a great time and we were able to learn a little about banana trees from a Chiquita expert. Oh yeah, breakfast, lunch, and dinner; rice and beans were available.
6/17/2019 | Today the manual work begins. We started by cleaning the church building, floors walls, and everything else. We got to clean the grill used to make our meals the day before. I am pretty sure it was the cleanest grill in Guapiles. Later that afternoon we were able to visit the orphanage, we continued our cleaning spree. Cleaned all the play equipment and organized the diaper closet as the just received a really large donation. When we were finished, and after washing our hands well, we were able to play with the children. We were told they are there because their parents couldn't provide for them but that their parents will be back to get them once they are back on their feet. There was approximately 5 infants and 4 or so others running around. They were happy and being cared for. As an adult, their situation causes man emotional responses but it seemed to them, all under 5 years old, it was okay for the moment.