Friday, February 19, 2016

Final Day in Costa Rica

This was our last work day and we completed all the projects Pastor Jorge had set out for us at the beginning of the week and more.  The remaining team members will depart for home tomorrow.

Looking back, it has been an incredible two weeks!  There were 21 mission team members from 5 different churches who traveled from SE Michigan.  All told, there were more than 40 people who participated in the mission project including local workers, our cook & driver, missionaries and local church members to make the two weeks a success.  However, none of this is possible without the support that each of us receive from our home churches through their prayers and gifts.

When we first arrived at the Methodist Children's home almost two weeks ago, the progress from just one year ago was striking.

Children's Home multi-purpose building - February 2015

Children's Home multi-purpose building - February 2016

However, it's no wonder when you consider the numerous mission teams from throughout the United States who have worked at the home since we were last here.

The progress at the church from last year to this year was equally satisfying as well.

Faro del Este Church Parsonage/Classrooms - February 2015

Faro del Este Church Parsonage/Classrooms - February 2016

While it is satisfying to see the progress of the construction at the two sites, it is even more so to personally witness the influence it has had on our Costa Rican brothers and sisters.  The congregation and programs at the Faro del Este church continue to flourish and grow under the guidance and leadership of Pastor Jorge and Jhudy.  Through the leadership of Will & Ella Faircloth and Ray & Lydia Zirkel, the Methodist Children's Home continues to provide a safe place for at risk children.

There is no doubt the physical work we do is important, but the friendships that are made with the warm and friendly Costa Rican people will last a lifetime.

Our leaders these past two weeks were outstanding which has made for a very well organized and productive mission trip.

In considering our work here in Costa Rica, we would like to close this year's blog with a verse from this mornings' devotion:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:34-40 NIV

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Food, Farewells, and Fooling Around

Maruja, our cook at the Methodist House, takes good care of us, providing breakfast and dinner each day.

At the work site Zeno uses a machete to sharpen stakes which will hold a rebar cage.  Who thought this was a good idea?

Tom works on building more forms so that we can complete the side wall.

The painting crew continues work on the black ironwork around the doors and windows.

Patricia, one of the local women, brought a special treat for our morning break:  fresh, homemade Blackberry and Strawberry juice.  This may be the best thing we have had to eat or drink in two weeks!

After lunch we posed for a group photo standing on the new concrete floor, highlighting the freshly painted wall behind us.

Will and Ella shared lunch with us again, thanked us for our service and dedication, and shared more information about their ministry and work in Costa Rica.  Will is excited to be working with a team in Peru to help build a Wesley Institute in Central America!

Afternoon brings us back to the concrete mixer.  We are joined again by Spencer and Kendra this afternoon.  We are thankful for their spirit and assistance with the heavy tasks!  Spencer loads the buckets of gravel....

...while Kendra quickly refills them.

This afternoon, even the cooks join the painting crew.

We begin filling the forms that were built this morning.

Since five team members are leaving Friday morning, we say our good byes at Faro del Este.  We receive bible shaped ornaments to remind us of the church.  Denis and Patricia give key chains to the men and Costa Rica themed earrings to the women.

Although we arrive back at the dorm exhausted each evening, it hasn't slowed progress on our jigsaw puzzles.  In two weeks, this team has managed to complete four puzzles!

After dinner, we take a short walk to Pops, the local ice cream shop to a treat.  John decided to share his ice cream with his new friend.  Yes, it's been a long couple weeks!

This evening we say good bye to five team members who are leaving in the morning.  The remaining nine will head out in the morning for the last morning at Faro del Este.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hump Day Wednesday

The day began with an extra volunteer to do the painting.  His offer was politely declined.

Tom thought cement would make a nice mud mask.

The cooks entertained us with a talking egg-

We finished the floor ahead of schedule-

And the paint crew finished their work standing on the floor we poured on Monday-

New projects were started which meant more rebar work and more forms being built.

The Marilyn's play during break time-

This afternoon was the woman's program with 23 participants doing two crafts.

Ella prepared snacks-

Janet set up-

Ann and Karen help-

The finished products-

The team returned home tired but filled with the knowledge that our 
bonds with this church have grown deeper.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We begin each day around the concrete mixer.  We have help from members of the congregation.

Duane and Dennis load the first of many wheel barrows.

Can you guess how many times Zeno goes up this ramp each day?

Tom sprints up the ramp to deliver another wheel barrow of concrete

As Karen and Jim know the job of spreading and leveling the concrete is hard on the knees.

Ann is in charge of traffic control and encouraging our wheel barrow drivers

Today, 2/3 of the concrete was poured so we will finish this job tomorrow.

With all of this hard work, our cooks, Marilyn, Karen and Mary are kept busy in the kitchen.


Not to be out done by the concrete workers, Karen, John and Janet finish painting the entire back wall of the social hall. 

The finished product looks great

Pastor Jorge describes the mission activities of his church to the surrounding neighborhoods and other parts of Costa Rica.  

The West Side UMC group present two large bags full of dresses, shorts and tee shirts for Jorge and Judhys to give away when their church goes on mission trips.

Dianne helps with clean up.

This photo of the rainbow and sign captured our feelings about our work in Costa Rica.