After four days of spending time with children and working at the schools, we spent our last day hanging out at the beach and then zip lining! Once we arrived at the beach, the group found a cove to walk on and take pictures. We underestimated the power of the waves as many of us slipped off the rocks. Luckily, nobody was hurt badly. Next we went zip lining. While we were going down the mountain a storm hit us. Everyone was getting soaked, but wouldn’t trade it for the world. This week, so many strangers became best friends. It’s safe to say everyone who came on this mission trip will remember it for the rest of their lives. – Mikey Ford
Today we started the day off by waking up extra early and eating at 6 in the morning. Then, we went to this massive bridge and watched these huge crocodiles. After that, we headed over to this incredible beach with this insane view. Today was a great day and a fantastic way to end the trip. – Ethan McKinney
Today was our last day at the centers for this trip. As we finished up our service projects, we spent as much time as we could loving on the kids and connecting with them. We had a blast playing and doing crafts. We even had a water balloon fight and the kids did not hold back! As our time at the schools came to an end, we had to say one of the hardest goodbyes ever. There were lots of tears, lots of hugs, and lots of “te amo”‘s. The schools and the children will always be in our hearts as we continue to pray for their safety and well being. Pura Vida and te amo Las Brisas, Carlos Sanabria, and Carlos Sanabria Kinder! – Alexis Avon
Today was a day that was filled with so much love and so much Jesus. Today was the day we were able to connect with the kids and grow new relationships, so many besos and so many kids that would just hold on and not let go. God was so present through out today and in the beginning the Spanish made me nervous and made me feel like I couldn’t connect with kids. However, today made me realize that love has no language barrier and those little ones love with everything with in them.
Today I connected with a really special little boy named Mathias. This boy moved my heart in ways I can’t even put in to words. He physically brought me to tears and turned my world up-side down. He had God shining through that beautiful smile. God provided so fully and I am so amazed at the things he’s doing through everyone on this trip. How incredible is our God. This week so far has changed so many lives and grown so many new relationships. God is a constant light through out this trip. How blessed are we all to have the opportunity to be here and to get to know all these amazing people. This place will forever and ever leave a spot in my heart. Thank you God for this week, this team, and for Mathias.
Hi family and friends! Today was a national holiday in Costa Rica, so the kids didn’t have school today. We started our day by visiting the Hope Center. The Hope Center partners with us through Open House. The center is in the middle of extreme poverty and it acts as a safe haven to the kids in the area. It was really cool because their mission is to create an environment where kids feel safe, which is similar to Northpoints. The Hope Center was able to create a restaurant style kitchen due to the money raised by the Be Rich campaign! It was amazing to experience 1st hand where some of the donations went. After the Hope Center, we went to our schools. I’m at Carlos Sanabria and our service project was repainting the kitchen and cafeteria. We were able to finish our service project so fast that they gave us another! We will be repainting part of the hallway! Today when we finished lunch, we had a pick up game of soccer! Being able to help create a safe environment that these kids are gonna love has been such an amazing experience! -Taylor Talty
Today was the first day at the centers! I was at Las Brisas, an elementary school. When we arrived all the little kids had a special ceremony for their holiday tomorrow. The holiday celebrates when Guanacaste chose to be a part of Costa Rica instead of Nicaragua. Its a big celebration in Costa Rica! All the little girls were dressed up in dresses and the little boys had fake mustaches and bandanas. They did little dances and had little presentations. After that was done, we got to meet the kids. I met a little girl named Gwendolina. She was 8 years old and followed me everywhere. All the kids wanted our cameras to take pictures. We all got to run around and play till about 11 and then the kids were dismissed because of the holiday tomorrow. God is so evident in this country. No matter if this is your first mission trip or 5th, this is something special and Costa Rica already has a spot in our hearts. In the afternoon we sanded and painted the walls so the kids will enjoy coming to school. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for everyone here this week, and what God does in these little kids hearts! Pura Vida! -Brittan Ragsdale
What I have learned in the past 24 hours is that whether this your first mission trip to Costa Rica or your fifth this is a special place that holds your heart. It already feels like a second home. God’s love is so evident here through the beautiful ticos and ticas and the jaw dropping landscape that surrounds us. Today we were able to experience both of these things by visiting the local farmers market, souvenir market, and the waterfalls in the rainforest.
We started today off by eating breakfast at early because we had a day full of tourist activities. We were not going to be serving at the centers today. We loaded on to the buses and headed in to the city to visit the local farmers market and scavenger hunt for local fruits. Bargaining for fruit may not seem like a difficult task but add in a language barrier and good luck! We all struggled to communicate in the beginning but the Costa Ricans were so amazing and were so helpful in helping us find our items.
After a short 15 minute walk (not including time spent on photo ops). We arrived at the souvenir market and really had to use our bargaining sills. In this hot and cramped space we had only 20 minutes to find our treasures for ourselves and our loved ones. Seeing all these handmade objects gave me such an appreciation for the Costa Ricans because of their dedication to crafts and their kindness to us.
Our final destination was the waterfalls located in the rainforest. In order to get to there we had to take an hour bus ride and this wasn’t any bus ride. We rode up a mountain made of small roads and sharp turns. This ride was nerve wracking but as soon as we arrived we knew the stomach churning ride was worth it. We are able to to see many different animals native to the rainforest before we walked to the waterfalls. Some of these really cool animals were jaguars, parrots, monkeys, and snakes. If you were lucky you were chose to milk a cow or hold a snake. Lastly, we were able to walk to the waterfalls. This place was something special. God was definitely showing off with his creation here.
Today I was in awe of this beautiful country and God’s immense love for us. Our activities today got me so excited to love on the kids tomorrow and the days to come. Pura Vida!
Hey Parents and all of the amazing people praying for our team! We made it safe and sound to Costa Rica! It was a smooth flight and when we arrived at the hotel we were able to eat lunch and spend time hearing all about the amazing things we will be doing this week. We cant wait for our day tomorrow. We will be touring the city and going to the rainforest. Please continue to pray for our team and we can’t wait to share more about our experiences this week. Pura Vida!
We had an amazing time at Lake Day! Everyone had so much fun and God used this time to grow us closer together as team and prepare us a little bit more to serve Him as we continue to prepare to leave for Costa Rica on Saturday! We got to swim, boat, tube, wakeboard, and just have fun with the people God has brought into our lives for this trip. We are so thankful for the wonderful and gracious hosts who opened their home and dock to our huge group, and for those who took us out on their boats and jet skis! We had some great advice and testimonies from those who have previously been to Costa Rica and we got to split into small groups where we got to share and encourage each other with what we are nervous about and what we are excited about going into this trip!
This past Saturday our team had the honor of volunteering with The Miracle League. This is an amazing organization that works with children who have physical and mental disabilities and provides them with the opportunity to play baseball just like other kids. All the kids have a chance to hit the ball, run the bases, and play the field. Their motto is “Every child deserves a chance to play baseball!”
Our team spent most of the day at the ball field and everyone was super pumped to be out there either being a child’s “buddy” or sitting in the stands cheering them on. Some of our wonderful students even made colorful signs encouraging the players! It was a day spent getting to know the kids playing in the games and getting to serve with our Costa team members. We loved getting to watch these kids truly light up when they hit the ball and when they ran the bases. It was pure joy and determination on their faces and our team loved every second of it. Serving people is what God has called all of us to do but it is really amazing to watch teenagers give up their weekend to spend it serving others. A huge thank you to Macy McNeely for organizing this really great services opportunity and of course to our fearless leaders Tim and Leslie for all they did to make this day a success. Less than 60 days away from departure and this weekend really showed us how incredible these teenagers are and the lives they will impact while we are in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!!
We are so excited to be embarking on this amazing journey together. We can’t wait to see how God will work through and in each and every one of us as he has brought us together and placed us on this trip! We are already growing closer as a team and small groups as we get to know each other better and pray for each other as we share our burdens and requests as a team. We have loved hearing students and leaders share a devotional and their hearts with us at each meeting, which is just one way we have been encouraged and poured into on this journey so far!
We are having fun too! Games, food, and dinners out are just a few of the ways we are all connecting on our Costa team! In the future leading up to our trip, we will be doing a community outreach, lake day, and other fun get togethers to help us grow and connect as a team!