Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

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Costa Rica - Day 6

6/7/24

Costa Rica: June 1-8, 2024

Happy 20th birthday to Mason!

After filling our bellies with scrambled eggs, beans, rice, peanut butter, jelly, and bananas we tidied up the cabin and split our group for the last day “on the job.” Essentially eight of us stayed at the Costa Rica Mission Project to help in the daycare center while the remaining half traveled to Santa Marta to continue work on the parsonage and Sunday school buildings.

Daniel picked us up right on time, but we were moving a little bit slower as our muscles were sore and they struggled to stretch out the aches and pains. Amanda read our devotional and with the bus seating more open, we stretched out a bit and enjoyed each other’s company.

It was a late night last night at the church and we beat our South Carolina friends to the site. The tree limb and barbed wire fence gate were still closed, but it didn’t take Coleman long to unravel the barbed wire and break us in. We made quick work of getting the site set up and ready. We tackled the stucco on the inside wall of the parsonage and placed the final screws into the roof. I think John was secretly hoping for a little rain this afternoon just so that he could check to make sure there weren’t any leaks.

After a delicious lunch of sandwiches and fresh pasta salad with watermelon and chips, a mild rain shower drifted in bringing a cooler breeze and giving us some relief from the hot morning sun. John happily inspected the roof one more time and we officially declared that it was complete.

Most of the boys continued work on some of the final slabs to complete the walls of the Sunday school building. The girls finished all the stucco and sealed it on the interior of the parsonage. McKinley and Bethany worked so hard on stuccoing that at one point their fingers bled…. Their DNA is now forever more preserved at the parsonage! Some continued working on trimming out windows. Later in the day when the rain cleared, we started up the concrete mixer and began trimming out the foundational base for the Sunday school building.

Of course, we took breaks (I may have commandeered the hammock a little too long) and enjoyed another walk to the local store for fruit, Gatorade, and snacks. One particular vegetable that had been alluding to us we determined to be yucca root. It’s so unique! At the marketplace, we noticed that there is very little interior lighting instead they have small skylight-like slivers between the tin roof panels that allow for natural light to illuminate the interior of the store. Costa Rica prides itself on being a very sustainable country meaning they use a lot of hydropower in order to provide the country with electricity. So most public places have very limited lighting and electrical power usage. We learned that people do not run their air conditioners, if they even have one (which is very rare), for more than a few hours a day. You never leave a room without turning off the light and you show more appreciation for the rain when it comes because it is what provides your electrical power. So far Costa Rica has not had to have scheduled blackouts in over a decade or more.

Rachel and Bethany tried some delicious pastries from the bread store across the street from the market today and we made a friend with the dog next door. At one point, he laid down in the middle of the entry door to the parsonage and looked like he was ready to make it home while we continued stuccoing around him.

The group that stayed behind to help in the daycare today had an amazing time too! Most of the children placed here are from struggling families who have been impacted by various kinds of trauma (alcohol abuse, anxiety/depression, or domestic violence). They enjoyed reading Bible verses to the children (mostly aged 3-6 years old), singing songs, doing crafts, and eating lunch together. The highlight of the day was certainly recess. All the boys engaged in an American football game of catch while the girls applied makeup and painted nails. Smiles and happy squeals were overflowing! Lila was able to spot a beautiful pair of toucans in a banana tree right off the balcony of the dining hall today too.

The rain started up again during the drive back home (I mean to CRMP)😉, and we unloaded our stinky selves and headed straight to the showers. The sound of the rain is so enjoyable on the tin roofs that it truly is calming.

After showers (where Amanda had a small gecko inconveniently visit her), we enjoyed a delicious dinner of beef & vegetables over rice, green salad with strawberries, and buttered bread. The rain continued to pour down so hard that we could hardly carry on a conversation and the flying insects (that come to seek out light and dry air during the heavy rains) flooded one side of the outdoor dining hall. Hugo got creative with his blower (or was it a portable air vacuum?) to try to keep the swarms away from our food. We sang happy birthday to Mason and devoured his tres leches cake! Thank you to Hugito for making the special trip to pick it up. We enjoyed celebrating with Pedro too, as he brought his parents, his wife, and his adorable 2-year-old to dinner tonight.

After dinner, we enjoyed Jenga and multiple card games. We purchased treats like ground coffee (picked and roasted right here at the mission center), jams, and t-shirts to bring home from CRMP.

Another highlight of the past two days has been reading the letters from our prayer partners. Our wonderful leaders, Kiley and Kristen, passed them out and we’ve enjoyed reading the beautiful comments of encouragement from our dear friends and family at home. Thank you to you all.

We all felt a little sad as we drove away from Santa Marta today, but also encouraged and joyful for the work that we’ve put in this week and the friends that we’ve made. Closing a chapter full of so much emotion and spiritual joy can be hard. We are so thankful for this experience and the church we have created here together.

Tonight, as the rain continues and we throw our clothes into the middle of the cabin to be laundered and donated after we leave tomorrow, we are content. Filled with the love of Christ and for one another.