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

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Costa Rica - Day 7


Costa Rica: June 1-8, 2024

I honestly can’t believe this is the final day. We have laughed, worshiped, cried, worked hard together, endured stinky bus rides after long days, killed bugs, broke bread together. But more importantly I think we have been blessed by this opportunity and I hope this “family” will enjoy life long relationships with each other.

The morning started with everyone finishing packing. Most tried to get everything packed last night but in the girl’s cabin there was a lot of commotion trying to figure out if everything would fit back into the suitcases. Many left some items that the center will sell in a garage sale that helps raise money.

Eduardo (our driver) successfully played tetris with the luggage once again. We took our first group photo at the mission center and then headed to Nauyaca Waterfalls. Rachel (myself) led our final devotional our verse of Matthew 6:26-33 reminded us of being in the moment. God will handle all the things and worrying will not benefit us.

At the falls, the group was split by riding to the falls on horseback or keep riders. Thirteen had pick horse while six opted for a jeep ride. You can also hike to the falls on your own two feet but it is about 10 kilometers. After a quick switch of Alec to horse and Fiona to jeep, we were off to the falls. The jeep follows the horses in two spots on the trail. It was cool that we weren’t completely separated. Santana was our driver and was wonderful. He and his dad started the business 30 years ago with three horses. They now have thirty horses and he said nearly every employee is “in the family”. His sister takes the reservations, son is a guide on horseback, nephew helps with being a guide at the falls, mom cooks the lunch to name a few of the relatives. Santana’s family lived on the site for 60 years. Their house is the original structure. He told stories from his childhood when we had to wait for the horses. He showed us the teak and guava trees that he planted with his father on the hillside by the falls previously it was just grass growing.

Once the whole group was together, we went to the upper viewing deck. With the ramps, it allowed the whole group to take in the beautiful views without difficulty. Annabelle, Rafaela, Lila, Ava, Rachel, Bethany, McKinley, Fiona and Mason got down off the viewing area to get some Instagram photos. Well, Mason may not have cared about the insta now that I think about it.

We then hiked to the waterfall base and Mason/Drew/Coleman/Alec/Drew/John helped get Anderson down the steps so the whole group could stay together. Santana mentioned they are working to improve the access to the base for those needing a more adaptable environment but it is still in progress. McKinley, Lewis, Bethany, Anderson, Drew, Rafaela, Amanda, Jeremy and Rachel (myself) all got into the water to “swim”.  We were instructed to remove jewelry, apple watches, etc because the current was strong!!! And they were not kidding about its strength. After a bit of water fun, we hiked back up to the Jeep/horses.

We had lunch at Santana’s mothers house. The veranda overlooked the gardens and the Indian peacock house. Santana picked some fresh carambola (star fruit) from a tree in the garden. Lewis turns out to be peacock whisperer and could get them to crow their wailing calls. The peafowls (males) showed off their gorgeous tail feathers. Lunch was chicken, rice, potatoes, salad. It is an old family secret chicken from Santana’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother. It’s cooked over an open flame for three hours and it was so delicious!!! Santana spotted a Panamanian white-faced capuchin in the trees. After we all tried to get pictures and videos (thanks Anderson for telling me my video wasn’t videoing), we either got back into the jeep or back on the horse (literally)!

When we returned to the bus, we were off to Manuel Antonio to shop, sit and watch the water, charge our phones or watch more monkeys. The town had plenty of different shops with trinkets for all tastes. We had dinner at El Avion with perfect ocean views. The South Carolina group had a reservation shortly after ours so nice to hear about their culture day zip lining. Low key jealous that they saw a poison dart frog but maybe next time!

With full bellies and the sunset, it was time to make the three and half hours back to San Jose. Most of the gentleman slept while the ladies chatted, laughed, uploaded 1 million photos on our group album, sang and charged phones. Most of the group leaves tomorrow, some have to head to the airport at 3 am! The rest fly out later in the day. And one will fly out on Monday. Talk of reunion trip 2026 has begun. But for now, we pray safe travels home for all in our group and for the student group that is arriving tomorrow to be the church next week to the congregation of Santa Marta. God bless!