Tuesday, June 28th (Mackenzie’s Birthday/greatest day of the year)

Mackenzie birthday cake

Happy Birthday Mackenzie!

Hola Padres!

It’s Kenzie Costa Rica is beautiful and I am finally feeling better after loading up on meds for the past four days.

Everyone wished me happy birthday and they got me a cake! I loved seeing the “Happy Birthday” banner as a little piece of home. Aren’t you just the cutest?! I am now officially an adult and a Costa Rican citizen AND I am scheduled to be married on Thursday! Hope you can make it to the wedding.

We went to a service at the local United Methodist church where we have VBS and it was so awesome to experience the power of God on a global scale.

Love you and miss you dearly,


PS- Mr. and Mrs. Norris: Melanie forgot 10 pairs of contacts. She needs them, they are above the toilet. And extra socks.

PPS- Mom and dad: Melanie doesn’t think her parents know about this/will read it so please let them know.


Hey everybody!

Today we attended a church service at the local Methodist Church here. If I’m being completely honest here, I was not looking forward to it. I was discouraged in my Spanish abilities after going to VBS and having a very difficult time connecting with the children because I simply could not figure out how to say anything in their language. Although I’ve been taking Spanish classes for three years now, as soon as it actually mattered it seemed that all of my knowledge was drained from my brain. I was having troubles saying anything! Mom, if you’re reading this- please call the tutor. But anyways, after experiencing this I was not too excited to sit through two hours of what I thought was going to be only a Spanish sermon. I was sleepy and was worried I was going to sleep. However when we got there we had Jose translating everything and I didn’t feel out of the loop whatsoever. All of the locals had so much energy about God and their faith, it was so refreshing to watch. When the first song came on a group of about six people jumped up and started dancing with amazing enthusiasm. It was hard to not dance along with them, I started grooving out and the guy next to me embarrassingly stepped away from me and told me to stop. Apparently the locals didn’t think I was embarrassing because one of the girls pulled me in and I joined in with the locals! It was an amazing experience and not much longer the whole church was dancing along with us. I saw God in these people because they had such patience with us and were so gracious. I definitely want to return to Costa Rica next year and feel this closeness with God again. The computer’s gonna die soon so this last piece is really jumbled. Plus I’m playing a game right now, but I miss you mommy and Sally so much! I love you and everybody else reading this. Goodnight! See you soon.


Liza Karras!


Although today’s wakeup call came what seemed to be much too early, once the day got moving, everything got better. With a tasty breakfast in our tummies, we set off to a day of work. Half the team stayed in the center for the first part of the day. They finished pouring concrete in order to create two wheel chair ramps. The other part of the group ventured to a local church where they plastered walls and laid concrete for a sidewalk. Both teams worked diligently and made much progress on all projects.

Later in the day, the majority of the group stayed to run the Vacation Bible School, which had over 60 kids! Playing with balloons, chasing one another around the church, and listening to “David and Goliath” everyone enjoyed themselves. The rest of the group remained outside and continued working on the sidewalk and plaster. It was a very successful day!

After a DELICIOUS dinner, we experienced the best part of the day, and possibly the highlight of the trip! All of us got to experience worship in the church we have been serving in. Joining in fellowship and praise with the local citizens was truly a blessing. Jose acted as a translator as Pastor Victor preached and prayed. When we stood to sing, there was no mumbling. In fact, the majority of us ran to the front with other members of the church and danced in praise. The song lasted closed to 10 minutes. Each of us got to contribute five dollars to the offering and we all knew that it made a difference. The pastor talked about the difficulties they face in Costa Rica. He said that we need Christ in our lives and in our communities. Amongst suffering, Christ is hope. Through the sermon and the shining faces of the children, along with the work we dedicated to the Lord, we learned that “solo Cristo puede calmar tanta sed” or “only Christ can quench our thirst.”
-Hannah Berlin

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