As I was sitting in the church today, many kids flowed through the doors, but I was looking for three kids in particular. Their names were Sergio, Josu and Antony, all about 10 years old. Finally when they arrived in the church I talked to them for a few minutes in incredibly choppy Spanish with them helping me with almost every other word. After a short time we ran outside and the kids alternated rides on my back like a “caballo” or horse. They reveled in this for more than I could take, because if you didn’t know running in a full sprint with little 90 pounds of fury hanging on your neck was quite tiresome. Finally after 30 minutes or so I somehow figured out how to say in Spanish “I am very tired let’s go inside”, which they were surprisingly okay with, which was a relief to me. When inside all the kids asked for “bombas” or balloons, because apparently all little kids are obsessed with balloons and enjoy smacking them around for quite some time. While playing with the balloons we talked about how we called us four “los chicos” or the men, the kids loved this and we enjoyed doing a lot of manly grunts and flexing muscles to show our manliness. Finally after an hour at the church, much to our dismay, that Vacation Bible School was over for the day. When they were leaving I told them that tomorrow was my last day at VBS at that I had to go back to the States on Sunday. They all gave me hugs and then Sergio in perfect English said “see you later”.
-Nick Strauss _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Another day in Costa Rica comes to an end. Looking back I remember smiles, rain, rice and stinky toilet paper in a bin next to the toilet. VBS has been great with my friend Joseph. He’s got the swagger of an American with his Hollister tee and never letting his grin fade from his face. Surprisingly I’m not tired from working today, but instead from piggy back rides I’ve given to multiple kids. The work I did today was cementing a sidewalk at the church and plastering the new classrooms, but the plastering was for the girls as my manly muscles weren’t feeling the burn. Breakfast was great with the rice and beans and eggs but the toast was a little too toasty. Sorry Dad but the meatloaf for lunch today was top notch and you’ve gotta step up the game. The chicken was superb along with the rice and beans for dinner. Today was an awesome day…thanks God!
With only two more days left in Costa Rica and one day of travel, the trip has been a whirlwind of fun, dirty clothes (sorry, Mom), and new experiences. During the mornings everybody works either here at the camp we are staying at or at a local church just down the road. In the afternoons we either help with the kids at vacation bible school or continue working at the church. All this week, morning and afternoon, I have been working on building a concrete sidewalk at the church. We were very fortunate to have the guidance of Antonio, a pastor and master of construction. He was always there instructing, telling us what we were doing wrong, or giving us an encouraging, “bueno,” when our work turned out the way he wanted. Today, however, God gave us the gift of Mauricio. Mauricio is a 12 year old boy who was attending VBS at the church. He saw us struggling while trying to add the finishing touches on part of the sidewalk. Without even asking if he could help, he jumped in and used the skills he had learned from his father, a local construction worker, and assisted us with the work. We would have been lost without this kid. Throughout the rest of the day we referred to Mauricio as our boss, despite the fact that he was 7 years younger than some of us. With only one work day remaining, we are very hopeful that Mauricio is around to guide us in finishing up the sidewalk. The week has been incredible and exhausting all at once. I’m looking forward to heading home, but I’m not so sure I’m ready to leave here.
Costa Rica es muy bonita!
This past week has been an amazing experience that was very needed and will touch our hearts forever. The new friends we have made include the Costa Rican workers, the gracious cooking staff and caretakers who have opened their center up for us, the local pastor and his wife, and adorable children who come to VBS everyday. Even though not all of us can speak to them fluently or even understand what they are trying to say, we all seem to communicate through God, laughing, singing, and intense hand gestures. Today included repainting the “casa blanca”, paving a walkway at the church, plastering soon-to-be classrooms at the church, and building an office for the pastor. After working hard all morning, we are served delicious lunches and then board a bus for the 10 minute ride to the church for VBS. The children who come are just so excited to be there with us playing and are very grateful for everything they receive. Even when it is raining constantly we still enjoy each others company and become closer while hanging out in La Plaz or watching the rain. The view of the mountains and houses and buildings of the city are a beautiful site. We end our long days with a sermon by Pastor Tim or Pastor Tom. Their motivational words remind us why we are here and to continue to carry out God’s work in a positive way. Being here and meeting the people of Costa Rica make us realize that we are all very similar and want the same things in life. This trip is truly a humbling experience and make us grateful for being part of such an amazing community and Church, but also a worldwide religion that we can share with these people.
-Brooke Townshend, Jillian Goulding, Kali Hawkins, and Marcela Hawkins
<3BJKM ..Miss you all lots and can not wait to see you soon..kinda..:)