Our week has been jam packed with excitement and joy, and as expected, today was an absolutely amazing day to finish our construction projects and have a grand fiesta at VBS. I am proud to say that I was part of the group at the center this week that worked on painting an enormous fence, completed the construction of a driveway, and demolitioned/repaved a ramp. Our work both at the church and at the center is greatly appreciated and will be a blessing to the community for a long time. It is true that our construction work helps to transform properties into places that can be used to better serve the community. But when I shovel rocks and dirt into buckets to make cement or tediously paint a fence, the physical pain I feel points me to the Cross, to my call, to the reason that we are here.

VBS this afternoon proved to be no different from our Friday fiestas from years past. We had cake and piatas for the kids and families. We heard about Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den and watched with mesmerized eyes as it was acted out before us by some of the older children. The hardest part of the day was not controlling the eager kids during the piata, or avoiding an injury on the slide, but instead it was saying our goodbyes at the end of VBS. I found myself tearing up as I tried to get out my thank you and goodbye to Pastor Victor. I had a wonderful sentence prepared in Spanish but all fell blank and I could only get out “muchas gracias pastor” and fell into his arms with tears streaming down. As I watched the children and families that I have served for three years now walk across the field towards their homes, I felt empty. The people of Costa Rica have given me my faith. The children love with no boundaries, the parents praise the Lord in the good and the bad. What more is there?

“Come near to God and he will come near to you”(James 4:8). This verse has continuously been on my mind challenging and convicting me this week. To be satisfied, to be filled to the brim with his joy, we must listen to all of his commands. Only when I give my life to Him will my life truly be mine. With this lesson pulsing through my mind I find pouring out my everything for His glory all the more fulfilling and satisfying. I feel freedom like I’ve never felt before to live faithfully wherever I am, not just during our time here in Costa Rica.

Mary Francis Roll

Today, Friday the 6th, was the last day of our work and our Vacation Bible School. All though we all had a blast working and at VBS, I believe we will all enjoy being back in our own beds and with our families. This week we have finished paving the center that we are staying at and at the church, making a brick room, and much more. For the last few minutes at VBS we had to say goodbye to all the children we became close to. It was very hard to say goodbye to everyone. We had a piata and cake for the children. The children were so sweet after they got their candy, they kept trying to give us all candy but we knew it was more special for them to have it. We all had such a blast this week none of us wanted to leave. There were tears in children’s eyes and in ours while we waved from the bus.

I think everyone will agree when I say that this week flew by. None of us are ready to go. Even when we were working we smiled through it all. We all became very close to each other and to God. For our last program we all prayed for our memories and our faith in God to continue. Please, help us pray for the same.

This last week was definitely the best in my life. I became closer to my church members and to God. I believe everyone will agree.

God bless.

Cheyenne Price

This week has been life changing. Just seeing how happy the children are whenever we go to VBS and how everyone spends time together when we have our few hours of free time. It is so amazing to see the kids every day at the church. They all have smiles from ear to ear and the language barrier has no effect as long as you can run and blow up balloons they become our best friends. However, today was the last day of VBS, we had piatas for the kids and even though they have so little they still offered us their candy. They are all so nice it warms my heart.

Work this week has been easier than I thought it would be, but still challenging. In two different locations we finished everything that we started on Monday, which was paving a road next to the center we’re living in and added on to the kitchen back at the church. The weather cooperated with us so we never worked in the rain and it was never too hot, since it’s Costa Rica’s rainy season it was perfect. I could not believe how hard people worked to finish what we started. There was no complaining or whining, everyone got along.

This trip has opened my eyes and made me realize that as long as you have people who will love and care about you nothing else matters. We don’t need technology or expensive toys to have fun. I personally felt like I grew in my faith since being here. I will take away from this trip so many memories and I will continue to grow in my faith more. Tim and Jeremy are amazing guys and helped make everything fun, but keep the focus on God. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has grown together not as friends but as a family, we look out for each other and that’s what keeps us going.

Jennifer Manduke

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