Thursday, Feb 25th

Week six is in the books and we're almost done with the new sunday school building in Changuena.  The team from Hayes Barton spent the week installing ceilings and electrical in the bathrooms, painting all of the bars for the windows (they decided everything is John Deer green!), and building tables, benches and pews.  Next week we'll be painting walls and installing sinks and toilets in the bathrooms.  After that we're basically done!  

We've decided to help out a couple of members of the church in La Bonita whose homes need some work.  One of the things we (CRMP) are trying to do this year is be mindful of the needs of the families in the communities where we work.  Sometimes its easy to get blinders on and stay so focused on the church building projects, that we miss out on other opportunities to serve.  So the next two teams will be helping us totally rebuild one church member's home and repair another one.  We are so grateful to the team members who were here this week who helped us work through the discerning process of how best to help these families, and for their generosity in making sure that the work will get done.

Below is a picture of Henry's house.  Next week we'll pour him a concrete floor, put up "Hardy Plank" walls and a rust free, tin roof!



Thursday, Feb. 4

Just got home from week four in Changuena.  The new team from Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta did an awesome job this week.  I've never seen a group as happy at 4:30am as they were.  Hugo had more company for his pre-dawn coffee than he ever has before!  The walls have been plastered and some have been sealed, so they're ready for paint.  We paved a sidewalk/ramp from the sanctuary to the sunday school building so Pastor Humberto and get around without any problems.  He enjoyed riding a "wheely" all the way down the hill to the new building.   Monday night they had a church leaders meeting in the new building.  Tuesday night they had youth group in the new building.  Wednesday night we decided we may as well go ahead and have worship in the new building!  Clearly the new facility is going to be well used.  Humberto was telling me that there are a couple of local community groups who have already asked permission to use it as well.  It's exciting to see a church reaching out into the community in so many different ways.

Dr. Shannon got more popular every day and made several house calls during the week.  Being used as God's healing hands in a situation like that is a very moving experience.

The team asked if we could invite the whole community to the church for a meal before they left, so last night we had a good old fashioned Costa Rican style pig pickin'.  About 175 pounds of pork, yucca and plantains, not to mention a big pot of "cracklin'".  Those of you from Eastern NC know what I'm talking about!

I spent several hours this week working with the back hoe in different parts of the community, most recently the elementary school.  It's not often that they have heavy machinery available in an area like Changuena.  We never imagined when we bought the back hoe how versatile it would be.

All in all it was a great week.  Lots of good work got done, the new building is that much closer to being finished, and we had lots of fun with 13 new members of the CRMP family.

No team next week and Yolanda and I will be away the following week while a veteran team from Conway UMC is here, so I won't post again until after the 20th of Feb.

God Bless


Thursday, Jan 14

Heading back to Changuena in the morning, but with a heavy heart.  Can't stop thinking about the people of Haiti.  A friend from Seminary arrived in Haiti on Monday with a volunteer team en route to Fondwa, a rural community I think about 25 miles from Port au Prince.  Her husband and the organization she went with haven't heard from them yet.  They are prayerfully hopeful that the group is fine.  

It will be strange to have no access to media for the next 6 days.  I hope that much progress will have been made by the time we get home next week.  Regardless, our thoughts and prayers will be with our brothers and sisters in Haiti and all those who have committed to helping in the aftermath.



Thursday, Jan 7

Back to work!  I can't think of a better way to start 2010 than working with our friends in Changuena.  Our first team this year was a group of college students from Arcolla UMC in Dulles, Virginia.  They painted, shoveled dirt, cut metal, dug trenches and poured a ton of concrete.  About 60 sacks in two days!  The dining area outside the church kitchen is now paved, the kitchen is almost ready and there are side walks around three of the four sides of the sanctuary.  The team did a great job and we look forward to working with Arcolla again.

Hugo and I will go back up with Huguito, Felipe and Kike on Sunday to work all day Monday.  Hopefully we can finish the kitchen and the bathrooms so they are ready for FUMC Rocky Mount who roll in on the 14th.

The church in Changuena represents SO well why we are here doing this.  Their faithfulness and commitment to being a witness to God's love in their community and their desire to reach out to other communities is inspiring and we are blessed to be a part of their mission in Changuena.  We hope that the new sanctuary and the Sunday school rooms we'll break ground on next week, will soon be full of people learning about and experiencing God in their lives.

Peace on Earth. 


Wednesday, October 28

Yolanda and I are back in Eastern North Carolina after having driven half way across the country visiting a number of the churches that support Costa Rica Mission Projects.  It was great to see everybody and feel like we have friends and family in so many different places.  We're reminded at every stop, when they ask us about their CRMP friends in Costa Rica, how strong the relationships among the people involved in this ministry are.  We have 26 teams signed up for next year, nothing short of a miracle considering the state of the economy, but a testimony to people's commitment to us and the work being done in Costa Rica.

My newest cousin, Mitchell Kern Hinson, was baptized on Sunday and I got to assist our senior pastor in the baptism.  I like to think that they waited to baptize him until Yolanda and were here (although I'm not entirely convinced that that is the case), but it was a blessing for me to be asked to be involved in that ceremony.  We don't get to spend much time with my family and have missed a number of special occasions over the last 6 and half years.  I'm glad we were here for this one.

Yolanda I head back to CR on November 12th.  We have a few more church visits to do here in NC in the meantime, and I preach at my home church on November 8th.  It will be nice to get back home and settled back into our Costa Rica routine, just in time for next year's teams to start coming!  Please pray for continued safety and good health for the rest of our time in the states.

Peace on Earth