Saturday
May232009

Saturday, May 23

About a year ago we had a team from Asbury UMC in Birmingham Alabama working with us for the first time.  There were 45  of them which is challenging enough.  The fact that Hurricane Alma formed over Costa Rica the week that they were here and it rained non stop for four days didn't make the situation any easier.  But God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that for that week we would need a team with a spirit of flexibility and desire to serve in any way.  We finally fled the work site after 3 days and headed back to San Isidro, where the situation was actually worse!  Rivers had overflown washing away bridges and homes.  MOst of the city was without electricity or water, and the roads out of town were buried under mud slides.  It truly was a natural disaster.  So we spent the next couple of days with no way in or out of San Isidro, helping people move soggy furniture out of their flooded homes and handing out hot meals and clean water in communities that had been days without either.

Tonight we worshipped in San Isidro with Albany UMC from Birmingham Alabama again.  I wasn't sure after what happened last time, if we would ever see them again.  Even though I cannot control the weather, I still feel responsible when things don't go according to plan.  Well not only did they come back, this time they brought 58 youth and adults.  So tonight, the 58 of them, plus 15 more from FUMC in Herndon Va., plus about 40 from the church in San Isidro had an amazing service of song and word.  We sang worship songs back and forth to one another in English and Spanish and just before the 35 pizzas were delivered we shared Holy Communion.  Tonight we remembered the state of emergency from a year ago.  Tonight we remembered how good it felt to be the hands of feet of Jesus in a place and time of need.  Tonight we experienced what it means to be a body of Christ that knows no language or culture or border.  Tonight we were the church.

Amen

Wednesday
May132009

San Buenas

It's Wednesday night and I'm back in San Isidro.  Tomorrow I'm off to Florida for three days and then back to Costa Rica.  The team from NC State is doing a great job.  The electricity went out this afternoon from lunch time until quitting time, so that put our sanders, drills, screw guns and welding machines out of commission, but the team was flexible and pretty soon everybody was working again.

This is a pretty stressful time for us due to the fact that we're about to switch from one project to the next and the week that we do that, we have a team of 16 finishing up one, while a team of 60(!) starts the other one.  No team next week so we should have time to move all of our tools and equipment, including the backhoe and cement mixer, to the new work site.  There's still quite a bit to be done in San Buenas, but I feel like we're going to be really close to having it finished when the team from Virginia leaves.  If not, the work that is left to be done will be minimal.

Peace 

Friday
May082009

Six weeks down, and two to go.  The house is coming along great.  This week the team from Severna Park has finished all the final plastering and sanding details, and by Friday afternoon should have most if not all of the ceilings installed.  Don Hugo has been working on the electrical all week, Kike and some of the Severna Park team finished the roof over the front porch and back wash room.  They came to install the windows last week while we were gone, so that was a pleasant surprise.  We also started tiling the kitchen counter this week.  So we're right on track to finish the ceilings, tile the floors and bathrooms, paint and hang doors before the last team leaves on the 29th of May.

It's still surprising to me to see how much has been done with only 24 days on the work site.  We have been blessed with wonderful teams this year who have come down committed to getting the work done in spite of the heat and also committed to sharing and experiencing life with their brothers and sisters here.  Two of the members of the team this week were walking through San Buenaventura one afternoon and one of the little kids from the church recognized them.  Neither one of them spoke any Spanish, but they understood that he wanted them to follow him home, once there he enthusiastically introduced them to his mom, dad, dog and parrot!  The team members were so touched by what one of them called "radical hospitality"!  In a world so full of divisions and mistrust, we're blessed to be witness to God's love for us manifest in that way.

Peace on Earth 

Wednesday
Apr222009

It's Wednesday night and the team from University Carillon has spent the last three days finishing the plastering and then sanding all of the walls of the house.  It looks great!  Both bathroom floors have been poured, so the only concrete work left to do now is the sidewalk along the left side of the house.  Hugo formed up the kitchen counter and it has been poured as well.  The window guys are coming tomorrow, so the house should look a lot different (like a house) when they leave.  This team was here for what is probably the most tedious week of the whole building process, but they never complained (at least not around me) and in spite of there only being six of them, they got a ton of work done.

Right now I'm full of mixed emotions.  This week I've confirmed 8 of the 10 teams we need for the parsonage project in La Bonita de Changuena next year.  As exciting as that is, we are also aware of several missionaries who are having to return to the states due to a lack of support and work teams.  Our heart goes out to them and it's kind of hard to celebrate the growth of this ministries when so many, who work just as hard as we do, are in such a tough spot right now.  We pray that God will bless them in a way that will allow them to return to the field as soon as possible.

No team next week so we all get to rest!  The Severna Park team will be here a week from Saturday.  Look for pictures of them dancing and singing "If I had a hammer", their six o'clock in the morning routine!

Peace on Earth 

Friday
Apr172009

It's been a pretty crazy week here.  We had a team from Deland Florida and  a team from Lincolnton NC here at the same time.  28 people in all.  We never know how things are going to go when we have multiple churches here at the same time.  Logistics are more complicated and you never know how they'll work together.  In this case they were both teams coming to work with us for the first time.  So we just kept our fingers crossed.  Things couldn't have gone any more smoothly!  The two teams quickly integrated with one another and with the good people in San Buenaventura.  This ministry is all about being church together and experiencing what it means to be a universal Body of Christ.  They not only embraced that opportunity with the locals, but with one another as well.

As of this afternoon, all of the concrete has been poured inside the house as well as the front porch/car port and the back wash room.  The roof was put on last Thursday before the last Myers Park team left, so we got to work in the shade for the most part this week.  The walls are almost ready to be sanded and a couple of guys worked on the electrical installation.  So, it was another very productive week on the work site.  It's hard to believe we only have 16 actual work days in this project.

We had pizza night on Wednesday night for the first time.  A Christian family from Michigan has moved to the area after inheriting a nearby pizzaria, so they came by with 15 or 16 pizzas and had a chance to hang out with our teams for a bit. 

Thursday night was the first night of a four night long revival at the church in San Buenas, so both teams got to experience a very "lively" worship service as a kind of send off.

We are very thankful that a team member who, due to a pre-existing condition, had to have emergency foot surgery last night is recovering nicely in a clinic here in San Isidro.  Hopefully his recovery will be quick enough that he can return to the states with the rest of the team on Sunday.  There were an awful lot of prayers offered up for him over the last 24 hours and they were answered!

It has finally started raining, so now we have the joys of working under the hot sun some days and tropical downpours others.

Our good friends from University Carillon UMC in Orlando will be here tomorrow, so look for another update the end of next week.

Peace on Earth.