On May 26, forty-four missionaries departed Texas and traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica for a week of ministry. For six days they worshiped, shoveled, sang, wheelbarrowed, troweled, tamped, ate, gave piggy-back rides, prayed, twisted wire, poured concrete, studied, practiced speaking Spanish, sloshed through the rain, and played with the Costa Ricans and each other. And on the seventh day they rested.
To get the full story, you would have to personally visit with all forty-four members, ages eight to seventy-something, and you would hear forty-four different versions of the same wonderful story. You would hear about the image of forty-fourbright yellow-green t-shirts en masse in the Houston airport, attracting stares and questions from other travelers. You would hear about the entertaining orientation by Will Faircloth, the resident missionary, most importantly, how to take a Costa Rican shower and what to do with the toilet paper (don’t flush!).
On Sunday, we worshiped with a local Methodist church and despite the language barrier, we felt the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit there.
This was also our prep day as we divided into three teams to present the stories of Joseph, Moses and the burning bush to the parting of the Red Sea.
We stayed in the Methodist Seminary in San Jose, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the big city while catching glimpses of parrots and other signs of the tropical paradise around us.
Each morning, we took the 20 minute bus ride to the building site of the Methodist Children’s Home. Seeing the completed product of our last mission trip and building project was an emotional experience for the veterans among us, as we walked through the first of the five planned cottages.
We cautiously peeked into the bedrooms, the spacious living area and the kitchen of this home for twelve orphans and their house parents, and were privileged to see their love in action as they cared for these children on a day to day basis. This gave us the motivation to work hard on the projects assigned to us during the week.
Our time was devoted to the early stages of construction, from digging trenches for the foundation and beginning the construction of interior walls, to tying rebar for the walls that were to come.
In the afternoons, we loaded up the bus and headed to nearby churches where anywhere from forty to one hundred children were eagerly awaiting the ‘Norte Americanos’ and Vacation Bible Study.
Our team members showed no signs of fatigue as we played games, sang our Spanish songs (“Who’s the King of the Jungle” and “Inside, Outside, Upside, Downside, Happy All the Time”, among others), presented dramatized versions of Old Testament stories, and taught crafts to the children.
Some the best times and favorite memories were when we just let the kids be kids and interact, giving piggy back rides and running outside in the grass. In the evenings, we shared our testimonies of the day as we spoke of where we saw God.
As is often the case, we felt our own faith grew even more than the people to whom we were ministering, as we came away awed by the wonder of God’s handiwork in bringing together such a cohesive group and allowing us to accomplish so much.
We particularly wish to express our gratitude to the many people who prayed for us, participated in all of our fund raisers, and financially supported this effort. As one team member put it, when a little girl of 10 years ran out of the Children’s Home and wrapped her arms around her waist in a big hug, “That just made it all worth it!”