Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Home AND Changed

We arrived home in Ohio over 30 minutes early. The late departure from San Jose caused us to barely make the flight to Columbus from Newark, but we made it. Apparently tail winds were our friends as we traveld north!

While it good to be back home, I am sure that all of us left part of ourselves -- especially our hearts -- in Costa Rica.

Now the chance is ours to be forever transformed and live out what God did in our hearts there on a daily basis here. We will share with anyone at anytime, whenever asked.

Just a note. You will remember that Phil helped Rodney clear the field near the ministry house incasea fire broke out. Monday night, after being away from the house, the Harvest Hands team returned to find that a fire had indeed started in that field. Cindy says it is a mess, but the house is safe. We missed the excitement by just 1 day!

Our next trip to Costa Rica will be July 18-27. Please give me a call at 614-475-8500 or email me at if you are interested.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 9! Our Final Day in Costa Rica

Today is the day on any short-term trip that team members face with a mixture of joy and sorrow. The joy is because we are heading home soon to our family and friends. The sorrow comes because in just a few short days, relationships have developed and lasting friendships have begun. But for every team this day must come and so we face it with grace.

A little extra sleep helps us recover a bit from the hard week. At the same time, we realize a few more aches, a few more bug bites and a bit more "internal issues" than we would like. The good news is that no one individual is dealing with all three!

We go to church again at CCA and enjoy their Latin influenced worship style. It feels more comfortable for us this week since we have had the opportunity to meet some of the people throughout the past week. The message is about caring for the fatherless and the widows. I am struck by the importance of a community of believers who consistently maintains a ministry of service and care to these parts of the body. I was especially challenged to the fact that many men going through rehab say they began their struggles as at risk children, thus building the case for the importance of men mentoring into the lives of children and young teens.

After a quick lunch, we head to Jasmin for the "Final Game in the World Series of Baseball" between the US and Nicaragua. OR as it is commonly known, the old Gringos vs the young boys of Jasmin. Many of these boys have heard about baseball, but never gotten the chance to play. With only a little coaching -- in another language remember, the boys get the hang of it. Rodney wisely brought a whiffle ball and plastic bat to play with since there is only a small peice of flat ground to use for the game. A small group of parents gather on the hill above us to watch this site. It is amazing how a language barrier can be broken with a simple game of baseball. Everyone, including the kids laughed and had a great time...but alas, the US lost the game in a tight 25-20 battle. How wonderful would it be if some of the dads watching today realized the ability they have to connect with their sons through simply playing with them. Maybe in coming Sundays, we'll find father-son games going on in Jasmin and a few more at risk kids saved from a life of addictions.

Immediatley after the big game, we haul ourselves up the hill to the build site and find Joselyn at home in her new place. The electrician has been there and added electric to the house. Joselyn has also added here own touches including simple drapes in all the windows. This is very significant since her old "house" did not have any windows. She seems pround to have us tour the place -- the place that was simply a dream to her this time last week. We take a few minutes for a team picture with her before passing out copies of photos we have taken of the children throughout the week. They are all very excited to get these gifts and we are pleased to know that maybe we brought a bit of the love of Jesus to them and their families. Maybe one day soon, as the Father draws them to Himself, they will more completely understand the reason a bunch of Buckeyes came their way.

A trip to the store to purchase Costa Rican coffee for all our coffee loving friends is next. Let me just say that going shopping with 7 men is something I never want to repeat again if at all possible. I can also tell these guys wives that they should never let their husbands say anything about having to wait at the grocery for them again. It's just entirely too sad a story to tell at this point...

Steve and Paul make a quick run down the hill to Los Anonos to check on yesterday's projects and determine what follow-up is needed. Several of us stay back to clean up. I get the chance to spend extended time with my young friend Tito. god has great plans for this 19 year old young man and it is a blessing to be a small part of his life. After dinner, the New Life Team and the Harvest Hands Team meet together one last time. We discuss the Kingdom of God and how it differs completely from the world in both its goals and its methods. We share what God has done in our lives this week. As we prayed together I was most struck by a prayer that Cindy LeFrance prayed. She asked God to never let us forget the sounds of Los Anonos and Jasmin -- the sounds of the poor, the needy, the forgotten, the children, the church. I pray that same prayer. "Lord, never let us forget. May we continue to be transformed into the likeness of your son Jesus, who gave His life as a ransom for us."

Off to bed to rise early for the airport and the journey home; forever changed, forever grateful and pressing on to minister through our tears to those whom Jesus loves with a passion that took Him to the cross.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 8! Covering the City

Today was a day with lots of pieces. We went to several sections of San Jose today. Very early this morning, most of our group -- 4 out of 7 (you can guess who's who) -- left at 6am to go the market with Rodney to gathering the fruit, vegetables and flowers for the coming week. Rodney brings home a new bouquet every Saturday. Now, so you don't think Rodney is so much better than we US husbands, keep in mind that a huge bouquet of tropical flowers, or roses, or lilies cost between $5 and $10! But he still gets credit!

The rest of us rose late -- by 7am, ate a good breakfast and then started preparing for the day. Phil and Ed have been hit by the Costa Rican Stomach Bug (just a food thing probably) so they rested some. Steve & Paul worked on a stove that had been donated. They repaired and painted it as best they could and then delivered it to a woman in Los Anonos with 7 children and one on the way. Ed, though not feeling well, joined them in this under taking which included using a dolly to bring the stove down a very steep hill side with dirt steps (and in places, just uneven ground). It was a site to say the least. We think we'll send a photo to Sears and challenge them to come up with a harder delivery! They worked to rewire the stove so that it is usable. For you electricians, the stove is 220, but the current they were working with was 110! Quite the challenge, but now there is a working stove that this family can use to fix meals instead of going to the "common kitchens" found in the community (just basic wood shelters where woman can cook over fires).

Craig, Jeff and Brian went to work on an area in this same location that is very steep and extremely hard to walk up. I would say that some sections reach about a 60 degree angle. It is just smooth hard ground in most places. In other places it is a thin layer of dirt covering trash. It is hard to explain, but essentially over the years, trash of every kind has been dumped in this area and built up to allow sections so deep and thick that you can walk on it to reach the top of the hill (probably 150 yards from the bottom to the top). With pick axes and shovels we created about 16 steps in this area to make the ascent and descent easier. Craig is an excellent foreman and could see this all in his head! This is a project that Rodney has wanted to accomplish for nearly 2 years! The first step is now done. Next wood braces and then maybe concrete will be added. Come rainy season, this could all wash away without reinforcement.

Phil arose from his sick bed to help Rodney clear talk grasses near the ministry house so that fires that often start during dry season would not impact the house. We have already seen at least 5 fires this week in the parts of the city we have been in. One just 2 nights ago here in Los Anonos.

After lunch, we took a trip by public bus to the center of the city. It was teeming with vast numbers of people in the shopping district. To describe it as crowded would be an understatement. We walked many blocks before we reached the artisans market where you can find most anything made in Costa Rica. Family members can expect lovely gifts! Another long walk and then the bus ride home finished out this adventure. By the way, if anyone asks...Ed does not like crowds, Steve is never even tempted to make a purchase and the bus drivers in San Jose are experts in over charging Gringos!! Ha!

We had a late dinner including some of the leadership of organizations we have worked with this week. It was great to discuss future ministry possibilities with them. The future looks very promising as a partnership seems to be growing. The Kingdom is big and when different parts of that Kingdom discover their individual strengths and work together, impact is maximized. This is just like it happens in a local body of believers, only on a larger scale. When each one operates in their strengths and giftings, the Kingdom prospers and grows.

Late to bed tonight after the day spent covering the city. Tomorrow we head to church, a baseball game in Jasmin and a series of long good byes! As our time in Costa Rica comes to a close, the seemingly quick passage of time is very real -- and the time to reach the nations seems even shorter than it did last week.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 7! Touring Costa Rica

We took the day off to travel and see beautiful Costa Rica. We got up early to catch our van ride and traveled about 1 1/2 hours north of San Jose into the North Western portion of Costa Rica. Once off the International Highway -- it actually extends as far north as Alaska -- we were again on the "normal" roads we seem to find here. They are filled with large pot holes created mostly by the heavy rains that come in the rainy season.

We make our first stop to zip line in what is known a the Cloud Forest (like the rain forest, but filled with low lying clouds). If you have never done this, zip lining consists of putting on special gear that allows you to hook to cables and fly across deep, long spaces. Some of the cables spanned across jungle areas where you we could look down and see the river far below. Others were very high and crossed 500 yard spans across deep gorges. Each guy in the group zipped from one platform to the next and then clipped on to the next cable and continued. Don't worry, we had 4 guides who did all the technical equipment aspects for us! At one of the stops, the guides announced that we would be using the "Tarzan Swing". This as a cable that we were each attached to and then SWUNG out over the edge of a cliff ... multiple times! Paul wins for gaining the most "air" on his swings! This is not an activity for the faint of heart. If you plan to come to Costa Rica, be sure to practice doing things that scare you to death first!!!

After an amazing lunch called Cosado -- traditional Costa Rica food, we traveled another hour (remember those roads?) to the Arenal Volcano, one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. OK, so this next section makes it sounds like a vacation, but we went to the Baldi Hot Springs at the foot of the Volcano. This Resort Spa consists of 25 pools of water ranging in temperatures from cool to 152 degrees! These are geothermally heated naturally by the volcano. Let's just leave the next 3 hours to this: 7 pale guys with worker tans from Ohio are quite the site while lounging in hot water pools. The gardens of The Baldi Spa were amazing. And seeing them at the foot of this imposing mountain gave a sense of the both the massiveness and sensitivity of God's creation.

Next we traveled up some more "roads" to the foot of the mountain, passing by Lake Arenal. We waited till after dark to see if the mountain spewed any lava and gave us a show. But alas, the volcano was quiet and we head back down the mountain in utter defeat! (This blog needs some drama.) After dinner, we have a 3 hour drive back to San Jose. A couple of the guys are still a little queezy today after the wild ride home.

Today, we will work in Los Anonos and head into the city to check out the artisan's market.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 6! La Casa Es Terminada

Part of our effort in Costa Rica is now complete. As the electric was wired into the house we finished up on Monday, final touches just before wiring begins were done on the house we started on Sunday. We all feel like we have achieved some amazing things in just over 5 days. Windows went in, two nice doors were installed, the roof was completed (including a "sky light"), steps were built out the back of the house with access to the out house and painting was completed on our first full YELLOW HOUSE. We had to laugh when Joselyn told us she really would prefer beige!!!! But, alas it is impossible to paint a Yellow House beige.

The children have latched onto us -- hopefully not just because of chicklets but because they have sensed from us the love of Jesus in their lives. In too many cases, these kids do not experience the real love of fathers and strong male role models. On Sunday we will return for a big baseball game with the boys in the village. This should be quite the show since there is very little flat ground!! I'll nominate one of the guys to be the official ball chaser. It's one of the perks of leadership!! HA!

The PPP (Praise, Prayer and Pizza) gathering took place in Carla's home -- the first house we helped finish. All the workers, some from the team that began the house (from East 91st Street Church in Indy), our Tico fellow laborers and the families of both women gathered in just one room of this new home. Think about this -- probably 25 people in one room with space left! Maximo, one of the leaders at CCA began the time and introduced Pastor Marleen who is "1/2" of the pastoral team at the little church in Jasmin. She shared with us the passage in Matthew 9 where Jesus tells us to pray for workers in the Harvest. Pointing to us she told of her thankfulness for us being part of the answer to that prayer. She reminded us all that Jesus met the physical needs of people allowing Him an open opportunity to share the Good News of the Gospel with them. She then prayed for the families, the workers and over the new homes.

Pizza was next. You have not lived till you have eaten pizza in two languages! What a blessing to realize again the power of Christ to connect people from two very far away places around something as simple as crust and tomato sauce!

Following this were presentations of Bibles to the two families. Larry, and Elder at East 91st Street Church spoke about his team's love for Carla and her children and the priviledge of building them a home. Through tears Carla thanked those who worked on her home. I am sure that those who had to leave and missed this precious time could sense her gratefulness all the way back in Indiana. Following this, our team gathered around Joselyn and her little baby. I was able to share with her our joy in being able to minister to her. This became overwhelming to me and as I paused to try and compose myself, I looked to our team who were all emotional too. I think even our Tico friends and the staff of Harvest Hands were moved by this powerful moment that God had put together. As I shared that it was really Jesus who had built her home, she began to cry and I found it impossible to go on. Joselyn then very meekly thanked us for making sure that her baby would now be dry in a safe home for the first time. Needless to say, this moment is one that I know none of us will allow ourselves to forget. Who knew that 7 Gringos from the US could turn to mush so quickly!

We finished the painting and final details before heading back down the mountain. Our only solace is that we will be back on Sunday to say goodbye one final time to the people of this tiny and unknown village -- unknown by most but not to our great God who cares about even the smallest of people and places.

Tonight, we went into Los Anonos to help at a gathering especially for addicts. 16 men and 1 woman came and sat for over an hour and intently listened to testimonies from former addicts and a message. I was able to meet up again with my friend Jason who we met last July here. We were amazed when one of the men who came in was one of the biggest crack cocaine dealers in the area. Rodney told us later that he really wants to change his life. Many responded in a positive way to the idea of giving Jesus their life. You must realize that substance addictions can hold so tightly that it makes it very hard to surrender to the call and drawing of the Holy Spirit. This is where we must trust the love and soverienty of God to get through these challenges. 5 individuals indicated that they wanted to enter the Christian Rehab Center that we visited. Our pray is that all of them and even more will follow through. We served hot dogs, chips and Fresca' to everyone. What a great honor it is to serve rather than be served. Again, this group of men came through, even going into the hard streets of Los Anonos at night to "recruit" addicts to come join the event. New Life should be proud.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 5!I Connections

Short-term missions is a very interesting undertaking. It is easy to wonder "why raise the money to travel to a place and work when you could just send the money?" There are several answers to this question, but the 2 most important are IMPACT LEVEL and RELATIONSHIPS. Here's what that means...

Consider the average Costa Rican who is at least somewhat well-off financially, is a Christian and wants to minister into their community. Because of work, many have only weekends available to work in ministry (just like us). Even then, there are the regular responsibilities of life. Many Ticos (Costa Ricans) who have labor jobs get little to no time-off during the year. Americans who can take a week or so to come and focus on ministry -- whether physical or spiritual -- can accomplish more in that short focused period o f time than the nationals could over the course of many weekends. Work is done faster and more ground can be covered spiritually in these times. The IMPACT LEVEL is simply greater and the missionaries and churches here can build on the work done by the Americans. This connection is a vital one between the American Church and the Church in other countries.

When it comes to RELATIONSHIPS, the first few days of any trip make you start wondering if there will ever be a connection made with people who speak different languages and who come from such diverse backgrounds. For me and Steve, this trip, our second to CR was amazing in that we immediately reconnected with those we met in July. For the other guys I could see it starting to happen. Today was really the day that I felt that relationships that these men will never forget began to jell. To watch these guys play with children, spend time with some older people, and work together with our Tico friends is a complete joy! Time out from "work" to build relationships is one that we all agreed needed to take place as God opened doors for any of us. The men have been very sensitive to these "divine appointments", letting each other disappear for awhile, trusting that these powerful connections are being made.

We didn't quite get all of our goals met today due to difficulty with obtaining supplies, but everything that could have been done was done. Meanwhile, Phil and Craig have become known by the kids as suppliers of "Chicklets" (candy). Jeff is our game player in the group, spending time throwing small balls (and sometimes rocks -- improvisation is a needed gift on these trips!) Ed gets most of the attention due to the fact that he is nearly a foot taller than most nationals!

We were able to haul up most of the final supplies needed to finish as well as get the trusses for the roof complete. The window woodwork has begun and we think we can get everything finished tomorrow before the big PPP celebration (Praise, Prayer and Pizza) at 2pm with the families and neighbors. As the day closed, Joselyn, the young woman who's home we are building took a "new homeowners tour". She looked out over an amazing view for the first time from her new window. I hope that she listens closely as the still small voice of God reminds her that what she see out that window was made by her loving Heavenly Father AND the home she lives in was built because of the love of His Son Jesus, by men who love him with their whole heart. Maybe she'll see that in reality, Jesus built her home.

We left the site early in order to go to a Men's Drug Rehab Center run by the CCA church. We met for an hour or so with these wonderful men who are fighting their way out of addictions. I know that each one of us was impacted by the testimonies of God's goodness to them. I have a soft spot for addicts so this is always a special time for me. As we finished, the men in the rehab gathered around us and prayed for us in a concert of prayer (that means all at the same time, out loud). We went outside to take pictures and our group sang "Amazing Grace" over them. We spent a few minutes taking pictures and it struck me that when someone looks at the picture, there is no way they could determine "who is who". This is just a group of brothers on different journeys whom God brought together for a few special moments here on earth. One day in Heaven I think we'll take another photo of all of us together again -- none of us struggling anymore with our earthly challenges!

What an exciting day tomorrow will be -- 2 houses ready to go. 2 families lives forever impacted by this group of Gringos from the US.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 4! Climbing...

Early morning start again today in Jasmin. The word "climbing" would be our word for the day. We had an informal goal of what we wanted to see accomplished by the end of the day today. We are Americans after all! The first was to get the final touches on the first house done -- windows installed (4), doors installed (2), and locks on the doors. Steve & Paul became our "finish carpenters" and spent the entire day doing this intricate work. Honestly, we could have done a far less professional job, but our constant sense here is that we want to give our best to these beautiful people who rarely are the recipients of anyone's best.

Our second goal was to complete the deck/floor on the second house. This meant building up from the columns placed yesterday, then building the floor joists and then place the planking that becomes the floor. By the way, the houses are 20' X 20' (yes, the entire house is just 400 sq. ft. and it is a huge step up from the dwelling these ladies and their children had previously). Craig, Phil, Ed and Jeff determined the best method to use in this undertaking and spent their day measuring, hammering, putting in screws, sawing, measuring, refiguring...did I mention measuring??

I spent the day running with Rodney our host bringing supplies to the site from various other locations. Along with our good friends Louis and Tito AND 10 children from Jasmine who loved riding in the truck, we hauled doors, wood, planking, nails, glass, wall panels and anything else needed down the step hill to the work sites. At one point, the kids had helped so much (really) that we bought them all a frozen treat and watched as they enjoyed this simple gift! Don't even get me started on "the little things" for which kids should be grateful. Cafe' and Freso again at 4pm and then off to Los Anonos.

Before dinner -- and before showers -- don't ask, just imagine!!! We went into the village of Los Anonos with drink boxes and cookies. We divided into three groups and invited drug addicts to a gathering taking place this Thursday night at 7pm (CST). The guys who had not ben here before got to see the depthof need and the depth of poverty in this community. As the sun set and darkness set in I could not help but physically fell the spiritual darkness that entraps the addicts we net tonight. But not only them, but those who, like in towns everywhere, think they have it together but live in darkness that has them in prison.

Today was also a day of important connections made with others doing minsitry work here with whom we can reconnect with later and stengthen our efforts as we learn from each other. Well, walls and part of a roof tomorrow!! We now lay our heads down knowing that we attempted to be the hands of Jesus today! He was a carpeter too you know!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 3! Mucho Progresso!

We rose early this morning and made our way immediately to the two work sites. 4 guys started work on the roof of "house #1" while three others began to place, level and cement in what can best be described as pillars in the 49 holes we dug yesterday. By lunch time about half the roof was complete and about half of the holes had pillars placed and leveled -- it's too complicated for all "you lay people"! Any way, after lunch we were back at it. Several of us discovered that our sun screen was not working to the fullest of its potential! HA! Another application of sun screen allowed us to continue unhindered through the afternoon.

As the roofing team completed their work, they headed over to the foundation team area as we placed dry concrete in the holes. Everyone got into the spirit of the moment as most of us (again, no names her) began to make the way down the hill with large 5 gallon buckets to get water. Did we mention that there is no running water in Jasmin so the water has to be hauled? Did we also mention that when you go DOWN a hill with an empty bucket it is required to return UP the hill the a full bucket? AND this is no ordinary hill! We'll have to explain this one when we get home. We're talking heavy stuff here!

As the water arrived, it was poured into the holes to begin setting the concrete. Probably 20-25 buckets and many trips up and down later, the holes are filled and the concrete can set overnight. Before leaving the village, the little local church offered us cafe' and fresco (it's any form of fruit drink INCLUDING kool aid) as well as some of the best bread we have ever had. They had cheese or fruit inside. I am struck that even in their deep need their hospitality would outshine many of us in our excess.

Today it was obvious the the children of Jasmin now have new "heroes". You must realize the power of the following -- Gringos in a Latin American country, MEN in a village where many fathers and male role models are absent and anyone willing to take the time to play with children. So throughout the day, the kids took photos (with our cameras of course), got wheel barrow rides from Jeff, received candy from Craig, helped us "build" and were constantly around "helping" us. Paul seemed to be very popular when the kids thought they might get a ride in the truck. The steeps hills make every ride feel like Disney World!

Back to the house to rest and treat our sun burns! Manyana will come early!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 2 - the village of Jasmin

We all rose early to get started on our first full day in Costa Rica. After an early orientation to Harvest Hands Ministry, Los Anonos and Jasmin, we were off to church at CCA - Center for Christian Adoration (or close to that at least). We worshiped with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ together -- they sang in Spanish, some of tried and most sang in English, all at the same time. Good thing that God can decipher it all out! The pastor's sermon was on the importance of being a servant rather than seeking a place of authority and prominence in the Kingdom of God.

We were taken by two events in the service: The first was when people with physical handicaps -- many in wheelchairs or struggling to walk on crutches were brought to the front and given certificates to commemorate their baptisms the previous weekend. As the church cheered them on, I was reminded that Jesus cam to minister to the weak, not the strong. The pastor spoke of the excuses that we often come up with for not obeying God and I realized that these people had every reason to not step out and declare their faith through baptism...and yet chose to do so to truly identify with their Savior's death, burial and resurrection. The second was when a couple who had been given a home loan by the church and then worked with members to build their home (Habitat for Humanity style) came to the front to receive their "keys" -- the physical keys to their new front door AND a Bible, their "key to the Kingdom". We later discovered that this couple, who have been together for 10 years and have one son showed their new-found commitment to Jesus by getting married this afternoon in their brand new home -- starting what is truly a brand new life!

After lunch at the church we headed to Jasmin, a small, close knit village built on a VERY steep hillside. We made our way up the rutted streets to the place for our home build. We would be building for the young woman pictured in the photo a few days ago -- a single mom with one child living in deplorable conditions. We will also be helping to finish the other home we planned for too. Craig and Phil became friends with a couple of young guys from Indianapolis named...wait for it...Craig and Phil! Our two CR foremen are both in the recovery ministry of the church -- great men working to free themselves from addictions, instead depending on God alone!

We spent the rest of the day planning out the house, digging 49 holes for the foundation (some of us actually knew what we were doing, so I'll let you figure out who was who!) and hauling equipment, wood and concrete columns up the hill to the site. Next time were bringing way more 20 and 30 somethings!!!

We were all good and tired, ready for a good night's sleep and charged to do it all again tomorrow.

We are here!

After a long day of travel -- including a 5 hour layover in Newark, NJ (if you get the chance, don't!) -- we arrived in San Jose 45 minutes AHEAD of schedule! For those of us who have been here before, it is a homecoming of sorts. The new guys discovered that it is easy to feel quickly at home with missionaries Rodney and Cindy as well as staff members Rebecca and Joy. We were in bed by midnight, working to adjust to the sounds of the area. Paul asked Rodney if the screaming we heard was an animal or a human and Rodney's reply was, "what you hear is Saturday night."

As I type this morning, we have had breakfast (baked oatmeal) and will head off to church soon. Immediately after church we will have lunch with church members and then head to Jasmine to start on our construction project -- no Sundays off on a mission trip! Plans have changed, so we'll be starting from the ground up on a house -- including 49 post holes dug by hand in hard clay! Craig and Phil will be in charge of the concrete preparation. This will consist of hauling buckets of sand, concrete mix, rocks and water up a hill and mixing it on the ground! A fun day lies ahead for this group of men on a mission from God.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Expanding Opportunities

We discovered yesterday that the local men have done such a good job preparing for our arrival that they have accomplished way more on the house than planned. We will be able to go in and do the last few days work on it. This means that we can actually start on another house for another simgle mom in the village. Pray that God will touch her also as she sees the love of Jesus in very tangible ways. Her name is Joselyn.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

5 Days & Counting

Our team met Monday evening along with our spouses one last time before leaving this coming Saturday. We went over last minute details and prayed together for God's blessing on our efforts.

We have recieved photos of one of the families that we will be building for while there. Karla Medrana has 3 children: a boy, Aarón, 10 years old, then girls Luciana, 7 and Helena is 4. We are very excited to get to meet them and help them step into a new chapter of their lives.

We fly out of Columbus this Saturday at 10:50am and arrive in San Jose' at about 9:45pm. The weather is suppossed to be warmer and not snowly, so our flights should not be affected. we do fly through Newark, NJ so that, as always, oculd be an issue. We have a lenthly layover there, so we should be fine.

One of our team members, Ed Wingo is having to stay home for back surgery. We will miss him, but it is important that this be taken care of quickly.

Karla's spot for her new "yellow house" (the term the locals use since
the church paints all their house builds yellow!)
Karla's 3 children as they were packing up their belongings
before their current home was taken down.
Workers from the community help dig footers for the new home. The
Church is working to make sure villagers help with their own community.