Missions Trip #3: Costa Rica 2011

So I really wanted to post this before I left for Haiti, but, ya know, life is busy sometimes... Anyways, this post is going to be about my last missions trip, last summer, to COSTA RICA! Woooohooo! Missions trip #3.....

(p.s. Here is Missions Trip #1 & Missions Trip #2 if you missed them!)

So here we go. We went to Costa Rica. Where in Costa Rica? Um. I think it was called Heredia. But I really don't remember..... oops. But we went down with an organization called PVM, which stands for Pura Vida Missions. We went for 10 days! Longest trip ever! (In a good way). Also, we went with another church, Abundant Life Church. Which just so happens to be the church that Jackson attends. Convenient? I think so. 

So we drive earrrrly in the morning to the Orlando Airport, and board this misty, magical plane. Misty, magical plane. Wut. Yeah, look at the picture. It was worse than the picture shows. We still aren't sure what the misty fog stuff was, it didn't smell bad or anything, but it was taking over the plane while we boarded. Once we took off, it was gone. Weird!
That's Jackson peeking at me. Unfortunately, we didn't have seats together. But, I was pleasantly surprised when the person behind me tapped my shoulder and said, 'this is for you' and handed my a napkin. On one side, it said, "Pass to the girl is 29B" and the other side said, "Hey. You're cute ;) Call me? 941-*7*-*3*2" He is soo charming :) 

Here's our first look at Costa Rica. It is such a beautiful place!

Next we land and get on a few buses that takes us all here, to PVM! This was up in the mountains and the weather here was AMAZING. Cool and a little rainy, I loved it so so much.
 This is the room where all of the girls slept at PVM. a big narrow room that is three bunks high all the way around. It was shared by us Bay Shore girls, the Abundant Life girls, and then another church joined us from Kansas, but honestly, I know nothing about them except they always woke up really early and made a lot of noise! What a great way to make friends, eh?

This is Drew, my friend. She has on every sweatshirt and pair of sweatpants she could possibly find because it got so cold at night! PVM's property was an old mushroom farm (I think!) So our rooms were underground, where it was extra cold! Especially at night after you take a freeeezing shower. (No hot water, ever).

 One of the staff members at PVM told us there was a YWAM base right up the road from PVM. So, a few of us being interested in YWAM (especially me) we decided to walk up and check it out! It was an amazing place! So pretty, up on a big hill. There were dogs outside parking and little kids playing in the yard. Just like a dream. There were also people sitting on the front porch, and we went up to talk to them. They told us that there were no students right now, they were getting ready for their September school. It's a very small place, so it has very small schools. They're all about sustainability there, which is sort of neat. They had their own garden, and even a goat where they get their milk from! We got to milk it, it was SO weird! haha. 

photo by  Alyssa Shrock
The little banner on the top of this cute house is the Univerity of the Nations seal, and this is the building where the students have their lectures. 
 Their garden was super cool. They had us pick some herbs to take back to the kitchen staff at PVM, and it was in our food that night! 

After 3 days of training at PVM, they sent each of the three churches off to do our own missions in different towns in Costa Rica. We were sent to Heredia  maybe? I don't really remember. But it was a small rural community, and it was SO cute there. It was a 5 hour bus ride to get there though! 

  This is our home church! And I'm not sure what its called.. Maybe I don't remember the names of these places cause I don't know Spanish?! But the middle building is the Sancutary, and the two connected side rooms were the SS classes, and the kitchen and bathrooms. 
 They have big lizzards. 

This is one of the Sunday School Classrooms. Girls slept in the classrooms, and boys slept in the sanctuary. Some of us brought pool floats to help with back pain, as sleeping on conrete is probably not the best for your back!
 We went for a little tour of the school in town. A bunch of kids from our group repainted it later.. It looked sooo much better! This is before.

 This is the house across the street. 
 And this is the family that lives inside the little house! The grandma, her son and daughter, her sons wife, and all of her grandkids!
 These are the grandkids, and they are sooo sweet. I love love them. Esner, Pearlita, Diego, Ericka, and Jessica. We hung out at their house a lot with them, they were so nice and gave us so many gifts... bracelets, photos, and even some strange dish we politely scarfed down!
My sister, Nicole, and Diego!

Precious Jessica.
Ericka! Such a sweetie.
Me and Sarah!
Hanging out at the church!
Noah and Diego. Diego is seriously the cutest child I have ever seen. 

We spent a lot of time at the church hanging out the the church people, the youth, playing with kids, eating rice and beans (every single meal), and having church! Abundant Life was at a church in the area too, so they came over a few times during the week.

During the day, we split into 3 groups for our work projects. 

One group painted the school.
One group made a new sewage system at the church.
One group went to La Cruz to help enclose a church.

I went with the group to La Cruz, and it was the best group by far (not that I'm biased). 

The work that we did those 4 days was by far the hardest work I have ever done in my life! We moved HUGE rock piles, mixed tons of concrete by hand, sawed 2 by 4s, hammered to our little hearts content, and we even were given a whole fish to eat for lunch, eyeballs and all. (With rice and beans, of course).

It was all SO worth it though! The people were so happy that we were helping them make their church better, and it was great to see the progress we made! The construction that was done there felt so unreal.. We could barely communicate in the same language, so it was sort of hard to be able to understand what we needed to do. Our group joked around that what we were doing was 'monkey construction'

At the end of our time at our church, we packed up, said our goodbyes, and took the 5 hour bus ride back to PVM in the mountains! There, we sort of 'debriefed' and shared our experiences. On the last day, we got to have a fun day! Since our group was so big (40+ people!) we went with the cheapest fun-day option: the beach. We were okay with that! Who doesn't love the beach?! The other option was white water rafting and zip lining. But like I said, who doesn't love the beach?!?! haha.

So we drove a longggg time to get to this beach, where there were supposedly tons of touristy shops to shop at as well. We get there and first of all, the sand is black. CRAZY, man! Second, the waves are HUGE, like I'm gonna die huge. Third, there are no shops close!  
Photo by  Alyssa Shrock

So me and a group of kids decide to shop before swim. So we walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. AND THEN. We see a few shops. Nothing to crazy, but some touristy things were available. PHEWF! Then we walked allll the way back (It was 2 miles, btw). And we were just in time for lunch! Some sandwhiches. Then we swam and jumped and frolicked in the waves to our little hearts content, and when it was time, we headed back to PVM as our fun day was over! It was a really great day. But guess what? The bus driver took us to the wrong beach, come to find out. Hahaha. We were supposed to go to a beach that was MUCH closer, and really did have shops and restaurants right on the beach. Oh well! We still had fun. 

And then the nest day we flew home. 

And that's all for Costa Rica! Now I can't WAIT to share my trip to Haiti with you!!! :) I have photos to go through, and sickness to get over, and work to go to, so have patience, young grasshopper! 

Until next time....
xoxo Vanessa Rae.

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