Saturday, January 15, 2011

Team Season Begins!!

As part of the Harvest Hands ministry, short-term missions teams come down from the United States to do various work projects. Teams partake in a variety of work projects including building houses, doing construction tasks, painting walls or murals, playing soccer in the plache (a soccer field down at the bottom of the hill by the river), playing with the kids, taking prayer walks, praying with people, teaching various trades and skills, etc. Each team is made up of unique people with their own gifts and talents and before they come we try to facilitate ways they can use those gifts to the fullest. I have been here almost four months now, and this is the first of the teams. I had the joy of working with my own home church from Grand Rapids. Here are the highlights:

Top row left to right: Jason, Zach F., Terri, Zach S.
Bottom row left to right: Julie, Matt, Abby, Jim, Larry

This is how Matt likes to pastor...Teach a skill and then stand back and make sure it's done right.
It's called "supervising".

The best way to make sure children are safe on the playground is to reinforce the swing set.
This swing set is now earthquake proof.

Abby learned that people are way more free with their kids here.
"They'll just give 'em to anyone!" she said.
These two kids are the youngest of 7. I think the mom just needed a break!!

Jim definitely took some leaps of faith this trip.

Zach learned the hard way what "caca" REALLY means.

It didn't make anyone feel any safer to know that this sign translated means,
"For you security, we are filming you."

I have discovered why everyone is so short...they start drinking coffee VERY young!!!
Elidey was our rose in the desert!!!

We did take time to learn to surf. Our instructors were phenomenal teachers and very patient with us gringos.
We invited them to a worship night on the beach later that night.

Zach and Abby held their own on the boards. They got really good by the end!!

For a time of ministry, we gave out hot dogs in the central plaza.
It was great except when Terri and Abby went missing.
We later found out they were wandering the streets yelling:
"Donde estan ninos? Ninos! Hoto dogos, no pesos!"
Which means, "Where are the children? Children! Hoto dogos, no pesos!"
(PS. Hoto dogos are not a real word and pesos are the currency of Mexico...)

Again, only in latin america can strange adults from another country come up to the children and pass out food and not have the parents be super suspicious. Would this work in the States?!?!?
We had some left over hot dogs so Christina reminded us all that this really is a dog eat dog world.

"I just found a hermit crab with it's hermit still in it!!" ~Abby

Of course Tito and Zach HAD to reinact the karate kid.

Jason lead worship on the beach.
It was a great time of enjoying God's presence surrounded by the ocean, sand, and really good people.

We worked with Jay, who owns a wonderful hotel that over looks the ocean. He had a sweet dog named Lobo, who kept us all company. Check out his website at: If you ever head to Costa Rica, check out this place. You won't be sorry!!

Of course all trips have to come to an end. Each team with it's own flavor. According to Rodney, the Grand Rapids guys also won for having the largest suitcases ever as guys. The girls even had smaller suitcases than them. Zach Straayer's response to this was, "Don't hate me 'cause I gotta bring beautiful with me. It takes up a lot of space."

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