Costa Rica Trip- Home safe- Update #8 May 26, 2011

We made it home safe and sound!  We arrived into Newark, NJ a few minutes ahead of schedule where our team parted ways.  Its hard to believe that only 10 days ago we were all coming together, now we are going separate ways.  We all have felt your prayers in many ways as we spent time together in all that we did.  We are so grateful for safety, good weather, amazing friends, new relationships,the local church in Costa Rica, and all our brothers and sisters down in Costa Rica who work hard all year to further the kingdom so that it is not just a 10 day thing when we arrive.  I can’t stress that enough.

On a personal note, my life was truly touched by the team God put together.  To be able to spend that much time with 8 others was truly a blessing, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.  Not only that, but to now have bunches of new friends in Costa Rica who we can be praying for day in and day out as they do missions work each and every day in various schools and prisons.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support-YOU were a vital part of this trip:)

 

Eric, for the team

Costa Rica Update #7

Well, our time in Costa Rica is coming to an end, but staying behind is our amazing team of PTR Costa Rica.  It has been a true blessing to work side by side with them, and the local church as we reach out to many local schools, teams, and prisons.  Thank you all for your prayers during this time, we have really seen good work not only amongst our team, but through us as well.  As for today, the painting in the prison went well!  We painted a “cell block”…2 walls greenish yellow and 2 walls blue.  Its fair to say that a good amount of paint ended up on our shirts….not sure how that happened:)

During that time, we were able to mingle with the ‘inmates’ and many of them talked to us, and some helped even.  What a time together for our team and also just to be able to serve in a practical manner.  The prison then served us a tasty lunch…and the guys we painted for(the prisoners) wanted one last soccer match, so the wardens awarded them a 30 minute game.  So that was extra special too.

After picking up some Costa Rican jerseys, we are now about to head out to our final match of the time here in Costa Rica.  Both teams will be playing tonight, then we’ll come home to pack up and debrief!

So this is it from Costa Rica, and again, thanks for your prayers, we really have felt them!

Pura vida:)

 

Eric, for the team

Costa Rica Update #6

“God of wonders beyond our galaxy…”  That was the thought of the day as we stared amazingly at Poas Volcano – one of the few still active volcanoes of the world.  The crater it was in was over 1000 meters wide and 300 meters deep.  We could hear rumblings of gas being released … and smelled the sulfur shortly there after as the smoke/steam blew towards us.  An amazing thing to see, another blessing of this trip.  And though it was a bit cloudy at around 8000 feet, the wind was enough to give us brief clear glimpses at this awe inspiring creation of God.  Being able to share it with those closest to us on this trip was another highlight as well.

And true to how God has been taking care of us, the rain began to pour only when we got back in the bus to head to lunch!  HE has been doing those things all week:).  We stopped at Walmart to check it out and by a few gifts … (mostly coffee) and then headed to the soccer field to play a game amongst our own team, including our Costa Rican brothers and sisters.  It was a great time for sure, and I can’t help but be so thankful for this time here in Costa Rica.

It’s just after midnight, one day to go here in CR.  Hard to believe that only 9 days ago most of us met for the first time.  One staple of PTR trips is everyone sharing their testimony during a Team Time throughout the week.  It has been so amazing to see how God has been working in each of my teammates lives.  We were all inspired as one of our Costa Rican sisters shared tearfully how God has put a passion to be working with PTR in her heart, but she’s still at university.  She is trusting God that His timing is perfect and she will put her hope in that.  When you see God working in peoples’ lives, you can’t help but to be encouraged to look how He’s working in your life.   A God given passion is an amazing thing.

We will be hitting the road at 8 am tomorrow, so I should get to bed.  We’ll be off to paint/clean at a nearby prison, and then we are hoping our fearless driver (he is awesome!!) will have time to take us to a soccer jersey store before heading to our last soccer matches of the trip.  I am putting new pictures up on our facebook page!  www.facebook.com/pushtherock

Eric, for the team

Costa Rica update #5 May 23, 2011

Time is flying by … hard to believe we arrived here in beautiful Costa Rica a week ago. Praise the Lord for a great, yet busy, weekend. We spent all of Saturday morning at a local prison interacting with young men ages 13-17. In addition to playing lots of soccer together we had the opportunity to share our stories with them. It is so encouraging to see the impact the weekly Bibles studies and soccer training times are having on each young man! Those weekly times together really helped us to build a quick and strong bond with these young men Saturday morning.

After lunch we went to the outdoor market, where we haggled with the local vendors to get some great deals!!! We have not had much down time to speak of, so having Saturday afternoon and evening to shop and just hang out as a team was very needed and refreshing. Not to be left out are our multiple visits to POPS, quite possibly the greatest ice cream place ever! Not much else says Costa Rica like “Pops.”

Sunday morning our host church put out a wonderful breakfast spread for us before the service. In addition to breakfast we heard a presentation from the board of Push The Rock Costa Rica. It was great to hear how the Lord is using Push The Rock in the schools and prisons and what the plans are moving forward. It helped the team better understand how we fit into the “bigger picture” of what God is doing in Costa Rica.

The worship services on our trips are always a highlight, and our worship time together at CED was no different. The team had the privilege of singing two songs during the service. We were accompanied by the worship band, which made it sound extra beautiful. Additional time was carved out in the service for one of our team members to share his heart with the congregation.

Another wonderful tradition we have with the church is Sunday lunch. A very large percentage of the church joined us at a local mall for lunch. Full of authentic eateries, we could still choose Subway, Quiznos, McDonald’s, KFC, etc., at the food court. It was a great opportunity to mingle with others in the church that we do not spend much time with throughout the week. It certainly helps to give the trip more of a “partnership” feel with the church when we are able to do things like this together!

We had another game Sunday night, which went well, before heading back to our house for dinner and Team Time. The team continues to do extremely well with everything … the Lord knew what He was doing when He put this team together:)!

Monday is our “day off” and we will head to the Volcano for the day. We are all looking forward to hitting the bakery in the morning and then spending the rest of the day walking the goodies off around the volcano. We have been blessed with great weather for the clinics and games and look forward to enjoying God’s creation rain or shine.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are doing a service project at a local prison. We will spend most of the day painting and cleaning. We are excited to be a blessing in this way. The weekly soccer has been a tremendous testimony to the young men and the administration, but we pray that our time painting will also clearly demonstrate God’s love to them!

Thanks again for standing with us in ministry and for getting on your knees on our behalf. We could not do it without you!

The team

Costa Rica Trip Update #4

Well, it’s Friday night, 11:15 Pm as I type this.  Tonight in our devo’s time we had some great discussion about servanthood, had some team members share testimony, and spent quality time in prayer together.  The day was another testament to God’s work here in Costa Rica.  At a school we went to this morning, we were blessed with time spent with about 100 children, most of whom are familiar with PTR.   We go there each trip that comes to San Jose, so there’s a great relationship there.  And before we left, about 10 of the students sang a song for us, and a young girl played a song for us on her violin.  It was touching, and a reminder of the opportunity we have to build into the lives of others, just through fun soccer games!  In the afternoon we went to a poorer section of the city and held a clinic for another 80 students.  By then it was quite hot (don’t feel too sorry, the sun feels great!) but the team, by God’s provision again, was able to remain full of energy and love as we spent time with them.  I could not be more proud of this team, and I could not be more blessed to be part of it, and to have the opportunity to get to spend time with our Costa Rican PTR team.  They are people with a real passion for Christ and service that is truly only defined by the teachings of Christ.

The games have been going well too! The women have yet to be beaten and the men lost one game, which was only 7 minutes long!  Tomorrow we head to a prison again, this time to play soccer with the juveniles that are in their for various reasons.  We are scheduled to be there for almost 4 hours, and we are PUMPED!

We are all holding up well and enjoying each and every minute we spend here.  We can’t get over how blessed we are to be here and to have this opportunity. Thanks again for praying … we feel it:)

Eric, for the team

Costa Rica Update #3

We have definitely been feeling your prayers as we spend time in Costa Rica! The Lord has been working amongst our team, and we’ve really enjoyed the clinics at the various locations around San Jose.  What joy it brings us to work with our brothers and sisters in Costa Rica to share our passion for soccer and the message and LOVE of Christ.  We have played several matches, a few of which have been in prisons.  Today our Costa Rican brother shared with us what some of the prisoners said after playing against our teams.  At the women’s prison yesterday, one lady approached him and asked why one of our players stopped in a game to help an opponent off the floor.  She said that there was something different about this team … and she wanted what it was.  Her eyes lit up when he told her it was Jesus! Praise the Lord!  Today the men played a couple short games in the men’s prison, and after those few matches, the other team wanted to know why our PTR team didn’t seem to care whether we won or lost. What is their secret?  He said, “I know their secret, its Jesus Christ.”

The clinics have been going well too, the kids have sooo much energy and plenty of need for love … just like us:).  It’s been two long days, but I could not be more proud of the members of this team!  Thanks for praying.

Eric for the team

Costa Rica Update #2

The team has safely arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica!  Our flight was just fine, ran on time for the most part and all checked bags made it through just fine.  We were welcomed by the wonderful smiles of our driver, our gracious host, who is also the PTR employee in Costa Rica and her sister, who is a wonderful help to us as well. They treated us to a lovely meal here at the house where we are staying.

The team is still going strong, despite the fact that it feels like 1:30 am!  We are pumping up balls and gathering equipment so we are prepared to head out to our first soccer clinic tomorrow at 7:30 am.  Thanks for all the prayers.  We are happy to be here and grateful for the opportunities to come!  FYI- We are 2 hours behind EST time in case you wondered!

Buenas noches!