HANDS 2 FEET is launched!

We are excited to announce the launching of a used shoe redistribution operation, HANDS 2 FEET!  In I John 3, the Bible challenges us to help our brothers and sisters in need, and to love “with actions and in truth.”  That is our goal- it’s quite simple really!  Will you join us?  Click here to read more about it, and to see how you can help and start getting involved!!

 

Costa Rica volleyball trip update #10 January 10, 2012

The team is home safe and sound from Costa Rica. Thank you all for praying for the team and for being such a large part of the ministry that took place. Ultimately, we praise the Lord for a fantastic trip! His hand was evident every step of the way. We look forward to the fruit that will come forth from the past two weeks of ministry. To God be the Glory!

Costa Rica volleyball trip update #9 January 7, 2012

Saturday January 7th, 2012

Well we don’t want to face it, but our trip’s coming to an end.  Yesterday evening, we had our match against the Alajuela team.  Although, we lost each game to them, the team tried hard and were glad to be playing volleyball again.  They had fun meeting the girls from the other team and sharing a testimony before we headed back to the AMCA house.  We got back and enjoyed dinner before having our final team time devotions.  We then went to bed as soon as possible because we were exhausted!

Today, we woke up for breakfast at 8 and then headed to Cartago for our morning match.  The girls had fun once again and were glad to win most of the games this time.  The girls from both teams exchanged gifts and and then we shared a testimony.  All of the girls enjoyed interacting with the girls from the other team again.  We then packed up and headed back to the AMCA house.  We had lunch and did a little last minute gift shopping at a local grocery store.  We then had our debriefing session together and reflected on our trip to Costa Rica.  We’ve had a great time together and appreciate what God has taught us through each other and all of the people we’ve teamed up with on this trip.

Now, we’re doing a little packing before heading to a professional soccer game tonight!  All of our Costa Rican friends like different teams, so it should be a fun rivalry and a great way to end the trip together.  Tomorrow, the first group will leave for the airport at 3am, and the rest of us will leave around 9.  We appreciate your prayers for safety and all of the support you’ve given us throughout the trip.  It’s been a great trip, but it’s time to come home!

 

Costa Rica volleyball trip update #8 January 7, 2012

Friday January 6th, 2012

Back to the update!  So Tuesday was our second day of clinics in Los Chiles, definitely another busy day.  We were at the same places as the day before, and we really enjoyed getting to see most of the same kids again.  In the morning we were at La Virgen.  We got to play more games this time, and the more advanced players did really well.  Some of us had fun doing relay races with the younger kids, and we all got very muddy.  We shared testimonies and talked about the Bible again, and then we shared a snack.  Afterwards, it was hard to say goodbye to these kids because we had gotten to know them better and we took a lot of pictures with them.  The clinic at El Amparo in the afternoon was similar, and we may have gotten even muddier then.  Once again, we had trouble saying goodbye and took lots of pictures.  But after both camps, both groups of kids showed an interest in starting a volleyball club in their areas, which is exciting because that could be a great ministry opportunity there.  The day before, the bus had gotten stuck on the way back since it was a long dirt road to the farm, so we had to have Don T tow it and some people walked back.  Sure enough, once again we couldn’t make it all the way, so we parked the bus at a neighbor’s house (like a half mile away), and we walked back.  That night, we once again enjoyed cold showers (we were so muddy that we actually did enjoy them) and a great meal from Dona R.  We had devotions together, played some more games, and went to bed so we would be ready for our work day.

Wednesday was our work day at the Resplandecer Farm so that we could help Don T and Dona R.  It was another early morning, and we started working a little after 8.  Don T explained that we would be moving a trough, carrying wood from one place to another, and moving dirt in wheelbarrows.  What we didn’t realize was that the trough really weighed 600 lbs., we had to carry wood out of the jungle up an intense muddy slope, and that we had to move an awful lot of dirt and dig some pretty large holes.  So, we started by moving the extremely heavy trough into his truck.  It was pretty tough, but we got it in.  Then, Don T drove the truck into his yard and got it stuck.  So we pushed for a while, and it kept getting stuck.  Don T decided we should move on to the wood.  So we started carrying wood up out of the jungle.  This took most of the morning, and we were all very tired afterwards.  Then we went back to get DonT’s truck out of the mud.  This time we were more successful and were able to get through and drop the trough off where he wanted it.  We took a break for lunch and to get some energy back then.  After lunch, we went out to the classroom they’re building and started moving dirt.  Some of us were digging holes, while others filled wheelbarrows, and others dumped the wheelbarrows.  It was tough work and took all of the afternoon.  I think I can say we were all exhausted after this and appreciated the showers even more than the day before.  We had fun together though and were glad to help Don T and Dona R out.  We enjoyed dinner again, and Don T made us a bonfire afterwards.  We had a great time talking around the fire and enjoying each other’s company.  Looking back on Los Chiles, we agreed that talking to Don T and Dona R had been a great experience and that we really enjoyed being able to spend more time with our Costa Rican friends who had come along with us.  They did a great job translating and were great to have with us.

This brings us to Thursday, our day to enjoy each other’s fellowship and get prepared for the last few days of our trip.  It was sad to say goodbye to Don T and Dona R, but we left after enjoying another breakfast prepared by Dona R.  Our first stop on Thursday was at the Baldi Hot Springs in Arenal.  There we enjoyed relaxing in the different pools and waterfalls that they had.  It felt great, especially since we were so sore from the day before.  We ended the morning by going on the water slides they had there and eating at the buffet beside it.  We then got back in the bus and kept going towards San Jose.  Our next stop was for the canopy tour that we were all anticipating.  We had an awesome time swinging through the trees on a bunch of different zip lines and a jungle swing.  Most of the zip lines went right through the woods and were lots of fun.  The last one was 820 feet long and went out over the canyon, where we had a beautiful view.  It was awesome!  Afterwards, we packed up again and headed back to the AMCA house.  Arriving back in San Jose, we had dinner and then did devotions together.  We were all pretty tired and were glad to go to bed early.

This morning, Friday, we had breakfast at 8 and then got ready for our morning clinic.  This was our last clinic at the Roble Alto foster home.  There were only 7 kids there because all of the other kids had gone home for Christmas break, so we were glad to be able to play with them.  We had fun teaching them volleyball skills and then playing a game with them.  We learned a lot about the Roble Alto foster home, and we were glad to be able to help out a little with that ministry.  After the clinic, we headed back to the AMCA house and enjoyed lunch.  Now, some of us are sleeping, and soon we’ll all be getting ready for a little shopping and our night match with the Alajuela team.  The girls are all excited to play another match, since it’s been a while.  The team appreciates your continued prayers as we finish out our trip in the next few days and get ready to travel back to the U.S.

 

Costa Rica volleyball trip update #7 January 6, 2012

Some additional thoughts on our service project in Los Chiles on Wednesday and our “free day” on Thursday …

Our time at the farm was great.  Our host asked us to teach volleyball in depth as she wants to get teams started at both locations.  The clinics went extremely well, the kids loved the coaches and receiving certificates, and many talked with our host afterwards about continuing.  Team loved the farm.  Service project was crazy.  Started with the entire team loading what was supposed to be a “600 pound feeding trough for cows” into a truck, getting completely stuck in the field, and us trying to push the truck out for a long time.  We then walked down a steep hill that could have been used as a mud slide and hauled wood out of the jungle and up that hill for most of the day.  Team enjoyed it however and we ended the day with a bonfire and a time of sharing together. Our hosts paid the team many very nice compliments, and you could tell they were genuinely impressed with our team.  Today the weather was exactly the same as last year (rainy) for Baldi and the Canopy Tour, but it worked out fine and the team loved it.
The team has done an excellent job of putting themselves out there and interacting with people and as a result our interactions with the Costa Rican part of the team and with the people at the farm has been really good.

Costa Rica volleyball trip update #6 January 5, 2012

Thursday, January 5th 2012

We’re back from Los Chiles!!  We had an awesome time up north, and we have a lot to tell you!  Sunday, around noon, we left the AMCA house to go to the Resplandecer Farm in Los Chiles.  On the way, we stopped at a nice restaurant, where we enjoyed another great Costa Rican meal.  The food has been great here!  After that, we got back on the road for a couple of hours before stopping at a bridge where we could see iguanas on trees all around.  It was really cool, and I won’t mention names, but some of the team members wanted to join the iguanas in the trees.  They didn’t though, and about an hour later, we arrived at the farm.  We enjoyed talking and laughing in the bus the entire way there, but the laughter got pretty loud when the bus started herding cows on the road.  About 7 cows ran up the dirt road in front of the bus for about a half mile, until we made it to the farm.  At the farm, we met Dona Rosa and Don Tony, our very gracious hosts and became acquainted with our new living quarters.  Our hosts made us feel very welcome the entire team, and we enjoyed talking with them often.  We slept in a little “house” under a tin roof that was kind of like a cabin.  For the next few days, we got used to lots of bugs, mud, and cold showers.  That night, we enjoyed the first meal Dona Rosa prepared for us, had our team devotions, and hung out with each other before going to bed.

Monday was the first day of our earlier schedule, so we got up for breakfast at 7.  Around 8, we left for our morning clinic at El Amparo.  When we got there, we found a very muddy field.  So, we found the driest spots we could find and starting setting up.  At this camp, we had a pretty young group of kids, and the number continued to increase through the morning.  We enjoyed seeing the kids have fun and how excited they got at the gospel station.

In the afternoon, we had our first camp at La Virgen.  After eating the lunch Dona Rosa brought with us, we set up camp and found that this field was even muddier than our camp in the morning.  But, the camp went great anyways.  The kids that came at La Virgen were slightly older than our morning camp, and some of the older ones were pretty good at volleyball already.  We enjoyed playing with them at a higher level and seeing them get better.  We enjoyed seeing their enthusiasm as they dove around in the mud.  After the camp ended, Dona Rosa showed us some land down the street that she and Don Tony are praying for because they believe God wants them to have it to build a church there.  We enjoyed seeing their vision for this and praying there with them.  We then packed our muddy selves up and headed back to the farm for our cold showers.  We enjoyed another meal prepared for us by Dona Rosa and team devotions.  After that, we played some games and went to bed pretty early.

Since we are exhausted from a day of zip-lining through the jungle canopies and swimming in the hot springs, I’m going to have to cut this update short.  We’re preparing for our busy day tomorrow, and we’ll fill you in on more of our trip to Los Chiles in our next update.  The team would also like to say “Feliz Cumpleanos” to Mr. Halteman.

 

Costa Rica Volleyball trip update #5 January 1, 2012

Sunday January, 1st 2012

After our team time devotions and practicing our songs yesterday afternoon, we headed to the CED church for their New Year’s Eve service around 7:30.  They welcomed us warmly and seated us at a table near the front.  We were introduced to many members of the church, and they were all very welcoming to us.  They began the service with worship, and we enjoyed seeing how a different culture approaches worship.  After that, the pastor of CED gave his message, and they had a translator for us, which we really appreciated!  The translator did a great job both in what he said and how he said it.  It was like he was also preaching the sermon.  The pastor’s sermon was about finding our help from the Lord in order to become free from ourselves.  It was great to hear, especially right before the New Year.  We then enjoyed a skit put on by some of the members of the church.  Despite being in Spanish, most of us understood enough of the skit to find it funny and laugh along with the rest of the church.  After the skit, we were dismayed to find out that they remembered that we were going to sing a couple of songs for the church.  But even though singing may not be one of our strengths, we went up and did our best (and we were glad to be done).  We finished up the night with a great meal prepared by the pastor and a few other members and fellowship with each other and the church.  We had communion at midnight then had fun telling all the members “Feliz Ano Nuevo” or “Happy New Years”, for those who spoke English, while exchanging hugs.  Overall, the CED church did a great job at making us feel welcome, and we all agreed that this was an awesome way to start the New Year!

This morning, we woke up later than usual since we had a late night last night and had another good breakfast together at the AMCA house.  Then we started packing our stuff for our trip to Los Chiles.  Around noon today, we will be starting our 5 hour bus ride up north to Los Chiles.  Over the next 2 days, we will have 4 volleyball camps at 2 different communities.  We are looking forward to interacting with the kids there twice and hopefully being able to teach them a little more about volleyball.  On Wednesday, we will be doing a service project at the Resplandecer Farm, where we will be staying.  So far, we know this will probably include painting, but we don’t know what else we will be doing yet.  On Thursday, we will be going to the Baldi Hot Springs, doing a canopy tour consisting of multiple zip lines, and then returning to the AMCA house in San Jose.  We are all looking forward to the time up in Los Chiles.  Since Los Chiles is a rural and poor area, we will not be able to post another update while we are there.  We hope that you will continue to pray for us and look for our next update sometime Thursday night.