Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-15-12

Another glorious day!

We all slept as late as possible today(6:30), all were tired from the long day before. Again, some of the group had the pleasure of waking up to tropical birds chirping…though they may not describe it as just that!

But today there would be plenty to do again, so we loaded up our energy at breakfast before heading out for clinic number 1 of the day.  This group was mostly first to third graders, all from a local school.  PTR, the school, and another Costa Rican non profit are working together in this part of the city in a joint effort to bring hope and love into the youths’ lives here.  We were blessed to have a role in just that.  Both a counselor from the school, and an employee of the non profit stopped by the field to express their gratitude and thanks to us.  The school counselor, as she left, said something to the effect of this:  “Its great to be working together. But what is most important of all, is that you are teaching them about the love and message of Jesus Christ!”  Amen, and amen.  Again, we feel blessed to even have the opportunity to support the ongoing work here, and are humbled to be welcomed so warmly by so many people here.

The second session was a group, again from the school, of fourth to sixth graders.  This group was pretty talented, and listened very intently.  It was a great way to end our clinics here in Costa Rica for this trip.  The team did a great job through out the day interacting with the children and teaching them the various skills of the day, but most importantly, showing by their actions and smiles that it was the love of Christ that brought us here.  We had 4 team members share their testimonies today, in addition to coach sharing about the importance of sportsmanship  and character.  We can only hope and pray that if they remember anything from the day, it had little to do with soccer, and lots to do with the love of Christ.  The great thing about this group of kids today is that every Tuesday they come to this field to meet with PTR Costa Rica volunteers to receive instruction and a positive and uplifting message.  Hopefully we have helped the effort, even in some small way.

We were grateful that despite the ominous clouds, the rain held off for our clinics!  In fact, not 3 minutes after loading back into the bus, the rain began.   Some would argue it was pure coincidence, but we will choose to believe that HE was watching out for us!

POPS was a mandatory stop on the way home for a late afternoon snack, and a much deserved thank you to the team for their hard work in the past few days. We got back to the house, cleaned up, and had Team Time. Coach led the discussion about being “Created to Become Like Christ.”  We discussed the term growth, and what that means, as well as what characteristics we think of when we think about Christ.  The list was lengthy, and we know we will never succeed at perfection…but we don’t have to!  That’s the great thing about grace and forgiveness.

Then we were off to church again for the mid week service.  It was an encouraging time once again being with our Costa Rican brothers and sisters to worship.  The pastor then continued to challenge us saying that as believers, our encounters with Christ will bring about transformation.  It was a great follow up to our Team Time discussion of becoming more like Him!

We ended the night with dinner back at the house.  The team was happy to have pasta, as they were loading up for the second game of the trip tomorrow!  We will also be doing some painting at  a local school, and heading into a local juvenile detention center where PTR Costa Rica has been working for the last couple years.  Please pray for the team, for safety,  for the girls who will be sharing their testimonies, and those that will be listening.

Thanks again! New pics from the day are up on the PTR Facebook page, and we”re working on the clinics video highlights, so stay tuned!

The team

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update- 5-14-12 Part II

We drove through pouring rain, hoping our first game would not get cancelled…and it didn’t!  We were playing UCEN Alajuela, one of the top teams in the top women’s soccer league here in Costa Rica. By the time kick off happened, it was down to a very slight drizzle, and we didn’t even have standing water on the field(Thank you Lord!).  It was a great team effort, including Tannia’s first ever career goal keeping experience!  Messiah took a 2-0 lead into halftime, both goals coming from Corinne. In the second half, goals from Alex and Rachel sealed the win, leaving the final score at 4-0.  A solid win for the girls who showed tons of heart and energy, despite the long day and aggressive play from UCEN.  After the match we enjoyed  a few conversations and laughs with UCEN, took a photo together, and then Mackenzie shared her testimony with the group.  It was a great evening for sure!

By the time we got home and ate dinner, it was 10pm.  During Team Time we had the pastor from the church we are working with join us as he shared his testimony.  There were not many dry eyes in the room during his time of sharing about what the Lord has done and continues to do in his life.  He is an amazing man of God and we were all blessed and encouraged through his words.  We are so grateful to all our brothers and sisters from this church who have made this whole experience possible for us, and we look forward to joining them again tomorrow night for a time of worship.

But first, our last 2 clinics tomorrow! We continue to appreciate your prayers.

The latest pictures, and a short video from the game can be seen on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pushtherock

Clinic highlights will be coming soon!

Buenas noches….

 

The team

 

 

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-14-12 Part I

Buenas!

It’s been an amazing day thus far to say the least.  We just returned from a busy morning and afternoon of clinics and are eating a quick snack, especially the girls, before heading out to our first game!  Needless to say, the team is very excited. We’ll get back to you later tonight with those results.

This morning we went to the first school of the day to work a clinic with about 60 fourth graders.  We split them up into four different groups and had them rotate through stations, before then dividing them up to play some small sided games.  We were also able to have 3 of our team members share their testimonies, and again, all did a fantastic job.  The 60 or so children seemed a bit more like 100 at times, but all did a great job in demonstrating patience and love, which of course is key!  After a few hours at the school, and lots of pictures and autographs signed, we headed to a park to eat our packed lunch.

We sat in the shade and relaxed for a few minutes while refueling our energy stores, and then it was off to the next school.  We were told that we would have about 120 children, with ages ranging from 7-12, and that there would be a small grassy area to use!  Our minds were working in overtime to come up with a creative ‘solution’ to the situation, and coach did a great job of just that.  We did a little skill exhibition from several of the players, and then had some of the children show off their skills.  After a few competitions for the children to enjoy, we ended with a game of ‘Gauntlet,’ which could best be described as organized chaos but it served as a neat opportunity to also share about how being honest when playing the game is of utmost importance.

The kids loved the day, and again the team showed tons of love and energy, despite the long morning, and having a game in just a few more hours.  Two of the team members shared their testimonies, and the children did a great job listening.  They were an energetic group, and it was a pleasure to be there.  The school organized a quick snack of fresh pineapple for us before we headed back to the house, where we are currently gearing up for tonight’s match!

We’ll be back later to fill you in from there!  Thanks for your prayers!

The Team

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-13-12

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who may be reading this!

We began our day with some extra sleep, which never hurts!  We didn’t have to be ready to head out of the house until 8:45 am so we all enjoyed the extra rest…though the birds make it tougher to sleep in for some of us!  Anyway, the ‘slower’ morning was a nice break for all of us, and when the bus pulled up, we piled in and headed to the church we are working with.  They served us a wonderful breakfast of fresh fruit, and then gallo pinto, a traditional Costa Rican meal of rice and beans.  It is humbling to be so appreciated before we had even arrived, to the point where they serve us an amazing meal and treat us with such high regard.  We truly felt welcomed and at home like they asked us to feel.  After our breakfast we headed into the sanctuary for the beginning of the service.

The service began with an unbelievable time of singing.  The passion and energy was contagious.  Most of the team commented that even though you may not understand the words, it doesn’t change the feeling of the spirit moving.  The Lord works across all languages, and the same in all people.  It was so great to be able to share this time with our brothers and sisters in this church body.  We were then invited to sing, and the team did a great job!  The coaches/leaders decided to let the girls shine in this moment, so they took pictures and video, seriously, someone needed to get footage:)

The pastor shared his message from James 4:4-10 and challenged us all to stop trying to live as part of this world and also as Christians.  Instead he offered that we need to ‘sell out’ for Christ.  We MUST be different, there has to be a transformation that takes place when Christ enters our life.  We can’t live 100% for Him if we are still striving to keep a foot in the ‘world.’ (The church was kind enough to translate the sermon for us!)  At the end they also shared a humbling thank you to our group, a word of thanks to us for coming and being part of the ongoing ministry here.  They also prayed a special prayer for us as we go through the rest of the week.  We were so grateful to have had the opportunity to worship together with this church.

We then headed to a local mall for lunch, which clearly included POPS(for most of us) and then stopped at the National Soccer Stadium for a few photos before heading back to the house.  The girls wanted to go for a walk so we headed out and walked around for a while, chatting and taking pictures.  We passed a park where there was some open area to play, and after being inspired by some others playing soccer, the team decided to head back to the house, change, and go play!  It was a great time together, and though the field was anything but ideal, it was a fun and relaxing time.

Back at the house we had dinner(lasagna!) and then Team Time.  Our leader of the night shared about our purpose of being “Created for God’s Family,” as we discussed the importance of this aspect of our Christian faith.  The posse is heading to bed now, as we have a busy day tomorrow!  Thanks again for all your prayers!

Hasta manana!

The Team

MWS Trip Update 5-12-12 Part II

Where to begin…that’s the question!  As mentioned in the previous post, at 8 am we were off to a church in the San Jose area that  is using a gym type structure to conduct regular Saturday sessions for children.  We were not sure what to expect, but were so humbled and blessed to a part of this church’s mission today.  The church welcomed us with open arms and had a program prepared for the morning that had included us using soccer to interact with the children that attended.  We also had the help of the youth group from the church, who were so energetic and positive!

After introducing us and leading us in a rousing few minutes of the Hokey Pokey(in Spanish of course) we were then told we were on for the time!  We started with a couple rousing rounds of Head It/Catch It before dividing up the children that had come, so that we could play some small sided soccer games.    It was a blast to see the excitement in the faces of the children as they enjoyed playing soccer with a group of us, and others, cheering them on from the sidelines!  When our time was drawing to a close, they had all the children sit in a circle, and then they led them through the Gospel story.  Following that, one of our girls shared her testimony, and did a great job too! The children listened very well and we all felt blessed to have been able to be  a part of the great ministry happening here.  We were given a tour of the church, and then it was on the road to head back for lunch…and then a game….

Flexibility is the name of the game!  Much to our annoyance, the university that we were scheduled to play had back out of the game, so that meant re-planning the rest of the day. Though surely disappointed, the team responded very well to the news.  Instead of playing, we headed to the market to do some shopping, and then swung by a park for an intrasquad match.  It was so much fun to get out and play some soccer, all with the backdrop of the nearby mountains!  It wasn’t the most smooth soccer field any of us have ever played on, but we were kept safe and called it a night as we headed back to the house.

Dinner was amazing and then we had Team Time, discussing our purpose of pleasing God in all circumstances.  How true worship is a lifestyle.  We enjoyed some quality discussion on the topic, some reflection on the amazing day we had just experienced, and we discussed the game plan for tomorrow!  We’ll be joining a local church for the service tomorrow, and then we will be eating lunch with them a the Mall after that.  It will be an awesome day!

Thank you all for your prayers today.  It was evident that somewhere, someone was remembering!  On that note, that’ll be it for tonight…and tomrrow will be a highlight as we worship with our Costa Rican brothers and sisters. Hasta manana!

More pictures and a video are up at www.facebook.com/pushtherock

The Team

MWS Trip Update 5-12-12 Part I

The team is stirring…we are getting ready for another great day in San Jose.  Just wanted to keep everyone informed of today’s plans, as there was a last minute addition to the schedule.  Flexibility is always key!

We’ll be eating breakfast shortly and then we are off to a local church to run a morning clinic.  We expect 50 children, but it could be more…or less!  We never know really, see above comment about flexibility!  This is an outstanding group, and they’ll be more than able to handle the challenge.

After spending a couple hours teaching and sharing, we’ll be back for lunch and then off for the ladies’ first match of the trip.   A nearby university phoned yesterday to say they’d like to play, so the team is pumped to get out on the field to let their skills and love shine!

We’d appreciate your continued prayers for travelling safeties, energy, and lives to be impacted for eternity! More to come later:)

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-11-12

We had some internet difficulties last night and were unable to get an update posted, so today we’ll try to play catch up!

Friday we woke up to a beautifully sunny day after some much needed rest.  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast of eggs and fresh fruit before hitting the road at 8am to head to our first clinic.  The team was full of energy as they serenaded the bus as we drove through San Jose to the school where we’d spend the morning.  We arrived a bit early, so that gave us time to prepare our stations and get organized for the day.  As we walked through the gate and into the school, all the children became so excited!  We could see them all staring out the windows with big grins on their faces, just waiting to be told it was time to ‘play’!

A little after 9am we began the clinic with the first group of students, the youngest ones at the school-ages ranging from 3-6.  It was a great time of Pato Pato Ganso(Duck Duck Goose) and other various games that they enjoyed as they rotated through the several stations the team was leading.  Then came the older group!  While the  younger group was full of energy, the older children were equally excited,  many of them ready to ‘show off’ their soccer skills in the various stations.  It was a fun morning to say the least as we were able to spend time and energy loving the kids, no matter their abilities.

Several of our team members shared their testimonies with the children who were ready to listen to what we had to say.  It’s amazing how they are so ready to listen after simply spending some time with them.  Our prayer is that if they remember one thing from the day, it wasn’t the soccer aspect, but the love of Christ that brought us there!  Before leaving the 5th grade class treated us to a song- “How Great is Our God.”  We all joined in with them, and it was a humbling way to end the morning there, but a great reminder that we do indeed serve a GREAT God!

After a eating our packed lunches, we were back on the road to school number two.  Our second stop of the day was a stark contrast to the first.  This school was in a rougher section of town, and that was reflected in the children’s behavior.  They kept us on our toes for sure, but the team did a great job of still letting His love shine through the teaching and the interaction.  Despite the long day, and more demanding circumstances, the team showed great energy once again.  Those scheduled to share their testimonies here did a great job again and then our time was finished almost before we knew it as school had ended for the day and parents arrived to get their children.

We packed up and climbed back  into the bus, heading back to the house…but not without a much needed stop at POPS!  POPS, to our current knowledge, has the best ice cream in the world!  The team deserved a treat after the long day, and then it was back for some rest and showers before dinner.  After dinner we had Team Time where we discussed “Living With Purpose,” and how our day to day lives are to impacted by our goal to bring HIM glory through all we do.  How does our life as a believer reflect that? How does it change our motivation?  What distracts us from this focus?  It was a good time of discussion and openness, and after closing in prayer, we scattered off to various tasks like ab-work outs, planning for tomorrow, and cleaning up some unwanted water we had on the floor!(it’s a long story!)

It was a great day to begin our time here, and we are so thankful for your prayers as we serve here in Costa Rica.  We’ll continue to do our best to get updates out, and pictures up(check www.facebook.com/pushtherock)!

Muchas gracias!

The Team

Costa Rica MWS Trip Update 5-10-12

We have all arrived safely after a smooth day of travel!  Bus headed off from Messiah right on schedule at 8:00 a.m.  Got our crew of 20 checked in and off on the first leg of our flight – to Atlanta.  The layover gave us plenty of time to get a bite to eat, play games, and just hang out having fun!  Our flight to Costa Rica arrived earlier than expected at just past 7:00 p.m. (although it felt like 9:00 to us!).

Guillermo picked us up for the bus ride to AMCA house – our home away from home during our stay.  After we finished getting settled in our rooms and claiming bunks, Nattie and Danny had a great snack all ready for us.

Time to settle in for the night and rest up for a full day of tomorrow!

**Check this link to Facebook for lots of photos of our day of travel!

https://www.facebook.com/pushtherock

 

 

Costa Rica/MWS Trip Update #1 May 10, 2012

Vamos!

After another day of training and preparation, the Messiah Women’s Soccer team is ready to go to San Jose, Costa Rica!  It has surely been a whirlwind  end to the semester for most of the team members…wrapping up finals while doing their best to mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare for this 9 day trip to Costa Rica.  We are excited that after months of anticipation and work, tomorrow we actually board the plane to embark on the adventure the Lord has in store for each of us.

To start our day, we as a group recited the memory verses we’ve been working in preparation for this experience:  Proverbs 4:18-27, John 15:1-8.  Following that we went over logistics and trip details, what to be prepared for, and the importance of being flexible.  We  discussed  how the clinics will work, what our stations will look like, and then enjoyed a little soccer of our own!

After dinner it was time to work on our individual testimonies which are the key part to this trip, as the focus of the trip will be the ministry we are able to be a part of in Costa Rica.  It is so neat to be in a room full of individuals with unique stories and backgrounds, yet still be able to hear the common theme of how Christ has gotten a hold of each of us in different ways, and what HE continues to teach us on a daily basis.  To God be the glory:)

Many of us are spending the rest of the night packing and putting the finishing touches on preparing for this trip(like a last second load of laundry!).  We are so grateful for this opportunity and are excited to see what the Lord will do in and through us as a group, and as individuals.  Thank you so much for your prayers for us during this trip, we certainly wouldn’t want to leave home with out them!

More to come each day…We are due to arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica by 7:30PM tomorrow(the 10th).  There is a 2 hour time difference from Eastern Standard Time(we’ll be behind by 2 hours),   so it will feel more like 9:30PM to our bodies.  We are ready though, and we know the Lord will provide all the energy we can handle!

Thanks again for your prayers!  Updates and pictures will be coming as the days go by!

 

Pura vida!!!!!

 

The team