Last week on African Freedom Day, we had the pleasure of hosting our fourth annual 5K run/walk fundraiser for our community here in Macha. Over the past four years we have put on the event with a few simple goals:
- To bring the community together in recreation
- To encourage exercise
- To raise money for a local organization/institution
- To have fun!
For the race this year we had more participants than the past year, so we continue to be thankful for the community here that is embracing this event. One thing that made this year more special was the amount of young children who participated. In fact, in the female category, a 12 year old posted the fastest time, followed by a 10 year old girl finishing second! For the men, two 17 year olds swept the top two places – with the winning time being 17:05.
The best part about the event is seeing so many people come together – young and old, male and female, walking-running-cheering, and representing multiple nations. (Zambia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the USA were all represented.)
We were also pleased to have the pastor of the local church who was receiving the funds open the event in prayer and give a few words of thanks and encouragement to the participants.
Thank you and see you all again next year!
Today was our last full day in Costa Rica. We left at 6:30 am to head to the largest prison in Costa Rica. The prison has over 3,000 inmates and they are in the process of building a new prison because it is so overcrowded. Our team played two groups of inmates and two different players from our team shared their testimony. It was a very hot day, but definitely a lot of fun. We then got a tour of where the inmates lived and got to talk to them for about 30 minutes. We came back to the house for lunch, rested for a bit and then got to get on a public bus to experience how the locals travel on a daily basis. We came back, said our goodbyes to many we got to work with, and had our debrief of the trip. Overall a great day. Tomorrow we leave for the airport at 9:00 am to get on a plane back to the USA.
We spent our off day at a Costa Rican Canopy and Hot Springs. It was a great day to just bond and have fun while getting some much needed rest. The zip lining was in a rain forest and the hot springs were heated by a volcano called Arenal. Plenty of laughs and enjoyment of God’s creation.
Today we got to spend our time in downtown San Jose, where we ate some typical Costa Rican food and shopped for souvenirs and soccer jerseys. After lunch, we headed to a juvenile prison, where we had to show our passports and get padded down just to enter. Our team played two different matches against the inmates and then we went to visit the inmates lodging arrangements. Our hearts were definitely touched after seeing how they live and we came away with a different perspective on their everyday life. We got back to our place, ate dinner and had another awesome time praising the Lord through song and hearing two testimonies. Tomorrow we visit the rainforest.
Today consisted of going to Los Cuadros to practice for the athletic games we will be running for four schools next Monday. The team did an awesome job of practicing and being the ones to run the trials for each competition. We later went to Los Guido school to run a soccer clinic for 50 kids. At the end of the clinics we played coaches vs the kids and then one team member shared his testimony. It was a lot of fun, but we are definitely getting more tired as the week goes by, but God continues to give us the strength and energy to continue His work. We came back, had a great team time and off we were to bed.
Unfortunately, our morning program in a prison got cancelled :(, but that meant we got rest a little bit more. We had breakfast and then went into team time. For those who do not know what team time is, it is a daily team meeting where we recap our day, study through a particular passage, in this case 1 John, hear different teammates testimonies and pray together. Our team times have been very rich and encouraging to say the least. God is not only using us, but growing us more and more as a team for His glory. After team time, we got on the bus and went to Los Cuadros, which is the same school we were at yesterday. We were supposed to help our Push The Rock staff run a basketball tournament, but the rain kept coming and coming, and flooded the gym floor even worse than the day before. By the way, it is rainy season in Costa Rica. We ate lunch at the school, got to spend some time with some students, but had to cancel our program due to the flooded basketball court. We left the school, got a short tour of downtown San Jose, and then went for some ice cream at the famous POPS. We went back to where we are staying, and spent the rest of the day doing some team building activities.
These pictures do not do the story justice of the flooding, but here is a small glimpse.
Today we woke up, grabbed our breakfast to go, and headed to our first soccer clinics at Linda Vista (beautiful view) school. We had to go up some very steep hills to get to the school and we quickly noticed why they call it Linda Vista. We had seven different groups of kids, 176 total, from grades one to six, for 40 minutes each. Seven different coaches shared their testimony during the day, and the kids got to see how God has and is currently working in their lives. We got to see kids laughing and smiling just because we were willing to play with them, which was definitely a refreshing experience for us. After spending most of our day at Linda Vista, we went back for lunch, then to another school called Los Cuadros, where we ran an hour long soccer clinic. It had rained most the day, so the outdoor gym at Los Cuadros was flooded, but after some great teamwork, we were able to have a somewhat dry area. After the clinic, we went back for dinner and straight to our match against Olympia football club. On our way to the field, we saw a lot of lightening and thought we would have to cancel the game. After waiting a good while, the playing conditions were safe and we played a great game, which turned into a 2-1 win. Our goalie shared his testimony and we left for home after a very long day!