LBC Volleyball Brazil Update #8

The last two days have been full ones for the team. Yesterday morning was spent in a juvenile detention center. We got to teach and play volleyball with about 20 young men. More importantly there were very open doors to share the gospel in a large group setting as well as in small groups.
The afternoon was spent doing two clinics at the local gym and then playing a match against another local team. It was great times of continuing to build into the lives of the “kids” at the clinic as well as grow team unity.
We got a special treat of attending a match between two of the top level teams in the area in the evening. It was fun to watch the high level volleyball and the team also got to meet with the manager and a couple of players afterwards.
Our last day, today, was spent visiting the city one last time, debriefing as a team and doing two last clinics. The team is now packing and preparing to begin the trip home after dinner.
Pray for safe travels. One team member is feeling a little sick and another sprained their ankle so pray for good travels for those two especially.

LBC Volleyball Brazil Update #7

Apologies for the delay in updates, the rainy weather here caused some issues with the internet connection where we have been staying.

Over the past two days the team has enjoyed the opportunity to practice in a local gym in the mornings. It has been a great time for them to continue growing as a team.

The afternoons have been spent running clinics for students and a local team. The guys have been doing great and connecting well. It has been great to have a covered gym and not have to worry about the rain.

A highlight from Tuesday was the opportunity to travel to a nearby city and play a game against a professional squad. It was a great learning opportunity for the team and platform for sharing their faith.  Pray that the last two days go well and for strength to finish strong.

(Pic is with the professional team)

LBC Volleyball Brazil update #3

Today marked the first day in the trip for the team to run a clinic. However it was an overcast morning with a light drizzle, which cast a worry over how the day would go. After breakfast we loaded up and took a trip to the AECA/PTR property to get the lay of the land and set-up nets. We also divided a good portion of the team into three groups. Each group walked around the surrounding neighborhood passing out flyers and reminding families of the clinic in the afternoon. It was a chance also to see the areas where the kids live. While setting up, a quick rain shower came through the area. After set-up, and the neighborhood tours were over, the team returned to the hotel for lunch and a brief overview on sharing your testimony through a translator. Over lunch a heavy but quick downpour came through. The team returned to the property at 2:30 with hopes to run a 2-hour clinic of teaching skills, playing fun games and sharing testimonies. The participant turnout was smaller than hoped for and the rains continued off and on. Despite not as much volleyball being taught/played as originally hoped for, the team played otherfun games with the kids and made the most of the time.
Please pray for drier weather tomorrow (Fri) and continued rest and strength for the team.

Morocco Trip Update 8.22.19

Dear Friends and Family

It is hard to believe our time is nearly over.  As I write, we just have one day remaining.  The week has gone very fast and we have had a great time.

We have had a great time, competing, having fun and interacting with the kids.  Every day after breakfast we gather for some soccer training and soccer games.  The teams compete in the competitions and get points based on how their team does in each game.  Some of the games are crazy but teach skills and others are more serious.

After lunch we all work together to clean up.  It is really cool how each person has a job that they all perform well and do without being told.  I love drying the dishes with the kids. After lunch the PTR team has team time where we are studying the book of Philippians.  After a short rest we gather again for games such as dodge ball (multiple versions) , chuck the chicken, captains choice, many relay races, basketball knockout, vanilla / chocolate / strawberry and others.  Needless to say they are very competitive.   One Muslim boy and a couple of girls from the local town are with us all week and it really cool as we share our testimonies with the kids.  The kids are also learning verses for their team and are taking it very serious .  Tomorrow we will compete again and end the week with a relay race around the Haven.  After diner we are back on the soccer field or basketball court for games.

Tonight after dinner we drove to Ifrane and treated the whole Haven to Ice Cream.  It was great time .  This is my 4th time to the Haven and I have really come to love the kids and the people here.

Our team has jelled well and we have worked well together.  It will be sad when we return.

Blessing to all of you in the States and thanks for your partnership

 

POPS

Morocco Trip Update 8.19.19

Dear Friends and Family

After a rough start getting here we arrived late Saturday and have had a great day with the kids and adults at the Haven.  Leading up to the trip two of our team members had to drop out , one because his boss would not let him off from work and the other due to sickness.  So there are 4 of us who are happy to be here.  While we miss the two who could not come; We believe this is the team God wanted here.

Last night we gave out shirts, had dinner and then went for Ice Cream with the kids.  It was a blast riding in the car.  The kids miss my wife (Gram ) but are thrilled to have us (Kate, Rebecca, Clyde and myself) here for the week.

This morning after a pancake breakfast we watched and Andy Stanley video about our natural birth into sin and the difficulty  we have living the life that God calls us to live.  But in Christ, living through him we can live as God wants .

After church we divided the kids into teams and began the PTR Olympics.  Each team gets points for winning competitions and for memorizing verses.  Each day one of our team members will share with the kids.  Today was my turn and I shared about the joy we can have, described in Philippians, regardless of Circumstances.

After team time we will have more games with the kids before dinner.

Blessing to all of you in the States and thanks for your partnership

Italy 2019 Update #1

After about 9 hours of traveling, the team safely arrived in Venice, Italy and was greeted by a missionary and church member. Team was also greeted by rain and thunder despite Italy being known for its hot June. After getting loaded into the car, the team arrived at the Bed and Breakfast they would be staying at the following. The church member, who met them at the airport, she lives in an apartment below the Bed and Breakfast. She offered to allow us to leave our bags with her as we downsize into smaller bags for our trip to Faenza. After getting ourselves together, we grabbed lunched at Ali Baba’s (place known for its Turkish-style kebabs and a staple of every Italy trip) and proceed for the train station. We boarded the train around 1 pm and arrived in Faenza around 4:15. Our missionary host greeted the team and took us to her apartment. We were finally excited to get settled in and relax. Prior to dinner, we decided to play several card games, like Skip-Bo and “Cambio,” as part of our team bonding. For dinner, we would enjoy parmesan-crusted chicken, green beans, salad, oven-roasted potatoes, and pan-seared zucchini and tomatoes topped with parmesan cheese. Dinner was amazing and the missionary shared several stories from the camp she was running in a nearby town last week. After dinner, we cleaned up the table and washed the dishes. We concluded the night with Team Time by discussing tomorrow’s schedule, covering some training material, and trip expectations. We are excited about worshiping in Italian as church tomorrow will be in a nearby town.

Hope Costa Rica Update 6.14.19

Pura Vida

After a long evening of games and laughter from the night before, we woke up this morning slightly tired but with full hearts. We packed our last few things and got organized for the long day of travel ahead of us. Everyone was very sad to be leaving the AMCA house. This place feels like home, and our team feels like family. It is a hard thing to walk away from. Fortunately, we had Musmani (the bakery up the street) to look forward to. It was incredible as always, and we enjoyed our last morning in the country. Heading off the airport, we departed from Nattie, Patri, and Gabriel. Goodbyes are challenging for all of us, so we weren’t thriving in those moments. On the ride to airport, Jack played DJ in the bus and Ronny (our trusty bus driver) finally wore the hat at the front of the bus we have been wanting him to wear all week. Jack played songs to match the mood and some of us partook in some cheesy dance moves and hairbrush singing. We wanted to make the most of our last Costa Rican ride.

The airports were peaceful themselves. Outside of the fact that our connecting flight was late, which meant we had to rush to reach the flight to Chicago. It was weird being back in the states. After living in a shack with only the sound of the animals at night. As well as a bustling town for so long. The peacefulness (and cleanliness) was a welcomes sight. But it was clear that people were sad to leave. Everyone was just trying to soak in the last few moments together, and enjoy the community we formed. As we fly over the United States and stare at the gorgeous sunset on the horizon while playing cards or reading a book, We want to spend our last few words in this blog to reflect on a question we asked ourselves before signing up; And it may be something you asked your child, relative, friend, or whomever told you they were heading to Costa Rica.

Why a Missions Trip?

For some of us it was an opportunity to escape out of the cycle that we call our everyday lives. For others it was a chance to step out of the comfort zone. For many, it was the opportunity to see God in a way that we’ve never seen him before. And for everyone, it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

So here’s to those moments of exhaustion in the heat as we spread smiles and a wealth of joy to the children who never seemed to run out of energy themselves. To the crazy games of Dodgeball where high school kids tried to tear our heads off. The Basketball and Soccer games in the prison where our hearts were opened to how kind and loving the people seen as outcasts truly were. To the wide eyes of community members as we showed how God can change our lives as crystal clear water poured out of a bucket full of dirty water. The multitude of inside jokes and laughs and tears of joy that ensued on nearly every bus ride around town. The nights of cards and games of “ultimate werewolf” were we convinced ourselves that sleep wasn’t necessary. Weekends spent going to church and playing disc golf, Zumba, and wiffleball. Here’s to the thoughts and discussion during team time, and the vulnerability of everyone’s testimony.

And while it may seem like you were able to go on this journey with us through the blog. We were truly only able to get to the surface of how incredible this trip was, and what it meant to all of us. So when you see your trip goer, say one thing… “tell me about the trip”. I can guarantee what they will tell you, and what you will come find, is that everything that happened on a small country in Central America is nothing short of God at work.

With all that being said.

Here’s to the Smiles. The Laugher. The Tears. The Friendship and Fellowship. The Risks. The Conversations. The Inside Jokes. The Leaders. The Support. And Every Life we changed.

Here’s to The Costa Rica Seed trip of Summer 2019.

Signing off With Love,

Reagan, Claire, Madison, and the Entire Missions Team

Pura Vida

God bless

Hope Costa Rica Update 6.13.19

Superman & Slides

This morning we had an early morning wake up call as we got on the road to head to the canopy tour at 6:30am. After a slight backtrack to get Jenna’s phone (oops), we ate buffet breakfast next door to the zip line place. There was a lot of nervous anticipation as we suited up in the harnesses and awaited the tour guides. After about 45 minutes, we began the hour and a half tour that consisted of about 10 different zip lines through the rain forest. The three favorites were: The Tarzan Swing, which was where hooked to a cord that swung you over a cliff with a river at the bottom and an incredible view of the forest, the Crazy Horse, which was a zip line lower to the ground where the cord bounce while you were zooming through the air, and finally, the Superman, which was the longest and highest line where you were strapped into a harness that carried you on your stomach, so you flew like superman way above the forest. The superman was the top favorite because of how breathtaking and indescribable the view was, even though it started raining. We are all very grateful to have experienced God’s beautiful creation in such a unique and exhilarating way. Shout out to our team for going out of their comfort zone and facing the heights.

Next, we headed to the hot springs at the bottom of the volcano for an afternoon of relaxation and, in some cases, more adrenaline from the water slides. We had a very nice lunch in the resort, and then we dispersed to the different pools. Each pool was heated from the volcano, and they progressively got hotter—ranging from 109 to 130 degrees. There were four different water slides, peaking at 27 miles per hour. These included a toilet bowl slide, where you shot down a tube into a big bowl where you slid around until you fell through a hole in the middle into a little pool. The other three were slides into a hot spring, one was a straightforward chill slide down, another was a longer and faster slide that curved more but still pretty chill, and the last one was very intense because of how fast you went down and the drop before shooting out of the tube (everyone got some air). Our time at the hot springs was a great last team bonding, and a relaxing way to end our last full day.

On the bus ride back to AMCA, we had the opportunity to debrief about the trip and share how each of us have uniquely impacted each other on the trip as encouragement for one another. We also had a five-minute reflection time, followed by sharing what God taught each of us individually and how we want to bring that into our lives once we get back to the states. Praise God for bringing this team together because it has been such a blast to get to know one another, grow together, and build lasting bonds.

Love,

Abby and Rachel

P.S. Prayers for safe travel tomorrow would be appreciated! See you soon!