It has been a long time since I've written any updates here, but if you've been following the photos I post on facebook, there is no shortage of adventurous news. However, let me re-post some old news here so that if you haven't heard from me for a while, you'll know what's been going on these days.
July 8-11 - La Montaña Christian Camps
Two weeks ago I joined the La Carpio kids once again for summer camp. A weekend full of fun activities, exciting games, muddy relay games, wet-cold clothes, and vibrant worship. We had a full media team of apprentice photographers at work, which means this year we will see everything from the kids' own perspective through the photos and video they took.
July 2-4 - 4 hour walk to church
The weekend before that I was invited along to help with children's activities at a Cabécar church located four hours inside of an indigenous reserve. We forded four tributaries and crossed the Chirripó river in a little contraption suspended on a cable, carrying in most everything we needed for the weekend. Church services were held by candlelight at night, as no public electricity or water reaches this far in. I'd learned a little about the Cabécar people by reading and talking to other missionaries, but to spend a few days with them was really fascinating. They taught me a few words in Cabécar but I forgot most of them... except for "Basanyo"... which means - "Smile!"
May 21 - No Artificial Ingredients
My cousin Mindy came to visit. We got off to a rough start as the beach was rainy and cold, and Mindy broke her toe while skipping gleefully down the shoreline. The rest of the time went pretty well, though, and we got to see Arenal blow out ash and "pyroclasts" (I paid attention in Earth science class) at one of its most active times of late. I'm not sure if Costa Rica's claim to be the Central American Switzerland convinced Mindy since she's actually traveled through Switzerland, but we did see some very beautiful places, including the feeding of the Jaguar and Ocelot at La Paz Waterfall gardens. This was also the inauguration voyage of Finky, my new mode of transportation that I'm hoping will get me in (and out!) of the more remote destinations of Costa Rica.
May 1 - 40 teenagers. 2 bathrooms. No electricity or water.
Last year I titled an entry about our youth group mission trip to Abangaritos: 40 teenagers. 1 bathroom. Well this year we had twice as many bathrooms. But no electricity or water the first day. A tree fell on a branch and cut power to the entire town, leaving us to shower and fill the toilets with water from barrels. It made for an interesting church service as well, by flashlight and candlelight. Every time I am privileged to come along on one of these trips, I experience something new and unexpected... and this trip was full of firsts as well. One of these was the chance to give a hand-crank powered audio player with the Spanish New Testament to a woman who is unable to read.
Hikes to holy places, a visit to fellow missionaries in the Cabécar area, spotting a blue-crowned motmot, stalking the resplendent quetzal, trying to cross the country in one day to catch the sunrise on the Atlantic coast and the sunset on the Pacific side (only to be foiled by a downpour that washed out the road under a bridge and delayed us several hours), our play-by-play update of an indoor soccer tournament in La Carpio, and my surprise at finding a Bondi-blue Mac in La Carpio. All these great adventures and more are in my facebook photo albums. Or, you can check them out from the new photo tab link above.