After an incredibly relaxing time in Veracruz, the team arrived back in Puebla where the boys stayed at Alexis’ (a member of the San Pablo congregation) and the girls at Mayra’s. While the girls enjoyed salad and an early night, the boys, Alexis and another member of the congregation went to Church of Maradona pizzeria in Cholula. It was good pizza. And then Josh got to see some of Cholula for the first time (he was sick when everyone had gone before). The boys got back to Alexis’ and played F1 on his decked out computer setup.
The next morning was our last church service with San Pablo, and it really was the perfect send off. The Spirit was moving, as we worshiped, prayed, and as Joel preached. After the service, we were brought to the front, where the whole congregation laid their hands on us and prayed. This was a really special moment, everyone was involved and there were some very powerful prayers.
Afterwards we headed out of town for pizza with a large group from the congregation. The area was stunning, the food was good (although that was four pizzas in five days for the boys), and it just felt like the best way to end things off with everyone. Saying goodbye was really tough though.
The next day was lots and lots of travel. We all got up at quarter to five, headed to the bus station, from which we headed to Mexico City, and from there we flew to San Jose. The journey went incredibly smoothly, immigration was straight forward, and we were met by our new Short-Term Coordinator Kayla just outside the airport, along with Pablo and Ran (volunteers at the camp we’d be working at).
The camp is up in San Jose de la Montana, a very beautiful rural area just outside the capital city. It’s filled with nature and awesome views. The camp ministers to both children and adults, aiming to teach visitors about Jesus and His character, and strengthen their relationships with God, through creativity and a lot of fun. You can find out more on Roblealto.com
We got to camp about an hour later after a very scenic sunset drive, where we had dinner and met some of the other volunteers. It was here we found out about the “Only speak to the English people in Spanish” rule, which, for the most part, the volunteers have been working hard not to break. We’re really looking forward to, and have already started, forming some great relationships with the people we have met here on camp.
Our first full day was getting us situated. We got to know Kayla and camp leadership better and learned about what we’d be doing at camp, before we split into two groups: three of us going shopping, three of us joining in with a group of children at camp. Shopping went smoothly, and apparently the others had a good afternoon as well, getting to know more of what we’d actually be doing, and strengthening relationships with the volunteers.
The next day was another “getting to know camp” day, and while we were excited to get back to serving, we needed the relaxed days to recover from the big move.
That being said, we’d had enough time restoring ourselves by the next day, and were ready to get to work. And it truly was great. A group of around 30 children from a nearby Christian school had come for the day. The activity for the day was a game called rally. Just a ton of different stations with different fun activities. Like filling a bucket with water from the river, but only using your hair (like a sponge), or finding and throwing rings into a bucket from the pool. Afterwards the kids had a quick Bible verse puzzle activity, followed by “free play” where the kids split themselves between the pool and the waterslide. Lunch followed, some indoor games, and then a super cool session linking the games we played back to the Bible. We also did an improvised recital of Jesus healing a blind man, and Josh joined one of the volunteers in leading worship. We’d been feeling apprehensive, or just a general fear of the unknown, about what we’d be getting up to at camp, so finally seeing what a day would be like was really a huge relief for all of us. We had a quick debrief about the day (what we’d learned, what we did well, what we could do better) with all the volunteers. A nice way to end a beautiful day.
The next day was very different. This time a group from HP came to do some community service, planting trees at the camp. So we got to do some practical work. It was very laid back, and we all got to further get to know the volunteers, and some of the staff (shout out to Santiago and Otto <3). By noon we were done, but the boys were roped into some more practical work. We were on a “service high” though, so really didn’t mind.
The next day was also very different. It was like our first day of work, except with two groups of adults instead. This was pretty cool, definitely very different to anything any of us had done before. Since there were two groups, we were split into threes again. I was serving Teos, a very interesting sounding group of people. When I asked if they were a church, the guy I asked just said, by Biblical definition yes, but no. Inconclusive, but I’ll do some research to find out … I don’t know about the other half, but for my half we were each paired with an experienced volunteer. And each volunteer had a group of about 15 people. We did some very cool games with spiritual applications.
On Friday evening we went with Natalie (a young, super fun woman who works at the offices) to her church for a youth service. This was an awesome experience–everyone we met was so incredibly lovely, the worship was great, the sermon was probably great (I was too tired to be focused on understanding a sermon in Spanish that evening), and just in general I think we broke the ice super quickly with that congregation.
We went again on Sunday to the main service, a different building this time which really shocked me. It was huge, and really nice apart from some questionable architectural choices. The worship was really impressive, and the sermon (I listened this time) was very thought provoking and scripture guided. Now here’s something we’re not used to doing, leaving less than an hour after the service!
We headed to the leader of the camp’s gorgeous house for a barbeque. Some of the volunteers were there, in fact quite a lot by the end as people kept on arriving, and it was super cool to get to know everyone better in a relaxed setting. We spent ages there, had some great food, great conversations, played some fun games. It has really set us up well for a week of God’s work 🙂
In summary, we left Mexico on a sad but happy note, feeling fulfilled by the work we’d done and the relationships we had formed. Our arrival in Costa Rica has been super smooth, and everyone’s been so welcoming. The place is beautiful, and we’re all extremely excited for the work and what the future’s got in store for us.
Thanks for all the prayers! God bless.
To read the previous report click here.