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Costa Rica 2013 Mission Trip Day 3

Today we went to the market in Alajuela, Costa Rica.  It was so interesting seeing Costa Rican culture here. All of the colors and sounds made it such an amazing experience. We also went to the zoo. At the zoo we saw all sorts of animals such as lions, porcupines, birds, snakes, squirrels, and, my personal favorite, a two-toed sloth. At the zoo Cheyenne and David both got their faces painted. Their faces were painted as a pair of tigers. Then we went home had lunch and got ready for ... Read More »

Costa Rica 2013 Mission Trip Day 2

On the second day here at Costa Rica, we woke up at 7, showered, ate breakfast, had devotional and then we were off to work. Some of us went to the church, others were painting, and still others, like me, got the job of mixing cement. We had lots of fun mixing buckets of dirt, stones, water, and cement into the VERY noisy mixer. Then we utilized wheelbarrows to wheel it over to the lot where we were filling in. We got 1 ½ rows done, which anyone who was ... Read More »

Costa Rica 2013 Mission Trip Day 1

Six hours, two planes, and three countries later, we arrived in Costa Rica.  Having never been out of the country before, this trip seems like the adventure of a lifetime.  Because I was so excited to be in somewhere other than NOVA, I wasn’t even that irritated when I was woken at the crack of dawn by car horns honking.  I’m not sure if you all are aware of this, but Costa Rican driving is extremely different from American driving.  In an attempt to avoid ethnocentrism, I won’t say that ... Read More »

What is Cuba Like? by Bill Gray

I’m frequently asked about my trips to Cuba. What we do there is the most popular, followed by a curiosity of the island, and finally the mystique of a communist country. The politics are just that and change in that country is inevitable. But why I go there isn’t an easy answer because there is something intangible and mysterious about the experience. The Cuban Methodist Church is like many outside the US or Western culture, LIVELY. Yes, the worship experience is unlike ours, maybe closely resembling gospel here in the ... Read More »

Bittersweet Goodbyes

Today was the last day at the CRC. The past two weeks have flown by in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday we were meeting the kids for the first time and now we are packing our bags to leave. This morning we woke up and went right back over to the CRC to finish painting the last house. After four straight days of rolling, brushing and dabbing the paint onto the walls we have become experts and were able to finish all that we needed ... Read More »

Reflections from Cuba

On May 24, a team of 11 missioners left for Cuba for 12 days to build new and paint existing dormitories at Camp Canaan, a Methodist training and meeting center near Santa Clara, Cuba. While there, they did not have internet access.  Now that they are home, here are some reflections from their trip.  While I waited in Santa Clara for Aldo to update his Cuban passport (and thus able to leave the country), I waited outside on the busy sidewalk, which was very narrow. I stepped into an apt./house ... Read More »

Grasshoppers, Pineapples, and Monsoons Galore!

Today is Wednesday and our trip is coming to a close. I cannot believe that tomorrow will be our last day at the CRC with the children. I am trying to soak in every moment of Sierra Leone before we are on a plane back to the states. I woke up this morning to a beautiful sun rising above the MTC walls. It was already hot and there were clouds forming in the sky. Once I walked down to the dining hall I talked for a while to Gina who works at the MTC. ... Read More »

Surprise! This is Africa!

Today was a day of surprises. I was a part of a four member group that traveled to New York. New York is a local village that is slightly less industrialized than the city that never sleeps back in America. We ventured down some very bumpy, dirt roads for a day of medical outreach. Our first surprise of the day came when the vehicle that was supposed to transport the doctors never showed up. We had originally planned to arrive at 9:30 but, because we had to transform our four-runner ... Read More »

These Little Piggies Went to Market

Our mission today was simple: find fabric to make ourselves a skirt. In order to do that, we had to go into the Bo market. I should explain our desire for fabric: the women here look stunningly beautiful.  They were bright, vibrant colored pieces of cloth every day, as skirts, dresses and headscarves.  We look a bit shabby in comparison. Needless to say, we were all eager to wear our own Sierra Leonian cloth. As soon as we arrived at the market we were immersed in chaos. It is a ... Read More »

Sunday in Sierra Leone

Today started out as another beautiful day in Sierra Leone. At 10 a.m., after breakfast, we went to church. For the girls, getting ready for church here in Sierra Leone was different from our normal routine at home. To be respectful of the culture, we wrapped our heads with scarves. When we were all ready, we walked to the United Methodist Church and joined the congregation in worship. The whole 2 hours and 45 minutes at church was an amazing experience. All of the Sierra Leonean women looked beautiful in ... Read More »

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