Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica’

Costa Rica Day 7:

Posted: July 26, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Costa Rica Tour
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Costa Rica Day 7:


For the first time in my life, I dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean.  Yes, it probably ruined every future beach experience, but it was worth it.  I really enjoy getting to experience new things—new foods, new sights, new people, new ways of doing things.  I love looking for things that are unique or different from what I’m used to.


Day 7 in Review by Evan, Hannah, and Hadassah

Posted: July 26, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Costa Rica Tour
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Wednesday – Day Siete

Today we took the day to go relax and spend time at the beach. It was a great way to end our trip. On our way to the beach we were able to cross bridge and see multiple alligators. At the beach the weather was gorgeous and the water was very warm. While at the beach we decided to do a little exploring along the shore line. A little exploring turned into hours of expedition where we found wild life such as hermit crabs, snakes, and starfish. Hannah had the courage to put a live starfish in her mouth. Our feet were very sore from walking over jagged rocks to make it to the edge of the shoreline. During our expedition we collected many beautiful seashells and rocks. We were all exhausted by the time we got back but not too exhausted to enjoy our smorgasbord of leftovers. For dessert we got to enjoy donuts in celebration of Summer Gordley’s first birthday. We prayed for the Gordleys before they left and thanked God for their service here in Costa Rica. We are thankful for all the experiences we had here in Costa Rica and for all the people we were able to meet. God is definitely at work here. We miss you all and we will see you soon. 🙂

Evan, Hannah, and Hadassah

Costa Rica Day 6:

Posted: July 25, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Costa Rica Tour
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Costa Rica Day 6:

Monday and Tuesday were back to back clones.  Our morning consisted of similiar work at The Villa, similar painting at John & Rebecca’s house, and similiar building bunk beds for the orphanage in the Gordley’s garage.  The only difference was the amount of work we accomplished.

Having Curt & Beth Ulrich on a mission trip is a youth pastor’s dream.  Beth is kind, helpful, considerate, organized, takes initiative, works great with girls, and is a blast to hang out with.  Curt is humble, patient, insightful, works great with the guys, and is gifted in manly carpenter/handiman skills. (I’m pretty sure he could push a nail through a board with his bare hands.)  I had a TON of fun working alongside them and laughing with them all week.  Keystone is blessed to have them serve for a week with their teens!

Our group has continued to bond and delve into our reflections on the experiences here.  Leaving the orphanage was an emotional time for a lot of us.  Though we didn’t invest more than a handful of hours over two days, we connected quicker and deeper than I anticipated.  I was heartbroken to have to say goodbye.  It wil be an experience that remains with our teens for a long time.

I wish more people could experience all we encountered this week.  I’m trying to help our group find ways to steward our trip beyond just this week and beyond just our group.  No doubt, things we saw have changed us.  We think, feel, and act differently because of this trip…at least right now anyway.  But what happens when we return?  And what about people who haven’t been able to see what we saw?  Can the trip still have the same kind of effect?

Stories are God’s way of stewarding experiences.  He gives certain people experiences help to teach lessons, change feelings, motitate to action; and those experiences can produce exponential fruit if the experience is accompanied by a great story.  Stories allow others to vicariously feel the weight of emotions evoked in our experiences.  Something in our heart resonates with stories in a way raw facts can’t.  There’s a reason Jesus taught in parables rather than Powerpoint.

Tonight we spent time training how to answer the question, “How was  your trip?”  Here are some unacceptable answers: “Fine.”  “Good.”  “It was fun.”  “I learned a lot about myself.”  I hate these answers.  They don’t say anything.  No one leaves that conversation affected by our trip.  It may be true, but it’s not helpful.  When that question is asked, I hope our group tells a story.  There are a lot.

I’m giving you permission to ask us to tell you a story.  But I’m also asking you to pray for our teens that they’d be able to tell a story that is worth hearing; one that can change the way you think, feel, and act toward God, Costa Rica, and a million other things.


Today was a rainy day but we still got a lot done. We started the day by walking 15 minutes to the Gordley’s house. Once we got there we split into two groups. One group finished painting at John and Rebecca’s house and the others started making bunk beds for the orphanage. After we finished making bunk beds we had our lunch break at the Gordley’s house. On our way to the orphanage we stopped at a café owned by Sebastian and got delicious smoothies. Sebastian is a local Costa Rican who attends the English church we visited. We had to run to catch the bus from the café to the orphanage! Our day at the orphanage was bittersweet. The kids came running out to everyone when we got there, but when we left the mood shifted. Most of us (girls) were crying by the time we left. It was hard to say goodbye to the little kids we made friends with but we are praying for all of them. Being at the orphanage gave us more compassion for children whose lives are broken. Finally, we found our way back to the CAM house by public bus without the help of Jairo. We got a chicken and rice dinner made by Mirella. We are all shocked at how fast this week has gone by and all of our lives were somehow impacted by this trip. We look forward to our beach trip tomorrow. Hasta en dos dais!

Kelly, Erin, Hadassah, Hannah

Costa Rica Day 5:

Posted: July 24, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Costa Rica Tour
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Costa Rica Day 5:

Today we spent half of our time working on projects (a fire pit The Villa, some painting at John’s house, and building some bunk bed for the orphanage) and visiting with orphans.  In less than a week, we have seen a lot facets of Score’s GAP year program.  Prior to coming down, I was under the impression that students came to learn the Bible and learn Spanish.  And that’s true; but what happens here is FAR more than just learning the Bible and Spanish.  Andy is raising up missionaries who are doing real ministry work with real people in Costa Rica.

Day 5 in Review by Hadassah, Heather, & Hannah

Posted: July 24, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Costa Rica Tour
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Costa Rica Day 5 in Review:

Today we arose to the smell of frosted flakes and the echo of Chad’s voice bouncing of the walls of the CAM house. Meow. We packed lunches and set out for a day full of activities. Our first activity included walking about a mile to the Gordley’s house and the Villa. Sam/Andy was able to give us a tour of both his house and the Villa. We were able to meet the Bible teacher for the GAP year named John and his wife Rebecca. We went to their house and painted and helped them out with some projects that needed to be done. They owned a woof woof named Peyton who Kelly bathed and trimmed. Next we walked to the public bus stop with our friend Jairo to catch the bus to the orphanage. Meow.  While we were at the orphanage we were able to interact with the kids and the babies. We spent our time playing four square, coloring, giving piggy back rides, playing with the play dough we brought, and holding the babies. We were sad to leave, but we will be returning to play with them again tomorrow. For dinner tonight, Brandon, Doug and Kelly made tilapia! We had Jairo and John and Rebecca over for dinner and enjoyed hearing more about their involvement in ministries and the GAP program. We ended the glorious day with a debriefing session, card games, figuring out who’s at the door, and fellowship. During our debriefing, we talked about what we have learned on this trip that we want to take home with us. There has been a lot of discussion this week about taking risks and starting up conversations with new people. A lot of us are realizing that letting fear get in the way of meeting new people can result in lost opportunities. We also agreed that our time down here has reminded us of the importance of being in God’s word and being able to look to scripture passages for truth. These are just some of the lessons we have been learning that we want to take back to Lancaster with us. We have been truly blessed to meet new people in Costa Rica and see what they’re doing to further God’s kingdom. Pura Vida!

Hadassah, Hannah, and Heather

Costa Rica Day 4

Posted: July 23, 2012 by Brandon Fisher in Costa Rica Tour
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Costa Rica Day 4:

The Hits:
We experienced quite of bit of Costa Rican culture today.  This morning we walked a mile to a bus stop and took the bus 30 minutes to La Iglesia El Lugar for a traditional church service–9:00am-12:00pm.  The church service turned out to be a reunion for everyone we met so far–Christian, Romina, & Santiago; Salvador & Veronica; and Jairo.  The morning was essentially two identical services with a coffee/donut intermission in between.  Everything was in Spanish, so it was difficult to connect.  The tune of old hymns helped me know what we were singing.

After the church service we took another bus into downtown San Jose to grab lunch and tour the streets.  We hope we go market perro esta cierra por los domingos.  (I’ve found I now speak broken Spanish AND  broken English.)

In the evening we walked to an English church in downtown Guadalupe.  This church was planted in April of this year by John & Rebecca Lovell and the Gordleys.  I’ve not spent more than 3 minutes talking to John, but he and I area kindred spirits.  I look forward to spending some time with him in the days to come.


John typically preaches at the service, but Sam asked me to preach to give John a break.  The church is small (likely smaller tonight because they knew John wasn’t preaching), but there was another missions team present to boost the numbers.  Where was the team from, you ask?  Millersville Bible Church.  Two churches from Lancaster County at a church service in Costa Rica.  Bizarre.  There was a lot of mingling after the service before walking home at 9:00pm.


The Deep Tracks:

One of the things I love about being on mission trips is meeting new people.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Jairo—I feel like he’s a part of our team.  I’ve also enjoyed all the extra conversations I’ve gotten to have with Andy Gordley.  At the English church, I was able to connect with a lot of people, mostly because they spoke English!


I met Dennis, who used to be Keith Sensenig’s youth pastor, who used to be my youth pastor, and there were those present for whom I am their youth pastor.  It was 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul instructing Timothy, “what you have heard from me…entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  Four generations—Paul, Timothy, faithful men, others = Dennis, Keith, Brandon, Keystone youth.  I liked seeing that connection.  Who will my faithful men be?


I met Sebastian, a native Costa Rican who grew up with Christianity, but a version so distorted from what he read in the Scriptures that he challenged the leadership and was kicked out of several churches as he defended classic doctrines.  It wasn’t until he met John at the pizza shop he owns before he found a place to grow within an orthodox theology.


I met Paul, a photojournalist from Texas, who is capturing the story of a ministry working with those in the sex trade in San Jose.  He attends the Village Church with Matt Chandler, one of my favorite preachers, so we had a lot to talk about.  We seemed to talk like we knew each other for a long time, and I want to keep in contact with him and his work.


I could go on and on about the people I met.  Each one has such a fascinating story.  So many of those stories go undiscovered because we don’t initiate the conversation.   You can pray that our group would take the scary for step of beginning the story.


Hidden Track:

Our group is really gelling.  We’re connecting relationally—learning new things and personality traits about each other.  We’re connecting emotionally—sharing feelings about our experiences together.  We’re connecting spiritually—uncovering how God is working in us.  I LOVE IT!  Our debriefing sessions have progressively gotten longer, and the conversations have gotten deeper and more intimate.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this group will change the tone of our group when we return.