Youth, College, Adult and Family Mission Trips to Costa Rica

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Brief Loaves and Fishes update

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give a quick Loaves and Fishes update here at the end of the busy season.

Feeding Programs:

Los Guido: Feeding 35 kids lunch Monday-Friday

La Carpio: 50 kids, Tuesday- Friday lunch, plus on Saturdays they have “Sunday” school from 3-5 with the kids and then serve them a meal

-La Carpio is still looking into purchasing land to have a permanent place to minister to the community.  

Carrillos: Full-time feeding program started 1 month ago at the Evangelical Methodist Church. We just completed week 4 of feeding 25 kids lunch Monday-Friday.

Garden: The Evangelical Methodist Church of Carrillos will be taking over the garden at the end of this month. They will be responsible for maintaining the garden and choosing what to plant, etc. The fresh vegetables will mainly provide for the feeding program in Carrillos, but when there is a surplus they will go to other feeding programs. If there is a huge surplus, they will be sold to then buy seedlings or basic food like rice, oil, etc. to help lower the cost of the feeding program.

Education program:
Roughly 10 students are preparing to take their final GED exams this coming week.
The 35 students that are enrolled in the 7th and 8th grade levels of the GED program still have 6 weeks left before they can begin their exams. 


There are 20 elementary students enrolled who attend classes twice a week. Some of the students have achieved their green belts already, and the next belt exam is in a few months.


Traditional folklore dance classes started at the elementary school in Carrillos 6 weeks ago. However, after 4 weeks we had to switch teachers. Last week the classes started up again, and will be 1 day a week to start with 20 children. In the process of switching teachers some students lost interest, but after last week seeing the 16 that remained students were joyfully asking if they could participate. So we should be up to 20 by tomorrow when the class continues. 

Thank you so much for your continuous support of these ministries through your donations and prayers.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Farewell from Taylor Hemphill

My name is Taylor Hemphill and I was an intern at Strong Missions this summer. 

I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such great people in a beautiful country for close to three months. I loved getting to know our staff as well as each of groups that came down this summer. 

From Florida to California it was exciting to get to know people from all over the country... in another country! 

Thinking back, the time I cherished the most was the time I got to spend traveling all over Costs Rica with our groups. Having the chance to travel with each group brought a unique experience to each trip, even to the same destinations. 

I also loved watching the hard work on the construction sites, the spiritual growth within church congregations, and the gain of global awareness at our feeding programs. 

Personally, the combination of all of this has left me spiritually refreshed and eager to see what God has in store for the years to come. 

I also want to thank everyone that I encountered this summer, as you are all apart of my journey now and have allowed me to gain life skills that I couldn't have learned in any other situation. 

Many blessing and never forget to tell your story!

Taylor Hemphill

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

End of Summer Update

What an amazing summer we have had at Strong Missions! Thanks be to God and to our numerous volunteers, we have been able to make huge strides on the projects here in Carrillos as well as working in our new community of San Isidro where we will be moving in a few months. This year we have had 638 volunteers from 38 groups. We had a record breaking week of 96 folks working while 26 others were out traveling. Glory to God!

There are still some finishing touches to do, but the 3 W's (Wilbur, Wilmer, and Warner) work year round and are working hard to complete the work that is left!

Iglesia Evangelica Metodista Carrillos

The feeding program has begun it's year round ministry! Starting with 25 kids, meals are being served 5 days a week. We look forward to watching this ministry bloom and grow!

The garden is growing and has been providing fresh vegetables for the Loaves and Fishes Feeding Programs in La Carpio, Los Guido, and now Carrillos.

Improvements have been made both inside and out at the facility. Concrete has been poured between the sanctuary and the multipurpose building.

Bathrooms are nearing completion below the parsonage.

The parsonage upstairs has been painted and the windows and doors are framed and ready to be installed. It will be move-in ready soon!

Iglesia Pentecostal Carrillos

The front of the Pentecostal Church has seen dramatic changes as it has been leveled and paved. The kids now have a place to play and draw and on Sundays, there is room for quite a few cars off the street!

Inside, the upstairs has been transformed! The floor has been laid, ceiling installed, drywall hung, rooms created, and windows framed.

Community Plaza Carrillos

We received a request from the community to help with the wall surrounding the community futbol field. Knowing we had lots of willing and able teams this summer, we agreed and got the ditch dug and wall raised!

Oscar's House

In 2011, groups helped to build Oscar and Nurii a new house after their home was destroyed by the earthquake. Since then, Oscar and Nurii have welcomed numerous groups to their home to see the gift from God that has blessed them. However, it has been on our list to go back and complete the project by installing a ceiling. Thanks to the sheer number of volunteers this year and with Oscar leading the team, we were able to make this happen!

Escuela San Luis of Carrillos

Thanks to the University of Texas and the Projects for Underdeveloped Communities Class for designing, engineering, planning, fundraising, and building of the first set of bleachers at the local school here in Carrillos. The group from TX got it started, and thanks to their hard work, other teams were able to come in and help complete the project.

We also found some maintenance projects for the school like repainting their court, replacing the fence behind the new bleachers, and refurbishing old desks that were greatly in need of repair.

Escuela Carlos Maria Rodriguez of San Isidro

We began partnering with a school in our new neighborhood of San Isidro where Strong Missions will be located beginning in November. The school had some issues with previous administration, but thanks to new leadership, it is growing and excelling! Strong Missions provided support for building a new kindergarten classroom as well as maintenance and improvements to the existing facility. We look forward to a long relationship with this school as we support our new community.

It isn't too late to plan your trip for this fall or 2015! If you are interested in leading a team, please e-mail and we will send you a team leader packet to begin your planning!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more photos and updates at

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goodbye from Lanier McClain

Unfortunately the summer has come to an end and I have returned to North Carolina where I am completing my senior year at UNCG. I could not have dreamed of a better way to spend my summer than working as an intern for Strong Missions. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet some wonderful groups and individuals, as well as witness the impact they made in the communities we had the pleasure of serving this summer. I had the privilege of watching the spiritual journeys of so many youth and adults grow and prosper, letting God work through them. He was truly present through every smile made, every tear shed, every hammer swung, and every plate served. I would not trade my experience for the world, and for those who I worked alongside, thank you! To the staff of Strong Missions, y’all are like family; you do so much for not only the people of Costa Rica but also for the groups, just know that it is very much appreciated! Thank you to everyone who influenced me to continue striving to be the best me that I can be, and to keep living for God and letting his light shine through me. Strong Missions isn’t rid of me yet (haha), so I hope to see many familiar faces again soon!
God Bless,
Lanier McClain

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Urgent Plea for donations:

This is an appeal for donations for our feeding and education programs.  We are eternally grateful for all the gifts and prayers, but must let you know that we are running short on money for this month to continue giving a meal to children in need and money to pay our professors in our education program, which by the way has grown so much that the 7th grade group is crammed into the same room like sardines. These programs run year round, however many times we are running only on faith, and lacking funds. Please prayerfully consider giving, so that these efforts can continue.  We can´t do everything, but we can do something and together we can do great things. 

Thanks you for your prayers and support. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My name is Katie Wig and from late May through the end of June, I was blessed to serve as an intern with the Strong Missions team. Now, as I look back on my month in Carrillos, I am certain that it was the most incredible experience of my life. Growing up in a big family in a small town, my life was enjoyable, safe, and comfortable. While a part of me longed for adventure and to try something new, I had always subscribed to the belief that I wasn’t brave enough or strong enough for a real adventure, especially a long-term one. Then I found Strong Missions.
After studying Spanish for six years (four in high school, and two in college), I finally went on my first-ever mission trip in January of this year. I went with my uncle’s church for a week and a half, and was the youngest and least experienced person on the team. Though I was very nervous to go so far from home, especially with a group of people I didn’t know well, it hardly took any time for me to forget the fears that I was clinging on to. Over the course of the week and a half, I was so blessed to get to know an abundance of incredible people, both in my group and in the community. The children of Carrillos, especially, are such caring and beautiful souls who I came to love dearly. I very quickly knew that God was calling me to return to this place.
On May 25th I returned to Carrillos for my internship. Though the first week was hard, with a great deal of homesickness and anxiety, over the course of the following four weeks, I grew emotionally and spiritually in a way I didn’t know was possible. The work we did through Strong Missions gave me the opportunity to test my own “limits,” motivated by the fuel of a great purpose. Before Strong Missions, I never would have thought I’d be able to lead large groups of people without being paralyzed with nervousness, or that I would be physically strong enough to help assemble steel bleachers or mix concrete with a shovel. Most importantly, I had no idea just how much the sharing of one’s own Light can ignite the souls of so many others.
The smiles of the children of Carrillos, La Carpio, and Los Guido were the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Through their positivity, warmth, and unhesitant love, every group that came through felt the unshakable strength of God’s Love. Because of this Great Love, this incredible sense of purpose we all felt, any physical or emotional weakness felt insignificant compared to the strength and determination we felt through the Holy Spirit. Because we knew we were working for the Kingdom, God gave us all the strength we needed.
Today I am back home, looking out at the sunset on the lake, and I can’t help but miss the beauty of the land and the people of Costa Rica. I cannot emphasize enough what an incredible blessing this past month has been in my life. Though I was skeptical at the beginning, I know now that God’s Love moves each one of us in every moment of every day. We are all designed to serve and love one another, and when we do that, the true capacity of our strength is made known. Through God, we are capable of truly amazing things.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Interns- Lanier

My name is Lanier McClain. I am from Greensboro, NC and am blessed to be serving with Strong Missions another year as an intern. I am super ecstatic to meet all the hard working groups coming our way and kick off the summer here in Costa Rica! It has always been a pleasure to work alongside such amazing individuals and groups that serve with us, as well as serving the people of this beautiful place. I cannot thank God enough for providing me with such a rewarding opportunity yet again. God Bless and hope to be seeing you real soon!

Lanier McClain