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

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A note from Charlie (Part 3 of 4)

Alvaro (with one of his daughters-Tracy)




Flora (with the husband of the pastor of her church)

Ana (with her daughter-Kathia)

Rebecca at the beach on a "fun" day with a group

The staff changed some the first of the year, as we moved locations and several of our workers felt they could not follow us. We therefore said tearful goodbyes, gave all good severance packets, and began to find new people to help us.

Alvaro Torres, my assistant director, worked for us part-time before (he was also working another job at the time) and has both followed us to Carrillos and given up his other job. He is an accountant and almost attained an additional degree as an engineer, so he keeps us in good shape around here. I could not do what I do now without him.

Wilberth Mora also followed us to Carrillos. He is our job supervisor and has been with me for 6 of the 7 years I’ve been in the country. It’s still hard to wipe the smile off his face; although I’m sure as a boss I’ve done it once or twice.

In addition, his older brother Warner has joined us, and brings with him as much experience in construction as Wilberth.

Wilmer Benavides, Angela’s brother, has also joined us, and in addition to being a quick learn in both construction and English he also teaches Latin dancing to teams during their stay.

The cooks have also changed, with Flora, the wife of Luis Alvarado, our transportation guy, leading the crew.

Under her we have Ana and when needed Alvaro’s wife, Marleny Cruz, also pitches in.

Finally, Rebecca Rusnak, from Valparaiso, IN, has joined us full time as one of our program assistants, and Scott Andrews, from Waukesha, WI, will join us the end of they year as our other program assistant. These are both capable, wonderful young people who are and will be great permanent additions to our staff.

We are very pleased with our Carrillos staff, and we feel as though we are even more efficient and effective this year in comparison to years gone by.

Okay, a few financial matters. Strong Missions will be incorporated the end of this year. We cannot form a Costa Rican foundation or association due to a foundation being too specific for our work here, and the association allowing the possibility of others taking control of our organization in the future. This means that for tax exemption most donations will still go through UMVIM in New York, and that procedure will soon be posted on the website for easy access.

Additionally, we’ve raised team prices by around 4% for 2011, as the dollar dropped in value by 10% in 2010, thereby eliminating that much of our operating funds, about $35,000. Now there’s an increase of about 3-½ % inflation as well. You can see that even with the 4% increase it does not cover the loss, but we’re expecting continued growth in numbers, which will make up the difference.

We are offering a $100 per person incentive for teams of 10 or more working with us September through the middle of November, as this is a time with very few teams. Any team that comes in during this time is a great help in finishing projects for the year and in our ending the year with money in the bank for the start of the next year.

Donations continue to come in, reaching nearly $50,000 to support the feeding programs, the school scholarships, and the pastoral support, as well as various other areas of ministry. We thank those folks as well for their continued faithfulness. Again, there are hundreds of children and families who have directly been affected by your generosity.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A note from Charlie (Part 2 of 4)

During the 2010 year we worked on the park/playground for the community, and we hope it will be finished around the middle of 2011. It is quite a project. The admin building at the school is finished except for the windows, for which the school is responsible. The feeding program and parsonage at the church also continues, and we should be working on that project for the next two years. In addition we’ve help remodel homes and churches, doing small repairs as well when needed. Along with those continuing projects, we have some interesting projects for the future, including the building of 3 classrooms for the local high school, building a second floor in the Assembly of God Church for another feeding program for poor kids, as well a dorm building, school building, and new cafeteria for a home for teenage mothers and their children. Those of you who knew Geysa from the orphanage will be happy to know that the Catholic Church and the govt. set her up in this new ministry site, which is incredibly powerful, and is located only 25 minutes from our worksites. We know Geysa’s heart is true and that she loves these kids, and we’ll be happy to help her, and the girls, for years to come. Tell me that’s not a God thing!