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

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Progress on new office building

The new office building/hotel reception/assistant and intern housing, aka The Stronghold (I'm hoping the name sticks) is coming along nicely. Check out some pictures from the last month or so here.

The W's got the roof up quickly after Mile High Academy helped situate the beams.

Putting up drywall.

Robbie and Ron from Peace UMC applying drywall paste and working on the ceiling.

Warner applying plaster to the outside wall for waterproofing...and all the drywall is up!

Wilberth is going as a ghost for Halloween this year, starting early. Or he's just sanding drywall.

As of press time, we've started painting, too, but don't have pictures of that yet.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Update part 3 of 3

As you all know, we’re not just building. We also continue to be very active in Los Guido, a rough and tough inner city area which offers little opportunities to its inhabitants. Drugs, gangs, prostitution, and violence run rampant at times.

We have restarted the feeding program in the Los Guido Methodist Church, now feeding 50 kids per day, and providing a large, nutritious meal. We’re now spending a little more than a dollar per day per child just on food, not to mention gas, pay/insurance for the main cook, kitchen needs, etc., and we’re pleased with the outcome. The total cost comes to about $32 per child per month. Due to early giving this year we have the 50 children covered until October, but we still need $1600 per month for November and December 2011, and that’s with no increases in number of children or inflation, or any sudden extra expenses. Of course, if those months come in through giving as well, our next step is to begin raising the number of children receiving a meal. As there are 1000 needy kids within just a few blocks of the church, the sooner we can feed more the better.

We have also set up an educational center in the church there, at this time receiving 64 school age children every Saturday for classes. This in conjunction with public schools and institutes should ensure that many students can finish their schooling through high school and perhaps get out of such a tough neighborhood. We are paying one retired professor to take care of most of the classes, and we’re hunting for an English teacher and a high school math professor to cover the other needs. This professor will also begin teaching classes during the week at the Alajuela Methodist Church, beginning sometime around August. This program is costing only $700 per month as it is now, and the additional program in Alajuela should add just another $200 per month in expenses. Again, it’s the same professor teaching in both places, keeping the cost down. Of course there will be some cost increases once we find the additional teachers for Math and English, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Finally, we have one more feeding program that we expect to help in the near future, near El Infernillo. This is another tough neighborhood, only 10 minutes from our base, and a Methodist Church on the outskirts of this neighborhood is already feeding kids on Sunday afternoons, after church. We hope to be able to help this program as well, with time. That would bring our total, within just a few years, to 4 feeding programs and hopefully just as many educational centers. Education is the sure way to end the cycle of poverty, and kids need good nutrition for their minds to work correctly.

With the move of our headquarters we’ve incurred some immediate needs, and some teams have begun to ask how they can help. We will need to buy a washer/dryer, a couple of microwaves, an additional refrigerator, a vacuum, and a stove with oven. Pretty much in that order. If there are folks who would like to help us with these things, we would be most appreciative.

To recap, we need your help, as always. We continue to grow, thank the Lord, but we cannot do it without faithful people such as yourselves. Thanks for all you do and continue to do. I know the Lord will bless your gift for all.

Paz y bendiciones,

Charlie Strong

Director, Strong Missions

Friday, May 13, 2011

Earthquake: we're okay

Hi everyone,

Interrupting the 3 part update to quickly say that we're fine, in case any of you were wondering how we'd weathered the 6.0 earthquake we experienced today. Thank you for your concern, to those that were wondering.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Update part 2 of 3

On to projects…We’re finishing up the community park/playground as we speak, and we’ve begun building the new office and apartments for the interns and program assistants. Office construction began the first of April and will be done by the middle of May.

Beginning the end of May we’ll finish up the park and begin a house for a member of the local Methodist Church. Don Oscar is the patriarch of 7 family members crammed into a house that could fall during the next strong earthquake. We therefore plan to have that project finished by August at the latest.

Summer months will also hold the return to the feeding program/parsonage building construction at the local Methodist Church, and this project will become our priority project (like the park up until now) until it is done, probably lasting 2 more years after this summer. When it is finished we’ll be able to feed 100 children there. In addition, this summer we’re adding a second floor to the local Assembly of God Church, also so that we can feed as many as 100 hundred children there in the near future. Both of these churches now have temporary feeding programs, but there are approximately 200 children in the Carrillos areas who need better nutrition, all the time.

In the fall the plan is to build a house in the southern part of Costa Rica for Alvaro’s mother. He bought a piece of land for her, but simply cannot afford to build her a house. She desperately needs one as once or twice a year the area river floods and she has water up to her waist. Alvaro’s other brother sleeps in the ceiling to keep an eye on their things when there’s water in the house. It’s time to eliminate this stress from all their lives and get her into a small house on the new, safe piece of land. This should take us 6 weeks, and it will be completed between the Fall teams, who will work mostly in the Methodist Church in Carrillos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Update part 1 of 3

Hello all,

Charlie here. So much is happening, it’s time to catch you all up again regarding what’s happening with Strong Missions and our different ministries. I suspect this will be posted in several installments.

First of all, the addition of our two program assistants, Rebecca last summer and Scott the beginning of this year, is working out fantastic. They’ve learned so fast and work so hard that it is allowing me to spread out and begin to work in other areas. One of those areas is marketing, as we’re still a little down in numbers for 2011, and therefore we still need numerous for this year to finish the projects we have lined up. Remember, we’re still offering $100 off per person, for a team of 10 or more, for Fall months (September through the first week of December this year).

With the increased marketing, we’re planning to visit various churches with which we have ongoing relationships, as well as visit new interested churches and distribute information at youth and mission conferences, etc. If you would like a visit from us, please let us know, and we’ll try our best to get to your neck of the woods asap.

We’re now also beginning to take contact info for medical staff, as we have a ton of people interested in our putting a few such teams together for them. We have the areas to work, much of which with undocumented immigrants, as they tend to fall through the cracks. We’re excited about the number of people wanting to help as well as the possibility to help in such a way, and we suspect there will be various opportunities for medical staff to do so within the next year or so.

We’re also moving headquarters, as the owner of the former property increased the rent by 15%, and let us know there would be 15% added on each year. That’s just not feasible if we want to keep costs down for teams, so God blessed us, the same day as a matter of fact, with a large two story house connected to the Hotel Los Horcones, just 200 yards from the old place. We’re also renting the hotel beginning May 1, which means with additional hotel traffic we should be able to keep team lodging costs down for years to come, perhaps until we buy land and build our own place.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We interrupt the work updates with some exciting news--Strong Missions t-shirts will soon be available for purchase. The cost will be $10, and any profit will go to help the people of Costa Rica. Check out the front design below (the logo will be small in the upper left).

The back will have 1 John 3:18 attractively displayed in both English and Spanish: "Little children, let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action." (Unfortunately, blogspot won't let me upload that, because the image is a .pdf...but it looks really cool.)