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

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Farewell from Molly....

It is not what you give, but what you do with what you have been given. In June 2007, I was called to become a missionary. At first I was like why me……I am just a small, tiny woman, I don’t know another language, I don’t want to give everything up……but God doesn’t pick the equipped, he equips those he picks. So I trained and became an UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteer in Mission) through the General Board of Global Ministry (GBGM). I sold everything and went to Costa Rica to be a volunteer with Strong Missions for the summer of 2011.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I know I was called to serve. Little did I know how much this experience would transform my life. Many groups think they are “building” a home, but they are really building hope, dignity and restoring faith to people. Many will ask “but why God?”, but let’s change that to “but what can we do God?” Every week for 10 weeks, I met a different group or family……17 in total. I enjoyed learning your names, your story and why you were here serving and I hope you enjoyed mine. Y’all will forever be in my heart and prayers. I was touched by so many people (groups, staff, interns, etc..) and I will always treasure all of these great memories.

I would also like to share a prayer that was written by Archbishop Oscar Romero.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We can’t do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something and do it very well. It may be incomplete, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results but that is the difference between the master building and the worker. We are workers, not master buildings, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not of our own. Amen.

Blessings and hugs,
Molly Cook

P.S. My next assignment is with Pharr Literacy Project in Pharr Texas until May 2012.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oscar's house....almost done

A seed was planted on June 6th as the demolition of Oscar’s house began. This project was accomplished by 17 different groups/families and is expected to be finished at the end of August. Lives were transformed while building and we all know that Oscar’s family has been transformed…..a full circle effect which warms everyone’s hearts. As groups would leave, Oscar would pray over them and many cried as they heard him speak. Sometimes God has to break our hearts to see what is breaking his heart. The seed(s) couldn’t be planted without all of you doing what God called you to do while you were here. Strong Missions would like to thank each group/family for all of their hard work this past summer. Enjoy the pictures and video and we hope to see you again next year. Blessings.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An awesome far!

Thank you so much to the following teams for coming and serving the people of Costa Rica this year. We look forward to working with each and every one of you in the future. It was a blessing to serve alongside of you. These teams account for 500 people so far this year!

Wesley UMC & WIU Wesley Foundation, Macomb, IL

Akron UMC, IN

Minnesota Annual Conference UMVIM

Edwards Family, Ohio

Mauston UMC, Wisconsin & Eliz. Rusnak (Rebecca's mom- 1st mission trip at the age of 60, and not the last. An extra thanks for letting her join your team)

Oakwood UMC, Pleasant Hill, Iowa

First UMC Carthage, IL

Kingsbridge Youth, St. Peter's Parish, Goderich, Ontario

Stonebridge UMC, Marietta, GA

Whobodies Sr. Class Mission Trip, Mt. Pisgah UMC, Greensboro, NC

Mile High Academy Senior Class, Denver, Colorado

Peace UMC, Brookfield, WI

Carver Family, Kentucky

West University UMC, Houston, TX

Morley Family, Christ's Church, FL

University UMC, San Antonio, TX

Plainfield UMC, IN

St. John's UMC, Kansas City, MO

Alamo Heights UMC, San Antonio, TX

First UMC of Elkins, WV

Varrell Family, MA

Chickasaw UMC, AL

King-Bendler Family, Fall River, WI

First UMC of Celina, TX

Fortville UMC, IN

Davidson UMC Sr. High Youth, NC

Heart of the Rockies Christian Church, Ft. Collins, CO

Valparaiso FUMC, IN

University UMC, San Antonio, TX

Baylake UMC & Oakgrove UMC, Virginia

Gillette First UMC, WY

Windsor Village UMC, Houston, TX

We are still accepting teams for the fall. Remember the fall discount of $100 off per team member. Please email us at if you are considering a fall team ASAP.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Administrative Staff Photo Update

Summer administrative staff

The "true" summer administrative staff, organized as always- Thanks for keeping us on our toes!

The full-time administrative staff :
Rebecca Rusnak, Charlie Strong, Alvaro Torres, Scott Andrews

Friday, August 5, 2011

Farewell from Killian....

(Volcano Poas with Molly)

(Cooking with Caroline)

(La Paz Waterfall Gardens with Lacey)

This summer has gone by faster than I could have ever expected and I am saddened by the fact that I am going home in just a few short days. Coming here two months ago, I had no idea what to expect, but I have met wonderful people, made amazing friends, and worked on some incredible projects.

In the past two months, I have met many people that have all contributed to my experience here in Costa Rica. I met people from various states in the US that I would never have had the chance to encounter. Each of them have shown me how much people across our country care about helping those in need.

Of these people I have met, I have made some incredible friends. Spending two months in a foreign country with someone really helps form a special bond. The other interns and I have become closer than I ever would have imagined, but I guess that’s what happens when you spend almost every waking moment together. We have laughed together more than anything and I cannot picture it being any other way. I have also formed wonderful friendships with the full time staff here and it saddens me that I don’t know when I will see them again.

I have helped work on three amazing projects this summer--Oscar’s house, the Pentecostal Church, and the Methodist Church. The groups have done amazing work this summer! I am sad that I am not going to be around to see any of these projects finished, but I know the groups that come after I leave will do a great job finishing them.

I wish everyone at Strong Missions luck in the years to come and hope that many groups find their way to Costa Rica to help carry out their wonderful mission.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Farewell from Caroline.....

(Vacation Bible School)

Its insane to think that the summer is coming to a close...well, my summer at least seeing as its "winter" here. Out of a total of 9 weeks here in Costa Rica I only have 5 days left. It is so surreal.

So much has changed in these last two months. Oscar's house has been torn down, leveled, and a new one built in its place. We've made great progress on the feeding program areas in both the Methodist and Pentacostal churches. My spanish has grown...I can actually talk my way around a construction site now. And last, but most certainly not least, I have met some of the most amazing and influential people of my life...the workers, the cooks, the staff, the other interns, and the people of Costa Rica, I love them all!

It has been an awesome opportunity to spend my summer here working with Strong Missions and I can't wait to come back!

(Methodist Church-wall for 1st story)

(Oscar's house)