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

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry belated Christmas from myself (Rebe) and the Strong Missions staff. 

Isaiah 9:6 
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

May we remember Christ´s birth and celebrate it throughout the entire year.

Thank you for being His hands and feet throughout the world.

Blessings from our family to yours. Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Looking for summer interns......

Do you speak Spanish? Do you know someone who does? Would you like to spend time in Costa Rica serving the Lord by serving teams coming to work and serve with Strong Missions? Apply to be a summer intern ASAP! If interested, email Rebecca at to receive an application. Applications due Feb. 1st.

Monday, December 2, 2013

From Charlie:
Merry Christmas!

Okay, folks, tonight begins the big 24 hours, when all donations made will be doubled, up to 50K per organization and 500K maximum for all organizations under the Advance Program of the United Methodist Church. Remember, all donations are tax deductible and need to be made online, with the info below, between midnight tonight and midnight tomorrow, Eastern Time, and the earlier the better to make sure it gets doubled. That means you can give beginning at 11 tonight if you're Central Time, 10 Mountain, and 9 on the west coast.

We still need about 30K to feed the 350 to 400 kids per day over the upcoming summer vacation, beginning in a couple of weeks, as well as continue our education programs, scholarships and tutoring centers. We've about got December covered but your gift could certainly help us the rest of the vacation plus contribute greatly to the upcoming year, as we'll feed 140 per day all year long after the kids go back to school in February, and the education never stops.

Please give at the following website with the info below, and shoot us an email once your gift is made, so that we can track it. Thanks so much. You're gift will make a difference.

Click to donate

Please make sure when the new webpage opens that it is a secure site and it says “Strong Missions Loaves and Fishes (#3021552)” at the top.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Did you know?
  • $35 can feed one child nutritious meals for a month
  • SM has 4 feeding programs - 2 year round in La Carpio and Los Guido, and 2 in Carrillos in Dec-Feb
  • 1 education center with 60 students enrolled who are trying to receive their GED
100% of your donation goes to Feeding, Education, and Family Support Programs

Click here to give.

From 12:01am - 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, December 3, the General Board of Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church will match online donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000 per project.
Give EARLY. There is a limit of $500,000 for ALL UMC projects.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Staying informed and involved!

Hello Everyone!

Wondering how you can stay up-to-date on the happenings at Strong Missions when you aren’t here in Costa Rica? WELL you’re in luck!

We could not accomplish anything without our partners in mission and would like to keep you all informed and involved!

Follow this link

and sign up for our mailing list. Even if you think we have your contact information, please sign up!

In addition, please forward this to at least 5 of your friends that may be interested in hearing about our continued work!

Please take 30 seconds out of your day to follow this link and fill out this quick and easy form.

Take care and have a blessed day!

Monday, November 25, 2013

La Carpio update

There are constantly changes. Depending on when you were there last, you will see a lot of difference from the pictures. As you can see, the sanctuary has been expanded and now it´s one big room. They recently took down the “storage” in the sanctuary, and moved it off to the side, and added the front part of the building to use to feed the children. The pastor and the congregation are trying to make the “church” the best it can be, but clearly know that the “church” is the people worshipping and working together for the glory of God.

We (well the kids) had our first salad using the veggies from the community garden at the Evangelical Methodist church in Carrillos while we were there. Exciting!

Currently, 60 children on average are receiving a nutritious meal on Sunday and Tuesday-Friday. The pastor´s wife, Cristiana and some volunteers from the church are taking turns cooking. Nicole (from NJ) and Stan (from VA) were also there in Nov. to help serve the children. Stan was mega-famous. Everyone wanted their picture with him.

My favorite part was when Kevin (in purple shirt) would not stop following him around. He wanted to play and just chill out with Stan. Even to the point when we were meeting with the pastor and all the other kids were running around and making noise and Pastor James asked them to leave, Kevin quickly took a seat next to Stan and just sat and waited 20 minutes for the meeting to end.

When Nicole was on her way to Carrillos and talking to the driver of the van about La Carpio, he “blessed” her saying it was dangerous, etc. When Nicole arrived in Carrillos, she told us this story. Stan said yes it´s “dangerous”, you might just leave your heart behind.

La Carpio and the children and the people we have met there have touched many of our hearts. And many of you like Stan and myself, have left part of our heart there. We are thankful for everything we are blessed with and know that God has blessed us so that we can bless others in return. God will take your blessings and multiple them.

Please continue to pray for the work that God is doing in this place. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November Dental Clinic

Thanks to 15 dentists from the US/Canada and 3 local dentists from Costa Rica, last week 150 patients were seen in 3 days. Extractions were done every day-OUCH, and cleanings for 2 of the 3 days.  
Thank you also to all the people who helped, between check-in/check-out, translators, “cooks” aka instrument sterilizers, runners to get more supplies, those that handed out fliers, etc.

Here are a few pictures of the clinic.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How do you turn $1 into $2!?

Hello all!

As families back in the US start to settle into the Thanksgiving and the Christmas Season, our feeding programs are getting ready to gear up in Carrillos.

As you all know, your support has been helping to feed 50-60 children 5 nutritious a week at our sites in La Carpio and Los Guido. As the kids in Costa Rica get ready for their summer break (December and January) the need for nutritious meals increases because kids no longer have access to a meal provided by the schools. With that in mind, the Evangelical Methodist and the Pentecostal Churches in Carrillos are getting ready start their summer feeding programs.

Last year the Pentecostal Church provided 5 noon meals a week to roughly 70 children and the Methodist Church provided 5 dinner meals a week to 30 children. Those numbers have steadily been increasing and we expect this year to be feeding roughly 150 children in Carrillos, 100 in La Carpio, and 100 in Los Guido.

Your support has been instrumental in providing the resources that have allowed these programs to grow, reaching more children every year. Based on these projections by February 1st, with your help we will have fed roughly 145,000 meals since the feeding programs started.

At this time of year, with additional programs come additional funding needs. At current, the feeding and education programs are seeing a budget deficit of roughly $35,000. That money would be used to help us meet the budget of feeding 350-400 meals a week for the summer months.

However, through the General Board of Global Ministries(GBGM), God has given us a great chance to turn $1 into $2! Starting at Midnight EST on December 3rd GBGM will be doing a matching funds campaign. This means that every dollar you give will be matched by GBGM as a donation. So your Donation of $50 becomes $100, or a donation of $100 becomes $200.

As you have heard many times, just $35 feeds a child for a month. If you pledge to feed 1 child on December 3rd through your generosity combined with GBGM you will actually be feeding two children!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS. Because the funds are limited to a total of $500,000! 

SO on December 3rd simply follow this link - and click the “Give Now” button on the side row. Every dollar donated will be matched by GBGM. Turning 1 into 2 is as simple as that.

Thank you all and God bless!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Education Program Updates!

You and I both know the way to break the cycle of poverty is through education. In Costa Rica you can voluntarily drop out of school at the age of 13 and if you do not pass the 6th grade by the age of 14 you are kicked out of the public school system. Additionally, Costa Rica is a very agricultural society. It wasn’t uncommon to have parents forcing children to leave school to work out in the fields.
Currently only 4 out of 10 Costa Rican children actually finish high school. The government is trying to discourage children from dropping out and is actually looking at raising the age at which you can voluntarily leave school. However, this is a long way off and would require structural changes. 
In the meantime proper education is a very real problem in Costa Rica and many children drop out due to monetary reasons. With that in mind, we have continued to expand our scholarship program and currently provide about 20 scholarships and continue to accept applications. For many of these kids it is literally the difference between staying in school and leaving to go and earn money for the family.
In addition, our GED education program has been up and running in Carrillos since April. Many of you have worked in the newly finished classroom at the Methodist church. I can tell you that we didn’t waste ANY time putting it to use!
We are employing school teachers and experts to help teach folks that are looking to finish their educations. We are currently offering primary, 7th grade, 8th grade, and GED classes to help students that are out of the public school system to further their educations. Students in these classes range from 15 to 60 years old. Including some grandparents who want to demonstrate the importance of education to their grandchildren 
We are gearing up to start another round of education classes and we look forward to growing this service. Over the next couple of years we would like to offer tutoring for children that are still in school as well, to avoid seeing them in our GED programs later.
As of right now we are about $39,000 short of our feeding and education budget to get us through to February of 2014. Some pledged donations have been coming in, but we are grateful for every donation that we receive. God has truly blessed us in this area and we are excited to continue to reach out to the community through our education programs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Construction Update

Hello all, God is good, all the time!

This is the first in a series of updates and a larger effort to keep all of you informed and involved in the work that is happening here at Strong Missions! 

As wrap up another busy season here in Costa Rica, we have a GREAT year on the construction side and great things have really been happening.

At the Pentecostal Church we have gotten the second story on and started laying the floor. On the first floor the kitchen has been installed and is already preparing delicious food for members of the church as it prepares to start the feeding program later this year.

Over at the Methodist Church, we have made significant progress on the feeding area, education centers, and parsonage. In fact, we are having classes in the new classroom!

We are looking at finishing up both of these projects in 2014 with plans to start a local clinic in Carrillos and beyond!


Keep an eye out for the upcoming updates on the feeding programs, education, and our exciting new garden!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First community garden meal!!!

First meal served with lettuce and beans and cilantro from community garden at Evangelica Methodist Church in Carrillos. Over 30 kids served!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fundraising for feeding programs with coffee

Exciting news! 

With 3 fall groups: Mt. Pisgah UMC (as well as their missions committee), Cypress Lake UMC and Second Baptist Church over $823 has been raised for feeding programs through the sale of Sircof coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Future teams will have the opportunity to buy this locally grown coffee while in Costa Rica to support our feeding programs. 

Thanks to all!

PS- that´s over 823 meals!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Adios from Nick

Hey everyone,

1 Samuel 12:24 says "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you." This verse represents a phenomenon that I experienced daily in the time I spent in Costa Rica; and something I think is very powerful for many who visit Strong Missions and work with the under-privileged population of the beautiful country of Costa Rica. More than anything, the emotional toll that seeing impoverished and undernourished people in Precarios like  La Carpio and Los Guido, puts our own lives in stark contrast to those of the Ticos. Everyday working there was a reminder to give thanks for the blessings that fill our lives and encourage us to share our gifts as often and as plentifully as we are capable. 
Working with Strong Missions always has been and always will be a life changing experience both for the people sharing their gifts and the people receiving them. 


Friday, August 30, 2013

  I really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica. Most powerful thing I learned while serving there is the perspective on poverty that I had never experienced before. The thought that there are people out there that live day by day not knowing where their next meal is coming from, and the faith in God that follows because without God, the hope for survival doesn't exist. Learned recently that hope is only as strong as what you put your faith in, and the people of Costa Rica in much more need then myself put their hope in God, which helped me to secure my faith in God as well. God is working through strong mission and I am glad I could be a part of it. Hope to carry this mentality into my school year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and to serve the people around me like the people I met in Costa Rica did for me. All the glory to God.  -Zach Jones

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hola a Todos!!
I had the most amazing time of my life in Costa Rica this summer working as an intern at Strong Missions for about three months. I laughed, cried, shared great memories, and met people that will forever remain in my heart. It was a pleasure working with all the groups that came down, you all are so unique and made such an impact through the work you did in Costa Rica. I miss this place so much already, keeping everyone there in my prayers. Working with the staff at Strong Missions was equally great, what wonderful people they all are. I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity to serve with Strong Missions and have such awesome coworkers. My faith grew so strong, and my heart filled with joy every day.  It is hard being back in the US, but hopefully, if I am lucky enough to serve as an intern next summer, I will see y’all again!! Remember that you are the light of God, and he is your eternal flame.
Dios Les Bendiga,

Lanier McClain

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Staying Informed and Involved

Hello Everyone!

Wondering how you can stay up-to-date on the happenings at Strong Missions when you aren’t here in Costa Rica? WELL you’re in luck!

We could not accomplish anything without our partners in mission and would like to keep you all informed and involved!

Follow this link and sign up for our mailing list. Even if you think we have your contact information, please sign up!

In addition, please forward this to at least 5 of your friends that may be interested in hearing about our continued work!

Please take 30 seconds out of your day to follow this link and fill out this quick and easy form.

Take care and have a blessed day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Garden is Growing

“It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:32

Hello all,

The Evangelical Methodist Church here in Carrillos has seen some pretty major changes. As you can see from the pictures below both new and returning partners have been hard at work!

Over the past couple of weeks, we have slowly seen a hill being leveled off and we have gone from a pile of barrels and pallets to a hydroponic garden with cabbage, beans, tomatoes, squash, lettuce, and spinach.

God has blessed us with material donations and just as importantly, the skills and knowledge of several team members that came here specifically to garden. This has allowed us to take a project from a theory to a reality.

As many of you know, the garden will be taken care of by groups and members of the local church and community. The vegetables grown will be used to supplement the feeding programs already running during the summer months here in Carrillos as well as our other feeding program ministries.

Additionally, any extra vegetables can be sold and the money used to buy other goods such as rice, beans, meat etc.

There is still a lot of work involved, but the seeds are literally planted! We are excited to have this project up and running and look forward to continued blessing!

 For More Pictures Click Here

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goodbye from Hanna

Wow. What can I say about this summer? Working with Strong Missions in Costa Rica for the past six weeks has been a life changing experience. I had an incredible time working with my fellow co-workers in the office, scheduling, planning, praying, eating and talking. I had the privilege of meeting some incredible people who visited Costa Rica this summer and working alongside each of you was an absolutely pleasure. I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and selflessness for working here and for tolerating me! Whether we were blowing bubbles with kids, “playing” soccer, salsa dancing, painting/digging/sanding on the work site, running at 6 a.m., or worshipping together, I learned so much from each and every individual I met during my time in Costa Rica. I am so grateful for all of you and you each made my experience that much more special. I will cherish these memories forever. Being able to spend an extended period of time in a third world country has taught me so much about who I am and who God is. He is so powerful and truly moves mountains. Strong Missions is doing His work in Costa Rica and being a part of this team for six weeks will always be something I treasure. After being home for a few weeks, I miss Costa Rica more than I ever imagined possible. I cannot wait to return, and I know God has beautiful things in store for that country and Strong Missions’ work there, and elsewhere, and I cannot wait to hear about the progress in Carrillos! Bendiciones a todos. ¡Muchas gracias! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Interns 4/4

Hey! My name is Zack Jones.This is my first time interning at the mission, but I have been here once before in 2009. I am from San Antonio, Texas, but am currently attending college at University of Colorado-Boulder studying mechanical engineering. I learned spanish primarily from a program my elementary school had called spanish immersion, where I took all my classes in spanish up to fifth grade. I also followed up in middle school and high school. In college, I am part of the Navigators ministry where my love for Christ truly began and made it my plan to give a summer to Him, and grow closer to God on this two month internship. I love working with kids and helping to make people comfortable with serving as well, and hope I can achieve that. I will end with a favorite verse of mine. Galatians 2:20 says, " I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." I hope to live this way. God bless.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Intern VBS

This week we have been busy in the office! With no groups here, we decided we needed a break from the office so we headed down the street to do VBS with the kids at the Pentecostal Church. 

Although it was raining, there were about a dozen kids there and it was a blast, to say the least. After playing with a giant beach ball, we colored, read and discussed 1 Timothy 4:12 and played a crowd favorite: Pato, pato, ganso (commonly known as duck, duck, goose).

Even though we were only there for a short time, we all had so much fun. These kids are so cute and have so much joy. They are such an inspiration and as 1 Timothy instructs, they truly set an example through their faith and joy despite their age.

Please continue praying for these kids and this community in Costa Rica. We cannot wait for each group to meet these wonderful kids.

In Him,

Your 2013 summer interns


Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Intern 3/ 4

Hey everyone! 
My name is Nick Varrell. Some of you may remember me from last year. This is my second summer interning and my third time in the country. I'm going to be a junior at Roanoke College with a double major in Criminal Justice and Spanish double major. I spend my time working in the community service office and with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Since the first time I came down my heart has bled for the people of Central America and Costa Rica and I look forward to a great summer serving you all and the people of this great community. 
God bless. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer Intern 2/4


Mi nombre es Lanier McClain. I am currently an intern here at Strong Missions and couldn’t be happier about it!! I am from Greensboro/ Reidsville, North Carolina and will be entering my junior year of college at the University of North Carolina Greensboro after this summer. My major is Spanish while also pursuing a minor in history. We can learn so much from the past, and change so much for the future. Strong Missions has been such a blessing for me and I have a special place in my heart for this place. Working with feeding programs and for the community is not only rewarding to the recipients, but also cleansing and therapeutic to those who help serve the people of Costa Rica. God works through each and every one of us to make a difference for those in need. These people made a difference for me at a time in my life where I was in a big need and hardly knew it. God has a plan, and has brought me here for his own reasons; I can only hope that others will find this wonderful place just as magical.

Mucho Gusto,

Lanier McClain

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Interns 1/4

Hola hola!

I am Hanna Read, an intern for the summer of 2013. I am from Houston, Texas and this is my fifth experience in Costa Rica. I usually come with my church group from Houston, and am so excited to be here for more than just one week! I go to Fordham University in New York and enjoy dancing, listening to music, photography and traveling. I plan on majoring in business management with a minor in Spanish and a specialization in International Business. I am so blessed to be able to be here working with Strong Mission and cannot wait to see what this summer holds. The children and people of Costa Rica are close to my heart and Strong Missions is such an incredible organization. I look forward to building relationships with the community here in Carrillos as well as strengthening my Spanish and being the hands and feet of God. This will be a summer to remember and I cannot wait to meet and work alongside all of you.
Hasta pronto,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Strong Missions Full Promo Video

Here is the link to the Strong Missions video made by Billy Stewart
from Cypress UMC, Houston, TX. We hope you all enjoy it and that it
is used to spread the word about what we are doing here and will be
used to bring many blessings to the people of Costa Rica.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


While we here at Strong Missions were extremely sad to have Scott leave Costa Rica, we are happy to welcome a new Program Assistant!

Darryl Teske has been working with Strong Missions since 2010 and co-leading groups since 2011.

Here is a note from Darryl:

Hello Friends!

My name is Darryl Teske and I joined Strong Missions at the beginning of the year, though I have been coming to Costa Rica with teams since 2010.

On my first trip, I felt called by God to continue working with Strong Missions and helping the people of Costa Rica. He placed a great love for this place in my heart and I feel honored and blessed to have the opportunity to serve God by serving the people here!

I am originally from Mauston, WI and have a wide variety of interests. I love music (of almost any kind), Comedy, Outdoor Activities, Cooking,  Roller Derby, and so much more.

I look forward to meeting you all as we continue our work here in Costa Rica.

Take care and God bless!

Darryl DD Teske

Please help us in welcoming Darryl to the Strong Mission’s Staff!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Intern Applications Due Feb. 1st!!!!

Please don´t forget to email your intern applications to They are due Feb. 1st.

Make sure you receive a confirmation email, so that you know that it has been received.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Advance Number

Hello all,

First of Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
God and the United Methodist Church have blessed us with our own Advance #, effective January 1, 2013. We need to discontinue the use of the old UMVIM Advance # we've been using to receive donations for the work.  

Our NEW Advance is Strong Missions Loaves and Fishes and the NEW Advance Number is 3021552.

Checks should be made out to Advance GCFA. In the memo blank, please write SM Loaves and Fishes #3021552. And send to:
Advance GCFA
P.O. Box 9068, GPO
New York, NY 10087-9068

To give online, go to:

Click on “GIVE NOW”. Please make sure when the new webpage opens that it is a secure site and it says “Strong Missions Loaves and Fishes (#3021552)” at the top.

In addition, Strong Missions Inc. is now a Texas non-profit, and will soon be a 501c3 tax exempt non-profit for the 2013 calendar year. All donations sent directly to Strong Missions Inc. will be able to receive a tax exemption from us regardless of when it was sent during 2013.  Donations sent directly to our Texas office should be made out to Strong Missions Inc. and sent to:

Strong Missions Inc. (c/o Rev. Richard Strait)
11608 Prince Phillip Way
Manor, TX 78653-3773

Thanks so much for your continued partnership, and we look forward to many more years of serving those less fortunate than ourselves.

Paz y bendiciones,
Charlie Strong
Strong Missions
UMVIM IndVol, Costa Rica