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

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Loaves and Fishes Update From Our New Program Assistant

Hello Strong Missions Community!

My little friend and his kitten!
My name is Brooke and I joined the Strong Missions Team in January this year. I am originally from Kansas, but San Diego, California is my most recent home and I am a member of First United Methodist Church of San Diego. I was called by God to service 2 years ago, and as of June 2013, I was able to realize God’s will for my life by becoming a full-time missioner. I have been serving with the Individual Volunteer Program of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries and spent last year placed with Agua Viva Serves in Los Chiles, Costa Rica near the Nicaragua border. When that placement ended, I was looking for another place to serve here with the amazing people of Costa Rica, and Strong Missions invited me to join the team. I look forward to working with all of the incredible volunteers that help make our work possible!
The Loaves and Fishes program is growing and it is time to have someone devoted to full-time administration so Rebecca will be transitioning into that role and I am transitioning into her Program Assistant role working with the teams. We are still feeding year-round, 5 days a week, at the La Carpio Evangelical Methodist Church and the Los Guido Evangelical Methodist Church. La Carpio has recently expanded their ministry to include a neighboring community on the edge of the river called Cuervo Sapo (Toad’s Cave) which Pastor James says has even more need then the area immediately around the church. That has brought their numbers up and they are now serving around 70 kids daily. Los Guido is serving about 50 children daily and we are working to expand there as well with the help of Pastor Humberto. Our goal, God-willing, is by 2018 to be feeding 100 children twice daily in both of these locations.
Pastor James & Pastora Kristina with the children of
La Carpio as they begin to arrive and line up for lunch!
During the Christmas (summer) break here in Carrillos, we were feeding approximately 50 children 5 days a week at the Evangelical Methodist Church and approximately 70 children 5 days a week at the Pentecostal Church. This year, with the help of our amazing volunteers who will number over 600 people coming in over 40 teams, we expect to be able to complete the facilities at the Carrillos Evangelical Methodist and Pentecostal churches which will allow us to expand these programs to feed year-round. Our goal by 2018 is to increase to feeding 100 children once daily year-round at both of these churches in Carrillos.
Team from Oakwood UMC in Iowa working on leveling the ground
in front of the Carrillos Pentecostal Church
and digging a trench for the foundation of a front gate for security
There is also an Evangelical Methodist church in Tuetal, which is about halfway between Carrillos and Alajuela, that is working to finish a new kitchen facility thanks to the help of some other organizations and volunteers. They have approached Strong Missions for help utilizing their kitchen to begin a feeding program and we hope to be able to add them as an additional location soon!

Glory to God for allowing us to help these churches realize their missions reaching out to their communities!
This week begins our first push of the season as Spring Break hits the states. We are indeed blessed over these 3 weeks to host 99 volunteers from 6 different groups and families. We are going to be working at the Pentecostal Church, at an elementary school in San Isidro, the home of one of our cooks, Ana, as well as other projects. over the next few weeks to take advantage of the dry season with outdoor projects. 

Thanks in advance to all who will be serving with us in-country throughout the year, supporting us financially, and also those who will be praying for us from near and far. Every one of you is in mission with us and we could not do this without you!

I look forward to working with all of you!
Peace and Blessings,

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Monday, March 10, 2014

As March commences, Strong Missions is already in full swing. With the help of teams in January and February from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana (all very happy to leave the polar vortex behind!) we have installed the ceiling in the Iglesia Metodista here in Carrillos, leveled the tomato patch and planted a fresh crop, added a covering in the Carrillos Park for some much needed shade, begun leveling the ground in front of the Iglesia Pentecostal in Carrillos for a new parking area, painted a classroom and built lockers at the Carrillos school, packaged up school supplies for children in La Carpio and Los Guido, sewn new aprons for the cooks, and most importantly... shined Christ's light on the communities in which we serve! Can't wait to see what all God has in store this year!