1 Corinthians 12:12
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body.
So it is with the body of Christ.

Friday 21st July
We started the day planning the kids’ club that we would hold on Saturday. Some local families came to the church to spend time with us. We played some football and chess in the hall, and a local lady brought us some confectionary that we all enjoyed. Later on there was some more football with the locals, with some of the team trying to keep up.

(far right): Kayla, the Latin Link team coordinator, who we have been glad to have with us for the whole trip.

Saturday 22nd July
The kids’ club started at 9am and ran on a little, ending at 11:30am. Local Ticos came to help – leading the singing and dancing as well as some of the games. The children were between the ages of 6 and 12 – and we told the story of Noah’s Ark. After the story, we were visited by some puppets who answered some questions to make sure everyone had listened well. We finished with crafts: mosaic rainbows, model balloons and colouring sheets.

In the evening, we enjoyed some local food called Tamales at a host family’s house. Later, there was a youth event which started outside before heavy rain drove us inside. There were about fifty young people at the event. We recognised many songs, although they were sung in Spanish. Most of the time was spent in worship and prayer. Cameron reflected briefly on mission, which Tom translated.

Sunday 23rd July
Church was at 9am for two and a half hours – where we were dressed up in our Sunday best – we had a local group of dancers as well as visitors from a neighbouring church. After church, we spent time planning for the school visits in the coming week. Later in the afternoon, part of the team went on a walk with local teenagers, and some sugar cane was cut for chewing. Others spent time with their host families. In the evening, we all watched a film at the church with some locals.

Monday 24th July
We met at 8:30am to go to the school for 9am. In the morning, we were in two groups – with Cameron and Tom in different groups to help translate. Joshua went with the group that taught Year 3, while Amelie went to Year 1. Both groups conducted a 45-minute lesson, in classes of roughly 15 children. We taught numbers 1 to 10, as well as colours and animal names – all in English, using finger puppets to help. The children joined in a Spanish song and drew different animals. We played a guessing game, where one of us thought of an animal and described it for the children to guess. The children were very engaged throughout. At 2pm, we did the same again with Years 1 and 2, but different classes. It helped that Janice is a retired teacher and Tom is a teacher in training!

In the evening, some of the team played football with youth from the church and Katie was tackled from every angle!

Tuesday 25th July
Today we caught the bus to Valle Verde. The bus stop was next to the bakery, so Tom bought some local bread filled with custard – this trip has rekindled Tom’s love of Latino food! When we arrived at the church in Valle Verde, we were greeted warmly by Janice’s host family from her previous trip, as well as a gigantic beetle! A huge feast of rice and chicken had been prepared for us. After lunch, we went to see the house where Janice stayed in 2015 and to dip our toes in the river. We even saw a blue Morpho butterfly. Fifty children arrived for games and craft. We played ‘Pato, Pato, Ganso’, a parachute game, and ‘Stuck in the Mud’. Cameron read Noah’s Ark in Spanish and the puppets asked the children questions.  Joshua then taught half of the children how to make loom band bracelets and Mark made balloon animals with the other half. Next, we went to a nearby farm where we had a tractor ride and really did get stuck in the mud!

We were shown around the farm by tractor where it was muddy – but on foot where the land was drier. We walked between all the trees, and we were given some oranges from the plantation to enjoy as we walked. We reached the top where we were shown where the water is kept for when the plantations endure a dry spell. On the way back down in the tractor trailer, we stopped by a tree and the locals knocked down enough immature coconuts for everyone – these coconuts are known as pipas. Lyndsey had a very pleasant encounter with a rather large spider on her foot too! When we reached the bottom again, we all got to enjoy the pipas’ water, after some locals hacked them open. The tractor ride was the bumpiest all day, but only by a narrow margin, as half the team had to endure the trip back to Aguas Claras in the back of an open pickup truck in the pouring rain!

Upon arriving in Aguas Claras some of the team had to hurry to the church because Graeme was to give testimony at the prayer meeting and Tom was to translate. We all got soaked a second time when going from our houses to the church, but the evening went well – even if we had to put a wash on once we finally got time at home.

Wednesday 26th July
Today we were back in the school where we split into three groups and taught body parts using the song ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’, which the children loved. Some of the pupils already knew some body parts, but we helped them improve their pronunciation. We taught four lessons: two in the morning and two in the afternoon, working with children aged 8–11.

In the evening, Tom cooked carbonara for his host family (traditional English food?!), which Janice’s host family heard about so she has been convinced to cook them curry tomorrow.

Thursday 27th July
We saw our first monkey today! It was in one of the trees in the village and we knew from its call that it was a howler monkey. We also had the privilege of a visit from mission workeers based in San José. They were a couple from England and a family from Switzerland/Colombia, but both have lived and served in Costa Rica for over 12 years. It was great to spend time with them and find out about the projects they run.

We had a rare sunny spell in the afternoon so we wandered down to the river and played dodge the enormous leaf cutter ants. Lyndsey’s foot had a second encounter with a creepie crawlie. As usual, Cameron was first in the water, with Joshua a close second. Even Graeme was tempted into the river to try to drench the other members of the team and to build a dam.

We attended Thursday evening church which was both lively and reflective. Mark shared about his journey of faith during a period of illness, but Feya slept through it all!

Regular occurrences:

  • It seems to rain every time we have devotions – because of the corrugated iron roofs, the rain makes it very hard to hear each other.
  • Cold showers.
  • Drinking fresco.
  • Graeme with his various ‘Dad’ jokes: Why did Captain Hook cross the road? To get to the second-hand shop!

Answers to prayer:

  • Continuing good health.
  • That we can teach regular lessons in the school.
  • Good integration with local Christians at youth events.
  • That so many children came to the activities in Valle Verde.
  • Good communication with our host families, despite varying levels of Spanish.

Prayer requests for this week:

  • Computer is playing up, so typing this report has been a challenge!
  • Team members giving their testimonies.
  • That we can continue to work in the school.