What we do Inspirational stories Step team reports Summer Step 17 Costa Rica report 3 - 08/08/17 Philippians 1:9–11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Friday 28th JulyThe day began with our team devotions and then we headed off for our first visit of the day to the school. On our arrival we were told that there had been a change of plan and that we were to come in later. This gave us an opportunity to nip to the local shop for some refreshments as the temperature was already around 30 degrees. We had decided to do a Bible study and told the story of Noah and Joseph to four different classes during the day. The children then enjoyed taking part in a group quiz and decorating a Joseph coat each. We then had coffee at the church and were told the surprise of the day which was that a group within the church had arranged for us to go to the Therma Mania hot springs. Not only that, but our host families all supplied us with a picnic dinner to have while we were there. The views on the way there were stunning, just arriving in time to see a beautiful sunset. Playing and splashing in the warm water was amazing, an experience that will be long remembered. Saturday 29th JulyToday our team met at the church for our time of devotions at 8 o’clock – quite an early start for those who were late to bed the previous night. At 9 o’clock the children started arriving for the club as we were quickly tidying the hall. About 20 energetic children came along and a local leader began the session with a welcome and then as she prayed the children repeated the words of the prayer. We followed the usual pattern for the club, beginning with an item of praise and then moving on to games. The local leaders led the first two games, while our team led the next two games. We then moved on to the story of the lost sheep, telling the story and then having the story performed by puppets. Finally, it was time for crafts. We organised three crafts: loom bands, a balloon activity and a sheep scratch card magnet activity. The children enthusiastically worked on the crafts and seemed reluctant to stop when the time was up. Several groups stayed and loom band making continued, as well as a group playing Uno. The team then went home for lunch and later returned to the church to have coffee together and plan the lesson for school on Monday. In the evening there was a youth group meeting near to the church. A team member gave her testimony and Kayla, the Latin Link co-ordinator, did a lesson about Elizabeth and Mary with the youth group. This was followed by praise and games and then Kayla bought a much appreciated treat for everyone. And so ended a busy week in Aguas Claras. Time is passing very quickly and we are already feeling sad about our departure from such a warm and welcoming community. Sunday 30th JulyToday was our last Sunday service. Tom gave his testimony in Spanish, while Mark, Katie, Graeme, Janice and Cameron sang ‘Lord, we lift your name on high’ at the front, and the congregation prayed for us as a team. The church said they were very blessed that we had come and we were blessed to be there with them. In the afternoon, the whole team and their host families went to the nearby lagoon for a swim. On the way we spotted a family of monkeys hanging from the canopy and a tree snake slithering up a tree. Some of us thought it would be a good idea to go for a swim in a lightning storm, but then hurried out quickly from the lagoon and later stopped at a local maize farm. We had coffee, buns and cakes, chatting and saying some goodbyes to people. All in all it was a great trip out with some cool photos – even though some of us were a bit soggy! In the evening, we met again for final preparations for going into school on Monday and Kayla went on a frog hunt. Amelie’s Report On Sunday we went to the church and we had a service and then some children came to the front of the church and they did a dance and then we had a children's group and then we went in the car for a long time then we stopped to see some monkeys in a tree and then we did a walk past some cows and on the way past the big large lake we saw a long snake. Then we went back to the car and we got very drenched so we drove to a nearby farm and we had some coffee and bread and some juice we had a sit down and some people got some sweet corn then we went in the car to go home and get all nice and warm and when we got to are little house Hilda offered very kindly for Amelie and Joshua and Feya to have a little bath in her shower and then we had dinner and Amelie went outside to see Tom and Janice and kayak and they where catching frogs and we catched four frogs and the others of our group came to see the frogs. Monday 31st JulyWe were back in the school today, with a geography quiz for Years 3 and 6. The children enjoyed learning about other countries. We also played a game called ‘Stand up, sit down, turn around’, where we called out instructions to try to trick the children. At lunchtime we were treated to a delicious barbecue outside, with salsa and iced tea. Somewhat sleepily, we returned to school for another lesson, this time with a general knowledge quiz which tested the children’s English as well. Tuesday 1st AugustThis morning we saw a sloth! We were very excited, as it is rare to see them in Aguas Claras. We spent a fun morning in the school with Year 1, teaching about Joseph and his multi-coloured coat, and with Year 3, exploring the theme of friendship. We asked the students what they thought made a good friend and we made some paper friendship dolls together. The children were very engaged and thoroughly enjoyed the lessons. In the afternoon, the school was closed at short notice, so the team made the most of an unusual dry spell to wander down to the river and cool off. Graeme worked hard creating a dam so that there were little rock pools for the children to sit in. The most courageous of the team (Cameron and Katie) went down the fast flowing water in a rubber dingy. Some of the team picked up litter between the church and the school. At the evening prayer meeting, Tom gave a short message of encouragement and Mark led the prayers. Pastor Melvin thanked us for coming to Aguas Claras and prayed for us. Wednesday 2nd AugustOn Wednesday morning we met at the church one final time to say goodbye to all the new friends we had made. We took many photos and there were many hugs. We wished each other every blessing, and one of the locals led in prayer for us before we parted ways. We travelled by busetta to Playa del Coco for our debrief. We arrived to blazing sunshine and tropical heat which we thoroughly enjoyed. After lunch we made our way to the beach. We had a lovely afternoon in the sunshine paddling in the sea and then we had a restful evening. Katie, Janice and Graeme went out for some fruit and we tried Dragon Fruit which was generally very much enjoyed. After lunch, we went out for the afternoon into the evening – we had ice cream, walked on the beach and bought some souvenirs. As this report is getting written, we are anticipating our last official group meeting and we might be up until late. We leave on Friday for home, but this last three weeks won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Regular occurrences: Speaking Spanish every chance we get. Saying a greeting to everyone we see (not very British!). Drinking afternoon coffee and eating cayettas. Younger members of the team playing football in the evenings with the local young people. Laughing about our Spanish mistakes or misunderstandings. Yolanda bringing us delicious goodies to eat. Getting caught in thunder storms. Answers to prayer: Continued good health. That the team are still getting on really well. That we had such a positive response from the children in the school. Prayer requests for this week: Safe travel back to our homes. That the community in Aguas Claras would continue to thrive. That we would be able to stay in touch with the team and with our Tico friends.