Monday, July 13, 2015

Last day in the Garden of Eden, massaje & caliente agua

(The volcano chose to make an appearance.  I don't think we saw it the whole time we were hee last year.)

   Today is Sunday. It is our only full day at La Fortuna, so church services are scheduled for later in the evening.

Several of our group chose the option of taking a ziplining tour.  Torch members from as young as 12 (I'm guessing), to as old as 60+ (Ricky & Freda Butts from Gulf Shores, AL) flew through the jungle.  I decided to save my $$ and treat myself to a massage later.

Terry had arranged for us to have day passes (lunch & dinner buffet included) at Baldi Springs.  Last year, I chose to stay at our hotel, little did I know what I was missing.  Just imagine a Garden of Eden theme park.  That's the best way I can describe this place.

(Chillin' on the back porch of our room.)

In the middle of beautiful tropical vegetation you have heated lagoons & pools of varying degrees of warmth.  Many of us had sceduled massages, but we whiled our way hiking up and down sampling the many pools.

Several of us had appointments for 4:30, but Diane and I headed to the spa around 3:30.  They had an additional heated pool on what seemed to be the roof.  We relaxed there and enjoyed the quiet.  We headed down tot he spa and they treated us to hot tea and cookies.

One of our leaders had bargained for us to get a free facial if we selected certain packages.  I accepted the deal and got a full body thermal mud massage.  Let's just say it was heavenly!!!  Each massage room was partially open to the lush jungle.  When my massage was over I was directed to a shower.  In  CA is it very common for showers to be cold and this was no exception.  There was a filled tub built in to the concrete that I was hoping was warm water and it was.  After we got out, we got to lounge in our robes and were treated to either tea or water!!  Heavenly!!!

We ended the evening with our church service.  Singing here is what I imagine heaven to be like.  Except, I'll be a beautiful singer in heaven.    Our collection (it was a surprise) went to Cristian and his family who will be moving to the states in a few weeks for Bible college..  The family was moved to tears by this gesture.

Friends, I hope you have enjoyed following along with me on this trip.  Torch Missions 2015 as always has been one epic trip!!      

(Restaurant at Baldi, It was basically like an enormous tree house in the jungle.)

I have some great spa pics, but the internet is so slow right now that I'll have to share them later!!

Over and out!!! xoxo

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturday..leaving Camp Jennie Sue

(Do you know why it's called the rain forest?  It rains a lot!)

Friday I ended up the night playing cards and then turned in for bed early.  The longer I stay here the better I sleep.  Our cabin, with about 20 bunks for ladies was surprisedly comfortable.

I awoke early, as usual, and go ready quietly so as not to disturb the later sleepers.  I put on my makeup on the porch of the cabin and watched the ducks doing their morning routine.  This routine seemed to consist of morning stretches, some chatting and chastising, before jumping back into the stream for a swim.  (Kind of like our life.)

I worked on Friday's blog while waiting for breakfast.  We would only be at this camp through early afternoon before we would have to say good-bye to most of the church members who had come for the retreat.  Cristian, the minister, and his family would be going with us to our final retreat at La Fortuna.

We finished up our Bible retreat with one more split class.  Margaret Reeves lead ours and had us share our thoughts, feelings and good-byes to our Costa Rican sisters.  She shared that from her own experience that we have no guarantees that we would be back next year.  (She couldn't come last year.)  It is also always emphasized that this team this summer will never be exactly the same again.  She also exhorted us to do everything possible to make sure that we would all be reunited in heaven one day!!

Several of us shared and our hearts were full.  I shared that this experience, I felt, was the most like heaven there is on earth.  That is being surrounded by like-minded Christians while we totally focus on praising God, serving Him, helping others, sharing and learning more about the Bible, and being the hands and feet of Jesus!!!

There also was additional sadness because Cristian and Yendry will be leaving soon to move to the US for two years. Cristian will be attending the Southwestern Bible College and his family will be living in Texas during this time.  Yendry's mom, Maribell, cried and expressed her sadness about not seeing her daughter and granddaughters for two years.  (People in other countries, especially Central America, don't have the freedom to fly to the US.  In fact, Yendry shared how they had been trying to get a visa to study in the US for 8 years.  Each time they apply their is a hefty fee and most are often denied.  They had been denied until this last time.)

Not only that, Maribell was worried because her other daughter and son-in-law had gone to Panama to study.  While there, they had a terrible experience.  As a mother, she felt so bad because she wasn't able to help them as much as she wanted to.  We all assured them that their experience in the US would be much better.  In fact, if it wasn't, several of us said we would go to TX and help.

We packed up and left the camp after lunch around 2.  We hugged and said our good-byes and "Proximo Anos" to the church members that had to leave.  It is great that we can at least stay in touch via Facebook.

We boarded our buses to head to our final destination, La Fortuna. Our rided lasted several hours, but was filled with lots of sights to see has we headed over the moutanins that had been in the background the whole time we were in San Jose.  I will stop here for now, but try to add pictures that will tell the rest of the story.

(Sorry for the crazy selfie.  We made it to La Fortuna and Arenal Paraiso, where we are staying.)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Camp Jennie Sue (Fun, Faith & Fellowship in Paradise)


9:00    All suitcases in the lobby.  That was our only directions for the morning, so that meant a few extra minutes of sleep for me.  (5:30 AM has pretty much been the lastest I can sleep.)

We left the hotel in the city at 9:30 to head to Camp Jennie Sue in Sarchi, Costa Rica.  Has we head out of the city, we leave behind the San Jose.  Although there is glimpses of beauty there, it has the typical grime, and poverty of most cities.

Away from the city, the beauty of Costa Rica becomes more evident.  (Lush hills covered in plants and vegetation that Tennesseans can only buy in the house plants section of Lowes.)  Last year we did stay at Camp Jennie Sue, but we weren't there long enough to enjoy it.  This year it's different.  We've planned a weekend retreat/Bible study for the members of Purral church of Christ.  

Schedule for Friday:

12:00  Lunch
1:00  Men's class on Men's Church Leadership roles & Margaret Reeves lead the women in sharing our thoughts about our trip and what it has meant.

Break time  (There was a national pickup game of soccer.  I'm not exactly sure who won, but at one time the US may have had 20 on the field!!!)

2:00  Lesson on Youth Ministry taught by John Thacket and Jeremy Myers (2 youth ministers).

5:00  Dinner  which happened to be pizza from a local pizza place.  It was much enjoyed by all!!!!

6:00  Free time which consisted of many card games.  I myself enjoyed several games of Nertz.  (I can hardly ever get my family to play.)  I think there may have also been another game of basketball or soccer.

About 60 of us are sleeping in 4 very nice cabins.  I slept well!!!  Adios from Paradise!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Make me a Servant.....Thursday

It is our last day for the gospel campaign at Purral church of Christ.  With each day we have grown closer and closer to our brothers and sisters here.

Today  Diane had planned a surprise for our sisters here in Costa Rica.  We started the ladies' class by singing "Make Me a Servant" and then Diane said we would be studying about Serving.  She then read, 

Matthew 20:26-28

27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 
28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Then Diane said something like,  "You have served us this week with humbleness and love and now we want to serve you.  We want to treat you with a spa day."

We set up stations and we spent the next 2 hours pampering the ladies who had done so much for us during the week.

We had:

Foot wash/Sugar scrub

Rinse/Massage with special foot gel

Shoulder/Head Massage


I had also brought some of my Doterra essential oil blends.  I had Kris our translator (the preacher's sister) explain how they worked.  I had them each smell Elevation, Serenity, and Balance.  They picked the one that "spoke" to them.  I put some on their neck, as well put a drop on their hands.  They rubbed their hands together and smelled it.  

Everyone loved the spa day.  All of our ladies participated, both young and old.  I did the oils and then was just running around helping as I was needed.  As you know, coffee is very big here.  There's is always a huge pot brewed at the church.  I then got the idea to get coffee and cookies for the ladies.  They loved that too!  As we were finishing and cleaning up, Teresa Denney shared a poem she had read before:

(I actually think she may have combined several things.)

Several of the CR women were moved to tears as they expressed the gratitude.  It was a touching and humbling experience.  It is amazing out love and emotion can be communicated even with a language barrier.  (Of course, we did have a translator.  Believe it or not, the more you are around people that are speaking Spanish, the more you can understand.)

After lunch, we again had our afternoon work.  (VBS at the children's home, painting & door knocking) I decided I would go door knocking for a third time.  We got out as a group, but split up in smaller teams.  I worked with Byron, a young but mature Christian.  It was great working with him and getting to know him better.  He is planning to marry the preacher's sister and eventually take over preaching at the church when the current preacher leaves for TX.  (He is going to a 2 year Bible college.)

I'm running out of time & we are heading for a Bible retreat at a local Bible camp.  I'm not sure if we will have wifi.  I may not be able to post this weekend.