Returned from my Costa Rica mission trip

linda_in_iowaAugust 13, 2014

I got back very late Sunday night from spending 8 days in Costa Rica. There were 30 of us from my Methodist church and it was an intergenerational group. The youngest was 14 and I was the oldest at 72. On the flight from Dallas to San Jose, Costa Rica, there was another Methodist group from San Angelo, TX.
The day after we arrived we got to tour a volcano.
The next day we started work at 3 different locations, all within walking distance of the mission where we stayed. I was in the group that went to a Methodist church to work on a parsonage for the pastor. Another group went to a soccer field where they helped build a retaining wall and the third group went to a Pentecostal church to do some construction.
The following day, I got to go to with a group to a feeding center in a church in a very poor area of San Jose. After we fed the kids, we played basketball and other activities with them
At the end of the week we took a 5 hour bus ride to a beach on the Carribean coast where we stayed 2 nights. We swam in the ocean and I got to go zip lining. Others chose to go to a Sloth Sanctuary.
We had a very long trip home and had to spend 8 hours at the Dallas Airport because our flight to Omaha was cancelled due to mechanical problems with the plane. I am still tired but managed to go water walking this morning. It was a great trip and I am glad I went but this is the end of my mission trips.

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What is water walking?
Glad you are home safe!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:56PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Linda, that sounds like such an interesting trip! I'm sure it is very satisfying to do work like that and then you got to have fun too. Perfect!

Well, if it's your last, it sounds like you are ending on a high note!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Water walking is done in the lazy river at our aquatic center. You can either walk with or against the current. I usually run into someone I know and walk with them and we chat and forget how many laps we have done.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:58PM
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Know you had a great time!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:07PM
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Is this your last mission trip, or traveling in general?
I really enjoy Costa Rica and you should experience it as a guest, not a volunteer worker.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:16AM
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Are these mission trips really trips that you feel are set up to help the poor of the country or just quasi cheap church vacations where you give a few hours of your time and get dollars saved on fairs and cheap hotels...I have heard a few talk about their mission trips and it doesn't sound like they did a whole lot of real mission work...

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:00AM
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When my church goes on trips like this, doesn't matter if it is Russia, Hungary, or Africa, the kids always cling to them. I always think that must be heartbreaking to leave them. What touched you the most in your work there?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Regardless of the mission trips anyone takes there is always something good. It helps some and refreshes the people going. Thank you for helping out and yes sometimes it seems not much physical work is done, but just being with others is a true blessing. It tells them we do care.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:15AM
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This is not the end of my travels, just the end of mission trips for me. I am 72, was the oldest on the trip, and find that I just cannot do the physical labor that I did in my 40s. The heat and humidity exhaust me. Most on my trip worked very hard and accomplished a lot. I enjoyed interacting with the children. They are starved for attention and love.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:32PM
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the one my dd went on was beneficial and not a "trip"...but she also spoke the language and was helpful to the dr's who went as she had had medical Spanish as one of her classes in college...

she too, was amazed at the amount of children, and was almost over-run handing out simple toothbrushes...

what I object to is trying to convert people from their "home" religion to something else...

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 2:15PM
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Linda, thank you for serving humanity; regardless of what you did there! I hope to someday be able to do the same. What some people don't know is that mission trips are not free and most of the time they aren't "cheap church vacations" either! It's often quite costly to go help others!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 2:32PM
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Susan, we don't discuss religion with the people we are serving. We only help with construction and playing games with the children.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 2:57PM
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"what I object to is trying to convert people from their "home" religion to something else..."

I understand this view, though fundamentally that's what missionaries do. In Central America, I'm not sure what you pick as the starting point. The indigenous people didn't have a Western religion until the Spanish conquistadors came, at which point the padres introduced Catholicism. The Protestant missionaries came later. What do you call the "home religion" under such circumstances?

What I find a bit more puzzling - if the desire of the congregation in accumulating donations and doing fund raising, etc, is to help impoverished people (which is of course a most noble cause), why waste the funds on airfare and travel? Send down the money instead and make sure it's spent honestly and wisely. Allow a few people to go to supervise and let the others go on another trip. Apply as much money as possible to spend locally on whatever projects are identified. That would do a lot more good, wouldn't it?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Each time we went out for breakfast, lunch or dinner at the beach, we contributed to the local economy. The souvenirs that some purchased also contributed, as did our very plain motel rooms and our ziplining tour. Tourism is the #1 income in Costa Rica.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:29PM
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Linda, so glad you had a good experience! Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the Ticas are wonderful people.

Usually the airfares and lodging costs are paid by the individual, not the church.
And I would say the reason that people would rather go WORK is for the satisfaction of helping.
Throwing money at something isn't necessarily beneficial.

(Case in point, the US Gov't.)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:41PM
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Volunteering sounds like fun. It is not a free, or cheap, "vacation". Glad you could participate, benefit some, and enjoy the location.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:00PM
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Glad you are home safe Linda

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:53PM
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