Tuesday, March 30, 2004

After taking part in Saturday's outreach, we returned to the Church on the Street for Sunday services. Some of our girls helped with the children, and the rest of the group attended the service. There was another Church on the Street outreach Sunday afternoon. Every outreach had some people who prayed to receive Christ, and lots of compelling testimonies. It was a reality check for our students to hear from these street people. Later in the evening, we climbed up the rocks at Papago Park in Phoenix to watch the sunset.

On Monday morning our girls conducted a women's outreach program for Church on the Street. Gayle presented the gospel and two women stood up to receive Christ. Then we headed up to the Grand Canyon, drove through the Painted Desert, and ended up at our hotel in Paige by evening.

Today we worked all day painting the house of a single mom in the area of Paige. Now we're getting ready to go up to Lake Powell for a campfire.

We've had a great time. Our guide, Steven Falls Down (Crow Indian) is excellent and well liked by the students.

We're not sure if we'll be doing work or recreation on Wednesday, but we'll make our way back down to Phoenix by evening, and fly home on Thursday. This will be the last update until we get home. -- Mrs. Barnhill

Monday, March 29, 2004

Now I know why Beth calls La Carpio blessed! We had an awesome day where our kids worked so hard, digging, pouring cement, organizing pantry shelves, etc. All of the goods that it took several suitcases for us to bring had to be organized and bagged as well. It took several of us about four hours to just do that! That is how much stuff we brought with us, thanks to Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Bonorandi and all of our students who gathered loads of goodies in just a couple of days to bring over. The precious church ladies fixed us a very special lunch and went out of their way to make sure the table was beautifully set. Then the kids came...about 100 of them. We did everything with them from skits, to praise and worship, to games, including Easter egg hunting and musical chairs, just to name a couple. Mrs. Hudson gave the Resurrection story with the carton of eggs. As the children left, we handed out hundreds of care bags full of items. We handed out clothes to moms and children as well. I cannot begin to describe La Carpio's conditions, as my words will be insufficient. The constant smell of the garbage assaults one all day long. Everyone lives in shacks with barely a front door, let alone furniture, etc. There are approximately 100,000 destitute people living in a one square mile city that is full of these shacks. What impressed me the most today is that these people have joy! You would have been proud of our students! I don't even want to know what they were digging out of some of those ditches, but they never complained! Even the Pastor and his wife, who are Costa Rican, live in a shack behind the church in La Carpio. Mrs. Bonorandi went inside their "home" and could not believe the conditions! These are precious servants, because they are choosing to live like this in order to minister to the refugees!

Tomorrow, we go to the Volcano Lodge where the kids will get to hike and go to the Hot Springs as well as the Volcano Arenal, which is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. I don't know if I will get to email you tomorrow night, as Beth told me the computer there is not very good. I will try though! If not, I will email you on Wednesday night!

Please pray for one student who is not feeling well. Mrs. Hudson has been a good mom to him though, and is making sure he is getting the care he needs. A lot of our kids are suffering from cold or allergy symptoms, but are trying to not complain! -- Love you all, Mrs. Lynch
We went to the beach today and also to the straw market. The straw market was really cool: all the people are selling the same things and you get to bargain with them. Travel home went very smoothly -- much more smoothly than the travel out. The flight is only 45 minutes. We're all looking forward to taking a shower in clean water. -- Faith

The sophomore group arrived safely back at school around 9:30 pm.
The freshman group arrived safely back at school around 9:00 pm.
Last night's sharing time went 3 hours; it was just incredible, the most meaningful sharing time I've ever been at. There was confession, repentance, and restoration. Many students expressed how much the visits to the low-income projects meant to them. There was a floodgate of ideas what to do to make a difference locally. Students also talked about the ropes course and the impact of encouragement. There was a lot of sharing about how to be more unified as a class.
The van is fine today; thanks for your prayers. The bus is expected to return to the high school between 9:00 and 9:30 pm. -- Mrs. Rhodes
Return flight information:
American Airlines #5150 departing Nassau 6:30 pm, arriving Miami 7:38 pm.
The school bus is expected to return to the high school at approximately 9:30 pm.
We have had an amazing day here! We started the day very early by going to the river in the Rain Forest with hundreds of refugees from La Carpio. The pastor of the church was there to baptize several of his members. As if this wasn't cool enough, Meagan, Jake, Casey and Janet all decided they wanted to be baptized too, so the pastor baptized all of them in the river! Joy...Jake says he still wants to be baptized in the FL ocean, but he could not pass up the opportunity to make a public commitment in the rivers of Costa Rica. We got lots of video and pictures!!!!

This evening was very different...much more than we had bargained for! We were in La Carpio for the evening church service. They were expecting a larger crowd than usual because they had a well known preacher coming. He is a 16 year old who has been preaching since he was 11. He has been on the radio and is very well known in Central America! The pastor was also going to give communion to the four of our students who had been baptized. We were all very excited to see this preacher and to worship with the La Carpio refugees. All of a sudden, the power went out! And it stayed out! Beth decided to have the bus pick us up early, as the pastors were concerned for our safety. They weren't worried as much about our physical well being as they were for our valuables. Anyway, they protected us well until our bus arrived and then gave us an escort to the bus. It was all very exciting, but I felt badly that we were not able to stay! We saw two transformers blow as we were driving out of La Carpio, so they were going to be out of power for awhile. The kids have been great and tomorrow, we have a busy work day at La Carpio. God is good! -- Love, Mrs. Lynch

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Update from a parent: Just heard from Jeremy.  They are having a wonderful time. They went to a baptism at the river today with the church in La Carpio. Four of our students along with others from the church were baptized in the river today. They had a great lunch.  Jeremy said the steak and chicken are fantastic. Lots of rice though...  Tonight they went to church which was supposed to start at 6:00 and no one arrived til 6:15.  (Guess they are on island time like the Bahamas....) A few minutes later the power went out. The people of the church surrounded the students and leaders to keep them safe. They escorted them out to their bus in single file so they were all kept together. They boarded their bus and headed back to the hotel. The people of the church look at them as their honored guests and feel responsible for them, Jeremy said.  They would not let anything happen to them. Even if someone scrapes their knee, they feel responsible. God is truly watching over this team during their time there. Pray for them as they minister to the people of the church in La Carpio. -- Mrs. Harford
Update from a parent: Just finished talking with Joy Rhodes. She sends this information:
Today was a great time at the Retirement Assisted Living Home. The interaction between the students and the elderly residents was amazing. They were happy we came. Then we headed off to the neonatal ward at the hospital. Unfortunately, there was a mix up in communication and we were not able to visit the ward. They were actually expecting us on Monday. We went back to the church and spent the time together. God really orchestrated this time for the freshman class to bond. It was wonderful to see.  Sarah and Kellie led in worship tonight and we are getting into our small groups for sharing time.
Please pray for us tomorrow as we head back home. The van wasn't working tonight and Keith Cochran had to come over and jump start it for us. Pray we get it started tomorrow and it makes it back without breaking down.
Today was AWESOME - the best day yet. It was so cool to go to an all-black Bahamian church. After the main service we ran Sunday School for the children. Due to a miscommunication, so we had to lead the children for 90 minutes instead of the 20 minutes we had prepared for. The first 20 minutes were fabulous, though. In the afternoon we returned to the orphanage and did the 20-minute program there. Then we hung out with the kids.

In the evening we went to the Adventure Learning Centre planetarium for a creation presentation. Afterwards we had a campfire. Mr. Smith gave everyone a styrofoam cup and asked us to use it to represent our life, and share about it. Some cups were scratched, some crumpled, some filled with dirt, etc. It was an AMAZING time of honest sharing.

Tomorrow we'll go to the beach and travel home! -- Faith

Saturday, March 27, 2004

We got to Arizona safely in spite of a travel problem in Dallas causing us to have to change to a different plane. In the Dallas airport, we met another Joshua Expeditions group headed for Costa Rica. We just finished an outreach with Church on the Street, serving hot dogs and beans to 100-150 homeless people. We'll minister with Church on the Street again tomorrow and Monday morning, and then head up to the Grand Canyon. We may or may not be able to call in any more updates. Pray that we'll all be open to the Holy Spirit's leading. -- Mrs. Barnhill
Adult leaders: Mrs. Barnhill, Mrs. Kelly, and Steven, the Joshua Expeditions guide
(via e-mail) Hi everyone...I am using Jeremy´s account...don´t ask! Anyway...we arrived safely...went to hotel first to check in...then went into San Jose...had a traditional Costa Rican dinner (delicious) and then did a little shopping...Jake got a couple of great masks...some of the other kids actually bought hammocks...again, don´t ask! We then went back to the hotel, rested, had devotions...Beth gave a great orientation to La Carpio...had dinner here at the hotel...we told the kids lights out at 11:00. We catch the bus at 6:30 am, 7:30 FL time to go to church at La Carpio. Church tomorrow is a baptism at the river and the La Carpio moms making lunch for everyone...of course, we will be there all day and there is no bathroom facility, so that will be somewhat of a challenge...you should have seen the looks on some of the girls´ faces! Everyone is doing well! Only a few stomach aches! Beth is great!!! Please pray for us tomorrow that our kids can stretch out of their comfort zones and not worry about the conditions of the camp, but instead concentrate on serving...I´ll write tomorrow night -- Love, Mrs. Lynch

Adult leaders: Mrs. Lynch, Mr. Mockler, Mrs. Bonorandi, and Mrs. Hudson
Update from a parent: They had a great day at the Dream Center today.  Kaila led a little boy named Samuel to Jesus!  Praise God!  She says Eulie's Church and Youth Building (the place where they are sleeping) is ENORMOUS and wonderful!  She says it's 16 of our RAC's!  That's pretty big!  They are Dixieland Stampede right now and are having an absolute blast!  They are planning on going to the Arnold Palmer neonatal unit tomorrow.  When I asked Kaila what we should pray for, she responded, "Everything." -- Mrs. Spina
We've had an incredible day. In the morning we went door-to-door with the Dream Center to invite local kids to an afternoon party. It was an eye opener to visit some very very poor families. In some cases we were able to pray with people or do other acts of service such as taking out the trash.
In the afternoon, we had a party in a park and just loved on the kids. We shared the Easter story and made gospel bracelets with the kids, and some kids came to Christ. It was hard to leave, because the kids wanted to get on the bus with us.
We received many compliments today, including people from the Dream Center remarking that our students really have servant hearts. Now we're back at the church and getting ready to go to some evening recreation. Everyone is doing well. Pray that the boys will go to sleep quicker tonight. -- Mr. Hood
This morning we worked at the Adventure Learning Centre; unfortunately many of us got sunburn. Our afternoon visit to the orphanage went well, although it was a little harder for the Bahamian children to open up to us than the Orlando children last year. We went to Atlantis tonight, which was absolutely amazing: the bathrooms were actually sanitary. Our prayer request is a theme we have on this trip: to put a smile on God's face. -- Faith

Friday, March 26, 2004

(It was difficult to get through by telephone, but they finally called in at 9:45 pm.) We all arrived safely this afternoon and things are going very well. The weather is cloudy but pleasant, and the water is absolutely beautiful. Tonight we prepared for tomorrow's visit to the orphanage and had a campfire. The group is already growing together, and several musicians are stepping up to lead music. Pray that we will minister effectively on the visit to the orphanage on Saturday. Also pray for our leaders: Mr. Smith, Mrs. Cohen, Mrs. Riter, Mr. Haines, and Mr. Spidell. -- Faith
The birth certificate arrived in time for the student to make the flight. Unfortunately, the other student with the passport problem will not be able to travel. -- Faith
The tenth grade group has arrived at Miami airport. There are already some problems with travel documents. Please pray that one student's original birth certificate can be delivered to Miami airport in time for her rescheduled flight at 3:50 pm. Also pray that a second student's passport problem can be worked out so that she can also board the 3:50 flight.  -- Mrs. Cohen
The ropes course was great today; we learned a lot of lessons, and we also received a lot of compliments. The drive up to Orlando was safe and we're now at First Baptist Church of Oviedo getting ready to go to sleep. Pray for our time of ministry tomorrow and our preparation for it. -- Mr. Hood

Adult leaders: Mr. Hood, Mrs. Wenzel, Mr. Wheeler, Mrs. Sengberg, and Mrs. Rhodes.