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Unpacking Costa Rica: Days 4 & 5

So Day 4 was my absolute favorite day while we were in Costa Rica! This was the day we got to work with students in the INA program, which is a super-intensive 10-week course that teaches students to speak English fluently, and it was absolutely life-changing. This was the day that my heart just started to open up so much and I knew that God had put me right there for a reason. This is where I realized that something much greater was going on all around me, and within me. There was a shift in my heart, in the way I view the world, and the way I view life. I made amazing new friendships, laughed a lot, and I had the opportunity, even if just for a day, to see life through the eyes of another; and that was truly the most amazing experience of all.

August 1, 2018- Day 4 - Evening

TODAY WAS AMAZINGGGGGG!!!!! Literally my favorite day so far, God is so good!! Thank you Lord! I can not even put into words how today transformed my heart, and my life. We got to work with young adults around ages 17-25 who are taking classes to learn English, and we had the opportunity to learn about them, and what they want to do in life, and what they like to do, and their goals, and their dreams, and ahh! It was just amazing!!! I am so blown away by them, and by their hard work and commitment, and just the way they view life, and their outlook and perspective, there just aren't enough words to express how incredible today was. I learned SO MUCH from them and was just absolutely mind-blown by each and every one of them, just sharing their stories, and their goals, and dreams. Just all of it. One of the girls told me that she wanted to know her own country, all of Costa Rica first, before traveling anywhere else. How amazing is that?! Another guy told me that his favorite thing about Costa Rica is the culture, how family and community oriented it is, and I agreed and told him how I would love to see more of that back in the U.S. I mean, all of them just had the the hugest, most amazing impact on my life, and I don't think they even realize it. I need to write them a letter, actually I need to write a lot of 'thank-you's' to all the wonderful amazing people here.

God, I am so thankful, and so grateful for this experience, for my new friends, and for Your Holy and sovereign hand over all of this...

Thoughts & Reflections on Day 4

This was another day where I went back at the end of the day and recapped all the major moments in my phone before going to bed. I think I was just awestruck honestly, "I was so in-the-moment" the entire day, that I didn't want to miss out on it for a second. I made so many friends this day, we talked about all aspects of life, from what they were learning, to their daily lives, to their goals, and likes, and everything in-between. They were learning "phrase-verbs", basically things that we say that don't really make much sense if English is a second language. For example, "put off" and we would talk about the different ways you could use each phrase in a sentence, and give examples. Some of them were really tricky to explain and even stumped me lol They asked us questions too, about our lives and about the U.S. and we came to find out that many of us had a lot in common. Most of them were around my age, and being able to see that they were actually SO similar to me, was life-changing. Sure, we all have different backgrounds and different mountains to climb, but at the end of the day, we are all just human, trying to figure out how to "adult" lol, and going through this human experience together. The one thing almost every single one of them said was how close they were with their families, their communities, and each other. They did life together and their love and support for each other ran deep. Coming from a country where individual success is so highly praised, it was so eye-opening and beautiful to see a place where everything they did, was done with others in mind, building each other up, encouraging each other's goals and dreams, and helping each other to achieve them. I know that there are broken families there too, just as there are here, and broken communities, and broken people; but, wouldn't it be amazing if little by little, in each action and attitude that we take towards others, if we could start to think and act that way. Putting others before ourselves, building each other up, instead of tearing each other down, supporting the ones we love, inspiring and encouraging others, going through life together instead of alone. I think so <3

After class we went to a small bakery in town and got some yummy Costa Rican treats & coffee, we all sat around and talked for a while and just enjoyed each others company and got to know each other more. We all went on a trip to the grocery store together and I enlisted the help of some of my new friends to pick out the "best" local coffee for me to bring home. Three bags of coffee later, let me tell you, they did not disappoint haha :) We had such amazing discussion that night after dinner! I was just so so so thankful for this day, for my new friends, and for the work that God was doing in my heart, and in all of us.

August 2, 2018- Day 5

Today was our last day at the worksite and it was so sad. I will be happy not to be covered in mud anymore lol but I will miss the drive out to La Guaria, and the house where we ate lunch everyday, and the nice family who cooked for us. We also got to go to the school today and hangout and play with the kids which was AMAZING! and which tugged so deeply at my heart! I don't know what exactly, but I feel like God is tugging at my heart so deeply to work with kids, they just bring so much joy. It made me miss my little sister a lot. I met a little girl at the school name Lindsay, she was six-years-old, just like my sister and she reminded me SO much of her! Her and her family brought us out coffee & treats the other morning, as we were working on the pipeline in front on their house, and she remembered me from that! We all played hot potato and Simon says and did the chicken dance, and limbo, and even finger-painting. It was so much fun! I never want to leave, and I am so sad to leave Los Chiles tomorrow as we head to La Fortuna, but I am excited as well for the adventures we will have there. I will miss all my friends here in Los Chiles and I can't wait to come back, God willing, I pray I do! I am so thankful for all my new friends and for my many blessings! Amen!

Thoughts & Reflections on Day 5

This was such a bittersweet day honestly, driving to and from La Guaria that day, I was really just trying to soak it all in, knowing I wouldn't get to make that drive again, at least not for a long time. I wish I could put into words how beautiful it was there, but nothing could truly describe it. The last day we laid some major pipes down the main road, and I got to be the "gluer" lol I had a paintbrush, and some weird glue, and I would shuffle along the road as we went, connecting one pipe at a time. It was so cool to look back and see that we had lined the whole road with pipes! I also got really good at covering them up with dirt and it was high-key really fun lol After lunch we went to the school, which I was SO excited for. If you know me, you know I have a heart for kids, and it was just exploding on this day. We opened in prayer and every single one of those little ones, bowed their heads, and prayed to themselves as Jon lead in prayer. It was so precious. We had so much fun playing silly games with them, and half of our group went outside to play soccer with the older kids, who got COVERED in mud and then all ran under the giant hose to rinse off, which was hilarious. I painted pictures and spelled names with my new friends, and then we said our "see you laters", I hope. I miss them all so much and I pray that I will get to go back to that school again one day. I am so happy and so grateful for the welcoming hospitality of the people of La Guaria, and so blessed to have been a part of their lives for a week. I pray that I will get to return there one day, that what we did while we were there helped, and that perhaps we left a smile in their hearts, as they did in mine <3


Nicole <3

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