Submitted by Mason Norris, Youth Intern


Sunday, June 19

After one final stop at our morning VBS site in Volio on Friday, we packed up and headed up into the mountains to our hotel for the weekend, directly at the base of the Arenal volcano. After attempting to keep up with a dozen or more local kids for a week (not to mention our own), a few hours of relaxation at the hot springs was very much appreciated.

Saturday was our full sabbatical day. The fog lifted from the mountain, giving us the weekend’s only clear view of the mountain in its entirety. After breakfast we headed straight for the zip line, 13 ropes descending down the mountain through the jungle. It was a harrowing, adrenaline-filled journey in which I am sure we only nearly escaped death. (perhaps this section should’ve been written by someone without a severe fear of heights?)

After lunch at a pizza buffet and a two-hour break at the hotel (i.e.: nap time) we descended the mountain to the town of La Fortuna, a village much like any other save for fifty variations of what could have been the same souvenir shop. I decided not to being my raincoat, meaning of course that it was coming down in bathtubs by the time we got there.

After purchasing one kilo of coffee, a Costa Rican flag, and what I am sure was the only extra large-size soccer jersey in town, we had dinner at the Lava Lounge, an American-style restaurant overflowing with foreigners and reggae music.

Today we drove back into Alajuela just outside San José, through a sampler tray of Costa Rica’s weather. The process of check-in at Juan Santamaria International is a breeze relative to the chaos of Orlando. As I write we are flying some miles off the coast of Honduras.

As we leave today, another group comes into Pura Vida, continuing the work of the mission. One week of any kind of charitable or spiritual work cannot do much good, but I am glad that our efforts are part of something larger, something permanent.

And as I hope that the effects of our work continue to shape San Ramón and Costa Rica, I hope that the effects of this mission do not soon fade from our hearts and minds. The lessons and spiritual growth shared on Wednesday night seem very far away surrounded by satellite TV and airport Cinnabon, but I hope we can carry a piece of our experience with us.

We continue to pray for Benjamín, for Juan, for Nacho, for Sharon, and all of the other children we met on this mission.

We pray for their safety, for their spiritual development, and their families.

We pray for those unable or unwilling to join us, and that our work continues to have a positive impact on the community as a whole.

We pray that as we come back home we continue the mission we set out to accomplish all those seven days ago.