Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17th

This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and then drove 2 hours away to zip line! On the way to the zip line, we stopped by a river to see crocodiles. There were many of them just sitting on the side of the river. They were so big! Then we zip lined through a Costa Rica rainforest, seeing many trees and a beautiful view. It. Was. Hot. Then at the end, the inevitable afternoon rain came. The second half of the group was soaked. Unfortunately, we couldn't all bring our phones zip lining, so we don't have much to show, but they did take pictures of each of us individually on the zip line and we will have those soon :) after zip lining, we ate lunch at a resort close by. The food was delicious of course, and the kids enjoyed eating ice cream!

After lunch, we went to the beach!!! The sand was so soft, and the view was incredible. The beach was really refreshing. Then we traveled to a souvenir market and shopped a little more for you friends and family at home. Then it was back to sitting in more Costa Rican traffic to get back to our hotel. When dinner was finished, Openhouse staff including Julio Gonzalez, lead pastor, and all of our translators this week came to our hotel for a farewell presentation. They thanked us for everything we have done over the past week, and also put together a sweet slideshow of us at the schools during the week. It was a real treat. They are all such incredible people.

Students and parent pairs had a chance to go off by themselves and talk about their experiences together this past week and share cards they had written for each other. After, our entire group circled up and prayed for Costa Rica and thanked our wonderful Father for this life-changing experience. Now it's off to packing and sleep before we have to wake up tomorrow and leave for the airport! A last blog post will be posted tomorrow morning :)

Blog collaborated by the following:

Michelle & Caitlin Kelly- We have had an incredibly life-changing week. We loved every minute working with the children at the school. Everyone has been so welcoming to our team. We are sad to leave Costa Rica tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. love to grandma Patty and Nita, uncle Michael, and Kelcee. See you tomorrow!

Tracie & Camden Nolde- We just want to say thank you to my husband Jeff for encouraging us to do this trip and holding down the fort while we have been gone all week. This has been a life-changing experience and is one we will remember forever. Our hearts are forever changed, and a piece of our hearts will remain in Costa Rica and at Lomas School forever!! Can't wait to hug my son Chase and daughter Kennedy Grace and my rock Jeff tomorrow back on U.S. soil!!! We love and miss you all!!!

Sophia Russell- Dear family, te amo mucho (I love you so much)!! And I miss you so much!!! I can't wait to come back, but I would love you to see and meet who I met. I met children with beautiful hearts and beautiful minds. Thank you all for supporting me. I say family, but I mean everyone who supported me. Thank you so much for letting me do this!

Thea Russell- Thank you so much for all your support and prayers!! Sophia and I have had an amazing journey here and are forever changed by the children, the staff, and this ministry. Cannot wait to see you soon!

June 16th

Lomas cleaned the floors and windows of the rooms they painted and were able to put all the desks and chairs back into the rooms for the kids. It was so heartwarming being able to see the kids finally sit in their newly painted desks and classroom :) Our farewell party was so awesome. For our farewell, the kids sang some Elvis for us! They also had on their full Costa Rican dancing attire. They also gave us cute little key chains to take home. The Gringos (us) taught them the Whip and Nae Nae. It was very emotional leaving our sweet kids today, but we are so grateful for the opportunity we have had at the Lomas school.

Finca was able to visit Lomas this morning and see all of the wonderful and beautiful desks, chairs, and classrooms that the other half of our group has done! We also got to see the Kindergarten section of the school, which was absolutely adorable. It was filled with toys and beautiful paintings and crafts done by the little kids. Lots of work was done at Finca as it was our last chance to finish. We put finishing touches on the painting we already did, painted a new wall, doors, and bars, and then scraped almost all of the paint off the windows and ground. The parents diligently worked on the painting today while the kids were able to spend a little more time doing crafts and playing with the kids. Fun fact--we were served cow intestine for lunch today. Needless to say, our snacks we brought quickly became delicious. Our farewell was full of a special presentation of a song by a 1st grader at our school, gifts and cards given individually to each of us from the kids, and lots and lots of hugs.

After our work was finally completed at the schools, we ventured to Starbucks and got to see the National Soccer Stadium here in Costa Rica! So cool! Then we traveled WAY up into the mountains and ate at a beautiful and delicious restaurant. The view was so incredible. We also learned that at night, the restaurant is part dance floor! We saw a few traditional Costa Rican dances with full costume, and our students also got a chance to dance to some popular (and throwback) American dance songs such as Cha Cha Slide, Gangam Style, Maccarena, and Turn Down For What. It was a great ending to our emotional day at the schools. Tomorrow we visit the beach and go zip lining! ¡Pura Vida!

Blog collaborated by the following:

Jolene Tarpley- Bill and Kylie I miss you both and can't wait to share with you all the wonderful things we got to experience this week. Happy anniversary, Bill. Mucho Amor! 
Brooke Tarpley- All my friends and family, I miss you oh so much and thank you for all of your prayers!! Can't wait to get to tell you all the amazing stories!!

Michael Holmes- Thank you so much to all of you that supported us and prayed for us. It has been a remarkable experience. Love and miss you Chris XOXO
Allie Holmes- sending my love to you mom and the kitties!! Can't wait to see y'all on Saturday, I miss you!!

Brandy Parsonnet- Much love to my sweet family and loved ones who helped us make this trip happen. It's been life changing and a wonderful experience. Miss y'all dearly.

Maddie Parsonnet- We have had so much fun here and it was so hard to say goodbye to the kids but we did it! I miss you all and the dogs. Love you'll and will see u soon! xoxo