Prisons, buses and crocodiles, oh my!

August 16th, 2017: Day 2

Our “Equipo de Esperanza” (Team Hope), as we have begun to call ourselves, started this morning with a prompt wake-up just before 6 am. We fueled up at the AMCA House (our lodging) with a delicious meal (as seems to be the usual around here) and then travelled in El Toaster (our bus) to La Reforma youth prison, where we split into two groups.
Our trusted tall athletes (also known as the men’s and women’s basketball teams) lead 5 youth in some basketball drills, while those of us who are more vertically challenged (the non-basketball players) taught a prison administrator and a guard how to use the Sawyer water filters.
We went through multiple different basketball drills including ball handling, passing as we shuffled up and down the court, full court layups and lightening (also known as knock out). The game of lightening was a nail biter, but D Rose (one of the youth) was able to hold off our very own Luke Dreyer in the final round. The game of 2 vs 2 was also called “no blood, no foul” as well as our 5 on 5 game (Ticos vs Hope basketball). Hope pulled off the victory after an impressive and bold half court shot by crowd pleaser Jack Thompson. The youth then challenged us to a soccer game, which both the tall people and non-basketball players participated. The Costa Ricans won……we’ll just leave it at that.
Our short friends had some fun of their own as well before hopping in to a good ol’ game of soccer. Our very own Hailey Houck and Matt VanDyken proved they listened during our on-campus training and flawlessly explained (translated one of our local Push The Rock staff, Nattie) not only the assembly of the filters, but also the purpose and maintenance. We also heard that sadly there is an illness that some of the youth have been contracting lately which could possibly lead back to contaminated water. After hearing that it was clear that God had elected this ministry of water to this place.

After leaving the prison we headed back to AMCA House for a quick lunch and packing time. We departed at 1:10 pm en route to Coto Brus in a new, air-condition-less bus (goodbye until Saturday, El Toaster), and arrived at the guest house for Fundacion Piedad at 8:30 pm. It was quite the ride, featuring an opportunity to pull over and see a group of about 30 crocodiles lounging on the side of a river together–some were in the river! Definitely a surreal moment, but we felt nice and safe above them on the bridge. Other van festivities included testimony sharing, snacks, more snacks, and a new running joke about I.T. Matt and Audit Cody (sorry, you had to be there). After we arrived and settled in, we were fed another delicious meal. We just had our itinerary prep meeting for tomorrow, and are all now looking forward to a good nights’ sleep! Hasta manana, Coto Brus.
Love: Geers and J

August 16, 2017– Across the Pond

Today, we arrived in London around noon local time after our seven hour flight from Chicago over night. Aside from exploding yogurt cups and leaky water bottles, the flight was uneventful (for us). We had six whole hours to explore and entertain ourselves at the airport this afternoon. We enjoyed wandering through the shops of the airport, napping on various pieces of furniture, playing card games, and getting a quick core workout prior to boarding our next flight.

During our layover we also had our first official overseas meal as a team, which included fortune telling and sugar roulette. Our next flight was 11 hours to South Africa. We boarded around 6:30pm local time. The plane was exceptionally warm and incredibly large. We flew an Airbus A380, which is a double decker plane – which was much more comfortable than our first plane. Luckily we were served both dinner and breakfast on this trip. We highly recommend watching movies and attempting to sleep if you ever find yourself on a flight of this length.

Currently – August 17th, we are sitting in the Johannesburg airport waiting for our flight to Livingstone, Zambia. We are looking forward to meeting the Poetice staff and people that we will be serving this next week.


Haley and Jenna

Hoops and clean water

Quick update:

Our first morning was spent at a youth prison near San Jose. We gave some basketball lessons and played some games. Most impressively, Cody dunked on the crooked outdoor rim that is closer to 11 feet than 10. We were able to demonstrate the water filter system to an administrator and a guard and we learned that they have been having some illnesses due to the water. We left filters to be placed in the cells and provide clean water for the youth.

We are hitting road this afternoon to another region of the country where it is unlikely we will have internet access. Thanks again for your support!

Equipo Esperanza-

El Toaster

August 15, 2017…Day 1
Mom, quit texting me. Dad, quit freaking out. We made it to Costa Rica, safe and sound.
Our journey today started bright and early at 6am, where we piled into Hope College vans and drove a bumpy 2 and a half hours to Chicago Midway Airport. From there, we began our day full of flying and waiting in lines. After fueling up on overpriced breakfast food and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, we boarded our first flight destined for Houston. Departure was around 11am, and after 2 hrs of Cody’s abnormally long legs folded into a middle seat, we arrived to Houston at noon (Houston time, appr. 1pm Michigan time).
We then proceeded to survey all available food options in the Houston airport before unanimously deciding on Chick-fil-a for lunch. After lunch Juliana insisted that there was a Nestle Toll House/Auntie Annie’s shop hidden somewhere within the airport. After searching each inch of each terminal, an employee of the airport informed us that, we were in fact, thinking of the wrong airport. ):
After a short but highly competitive stint of card games, which included euchre, war and poker with whatever coins were available, we boarded our Costa Rica flight around 4:40 pm. We were far from in the air however. After going through pre-flight checks we backed out of the terminal…and then proceeded to pull right back in due to a family who needed to exit the plane. After sitting in a steamy airplane cabin for an hour past our flight time, we finally had lift off and were on our way to Costa Rica.
Night fell as we traveled into Central America. We arrived at San Jose International Airport around 8:45 pm local time, 10:45 pm Michigan time. Lines for immigration were not short by any means, plus a hold up with Luke’s bag in customs only added more time to our airport stay (thanks to Juliana’s Spanish, Luke is still with us and not spending his first night in a Costa Rican jail cell).
We met our bus driver Christian and Nattie in the parking lot outside the airport, along with our means of transportation for the night, a great white bus affectionately name “El Toaster”. After a rather short 30 minute drive into San Jose, we arrived at our housing for the night, the AMCA house. This will serve as our housing or “base” for 3 or 4 nights of our trip.
We didn’t have to wait long to experience the typical Costa Rican cuisine of rice, chicken and beans, which we ate for dinner around 11 pm local time, 1 am Michigan time.
Thank you to everyone who has supported, is supporting and will continue to support in the coming week as we continue to serve in this awesome country. We have a big day coming up tomorrow and it is safe to say we are all in need of a good nights sleep. Continue to check back for updates this week, signing off for now…
Written by: Frankie + Luke

Tuesday: Officially Zambia Bound!!

By Tena & EJ

We are officially on our way to Zambia! These past few days have been full of preparing our hearts and suitcases for a week  overseas.

Monday, we gathered with the team going to Costa Rica. We started the day with Paul Boersma, who spoke to us about doing good unto others and the impact that “paying it forward” can do. Then Travis from Sawyer came to supply us with insect repellent and sunscreen, as well as help treat our clothes to keep the bugs away.

Later Monday night, we met at Tunnel Park to cook out and grow together as a team. We shared testimonies, and then humbled ourselves to each other and committed ourselves to the service we will do overseas. We did this by washing the feet of our teammates as Jesus did to his disciples in John 13. We spent some time praying over both teams and the work we will all do in both Costa Rica and Zambia before splitting ways for the evening.

Today, while our lovely Costa Rica friends were heading to Chicago for their flight, we all enjoyed a wonderful sleep in. We then met as a group to share more testimonies, answered final questions, and got pumped about our trip! We all seemed to be a little nervous and anxious about travel, but we all are generally excited for this awesome opportunity that God has given us.

We left campus at 5:00 pm and had a safe and easy drive to Chicago. We are now at the O’Hare airport and are getting ready for our flight to leave in an hour! This trip is finally becoming so real! Our next stop is London – only 2 more days until Zambia!

Team Zambia

Team Zambia is fired up and ready to head out tomorrow!

Tena Baar – Softball
Haley Fischman – Women’s Track & Field
Jenna Fort – Softball
Jager Haan – Men’s Track & Field
Eddie Ip – Men’s Track & Field
Britta Johnson – Softball
Emma Johnson – Women’s Track & Field
Sara Plohetski – Women’s Swimming & Diving
Brian Simonich – Men’s Swimming & Diving
Maya Smith – Women’s Track & Field
Allison VanderStoep – Women’s Track& Field
Kyle Weck – Men’s Swimming & Diving

Trip Leaders:
Caroline Dykstra
Mary VandeHoef

Meet Our Costa Rica Team!

Meet our team traveling to Costa Rica!

Francesca Buchanan – Women’s Basketball
Julianna Burlet – Women’s Lacrosse
Luke Dreyer – Men’s Basketball
Madison Geers – Women’s Basketball
Hailey Houck – Softball
Sydney Jones – Softball
Heather Randall – Women’s Basketball
Hayley Reitsma – Softball
Cody Stuive – Men’s Basketball
Jack Thompson – Men’s Basketball
Matt VanDyken – Baseball

Trip Leaders:
Dean DuPree
Mike Kauffman
Courtney Kust
Melinda Larson

Zambia Team Calendar

We’re launching our SEED Zambia team next Tuesday, August 15!  While in Zambia, the group will partner with Poetice International and serve with their sports ministry.

We recognize that sport provides an opportunity for athletes to have a significant platform from which to influence others and we can’t wait to see how God uses the passion and talents of our Hope College student-athletes as we serve with Poetice.

Take a look at the team calendar to follow along with our trip!  

Zambia Team Calendar

Costa Rica Team Calendar

We’re excited to send out our SEED Costa Rica team on Tuesday, August 15 to serve alongside Push the Rock (PTR).  It is their mission to use global sports ministry to proclaim the life-changing message of Jesus Christ through the pursuit of excellence in sportsmanship and athletics.

View the team calendar for a glimpse of how Hope College student-athletes will utilize their passion for sport to share the love of Christ with individuals around the world over the next two weeks!

Costa Rica Team Calendar