C ya CR 🇨🇷🫶

Hello everyone–it’s Cara and Justin!

We apologize for not catching you up last night. After a wonderful last day in La Casona with the Guaymí people, we left for Jaco about 40 water filters lighter! We are all so thankful for the incredible memories that we have with the students in Puntarenas, the Pastor’s family, and each other in the jungles and mountains of the region!

We ran a little late to the school in Puntarenas because of a slight bus malfunction. We are lucky that we are a team full of athletes because the battery on the bus died after standing idle for a few days and we had to push the bus up a small hill in order for the bus driver to work his magic and do a rolling start.

The school in Puntarenas had the most kids of any school we have visited. Our team was tired, but the kids quickly energized us with their excitement to play sports with us. Carl and Brendan, the lax bros of the team, loved how excited the kids were to learn lacrosse. The kids shared the few sticks we had and a smile rarely left their faces. Justin sat with a few kids at lunch as they had their first sips of clean water. Cara shared a short testimony with the kids about praying to God and trusting Him to provide for our every need.

After we left the school, we returned to the Pastor’s house and quickly packed our bags to head to Jaco. We are so thankful to the Pastor and his family for their hospitality. One of the hardest goodbyes of our trip was to the Pastor’s sons David and Daniel. Both of them took groups of us on strange adventures that quickly became some of our favorite moments of the trip. As we were leaving, Daniel remembered his adventure with Justin and Natalie searching for mangos. Daniel ran up to Justin to gift our team with a bag of fresh mangos. Carl was sad to say goodbye to his new fishing buddy, David, who helped him find a fishing rod, line, bait, and hooks (they shared a very exciting celebration when David caught his first fish ever!).

After our goodbyes, we started our trek to Jaco in our tan bus with the pastor’s kids chasing us down the road. After spending days surrounded by lush rainforests and the Talamanca mountain range, we noticed the world around us change from green to blue as we stopped for lunch at one of the most breathtaking sights in Costa Rica. The “Whale Tale”, named for its tail shaped land formation off the coast of Costa Rica was almost as beautiful as the food that came after many hours on a bus directly following playing sports with children.

Last night, we arrived to a hotel in Jaco and enjoyed our first feels of air conditioning in a while and could even flush our toilet paper (what a luxury). Quickly, we hurried out of our rooms to enjoy the pool and the gorgeous black sand beaches! With just a few hours before dinner, we made the most of our time by exploring the beach and the different amenities of the hotel we stayed at.

After dinner, we gathered outside to hear the final testimonies of our team: Brendan, Carl, and AJ. Hearing each others’ experiences with God has been incredibly encouraging for our team. After sharing testimonies, we spent time each night speaking encouragement into one another’s life. We are so thankful for those special times. We were all slumped after the long day and knocked out for the night quickly after team time.

This morning we slept in a bit and then had Bible study together. Kevin led the study on “Happy Purity”, where we talked about how we can continue to let the impact of this trip influence the way we live our lives when we come home. We talked about how we have to download the right stuff to our “moral laptop” and how we shouldn’t distort ourselves to fit society’s mold like we might see ourselves in a fun house mirror. As we headed into our day, it was nice to share messages about the impact of our trip and how we can carry our experiences here with us back home.

Following a quick breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Jaco’s main beach where we could swim, shop, and eat lunch. With the group split in a few different directions before lunchtime, we all met up at a taco restaurant to have a phenomenal meal together. After the meal, many of us headed back to the beach to rent surf boards and teach ourselves how to surf! We had a blast and lost track of time until it was time to head back to the AMCA house in San José.

On the bus ride back, we continued to recap our trip that has simultaneously felt like 1 year and 1 second. We prayed for our leaders from Push The Rock, and received their prayers as we made our way back into the center of the country to the capital city. After arriving back at the AMCA house, we ate a quick dinner, wrote letters to our future selves, and started to get ready for our very very early flight. (PSA if you call us tomorrow before 12 you might experience a very cranky SEEDer).

As we look back on this trip, we cannot express our gratitude for all of the incredible people we have met, all of the beautiful places we have been to, and all of the love we have shared. Goodnight y’all.

-Cara and Justin

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