Friday, July 18, 2008

Packing it all up.

Well, it's Friday night, and the plane leaves tomorrow morning. We have to leave the hotel at 5 o'clock. Anyway, to wrap things up, we've done a lot this week--and it's been a lot of fun.
The last couple of days at Mansion of Light the guys worked with cement. We mixed and poured cement to widen the side-walk, make a handicap ramp, and make a small step for kids to sit on while eating. It's taken the better part of yesterday and today--it feels good to see it finished. The women at Mansion of Light painted the children's room--walls, tables and chairs--and finished the details on the front gate and the communion table. A group today also went to the Britt coffee factory.
Our entire group had the opportunity to go watch some basketball over at Cinco Esquinas. The kids the other group had been teaching have come a long way. (I've included some pictures from Thursday at the basket ball camp.)
Like I said, it's been a fun week, and we've done a lot. We said our last goodbye to the people at the churches today. We saw a few tears when we left. Still, it feels good knowing that we've helped the people here--by cement and paint, and by letting them know that we care about them.
Well, I'd better get moving, we've got a long day tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers, and thanks for reading!
-Steven Hussung

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Combine nine basketballs...

Well today at Mansion of Light we moved a lot of dirt and painted. But you've heard a lot about Mansion of Light, so I asked Dale Gentry to write about the team doing a basketball camp at Cinco Esquinas. So, here it is!
Combine nine basketballs, six EBC “coaches,” and a growing group of excited Costa Rican children, and what do you have? The mission trip basketball camp at Cinco Esquinas.
On Wednesday, we had the largest group of the week, and the sunniest and hottest day so far. Twenty-five children – ages 5 through 14 – showed up, much to our delight. Even though Ticos (Costa Ricans) are well-versed in soccer, basketball seems new to them. But they are catching on quickly.
The camp started on Monday morning with our two planned sessions, and seven children in attendance. Frankly, we expected more. But we enthusiastically worked with them on fundamentals, and afterward went on a “basketball parade” through the neighborhood, led by Jorge – one of the older boys. Jorge took us on a tour of the homes of all his friends, arriving on most occasions ahead of our translator, Marlena, and enthusiastically telling them about the Gringos holding the basketball camp. Even a rain shower couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm. There’s no question he’s a basketball “evangelist,” and a natural leader. We dribbled down the street, demonstrating some skills, drawing curious stares from the sparse houses, and understanding little of what was said.
The parade proved successful. We arrived Tuesday morning to find all of our first campers returning plus two new children in the younger group, and four new ones in the older group. On Wednesday, the numbers doubled again.
Our goals for the week are to get to know the children, teach them the fundamentals, encourage enthusiastically, and do it all with the love of Christ. We are also working toward a “game” night Friday, when parents are invited and we will feed everyone hot dogs and I’m sure a lot of Costa Rican side dishes.
Wednesday was the first day to play two-on-two, three-on-three and four-on-four. If we’d thought about it, we wouldn’t have been surprised when the first group was asked to throw the ball in and attempt to score. They immediately threw the first pass back toward halfcourt and then into the backcourt to set up a play (just like in soccer). We also noticed immediately that they were unselfish passers, gladly looking to give the ball to other teammates – but very hesitant to shoot. Tomorrow, we will attempt our first full-court action … which should be very interesting.
Basketball team members are John Huskey, Ashley Eldridge, Jennifer Griggs, Grant Harbin, Greg Schloesser and Dale Gentry.

So, that's what they've been up to. I hope to add pictures of the basketball team tomorrow.
Until then!
-Steven Hussung

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another day at Work

Today we painted, a lot. I painted, he painted, she painted. They painted, we all painted, long day, phew! It was fun. Most of the first coat we had done yesterday, pretty much everything down low. So we had to paint the higher parts with the first coat and the lower parts with a second. The lower part we got done, the higher part still needs work. We also started painting a second color onto the cement.

The mosaic on the communion table had fallen apart since January. The tiles had come off, and the table had received water damage. So, three women worked all day on restoring it. They sanded it down, scraped the old grout off, restained the wood, put the tiles back into a mosaic and glued them down--when they can they will put a coating on top of the tiles to seal them further. This is the table before they worked on it:
The group doing basketball had more kids today--15 to 20. Yesterday they had around 8.
P.S. I'm sorry I didn't include pictures yesterday--we didn't take pictures and my computer wouldn't load things from other peoples' cameras.
-Still working!
-Steven Hussung

Monday, July 14, 2008

The work begins...

It's Monday night--and we worked hard today. Half of us sanded and painted and cleaned all day, and the other half taught some kids how to play basketball. We have two sites, one at Mansion of Light--where we are painting the front gate and fence, and Cinco Esquinas, where we are teaching basketball. I was on the painting crew.
First we had to prepare the surface, so we sanded and coated it with turpentine. We also washed the cement. That took a while, pretty much all morning. I think we had at least eight kids running around the church yard and street before lunch--and they hung out with us all day. For lunch we had fish, which was very good, with mashed potatoes and vegetables. In the afternoon we started painting. By the end of the day we had pretty much done the first coat.
At one time during the afternoon, the pastor of the church took us for a walk around the community that the church was in. Once again, it was eye-opening. Looking at the small, rickety houses makes you feel bad for the people who live in them, but seeing a kid you know living in a small rickety house just changes everything. Still, for people who don't have much, they act as most people do. My Dad noticed that in the church service, during a prayer, the pastor was thanking God for the things they had. It went something like this. "God, thank you for this church, thank you for our friends, thank you for everything." Although "everything" isn't all that much--at least, not much stuff.
-Until tomorrow!
-Steven H.
Well, I didn't write a blog Saturday so this one will have to cover Saturday and Sunday. On saturday we got to be tourists for a while. Most of us had an excursion in the rainforest--although a few went to the beach. I went to the rainforest. Getting there took about an hour of driving--and a little more to get ready and get to the station. The first thing we did was zip-lining. Here's how it works, you wear a harness, which attaches to a long cord above your head. You then lift your feet off of the ground and slide down the line. The lines we were going on were about 50 feet in the air--and the views of the rainforest were absolutely beautiful. Once we were back on the ground we took a hike through the forest, it was really something. The plants look exactly like the ones you see in pictures, except they were real.

On Sunday we went to two church services, one in the "Mansion of Light" y le otre en "Cinco esquinas." Mansion of Light is in a very worn down neighborhood--but the people were clean and nice. They played a lot of music. The music was wonderful--even though we didn't know what they were saying. I figured it was about Jesus and/or God, and they seemed like they meant it. It was a very different feeling, trying to worship without knowing the words. Anyway, after some music they introduced us, the whole congregation came up and shook hands with us. Afterwards Bob Ogle and my dad, Mark Hussung, played amazing grace, and then I played the old rugged cross. Then they had a sermon--althogh we had to leave in the middle.
At Cinco Esquinas, again, they played a lot of music--which seems to be common in Costa Rica, and then welcomed us. The neighborhood they were in was nicer than Mansion of Light. After the music they had a sermon, and they had a translator tell us the sermon in English. It was nice to be able to follow along. After the sermon they played a little more music, and then we were done. The rest of the day we saw a cathedral, the ruins of a cathedral, and went shopping. Tomorrow we start working.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Costa Rica at last!

We're in Costa Rica! We arrived in the airport around 1:30 TN time, 11:30 Costa Rica time. We got our first great view of Costa Rica in the customs line.

Once we were through customs we shuttled to the hotel and stayed there until dinner. A couple of floors up from our room is a balcony, and you can see out into the surrounding neighborhood. It's really shocking to see where some of these people live. The lower-class houses are very small, with no glass in the windows. They are packed into small lots. There were a couple of houses with yards we could see, but they were only two or three steps across. It was sad, inspiring in a way, but still, very sad to think of anyone living their lives there.

The rest of the day we spent eating--which was great--and shopping at Hiper-mas--which was also fun. We then went to Pops, the ice cream place. I can honestly say that they have some of the best ice cream I've ever had.
Tomorrow we have excursions to the rain-forest or beach--I believe about 5 are going to the beach, and the rest to the rain-forest.
I think that all of us are getting more inspired by the minute, I know I am. Also, thank you for your support!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In Atlanta

Hello again! We are currently in the hotel in Atlanta. We have to be in our lobby at 6:00 AM tomorrow, so we should be in bed early--although John Husky probably won't be. We are all getting excited about the trip--I can't believe it's just one night's sleep away.
In the book of Luke chapter 10, when Jesus sent out the disciples, He said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field."
The harvest is plentiful--we have plenty to do in Costa Rica. I'm also thankful that our team this year isn't small--we have almost 20 people going. I also think we should remember that a missionary doesn't have to "go" anywhere--Tennessee has plenty of fields too. :) Please pray for us--going and staying--as we to work.
-Tomorrow in Costa Rica!