the LCD watch

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Family Album

Mom & Joel Cuddlin'

Beautiful Vistas

Beautiful sunsets in Quepos

Orosi Valley(near Cartago)

Wildlife of Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Natioanl Park / Quepos

bats sleeping upside down

Guayabo National Park (near Turrialba)

Photos of our 3 hour tour

Okay it wasn't really three hours but here are some of our pictures from our 2 week trip.

the crazy bridge on the way to Quepos and no it doesn't look worse than it is

the crocodile river that we crossed over on the way to Quepos

Finally made it

I guess after my fifth time of coming to Costa Rica my parents finally decided they needed to check it out . What it is that I love so much? On Saturday, February 3rd my parents arrived for a two week visit. This is the first time they have ever been to Costa Rica and the first time we have seen each other since September 17th, 2006.

I planned as much as I could ahead of time and had an itinerary for each day. I wanted them to see as much of Costa Rica's places and people as they could.

They came through the airport about 1130 after having arrived at about 945, let's just say it's kind of slow and leave it at that. But I was worried that I might have missed them as Jose & Fabi's car broke down the freeway on the way to the Airport. But I arrived about a half hour before they came out. We took a taxi home and Jose had his car taken to the shop and was fixed the following day. On Sunday, we went to Cynthia's parents church in the morning (an amazing 2.5 hour service). Jose's Mom made us Pozol soup for lunch and then we headed to the Volcano, unfortunately we arrived and it had closed just 10 minutes before. But we did truly enjoy just being together.

We spent the next morning with Cynthia's mom and dad (Pastors Rafael and Terecita) and in the afternoon we headed to Orosi Valley to look at some ruins of a very old church back from the time of the Spanish Conquistadors (my dad loves to look at old ruins). On Tuesday we headed to Jicotea to spend the day with Josiah, Cynthia and baby Joel. My parents were able to see my room being built as well as their home and the ministry building that were built by Northside teams a few years ago. Josiah spent hours given my dad the royal tour while my mom made a quick friend with baby Joel.

On Wednesday we visited the Guyabo National Park (with ruins of an old city) and had dinner with pastors Mauricio and Marjorie Lopez.

Early Thursday morning we left Turrialba (where we were staying; about 1 hour from Jicotea) to head to Quepos. Playa Quepos is a mere 6 hour drive from Turrialba (oh yeah, I had never driven there before) but we thought we'd just take an extra hour and quickly head up to see the Volcano that had been closed on Sunday. It said it was only 26 kms up but we didn't relaize how WAAAAAAY up it was. My little Pajarito (my great car) did really well but I think at parts we were moving about 10 kms an hour; not quite as powerful as Jose's V6 engine. It probably wasn't a brilliant idea to add onto a 6 hour drive. But we made it up took a quick look and some photos and headed back down.

We arrived in Quepos at about 5pm after some pretty steep hills and rough curves (oh ya, no air-conditioning which hit my parents (&me) about 1.5 hours outside of Quepos). Needless to say we were ready to relax once we arrived. A friend of mine in Quepos arranged a home for us to stay in and it was absolutely beautiful. What a blessing to relax and spend time with my parents for a full week. We visited the Manuel Antonio National Park and took a Mangorve tour by boat thru the Mangrove Forests.

We had planned to stay the last two nights between Quepos and the airport but plans changed and we ended up staying at Jose and Faby's again for 2 nights. It was really cozy and was just a great way to end the trip.

We had a great time but 2 weeks sure went by fast. I would love to show them more so please give them a little nudge to come and visit again soon.

My growing family

My 'family' from Costa Rica.

Josiah, Cynthia and Joel Hubbard

Mom, Marjorie & Mauricio Lopez, me, Dad

Fabi, Jose and Jose's parents (Dona Miriam & Don Manuel)

Me, Jose, Fabi's mom (Anabelle) and Fabi

Mauricio, Josiah and Josh Ellingson (from Northside)

Go Team Go!

Thank you to Ginny, Sandra, Cliff and Lynn & Jose and Fabi for giving of your time to help the families of Costa Rica. Thank you to Northside Foursqaure Church for your heart for Missions, for sending me here to be involved in these great ministeries and for allowing me to be a part of these wonderful and dedicated teams. I am truly blessed.

Plus More

Not only were 370 plus children helped to go to school. At the same time 3 other ministeries were taking place under the leadership of Ginny Sperling. Ginny planned, arranged, made crafts and found speakers to hold a conference dedication to the value of Women. It was a day simply to celebrate women in the community called 'You, woman are important to God'.

Ginny also arranged for a afternoon presentation of the Jesus video for the local kids. it was an afternoon complete with a message, fun, juice, snacks and prizes.

Another ministry that Ginny created for Northside is the 'Seeds of Harvest' Ministry. This is to help women in the community to find opportunites to bring more income into the home while recognizing all the roles that women need to play in the home. This ministry may include giving seeds to help plant vegetables to sell, to buying chickens to sell the eggs and in this case, the ministry purchased 3 sewing machines to make or repair clothing.


Okay are you dying to know how many kids we were able to help? How many in just 3 weeks? How many with only a team of 5 people from Canada? How many with only 1 rental car? How many with no previous information on the children? How many in the first year of the program?

Okay so HOW MANY??

OVER 370 Children!!!!!!!

Assembly Line

We could never have reached so many chidren if it wasn't for the hours of help by our "backpack preparing team", okay I just made that up by they really did deserve to have their own titles. These ladies worked late into the night after putting in full days at their own work. They unpacked over 1800 notebooks and 200 backpacks and then we surprised them with another 700 notebooks, more backpacks and all the school supplies (erasers, pencils, pens, glue, compas, ruler, pencil cases) and asked them to assemble them all. The team from Northside would have needed another week to do this as well as visit the families or we simply couldn't have done so many children. After Team Canada went home, Jose, Fabi and I took all the ladies out to give them a little thankyou for all the work they did.

Heading to Limon

Lynn, Sandra and myself along with the Heatherly's loaded up the 15 passenger van for a two day whirlwind tour to Limon (on the Caribbean Coast). Because it was going to take us over 3 hours to reach the first location and then 4 more to the second, we decided to only visit these homes once in order to have time to help more children. So we needed to pre-order the sizes of uniforms and take all the supplies we would need for all the children. This was difficult beacuse when we actually sized the kids, the sizes were quite different from what we had ordered. So after changing out the wrong sizes we were sure at the end that many of the sizes would be really wrong for the final kids. But miraculously we would reach in the bag and pull out the right size or the size we had (which was different than what the child ordered) would miraculously fit. In just two long days from 5am till 1100pm and one extra day for the Heatherly's, we were able to reach over 80 children in the Limon area and it is great to hear that Nathan has already been back to do some follow-up with the families.

Visiting the families

We took samples of each size of uniform and shoe so we could ensure the right fit. This makes the process twice as long as we needed to visit each family twice but we found out quickly was extremely important as sizing is very different with each brand of uniform as well as the sizes we were told were very far off from the actual size of the child. But again this allowed us to spend time meeting the family and discussing each of their situations. Each child was given a questionnaire to fill out which gives their Sponsor and us more information about them and we also gave each child a Gospel Booklet and explained that God had sent us all the way from Canada to help them.

During our scouting trip prior to the team arriving, we made contacts in each of the communities so that we could be sure that we were helping the most neediest children in each area. But we also had amazing stories of families declining help asking us to help their neighbour who needed it more than they did. That is the heart of a truly generous person who would give up what they needed for someone else.

It brings a lot of perspective to the extremely blessed lives that we have.

Northside Scholarship Program

These are some of the houses we visited over the three week period that the team was here. We personally spent time in each of the homes to meet the children and their families as well as to observe their need. Some had mainly physical needs like the loss of work due to injury or seasonal farmwork, some had family difficuties including single parents who couldn't work and even some with extreme difficluties including cancer, sickness, abuse and rape. It was an eye opening experience for all of us. We saw homes where there were no smiles, not even on the faces of littlest 2 year olds who shouldn't know anything but the smiles of a child's wonder and amazement at the world. But we were extremely encouraged to know that the little that we were doing was going to help these families.