2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica: Day 4&5 — Work, work, work … ahhhh, REST & RESTORATION :-D

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Blessings in the Grace of the Easter Saturday! To think we were waiting in the screaming silence of Holy Saturday at the tomb of Jesus, and then …. RESURRECTION HAPPENS! This is exactly what the missals from our ECM students & Deacon Cecily have sounded like. There are more pictures to come, so stay tuned for their return … and pray for safe travel back to us over the night tonight into tomorrow morning!

 

With gratefulness, your servant in Christ,
Paul+

 

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Dear Father Paul and the St. Thomas Community,
Our final day of work has been completed and it went quickly. Yesterday, we helped the Hogar Escuela in Heredia by painting one of the classrooms, a jungle gym in the playground, and entertaining the kids during their sports day. It was an emotional day; on the one hand, we completed all the jobs we set out to do. But on the other, we had to say goodbye to all the people and children we bonded with the past few days. The children gave us thank you cards before we left, which was a great reminder of the lives we touched.

 

Bishop Héctor did a Eucharist mass when we got back to the Diocesan home. He preached about how he was elected and how our work and the church is similar to surfing. Coming across the right opportunities to help the most people is like catching the perfect wave. We came to Costa Rica at the right time and my hope is that we can apply this to many other locations, including Delaware. He gave us handcrafted cross pendants to remember our time here.

 

We concluded our day with an energizing dance lesson, learning various Costa Rican and popular techniques from the bachata to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We’ve got a talented bunch out here! It was a lot of fun and gave us some much needed R&R. Today we went to the beach in Manuel Antonio. It was a long drive (3 1/2 hours!) but it was worth it.

Our prayers are with you, especially during our last day here in Costa Rica. Here’s to living “pura vida”! 🙂


Sincerely,
Matanda Mondoa
PS – I’ve attached a few photos here and I’m compiling more to put on a website by the time we get back.

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica: Day 3 — Bishop & Babies!

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Blessings in the Grace of Easter Thursday, the fourth day of our making resurrection happen in our life, in our world … and our ECM students & Dazzling Deacon Cecily continue to serve, share, and grow in Spirit of Love in their ministry in Costa Rica. Today’s update from Carson Hanna.

 

With gratefulness, your servant in Christ,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+
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Buenos tardes Father Paul y St. Thomas!

      Today was our fourth full day in Costa Rica, and our third day of work! We visited Hogar Escuela Episcopal in Heredia. On our trip to the school, Obispo (Bishop) and Sarah, took us on a tour through the neighborhood the school serves. This neighborhood consists mostly of Nicaraguan immigrants that attend Hogar Escuela Episcopal. We were struck by the  contrast between the shiny new mall down the hill, and the streets the children live on.
       When we arrived at the school, some of the young children playing outside came to wave hello! Once inside, we learned that 60% of the school was built my mission work trips like ours, and the other 40% was by paid professionals from Costa Rica. The president of Costa Rica gave them a grant to complete the school, and Obispo says that it was built on faith, they were never sure if they would raise the money to finish construction and fund the program. When the school first opened, there were less than 10 children in attendance, by day 40, there were 150. Today, there are 160 students regularly attending. Even though there is no air conditioning the openness of the building makes it feel cool and comfortable to the students.
     Before we began our work, we observed Kate, a YASC teacher who lives in the diocesan house, teach her class a new letter, the letter “H”! As our work began we were chipping paint on an outdoor wall, and a few of us began to tap up an empty classroom to re-paint. We put a fresh coat of blue paint on the outside wall, and completed the first layer of paint inside, tomorrow we add the second!
     Since tools were limited, a few of us decided to see if you could assist some teachers. The youngest class, 6 months to 1 year old, was having lunch, and we had the opportunity to help feed them! We had some fun playing peekaboo, and being extra hands for the teachers. Watching ‘los enfantes’ fall asleep in our arms was definitely a highlight of the day!
      After a wonderful lunch of enchiladas and fried plantains prepared by the staff, we departed Hogar Escuela Episcpal and headed to Britt, a coffee plant near by. We got to visit a butterfly garden on the property. A few of us tried to get butterflies to land on our fingers, but we’re very unsuccessful. We tried various flavors of coffee and chocolates, and purchased some yummy treats for our families back home, and some for our ride back to Zapote.  🙂
    We’re now back in the diocesan house, having some fellowship and resting. Something we really enjoy is playing with the puppies, Bisbo, Manchas y Stinky! Tomorrow we will be attending the same school, helping out with sports day! We appriciate your continued prayers as we continue our journey in Costa Rica! We agree we are helping them, just as much as they are helping us!
Attached are some pictures from today!
Abroazos y Besos,
Carson Hanna

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica — Painting & Playing Power!

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Blessings to all in Easter Week! Here is the latest update with pictures of our ECM students with working hands & hearts at the school in Costa Rica as they are making resurrection happen in being the blessing of Christ, and being blessed by the same in the children, teachers & hosts. Thanks to Hannah for the latest news from sunny and warmer Costa Rica!

 

With gratefulness, in peace always,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+
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Dear Father Paul & St. Thomas,

Hola! Day 3 in Costa Rica is complete, and today we wrapped up our work at the Escuela Hogar Episcopal.  We finished some painting jobs and disassembled a flowerless flower bed, giving the children some more color and space to play in their home away from home. We’ve discussed as a group that it’s been very satisfying to have sore muscles and paint-covered hands after a long day of work with such visible results. We also got to enjoy one of the teacher’s grateful smiles seeing her newly-painted classroom, and more of us played with some of the children today. As we tossed balls and shared smiles the language barriers diminished and it was not long before a class of students shared their English singing songs for us!

No need to worry about us being comfortable and well-fed. It’s Costa Rica’s “dry season” here, so we’ve been avoiding any rain, and the highest the temperature climbs is around 80 degrees, but always with a breeze. We’re fed beautifully-seasoned, generously-portioned meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we’re always surrounded by the good company of each other, the Bishop, or Sarah and Kate (our guides here).

I’ve attached some of the pictures we snapped today. Tomorrow we’re off to another school with similar-aged children, and I’m looking forward to be meeting some new people and serving a new community. Please continue to pray for us and especially for the people we’re serving, that we may know how to best support them and show them God’s love!

Abroazos y Besos (Hugs & Kisses),
Hannah Watts

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica

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Blessings to all in Eastertide days, our resurrection happening living!

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica
ECM has landed safely in Costa Rica, and has begun their work with the people of the diocese and schools in San Jose! The following is first report from ECM President Catherine Morse, along with pictures of their Easter Day celebrations at Church of the Ascension, and then out to the fresh air market for natural cocktails!!! Continue to hold them all in your daily prayers that God’s lovely work in the world, people together, will be a blessing through them and a blessing to them!

 

With gratefulness, your servant in Christ,

Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

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Hi Father Paul,

Just keeping you updated! ECM had a great day yesterday. We went to the market first thing in the morning for some breakfast that included coconuts, mangos, and other tropical foods. We then went to Ascension Church for Easter service which was very nice. We then went to downtown San Jose to have a late lunch, which was quite delicious, followed by some shopping in the artisan market, and we finished our trip with churros. We were all extremely tired when we got back such that we went to bed before 10 pm haha but that was good because we got up early this morning to start work which you will be hearing about from Hannah (I believe). Hope all is well with you and St. Thomas back home and looking forward to seeing you all again.

Catherine

Ann Urinoski ordained as Deacon

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Deacon Cecily, Deacon Ann, Father Paul

Father Paul and Deacon Cecily attended the ordination of Deacon Ann Urinoski. Ann was an active member of ECM while a student at the University of Delaware. She was the president of ECM her junior and senior year. Ann is in her last year of seminary at The General Theological Seminary, in New York

Ann spent a year in South Africa with the Episcopal Service Youth Corp. She was ordained at the Cathedral in Trenton, New Jersey on December 16, 2015