Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Last Blog Post

There are new posts from yesterday (Tuesday), the last day at the work sites. Today is a travel day and the missionaries will be staying at the Hampton Inn San Jose tonight (Wednesday).

They look forward to seeing friends and family at DFW Thursday!

San Francisco Drone Video

Helen Kalleb

Dear Friends and Family,

Hi guys! Mom and dad, you were probably concerned because you hadn’t heard from me yet,
but here I am blogging! This trip has been so amazing! Costa Rica is filled with beautiful views, nature, and people. I am one of the lucky missionaries that is working at Quebradas. Today was our last official day of work! The morning was focused on finishing what needed to be finished. During the time before lunch, we completed painting the church, its exterior, the attached rooms of the church, and the fences of the site. During the time before lunch I usually love to help cook food like I did for breakfast today, but Mrs. Almaredo (one of the super cool chaperones) made these amazing noodles and the two wonderful ladies that consistently cooked for us: Mercedes and Lorena at the site helped make it as well as the salad and beans we had along with it (Fun fact: I can confidently say that many of the people here are NOT tired of having rice and beans for every meal! The way they are cooked are really good!)

The time after lunch was spent cleaning up the church by scraping excess paint, dusting,
sweeping, and mopping. During that time, I also got to play with Mercedes’ granddaughters Kira, Bianca, and Alana, and I can confidently say that I lost the tickle battle, and I may have given them a little too much candy��. I had to say goodbye to the girls today because this was the last time I would be seeing them, and it was met with many hugs and a bit of sadness, but it was so awesome to meet and get to know those amazing kiddos!

When we finally finished and achieved our goal of what the church should look like, we took the
time to feel the accomplishment of finishing the job, and we took pictures with the workers of the site! Everyone was excited about the job well done and to see how much a little over a week of work could help change others’ life for the better!

Today was very eventful because it just so happens to be the last day of cold showers because
tomorrow we will be sleeping in a San Jose hotel! I am going to go enjoy free time now with friends
because we only have so much time left! This trip has been so amazing, and mi familia, I cannot wait to see all of you! I love y’all!!

Helen Kalleb


Hi Mom and Dad,

I still can’t believe that I’m here in Costa Rica. When I look at the beautiful dark green mountains
that surround us, it still looks like a movie backdrop that isn’t real. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity — it has been a transforming experience that will affect me for the rest of my life. I’ve learned so much here, including lessons about love, service, friendship, community, gratitude and more.

My site is a rural town called Guadalupe. It’s a wonderful site because of the people we interact
with there. All of the people I’ve met here are so kind, generous, and filled with love. Their happiness
because of our presence here is so touching and heartwarming. Being at Guadalupe, my group gets to
visit the school to play with all of the kids there, spend time at the community center, play soccer at the large field across from the center, and of course, work on the chapel they have there. Our task involved expanding the chapel to make it larger. The chapel has the most amazing view behind it, especially when rain is swathing the mountains with a misty veil. Today was our last day to work on the chapel, and sadly we had to say many goodbyes to the people of Guadalupe. One of the people I said goodbye to was Dona Carmen. She is a wonderful woman who I became friends with a few days ago. The sadness of leaving hasn’t hit me yet. During the day, I spent time painting and shoveling dirt. We also visited the school one last time to play with the kids; and, before we left to return to the retreat center (where we sleep), we played an intense game of volleyball.

There are so many beautiful things I’ve witnessed here: adorable children with bright smiles,
vibrantly-colored flowers, men hard at work building a wall, families coming together to make candy and celebrate, all of us dancing at a fiesta, my companions helping each other… Thank you for giving all of this to me. See you soon.


Caroline Pfaffenberger

Hello everyone!
I was placed at the Quebradas worksite this week, and my group had an incredible time. Today was a
particularly great day because we officially completed all the tasks assigned to us from this week. The tasks we were asked to complete this week are as follows: rearranging the plants on the outside of the church, pulling the grass to replace the plants, sanding the walls and fences around and inside the church, and painting the walls, columns, and fences around and inside the church. We worked so hard from day one as a group, and we were filled with happiness when we heard that we had completed all the tasks that were on our list.

Today, we also gave our crosses away to the people at our worksite. I wish to recognize the boy I gave my cross to and explain why I gave it to him. I gave mine to a 6-year-old boy named Pablo. When I met him at first, he was sitting outside of his house, which is next door to the church and he was looking at our group with confusion and interest as we walked off of our bus the first day. I walked up to him on day two and started to speak with him, not expecting his welcoming and fun attitude. I kept going back for a few days to talk to him, but a small yet powerful thing happened about 2-3 days ago that made me decide that I wanted to give my cross to him. While a large group of us were painting the church fence right next to Pablo’s house, I went over to him, and he immediately pointed at my left arm. I was confused at first, but then I looked down at my arm and realized what he was pointing at. I had painted one side of the wooden cross white and placed it on my forearm to make a paint tattoo earlier on in the day. When he pointed to my arm he said, “Yo quiero eso en mi brazo” which translates to “I want that on my arm.” I went over to the paint, repainted the cross, and then I placed it on his arm. He was overjoyed at the fact that he had a cross on his arm. I knew that if he wanted that temporary cross so bad, he would want a permanent cross around his neck as a reminder that Jesus is with him at all times. It was also a reminder that I would never forget him and that I would always be praying for him. Today was a very memorable day for me, and I am sure that I will never forget it.

Caroline Pfaffenberger

Ethan Rogers

Howdy y’all. Today was awesome, just like any other day on this trip. I’m at the San Luis site and today was our very last day with the community due to the long drive we have to take. WE wouldn’t get back in time to leave if we drove out tomorrow. I don’t really know what I should write about, considering the number of things that have happened throughout my day. I’ll give you the not so short version, which would make that the long version. So, be prepared to read a lot of stuff.
So, if you don’t know, we wake up at five thirty every morning. Despite what my mother may believe, I actually manage to wake up early. We went to mass at six, getting our Jesus on early. Rice and beans are everything here. We’ve literally had it for every single meal while we’ve been here, including breakfast. I cannot complain one bit. It’s super good, but I’m really craving a burger right now. Anyways, that was breakfast again today. Then, we headed out to our site, which is way up in the mountains. Our view is amazing and I could not stop taking pictures. I took over 200 pictures today (you’re welcome parents) and my camera even ran out of battery by the end of the day. Once we got to the site, which is a community center and church, the place was strangely empty. We went down to the soccer field, which is sunken into the ground to play with a few of the kids that were there. Pretty soon, we were called to take a tour to see how coffee was made, along with the plants it grows on. We even tried coffee at the end. After our tour, most of the community had gathered for mass. Since their chapel is being worked on, we had it in the storage room that accompanies the church. Father Philip said mass in Spanish, which was very entertaining. Afterwards, the community gathered for a massive soccer game. By this time, a massive cloud had rolled in (remember the mountains) and covered the field. There was also a light drizzle. As a soccer player, this was literally a dream come true. No joke. For real. We organized into teams and played for as long as we could. I found out that Cat and Brother Francis are really good at soccer and they scored most of the goals for our team. Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Donnelly, and Mallory held it down on defense. Our team won 4-3. It was so much fun. After the game, we had to say goodbye. It was heartbreaking for all of us. I gave my cross to mi amigo, Kenneth, who was very quiet, but was also fun and easy to talk to. He understands my gringo Spanish perfectly, which is amazing. He and I hugged for a few minutes and we talked for a bit. I almost cried. No shame though. It was just that hard to leave. The connections all of us have made here, with fellow students and the Costa Rican people, are just so hard to break. The hardest thing to do is to say goodbye. For us, that not only meant that our time at San Luis was ending, but so was our time together. Our group has grown so close, despite the fact that we’ve only been here for ten days.

- Ethan

P.S: Mom, if you’re reading this, could you do my laundry please? I want clean clothes 😄

Sarah Leonard

Dear Family and Loved Ones,
Thank you to everyone who has been waiting patiently to hear from me, I miss you all so much. The past 8 days in Costa Rica have been amazing! I have met so many new people from Dallas and Costa Rica. My work site was stationed in a small town called Guadalupe, where I have been working on re-building their community church for the past week. Today was our last day working at our work site, which was extremely hard for everyone in my group because we have become very close with many of the Costa Ricans living there. Our main focus today was shoveling and moving dirt to be used as a base for the church floor. Our group works extremely well together, so it is easy for us to have a great time no matter what task is given to us. It was a very emotional day for many of us because we had to say good-bye to many of the people we have met in Guadalupe, such as the children at the local school. Being our last day at Guadalupe, we were told to give our cross that we were wearing around our neck during the trip to someone special that we met at our work site. I chose to give mine to a girl named Lubianka, whom I had met while spending time at the local school. I had a chaperone translate to her that my cross symbolized our friendship and I would never forget her. Even though it was a sad day for many of us, our missionary group felt extremely satisfied with the work that we accomplished for the people in Guadalupe.

Sarah Leonard

San Francisco: Last Work Day

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sunset over San Isidro

San Luiz Handicap Ramp

Before and After

Sofia Marichal

Hello Mother and worried parents,

It is currently 7:35 in the morning on June 18 so if I wrote about my day today it’d just be mass and
breakfast. Yesterday, we woke up at 5:50 for mass at 6:20 and then had breakfast at 7 and then like
sunscreen and all that jazz and then left for our work site Guadalupe around 8. We got to Guadalupe
and shoveled dirt until 12:30 when we had lunch and after lunch we didn’t really work, we just played with the kids until we left at like 2:30. Once we got back, we showered and socialized until dinner at 6.

At dinner, we basically had a PARTY! They had dancers and pinatas, so we danced and busted open the pinata. I busted it open when I swung at it so that was fun and then we played games until circle time at 8:40. ‘Twas fun and enjoyable I’m really sad we only have 2 days left.

Peace out,
Sofia Marichal

Ellen Frantz

Dear Friends and Family,
I am having a wonderful time here in Costa Rica. Yesterday was a really fun and unique day for our
group. Some of the locals from our work site took us to the Cloud Bridge Nature Reserve and we all got to hike up to a waterfall. It was absolutely beautiful. Then, they took us to a restaurant where we all got to fish for our lunch and they cooked the food while we celebrated mass. It was really special.

Dinner was also super special. Some of the local parishioners came and played us authentic music,
danced with us, had pinatas, and even gave us a cake. It was super fun and so nice of them, and it made for a great celebration.

See you in two days!
Ellen Frantz

Monica Nieto

Dear Friends and Family,

I am having an amazing time in Costa Rica. The people here are the most generous and kind people I
have ever met. They give so much to us even if they have so little. Yesterday we spent working at the
site and having a fiesta. I am working at the Guadalupe site and absolutely love it. We are rebuilding and extending a chapel. I spent all of the morning shoveling dirt that would be used to even out floor. My group is growing closer and closer by the day and I am getting emotional knowing that I am going to have to leave these incredible people in a short while. After we shoved dirt, I played with the kids for a while. They are always beaming with happiness when we see them. I am going to miss seeing their beautiful smiles and hearing their laughter. After we got back to the retreat site, I was able to sit down and watch the sunset over the mountains and the city. It was one of the most beautiful things I have seen. Later in the night, we had a grand fiesta. There was a lot music, dancing, and smiles. The Costa Ricans put on a show for us with dancers and musicians. We even have a pinata. One of my favorite memories so far would be everyone dancing at the fiesta. We were all living in the moment and having the time of our lives. The Lord has blessed me so much on this trip and it is going to be hard to say goodbye to these wonderful people. He has shown me how I can love others even deeper. I love you guys and see you the airport!

Monica Nieto

Sunday Cultural Celebration

Marianna Zamora

Hey Mom,

Happy second Mother’s Day. I’m sure you are having an amazing time back in Dallas without me
and I have a little surprise for you and Diego when I get back! You are going to love it! Let me tell you all about the adventures I had today. I woke up very early. You would be so surprised to know that I actually wake up kind of on time. I got dressed and the entire mission trip squad and I hopped on a bus to the cathedral. La verdad es que me quiero quedar aqui. Anyways, we ate Costa Rican tamales, and as good as they were, they didn’t beat the Mexican tamales we eat during Christmas. After that, we all boarded the busses and we headed towards the national forest. It was such a jaw dropping view. We hiked for two hours-ish in total and while we were at the top of the mountain, we all planted trees. Also, a dog hiked with us to the top and I named him Pinto (he looks like a bean). He is so cute and as much as I wanted to hold him, I didn’t. Once we arrived back to the main entrance, we ate some really yummy food. Y luego, there were some ladies who were vendiendo bracelets for ten dollars. It was crazy. We left and my feet were soaked with water because we had to cross a river to reach the top of the mountain. We came back to the site, and I showered, and now I’m writing this!

I miss you a lot and I hope you are hugging Lucy and Mocha for me! Please remember to feed
them and change their water every day. I love you and tell Diego I said hey.

See you very soon,
Marianna Zamora

Mike Rutherford

Dear friends and family,

Yesterday, Sunday, the 16 th of June, was one of the best days of the trip so far. We started off the day by waking up at 6:30, which was a real treat to get to sleep in that late. Then we dressed up to go to
Sunday mass at the San Isidro Cathedral. The cathedral was quite beautiful. It is one of the tallest and
largest buildings in the area which was decorated in paintings, stained glass, and a giant carving of a
representation of the Trinity hanging above the altar. The mass itself was also beautiful because of the
warm welcome from the people of Costa Rica and also the great music that was played. Father Philip,
Deacon Charlie, Deacon Oscar, and Deacon Jim were also invited to participate in the mass. The mass ended with a Father’s Day blessing (Hey Dad!) and then we continued with our day. We ate the tamales we made yesterday for breakfast while sitting in the plaza in front of the cathedral. After breakfast we made our trip to the National Reserve of Costa Rica. At the National Reserve, we went on a great, challenging hike up a mountain. The hike included beautiful views of the Costa Rican landscape, steep climbs and a river crossing in which I dropped my shoe into the rushing waters. After about a 45-minute ascent up the mountain, we reached the peak. The view over the city of San Isidro and the rest of Costa Rica was breathtaking. It was then that we were tasked to plant some trees on the mountain in order to defuse some of the erosion that was occurring. “Mr. Brightside,” the name of the tree Regina and I co-parented will one day grow into a strong, massive tree. Then we climbed down the mountain (I didn’t drop my shoe crossing the river this time) and ate lunch at the park. There were also some tents and shops that some locals had set up that we toured and shopped at. After coming back to the retreat center and enjoying an ice-cold shower, we were given a great, inspiring talk from Brother Francis from Cistercian. Afterwards, we read wonderful letters from friends and family at home who were thinking about us on this trip (Thanks Mom, Dad, and Alex). We finished the day by eating a delicious dinner, journaling and some free time, then it was lights out at 11:00 (a few of us passed out before that). I know that today will be another great day in Costa Rica, filled with hard work, sweat, and many memories.

Mike Rutherford

Anna Victoria Lavelle

Hi Family and Friends!!
I hope y’all are all doing really well! This past week has truly been an amazing experience, and I
can’t wait for what’s to come! We got to sleep in today until 6:30 which was a nice change. We got to go to mass at the cathedral, and the architecture was really beautiful. It was super airy because the back and side doors were open throughout the whole mass. Afterwards, we ate homemade tamales in the plaza outside the church. Then, we boarded the buses to head to the nature preserve. We hiked and hiked and hiked through pretty much a jungle. The path was really narrow and steep. We even had to cross a small waterfall. We planted trees at the end of our hike, and as a mission trip are making a donation to the nature preserve and adopting a tree. The hike was brutal and what I thought would be my clean pair of clothes are covered in dirt. Luckily, no one took any bad falls, but Ethan, Logan, Catherine, and I slipped a bit on the way back down. We ate a delicious lunch of rice and beans at the nature preserve and then got the opportunity to shop around at the pop-up shops there. I bought two bracelets, but others bought ornaments, earrings, and key chains. Although the hike was definitely challenging, it was a great experience for all of us, and we learned a lot about each other and our lives.

We drove back to our retreat center, took much needed showers, and then got the opportunity
to hear Brother Francis speak. He gave a great talk about why he became a monk, our relationships with Christ, and how taking this mission trip can help form us into loving, caring, and compassionate young adults. Before dinner, Mallory, Catherine, and I stood outside the chapel to see the beautiful purple, blue, pink, and orange sunset. I’ve truly never seen anything like it, and the beauty of this country never fails to amaze me. We’re currently enjoying some free time before we all gather together for circle time.

Now for a big shoutout to my dad on Father’s Day. I hope you had an amazing day, and I’m
giving you the biggest hug all the way from Costa Rica. I’m incredibly thankful for everything you and Mom do for me, and I would not be writing to y’all from Costa Rica if it wasn’t for you guys. I’m so excited to celebrate with you when I’m back!
I miss everyone back home a ton, and I although I’ll be sad to leave, I’m so excited to see
everyone soon!

Anna Victoria Lavelle


Hey ya’ll
I’ve had a great time out here in Costa Rica chilling with Quebradas squad and, even though I’m out here with some heavy burns and I lost my sunglasses on the first day, its been a really great experience so far. Yesterday was especially amazing- the whole retreat group went to a national park by our site and took a mountain hike in one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen and I only almost lost my shoe once! I was really happy to explore with people who mean the world to me (ily Mariana) and share the experience of watching over the entire city from above. Further, shout out to Brother Francis for providing some great bops when we got back and YO DAD ILY I GOT A LETTER AND CRIED BRO FRANCIS TALKED ABOUT PAINTINGS AND DALE SLIPPED #killedit

Love ya’ll,

Quebradas Work Site

Sunday Planting Trees

Monday, June 17, 2019

Sunday Morning Pictures

Nurse Wrozek Pictures and Videos

Nurse Wrozek sent pictures and videos from the various sites. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Nathan Comeaux

Dear friends and family,
Today was very different from the rest of the week. There was very little work but a lot of
interactions with the Costa Ricans. We woke up around 5:40 A.M. and went to Mass. Fr. Philip kept his homily short, which was good since we were all tired from getting six hours of sleep. He preached on the Psalm, which was pretty unique, and he used three points as usual. After Mass, we had breakfast, which consisted of eggs, rice and beans, and plantains, as well as my daily cup of coffee (sorry Mom, but I need it). During breakfast, we were told that the San Francisco group, my group, would be accompanying the Guadalupe group to their site. We left for the Guadalupe site around 8:00 A.M. The bus was full of singing, as usual, and it was nice to have Br. Francis’ guitar for that purpose. When we arrived at Guadalupe, we headed down a rocky road to a home of one of the locals, where we would spend most of the day. Once there, we got to watch some oxen turn a machine that removed the sugar juice from the sugarcane. Throughout the rest of the day, we got to see the process of turning this sugar juice into a fudge-like candy. These processes included boiling and molding the sugar. At the end of the day we got to try some. It tasted different than normal candy, but it was really sweet and good. When we weren’t watching them make candy, we played with the children and ate whatever amazing food they set before us. Around 10:45 A.M., we were given a “snack”. This snack was two tortillas with rice, plantains, pork and beans stuffed between them. It was really good, but I ate so much that I was stuffed when lunch came. Lunch was a bowl of soup with a bunch of different stuff in it, and though I wasn’t able to eat that much of it, it was really good, as usual. After lunch, we headed over to the soccer field where we had a large, really fun game of soccer with the kids. After the soccer game, we headed back to the house where we tried the fudge-like candy. Then, we headed across the street to the place where we had lunch for a snack (sweet bread and this tortilla-like thing) and some more coffee. Unfortunately, I left my bag at the house across the street in the open. It started to rain, but I totally forgot about the bag for another thirty minutes. Luckily, when I retrieved the bag, I realized that it was mostly waterproof. Mostly. While we were waiting for the rain to stop, we played games like Telephone and just talked. Some time later, we headed back to the bus and drove back to San Isidro. There, we took showers and had free time. I am writing this during free time.

To my family:
Mom, Dad, Marshal: on Thursday, I banged my knee into the ground. It swelled up really bad
and I had to ice it, wrap it and take a day off yesterday. Luckily, when I woke up this morning, the
swelling had gone down and there was no more pain. Though my shoulders are sore from making and shoveling concrete and dirt, and I might not be as well rested as I normally would be during the summer, I am really enjoying this trip and all the experiences that come with it. The food is amazing, the people are nice, and the work is rewarding. I love you guys and I will see you in less than a week.

Nathan Comeaux


Dear friends and family,
Hello! This is officially my fifth day in Costa Rica. I woke up this morning around 5:20 AM. For the past few days, I’ve gotten up a little earlier to help the cooks, Teresa and Andrea, prepare breakfast. Today I cut mangos and pineapple, and helped serve as the rest of my fellow missionaries came in. After breakfast, my group and I got ready to leave for the sugar cane farm. We sang various Disney and ‘90s hits songs during the bus ride (it was mostly screaming not singing), and arrived at the farm around 8:00 in the morning. I’m usually at the San Francisco site, so I didn’t know most of the people at this one (Guadalupe). I made a couple of new friends, and as the workers processed the sugar cane, I jammed out with my new friends. There were a couple of men playing the guitar, and one on the tambourine. They played a few traditional Costa Rican songs, and Brother Francis taught them a few songs in English like “Hey Jude”, “Country Roads, and “Let it Be”. (The Beatles are popular in Costa Rica). The entire community eventually joined in and it was an amazing experience. Music is a universal language, and whether it was music in English or Spanish the smiles on everyone’s faces said the same thing. I also got the chance to play soccer with the kids from the school. I scored a goal! It was an intense game of lots of yelling, sliding, and the ball flying out of control. The little kids are adorable, imitating Ronaldo and Messi with their sliding celebrations and runs after scoring. My team eventually won (6-2), and everyone had a blast. We had a delicious lunch, followed by trying candy from the farm. They melt it in this gigantic pot, and when the mixture is bubbling and yellow, they reach their hands (into boiling water!) and pull out chunks of candy that dries into a hard caramel-like sweet. The workers there were super eager to share their hard work, and all of us filled up on the candy, and left the site with sticky fingers and full stomachs. When we returned to our sleeping sites, I had the chance to go back into the kitchen and make tamales. The other group had gotten a head start (making over 150) but a few of my friends and I learned how to make them. Dinner followed the tamale assembly line, and I concluded my night laughing and talking with my friends. Please send prayers and thoughts as we finish up our time in Costa Rica. The food is
delicious, and the company is entertaining. Bye Dad and Inaki!



Hello family,
I think I have gained 10 pounds. Everywhere we go they always feed us. Do not get me wrong, I love the food, but I literally have never eaten more in my entire life. Everything is so delicious here! Mom, thank you so much for pushing me to come on this trip. I have met so many wonderful people who have helped me develop a deeper relationship with God. When I speak Spanish, in which I am getting more confident, it is easier to speak to the kids than the adults. The light switch is slowly turning on and I hope by the end it will be on completely. The food here is delicious. Best pineapple and mango ever! I have tried so many wonderful things here. From learning how to make cement, make candy and to learning how to play a guitar; I only know two cords. At the work cite, we are building a roof as well as a ramp. During the day we work in the morning and in the afternoon, we play with the children. We attend mass every morning, so be prepared to go to more Masses when I get back. One of the women at the work site reminds me of Grandma Edith, kind of looks like her also; well the only details I remember from grandma. She is an excellent cook, as well as the kindest and most humble person ever. I think she is going to be the hardest to say goodbye to. When I am with her, and I am helping make food, it feels like grandma is with me again. I never had the real delicacy of grandma teaching me how to cook or trying her cooking, but when I am with her, I am so happy. We do have a language barrier at times that we are both working on. I am teaching her some English and she is helping with my Spanish. Also, she taught me how to crochet! I remember mom telling me that grandma knew how to crochet and I feel a little more connected to grandma. At the work site, I have taught children and some moms how to make bracelets and that was really fun. At first it was hard because I did not know some words in Spanish but I quickly adjusted and it went very well. One of the workers at the work site laughed when I told him I was Puerto Rican because I look too white. I have tons of pictures and videos that I cannot wait to show you guys when I get home. I have met the best people in the entire world here! Tell Laura that I really enjoyed her letter and she made me cry. I was not expecting that. Tell her I love her and really appreciate it. Tell dad I have some funny stories to tell him when I get home and that I miss him. Tell him I love him like 20 rocks. Tell Emma that I miss her too and that she would laugh about how many people have called me white on this trip. I have never had more rice and beans in my entire life and literally every time I eat them they get better and better. OMG mom and Laura, I am taking home the BEST coffee ever! It is so delicious! Did you know a car here is only 80 dollars! I am tempted, lol. I hope work is going well for all of y’all. Hope the dogs are good. I miss them all. I love y’all so so so so much. I honestly can’t wait to see y’all; I will cry. I hope every single one of you are at the airport when I get back! I realize that I do have a little separation anxiety from you guys.

Marta :)

Logan Morel

This entire time here has been so great. At the San Luis worksite, we have done everything you
could imagine, working nonstop. At the beginning of the week, we helped tear the old roof off of their church so that they could replace all of the wooden support with metal. We then made the entire area around the Church level for concrete, and ended up having to hammer the wall, tearing off all of the old plaster, replacing it with brand new plaster. For the rest of the week, we have mixed, carried, and poured a whole sidewalk around the church with concrete. Besides the worksite, the entire way of life in Costa Rica is so desirable. The people have no worries, everyone is super friendly and happy, and the entire country is so beautiful. As you may have heard, the drive to our site is about an hour, but it feels like 10 minutes. Our bus even broke down earlier in the week and had a flat tire today, but our group livens it up and cheers up the bus driver, Esteban.
Today, at San Luis, we worked way less than normal, because the project leader, Orlando, had a
meeting in town. We bonded with the two kids that were there- Daniel and Andrs (who calls me Lo and knows a little English), and even got to go to a waterfall. We took the bus as far as we could to the 450 foot waterfall, and the kids got to ride with us, which was the cutest thing I have ever seen. They were so amazed by the smallest things, such as the LED lights on the bus or even the windows that could open. After the bus couldn’t make it, we had to take about a 30 minute walk downhill. At the waterfall, Mr. Carmen sent his drone up and we saw just how high up it was in the middle of the forest, and we took a great group picture with everyone at our site. On the ride back, as I said before, we had the flat tire. The days here are so great, and leaving this place will be so hard.
The bonds that I have made here could never be replaced. I have gotten so close to my group,
the chaperones, and even the people of Costa Rica that I am not looking forward to the goodbyes on
Tuesday. On the other hand, I cannot wait to be back to the United States and see my family, friends,
and dog. See you all soon!

Logan Morel

Guadalupe Drone Videos


Guadalupe Pictures

Josie Trent

Dear family and friends,
First of all, I am having so much fun working here. The local people are great. I have made a lot
of new friends and my Spanish is surprisingly not that bad. Today, we woke up at 5:50 (not as bad as it sounds), had mass like we do every day, and ate breakfast which was rice and beans, left over meat
from last nights dinner, bread, and pineapple. The fruit is so so good here.
After that, we headed to our work site which is in a small community called Guadalupe located
in a beautiful valley surrounded by gorgeous, green mountains. Today, we went to the school and got to hang out with the kids. Some of the ones that I have gotten closer with are Yared, Ignasio or “Nacho,” Nico, Santiago, and Matias. We played this game that we taught them called link tag and also sharks and minnows. One of my favorite parts of the trip is getting to know the kids at the school. Today when we arrived, they were all cheering and giving high-fives to us when we walked in which was really cool to see. Behind the school, there is a big hill and at the top there are lots of fruit trees such as mango, tangerine, lime, lemon, and even star fruit which is my favorite. We often climb the hill with the kids to pick the fruit and relax in the shade after playing games with them or planting trees which is difficult to do because it is pretty steep, the dirt is very loose, and the trees are heavy. Our other job is working at a church down the street where we are working to build an addition behind it so the priest has a place to prepare for mass. The back wall of the church is currently nonexistent, so instead, we have this breath- taking view of the mountains. Today, I helped in an assembly line to move cinder blocks to build the new walls of the church. I also helped the boys and a man named Manuel mix concrete. It was a lot of work, but he called me strong for being with them and later taught me a fun little handshake.
Overall, I am having such a great time here. The people are wonderful and so welcoming. Today,
we also had mass with some of the people that live in Guadalupe and they told us how grateful they
were to have us and that we are always welcome whenever we want to come back. I know that we are
really here to serve the Costa Ricans, but in a way, they are serving us. I have noticed really how much we have at home and how happy they are with the humble lives they lead. They work so hard and are always so patient and kind to us. I honestly feel like I can never do enough for them because of everything that they do for us.

Hope everything is fun back in Dallas. I miss you mom, dad, Evie, Baker, Rush, and all of my
friends. But, don’t worry about me, I am having the time of my life!

Josie Trent


Hello Family,

I want to start off my saying that this first week has been absolutely amazing and that I am doing
well. You and dad both said that I was going to have a hard time with the heat and the bugs. However,
you’d be surprised to know that I wake up at 6 am every morning for mass and I am actually eating
absolutely everything and haven’t gotten sick once. Today we went to the worksite where Marianna and I bought coke bottles for all of the Costa Rican workers. It was something so simple we did for them, but the smiles on their faces lit up. Life here is so simple. It amazes me how the Ticos are genuinely happy with what they have. I don’t want to really say much right now but I am journaling everyday to make sure I do not forget anything that happened. Thank you for sending me on this trip. It’s been such a wonderful experience. It is far different from traveling as a tourist here. I love y’all and miss y’all. Also, tell Adan to not sleep in my bed.

p.s. give Gunner, Wunner, and Ranger Danger a fat hug for me

Catherine Taylor

Hello Family, Friends, and Others,

I have no clue where to begin, but all I can say is that I have had the BEST time the past
five days. I am one of the ten students who are lucky enough to take the hour (sometimes hour
and a half) bus ride every morning and afternoon to the San Luis Moretti worksite. From the first
day, my group became instant best friends and that’s why I get excited everyday to drive so far.
Whether we play games, talk, or even sleep, the bus rides are always worth it because I would
like to say that we have the best view ever. During our hour ride we drive through the city,
grassy mountains, various plantations, and forests and the view seems to amaze me every single
day. Once it gets to be around 9:30 am and we finally arrive at our worksite, everyone gets off
the bus, sets his or her stuff down, and immediately gets to work. We’ve done everything
between scraping walls, digging trenches, and (I think everyone would agree, the most difficult)
making concrete. Yes. That’s right we are making concrete. Yesterday was our first day making
concrete, and it was also the first day all of us truly worked as a team. Because of how well we
did yesterday, we were able to finish making the concrete and wrapped it around the church in
record time. Props to Anna Victoria, Logan, Marcelo, Matt, and Sibo for making the concrete
because I tried it yesterday and let me tell you, it was impossible. I stuck with Mallory, Mady,
Ethan, Maggie and we carried the wet concrete down to the church, which caused a few bruises
and some scars. I would also like to believe that we were blessed with the best chaperones as
well, because every person that has come along on our worksite has been so incredibly nice,
funny, and are the most hard-working people. They aren’t even required to work, yet every
single one of them puts in 110%. Today was also the hottest day we’ve had, and every other day
has been drastically cooler. We work for around 3 hours (no worries we stay hydrated because
we take breaks for water, thank you nurses) and then eat lunch around 12:30. The food here has
been unreal and I have enjoyed every meal. At 1:15 the seven kids at the school across from our
worksite get out of school which means we get to play with them which is always the best part of
my day. Their faces light up when they see us and it makes me so happy. After working so hard
today we went with the locals and the children to walk up the mountain to see their homes and it
was so much fun. I am so proud of myself and all of my friends for using so much Spanish today
because sometimes the language barrier seems like a challenge. These Costa Ricans are the
nicest people I have ever met (even Manuel, the eleven-year-old who repeatedly and jokingly
calls me “basura” every day because of my lack of skill in soccer), and I cannot believe how
much joy is filled inside each of them especially when living in such simplicity. This is only a
brief summary of our day, and I cannot wait for everyone else to come home and get to describe
each day from his or her perspective. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this trip has in store for
me and everyone else. Sorry for not checking in sooner, (I have surprisingly not been home sick,
sorry mom and dad) everyone here is the absolute best. I cannot wait to see everyone when I get
back love all of y’all so much!!!! Pura Vida

Catherine Taylor
p.s. We haven’t seen any sloths because apparently the pumas ate all of them!


Hello Texas! Costa Rica is beautiful, as you can see from the photos. I have been assigned to the
Guadalupe mission where we work with the school children and at a small village church. Today I woke up at 5:45 to get ready for our 6 AM mass celebrated by Father Philip and the Deacons. Afterwards the missionaries and chaperones had a lunch prepared by a few girls and cooks that work at our house. We have “gallo pinto” practically every meal but it is really good. Shortly after breakfast everyone headed to their respective busses to begin the work day. On the bus rides we sing and dance extremely loudly. Yesterday, a bird was caught in the back of the bus and everyone was going ballistic. Upon our arrival to the school house, we were greeted by the smiling children and their cheerful headmaster, Gustavo. Together we worked on rearranging the plaza and also played sharks and minnows. After spending time at the school everyone headed to the church of Guadalupe. They have a very humble church and have been saving money to remodel for years. After finding out that there would be missionaries coming the parish scraped together donations to provide ample supplies and food for the workers. These past few days ten missionaries (including me) have been working on the expansion of their church. I have learned how to weld rebar and lay bricks. This Friday, we moved cinder blocks and stacked them along the trenches we dug yesterday. The view from our worksite is phenomenal. Directly in front of us there is a coffee, banana, mango, and avocado farm and farther along is Costa Rica’s tallest mountain decorated with a variety of trees and small houses. Our group finally finished transferring the shipment of cinder blocks to the desired location and we started screaming our favorite song, Alabore. As a reward for all of our hard work we had gallo pinto, yucca, and fruits that were freshly picked from the huge garden behind the kitchen. Everyone was exhausted and to avoid the rain, we sat in the plaza and made friendship bracelets and told funny stories. At around 3 we had our second mass of the day with the community. They all stood up and gave testimonies and thanked us for all of our work. Ironically, I feel as if they are doing more for me than I am for them. Nevertheless, we all celebrated the days work with
another game of sharks and minnows and coffee made by one of the families. Hours later our missionary group decided to go to the grocery store and we danced to the American music that was
playing on the intercom. I love my group and I love Costa Rica! I am having an amazing experience here.

A few highlights from the trip thus far: Visiting a dairy farm, climbing up the mountain behind the school and then climbing the fruit trees to gather mangos, trying sugar cane, planting trees, and making so many new and wholesome friends.
I miss you all so much and can’t wait to tell you about my trip, I am really thankful to be here but also can’t wait to see you.


Julianna Semprun

Hello Family, Friends, and Moose (my dog)!
Today is Friday which means it’s the best day of the week. We started off the day with mass, as usual,
and had an amazing breakfast of rice, beans, sausage, and bread:) When I get home expect me to want to eat this delicious food more often. Then we headed off to our work site, Quebradas, and got to work right away. At our site we painted the whole day and finished painting the inside of the church. This day was a tiring for a few reasons. One, we have reached the middle point of our trip. And, two, it was especially hot. We spent the morning singing Disney songs with our new friends (Mom that is for you:)). Then, we went to the store and got some goodies for y’all. I’m so get excited to give you your surprises. We had an amazing lunch and then some nice rain. We finished the day with a coffee and bread break, per usual. Today was just another great day here in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. I can’t wait to see y’all when I get back and I love you all so much!

Love you,
Julianna Semprun

Cutting up Pineapple for Breakfast

Friday, June 14, 2019

Corey Johnson

Dear Friends and Family,
This was an amazing moment - we planted trees behind the school at the Guadalupe community up a
steep incline to protect it from erosion. At the top there was a grove of fruit trees and several of the
kids sat under a large lime tree and others climbed a mango tree and picked mangos and we ate them
after pealing them by using our plastic idea cards (you got to be resourceful). The valley spread out
below us and the little kids from the school were helping us pick the fruit. We climbed back down and the missionaries played with the kids teaching them new games. Simply a blast!

Mr. Corey Johnson
BL Chaperone

Alex Meza

Querida Esposa,

Quiero decirte que te extrano mucho y Tambien a nuestros hijos. Estoy en una zona remota de Costa
Rica. El pueblo grande se llama San Isidro, pero nosotros estamos en una pequena parroquia llamada
las quebradas. Quizas la pueda ubicar en Google Maps. No nos permiten salir del edificio cural y aqui
no hay wi fi. La unica forma de comunicarnos es escribir algo y ellos despues la suben a la internet
desde la casa del obispo. Estoy bien asi que alejen preocupaciones. Estamos remodelando una iglesia.
Es una bonita experiencia porque estamos trabajando para Dios. Saludos a mi tia. No Podre leer tu
respuesta porque no tenemos acceso al internet.

Te amo mucho y te veo el proximo Jueves.
Alex Meza

Mallory Jennings

Dear friends and family,
This has been such an amazing week so far! Today, we woke up at a measly 5:50 in the morning,
which shockingly feels really late here. Then, we went to mass at 6:20 a.m. in the chapel. Mass has not run longer than 30 minutes so I’m thankful for Brother Phillip’s insanely quick homilies. Our entire mission trip group has started getting really into the songs during mass…especially “Alabare”. I will probably be singing this everyday when I get home because it’s so catchy. Mrs. Almerido added some pizazz to the song to by clapping wildly with the beat. After mass, we went off to the worksites. My worksite is San Luis Moreti. It is by far the best worksite out of the four, no exceptions. I thought an hour drive was bad, but with the amazing view, the drive only feels like 5 minutes. Today at the worksite, we worked so hard. I don’t think I’ve ever made so much concrete in my life. Even though today was hard, there were so many laughable moments and this was the first day where we were actually able to see progress. It was also really fun to laugh at each other trying to carry the insanely heavy concrete…and fail miserably while carrying it around in buckets. I can already tell that the church we are restoring is going to look beautiful. The locals that were there were so amazing and at times I forgot that we were speaking different languages. We also had the BEST beans and pork today. After we finished working, we cleaned up, boarded our bus, and headed back to the retreat center. This was the first day that our group was back at the center before everyone else. Now, we’re off the supermarket next door to get some Costa Rican coffee (shout out to Mom and Dad – y’all have some good coffee headed your way in 7 more days). Although I miss everyone at home, warm showers, and the bipolar Texas weather, I am having the best time here and can’t wait for tomorrow!

Mallory Jennings

Matt M.

Dear Mom, Dad, Andrew, Patrick, Abby, Zach, and Hannah
I’ve been having so much fun on this trip. I was placed at the Guadalupe worksite and I’m having
a blast. We’re working on the Chapel in the city and we get to play with the kids at the school. Behind the school is a huge hill where they grow all of their Mangos, Star fruit, and Mandarins. I got to try all the fruits and they were amazing. The Mangos were super sweet and soft, and the star fruit were really bitter. I taught the kids how to throw a frisbee and they loved it. It only took them 5 minutes to get it stuck in a tree. Towards the end of the day we got to play soccer with some of the high school students in the rain. By the end of the game everybody was soaked to the bone. Dinner has been amazing everything we eat is so delicious. I’ve learned a couple card tricks too. I’ve been loving every minute of this trip but I can’t wait to see you guys when I get back. I don’t know what day y’all will read this so happy birthday, Abby, and Happy Father’s Day, dad, I love y’all a lot.

Matt M.

Michael Wilson

Dear Friends and Family,
Today has been the best of three awesome days here in Costa Rica. It started out with
wakeup at 5:30 (ugh) but Mass with Deacon Charlie’s sermon quickly turned the mood around.
We had pancakes for breakfast, which was a nice taste of home and a welcome change of pace
from rice and beans. The fun surprises kept on coming after that. We took the first hour of work
time and spent it playing soccer at the local school (losing to the 6 th graders wasn’t so fun,
though). The actual work, being the third day of sanding, wasn’t the best; but we finally got to
start the painting which was yet another nice change of pace. Lunch was taking too long, so we
got to take an interesting detour and go to the local corner store to try all the local snacks. Those
were great, and we probably ate too many, but we were still able to stomach the awesome food
made by the sweet church ladies. We kept painting after that, and even though it got pretty old
pretty quickly, seeing both the progress we were making and the grateful looks on the locals’
faces made it a breeze. I’m excited to see the progress we can make tomorrow, and hopefully we
can keep our spirits up.
Michael Wilson

Thursday, June 13, 2019

2 more drone videos

 San Isidro at Night

 San Luiz work site

San Francisco Day 2

San Luis Day 2 Pictures

Maggie Abbott

Dear Mom, Dad, friends and family,
Today was such an interesting day. I woke up and we went to mass. We listened to this song at mass I don’t really
remember what it was called but it was so good. I asked them to play it again tonight. Then, we went to eat breakfast.
The food here is AMAZING. I am so impressed! I’m so picky and it’s so so good. Then, we headed to our worksite.
It is the farthest worksite from our campsite so we drive an hour everyday but it never fails to be entertaining.
At our worksite, we are fixing a church because it rains so often here and there are drainage problems so it leaks
in the church. The first day I spent most of the day playing with my best friend, Daniel. Daniel is four years old and
is helping me improve my Spanish every day. We play frisbee, soccer, and enjoy amazing food. Everyone here is so
happy and so nice. I love it. Then, on our way home we were on the bus. We drive up a mountain everyday to get
to the worksite and you can see the coast. It’s so beautiful. Anyway, we were driving down and normally the ride
is usually pretty bumpy and fun! This time our bus broke down. Logan, my BL friend made a joke when the bus
stopped that it broke down and we all laughed. Then all the chaperones told us to evacuate the bus. We were on
the side of the road on the mountain and it started pouring rain. Although this may seem like it was terrible, it
was so fun and I’m so glad it happened. We had such a good time waiting for Deacon Charlie to come rescue us.
We hid out in a cow pin. When Deacon Charlie came, he only had room for six people so all the girls rode with
him. Me and Sibo sat in the very back seat. Deacon Charlie asked us “How much coffee did y’all drink” because
we were laughing so much we were crying and we had so much energy. Me, Sibo, Catherine , Anna Victoria,
Maddie, and Mallory were laughing so much that we were crying and I couldn’t even tell you why we were
laughing so much. It took me so long to type this because in between I couldn’t stop crying again from laughing
so hard. That ride home from being stranded was the best time of my life. I barely know all these people and
for some reason I just look at them and start crying laughing I don’t know why. We have so many inside jokes
and I just have been laughing so much. All the kids are so cute and I made Daniel a bracelet with his name on it.
Today, he came up to me and was telling me in Spanish that it broke and he brought all the pieces of the
bracelet and asked me to make him a new one with my name on it. He is so cute. I love him.
Love you all,

Maggie Abbott

Mia Krusinski

Hey guys, it’s Mia! (Hi Mom and Dad!! I love you! Say hi to the dogs for me!)  
During this mission trip I have been working at the Quebradas site and staying in San Isidro. For the past few days
we have been working to renovate a small church.  On the first day, we took out weeds, planted three full rose
gardens, and took paint off the church walls. Today, we focused on scraping and sanding paint off of the walls of
the church. It was difficult to chip off and smooth out the paint. (I’m pretty sure my arms are getting more muscle
with each swipe of the sandpaper!)  Everyone works hard together on whatever job they have, big or small. I am
so excited that I get to work with an amazing group of kids and chaperones; I couldn’t ask for a better group.

When I was taking a break from all of that hard work, a little boy named Santiago came up to me and asked me to
play with him.  Even though I don’t speak a lot of Spanish, I was still able to play with him and connect with him.
We built some sandcastles with dirt and jumped together on some rocks. Even though I didn’t have any toys with
me, he was so excited to play and run around.  Santiago radiated so much joy and energy that truly touched my
I feel that I can speak for everyone when I say that we are all sending love and prayers to all of our families back
home in the United States. We all love you and can’t wait to see you soon!
In Christ,
Mia Krusinski


Hey guys, it’s Carlos! It is the third day here in Costa Rica and I am working at the Quebradas work site. It has been much fun! I have gotten to help the Costa Ricans do so many things like working outside digging holes and scraping paint. Scraping lots and lots of paint! The most fun has been getting to see the reactions of all the people we have gotten to help. We have made so many beautiful gardens and remodeled the church. We even got to take a walk through the forest area and see all of the sights to see along with a few rivers and a couple of houses that were there. The group I am with at Quebradas is so much fun and so friendly. We’ve created so many memories and have told so many stories. Even our chaperones with us on the group have been so much fun and taken such great care of us. We even named one of the dogs we saw at the house next to us Chief. It has been so great hanging out with these people and getting to experience a new way of life outside of what I am used to.   These first few days have been so much fun and I can’t wait to keep working with the people. The fruit here is also so delicious, I've been fed so well. I’m having so much fun and can’t wait to tell all the stories I have to tell! I can’t wait to see you all soon! You too Allegra!! See you all real soon!

Siboneni Halstied

Dear family and friends,
Today had an interesting sequence of events. We woke up around 5:30 a.m. and attended mass
around 6. After mass, Teresa and her daughter, the two costa Rican women who have been preparing
our food, served us eggs, rice and beans, and fresh papaya. The food in Costa Rica tastes so much better than the food back home. Once breakfast was served and eaten, we went to our rooms, gathered our stuff, and left San Isidro around 8:00. When we were loading the bus, we were introduced to our new bus driver, Esteban, and began our journey to our worksite, San Louis. On our way up the mountain, the view was so beautiful. We saw aloe trees, sugar cane stalks, the Pacific Ocean, banana trees and many other beautiful things. After the first 15 minutes traveling up the mountain, Esteban discovered that our normal route to the site was under construction so we would have to take an alternate route. He was less familiar with the roads and stopped to ask a couple of locals for directions. At the worksite Orlando, the main man who is working with us at the worksite, explained to us what he wanted us to do and we went at it right away. We finished taking off the plaster on the walls and began plastering it. At 12:00 we were called to eat lunch and the ladies prepared for us rice, beans and potatoes. After lunch we played with the kids. All of the little girls asked me to braid their hair. They all looked so cute. They also told me my Spanish was getting better. I’m now able to communicate with the kids and parents better. We then left the worksite because it began to rain and about 10 minutes into the ride down the mountain our but stalled and wouldn’t start back up. We got out of the bus and played ninja while Mrs. Donnelly was calling Deacon Charlie to come and help us. Deacon Charlie then came to the rescue and took all the girls back to the campsite. The hour-long ride felt like 10 minutes with Deacon Charlie because he is the
funniest man I have ever met. I have never laughed so hard. When we got back to the campsite we took freezing showers and began to catch up with our friends. Mr. Bouchard asked Maggie and I to help organize all of our donations and donation bags. Being away from my mom and Dani is really hard especially since this is by first time away from y’all , but I’m enjoying my time in Costa Rica and will be so sad when I have to leave. Especially because this is most likely the last time I will see Mr. Bouchard and the friends we made on this trip

Hugs and Kisses,
Siboneni Halstied

San Francisco Work Site

Quebradas and San Francisco GPS Spot Data

Deacon Charlie has uploaded the GPS data for a few of the work sites so you can see exactly where the groups are working.

Latitude: 9.40425 
Longitude: -83.70404 
Altitude: 926.0 m | 3038 ft 
GPS location Date/Time: 06/12/2019 11:38:55 CDT 

Message: Quebradas, San Isidro

Click the link below to see where I am located. 

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-83.70404&ll=9.40425,-83.70404&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1 

Latitude: 9.42949 
Longitude: -83.63964 
Altitude: 953.0 m | 3127 ft 
GPS location Date/Time: 06/12/2019 12:59:56 CDT 

Message: San Francisco, Rivas

Click the link below to see where I am located. 

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-83.63964&ll=9.42949,-83.63964&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1