Costa Rica STM Day 12-14 - Withdrawals

I apologize for not posting any updates the last couples days our team was in Costa Rica.

On Wednesday, we returned to Pavas to finish painting the rest of the walls. Some finished up painting while others helped serve the mothers and children their lunches. Because we spent the past two weeks serving these mothers and children and interacting with them, we grew a special bond with them. A Korean-American group that we met on Monday night at homeless ministry came during lunch because Pastor Christian wanted the two groups to have a meal together. However, because we were still on a tight schedule, we couldn't have lunch with them. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this event is that some of the members of the Korean-American group approached the children and took selfies with them or took pictures of them. And our team's hearts broke. We all saw the children hiding their faces and feeling uncomfortable. How is it that a group with similar goals as ours failed to realize it was hurting, maybe even humiliating, these children? I don't mean to criticize these group members for their actions, but I just wish they would've have given some more thought as to what they were doing.

Once the group left, we finished our work and continued to show the mothers and children they were worth more than just a photo. We said our goodbyes to the helpers and the families then headed to the shoppes to purchase some souvenirs for our families and supporters.

We spent our last night in San Jose with a dinner gathering at a local pizza shoppe followed by an good hour of Zumba at a local park.

We got picked up at 4:30am Thursday morning and headed to Jaco, which is pretty much a beach city. Our Thursday consisted of adventure: white water rafting, fish tacos, more shopping, and celebrating Brandon's birthday after dinner. 

Nathan and I got rekt during white water rafting, but it was all part of the experience.

At the very end of the night, we held our final debrief. As a team, we definitely agree that we were able to serve in many aspects that are blessings in different ways: community service in Pavas, teaching children and teenagers about Christ in La Carpio, and testimony sharing and encouragement in Guapiles. Of course, our team isn't perfect so there were times when we had disagreements and annoyances with each other. But instead of talking about the things we did not like about each other, we chose to encourage each other and acknowledge any situations or events that were meaningful to us.

Friday, we left Jaco and headed to the airport, only to find out our flight was delayed by almost two hours. So, we went to the a local mall, which is the biggest mall in Costa Rica, and we ate lunch and prepared for final goodbyes. Because Karina is serving a longer term than the rest of us and Gary lives there, the remaining six of us said goodbye to them. Perhaps the hardest goodbye because some of us do not know whether or not we will be returning to Costa Rica next year.

I must say, it is important to recognize and remind ourselves that our purpose was for God's glory and will. We did not head to Costa Rica to make ourselves look good or bring praise to our names; we simply believe that God has called us to serve others, specifically in Costa Rica, and we obeyed in doing so. Personally, my biggest fear returning home was that I would get too comfortable again and fail to serve locally. I did not want to come back here and live my life like I had not went to Costa Rica. I admit, I am having withdrawals and still want to be there. But I will continue to work hard and serve the best I can here until another mission opportunity comes.

On a final note, I praise God for such an amazing opportunity. I would love to go back and serve again, perhaps longer than two weeks. I would like thank everyone whom I met and served with in Costa Rica. I also would like to thank all my supporters and going through this journey with me. 

Until next time,

Oscar Tsai

 Costa Rica Short Term Mission Team, 2016 (Brandon, Janessa, Danielle, Amy, Oscar, Nathan, and Karina)

Costa Rica Short Term Mission Team, 2016 (Brandon, Janessa, Danielle, Amy, Oscar, Nathan, and Karina)