Month: October 2022

St. Juan Bosco Park of Sonafluca

This past year, a new missionary family that had just joined us in Costa Rica presented us with the idea of joining forces to build a new playground for the little town of Sonafluca, where we were both doing missions. The old playground was in complete disarray. The swings were broken, the wood promised splinters, and really the only ones who used it were bored teenagers looking for a place to hang out. It was regularly trashed, and in the center of town.

We wanted to dedicate this park to Saint John Bosco, which is our parish name, but also is a perfect example of a saint that brought children to Jesus through play! We also wanted to get the blessing of our priest, Padre Mainor. In the meantime, Brad and our mission partner Mark, had scheduled an appointment to meet the bishop so he could put faces to the names of his missionaries now serving in Sonafluca. At this meeting, which included our local missionary friend Pablo, they explained our desire to put up a new park for the kids and dedicate it to San Juan Bosco. Brad even mentioned that it would be really great if the bishop could come to our opening party and bless the park. Pablo joked after they left, that in Costa Rica, that would never happen!

We then met with Padre Mainor and received his blessing, and before we knew it the park project was under way. First we had to tear down the old park and clean up the debris and trash, but then it was exciting to see the new park go up in just three days! Here we are laying the ground with rock after it was built.

Our boys, some locals and a lot of kids helped shovel and pour it on.

Soon the park was almost complete and we decided to meet with Padre Mainor to see if either he or the bishop could come bless the park for our opening party. Not only did he agree to come, but he checked with the bishop on a date that would work for him, and he agreed to come bless the park AND say a mass for Sonafluca at our tiny little chapel! Because the bishop had other bishops from other countries visiting, there ended up being three bishops and five priests for a total of eight in all! Meanwhile, when the locals got word that we were going to have this blessing and a mass said for the park, they put together a huge dinner for all the missionaries and priests. Only God could have taken a little suggestion from a humble missionary in a tiny town of Costa Rica and have blown it up into the holy event that it was!

It was a magical night! Not only was it packed with locals, it made the national news and FB watch, and Pablo was interviewed on behalf of Family Missions Company.

So that is the story of how, on June 8th, God orchestrated a blessing of the new park of Sonafluca with eight priests, a huge party full of kids and families, and a mass at our little town church, followed by a dinner for all the priests and missionaries.

San Juan Bosco, pray for us!

A floor for Loyda

Thanks to our generous benefactors, we were able to provide a floor for our friends Loyda and Jordan, and it is almost complete! Praise the Lord! The other night they were sharing with us some Nicaraguan style tacos with refried black beans, cabbage, cheese, ketchup and Natilla (a kind of Latin American sour cream) and afterwards we prayed together and they told us they wanted to help us in the mission!

These two pictures are what the dirt floor looked like before. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the floor is very uneven and difficult to keep clean.

The family and their friends worked hard to do it themselves, and they are almost done!

Mission Mamones

Twenty-one baskets of Mamones from Carmen’s family’s land

This cartoon-ish fuzzy looking sweet fruit pictured here is called mamon chino in Costa Rica, or more affectionately, “mamone” and translates in English to “Chinese suckers.” They are one of our family’s favorite tropical fruits. You rip off the peel and there’s a giant seed that’s covered with sweet juicy goodness.

Tis the season for these little wonders, and our friend Carmen has tons of them on some land she owns nearby. Carmen also has a missionary priest friend, Padre Willem, who serves a community about three hours away in the beach city of Puntarenas. He has been a missionary priest for many years and always seeks out the poorest of the poor. Mamones don’t grow where he lives. So this mission was all about harvesting as many mamones as we could, filling our buseta and driving to Puntarenas (twice) to deliver them to Padre, who then had then bagged and sold them in his parish to raise money for the poor.

Padre Willem and Brad
Padre Willem’s church

A business for Francisco

Francisco surverying the land where he will plant his camote

For many months we have been praying and trying to come up with ideas on ways to help our dear friend Francisco support his wife and five kids. At first we tried to raise enough money to build them or buy them a house, but it was too expensive. Eventually, they were forced to move out of their tiny shack, before any of us could come up with a solution, so a friend of theirs allowed them to move into their little town’s community hall. The only catch was that every time there was a community gathering, they’d have to pack up all their visible things and hide them in a back room where they all sleep.

This had been an upgrade to living in their other house, however they still couldn’t live there for long because Francisco’s farming job was too unstable and they couldn’t afford to pay rent. There weren’t any other options for renting a house in their town, as they were either too expensive or too small for their family.

One day Brad and I went to visit them to pray with them and they told us they actually wanted to stay in the community house but didn’t have the rent money. We also had been asking Francisco what method of farming he thought he could make money on. Little by little, God was pulling everything together.

We had some money donated for building them a house, so we took that and were able to rent this house for his family for one full year! Also, we rented farmland, paid to get it tilled by a tractor, and bought all of the equipment and fertilizer he will need for three harvests of a local vegetable called camote.

Francisco and Pilar are overjoyed they now have a livable situation and a way to earn money for the foreseeable future. Please keep their family in your prayers for three perfect harvests and for excellent sales of their camote!