Senior Trip 2012-13

October 23, 2012-November 1 2012

Shalom Family,
We have arrived safely in Costa Rica!
Our air flight travel went well.  We made all of our connections on time and
and had no major issues with our international students getting through
the travel process with their passports etc. – yahoo!  :)
A few jitters by some of those who had not flown before, but all is well now.
After exiting the airport in San Jose, Jason, our missionary who is overseeing
our visit, met us within a couple of minutes.  Yes!

As we walked down the sidewalk to the bus loading area, an elderly grandma who was sitting and waiting on her bus, watched our students go by.  I was bringing
up the rear and could see her smiling as she observed our kids.  When I was passing
by the bench she was on, she turned to me, still smiling broadly and said
in very broken English “Welcome, welcome to Costa Rica!”  I thanked her politely.
Her grandmotherly interest and obvious care for our students were incredibly
reassuring and affirming!  – A voice from heaven!
We loaded two small buses and made the hour trip to Franco’s Inn.
Thank you for your prayers for travel.
We have arrived in Costa Rica in good shape!
Mr. Raber


October 24

Hola, family and friends from Costa Rica,

Today was our first day at the Abraham Project. We started our day with a fabulous breakfast from Franco. He has been taking good care of us, from meals to the room arrangements. After breakfast we piled on to our buses and headed to the site. We were given a tour of the project and introduced to everyone before our jobs were assigned. Our tasks this morning included the guys moving dirt and the girls painting or taking nails out of boards.  The reason these nails had to be pulled out was because at the Abraham Project, all of their buildings are made of reused wood. When they told us this on our tour, it was amazing to see how they could transform this wood to look like new to use for their construction. It rained all afternoon so most of the guys played soccer in the rain. And when I say it rain, I mean it rained like cats and dogs. This gave us the opportunity to see one of the children’s homes. There are two on site now, and they can house up to fifteen children at a time. Steve Thomas, who is the leader of the orphanage, told us some of the stories of these children’s’ homes and the children that live and have lived in them. It was incredible to hear how God has blessed the Abraham Project to help and bless these children. God blesses us so much and sometimes we take that for granted. This is why I’m so excited to see what else this trip is going to show us. Being here only one day has been such an adventure. The difference between our cultures is fascinating. We went to a Walmart before we went back to Franco’s.  It was interesting to see the unique merchandise.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and thank you for all your prayers so far. God is blessing us and keeping us safe. Tomorrow is another adventure for us to explore and show God’s love. God bless.

Miss you all and love you,

Katie Hughes for the Senior Class of 2013


October 25

Greetings from Costa Rica!

It rained today. Who would have thought that during the rainy season it would actually rain? Today was the first day to work in the daycare. Six people went to the day care. They had a couple different age groups and worked with the kids on a craft about the parable of the lost sheep. Their craft was gluing cotton balls onto a sheep. Other jobs were pulling nails and staples out of pallets. This was a very exhausting job but it ends up with a huge reward. The buildings that they have made with this reused wood are beautiful! Others continued to paint while others started new jobs. A few guys toughed out the rain to power wash gutters and the staircase leading up to one of the buildings. The stairs, unfortunately, did not stay pearly white. A few of us played soccer after lunch with the workers. We finished at the Abraham Project at four o’clock and came back to Franco’s for dinner and showers. After dinner we had our debriefing. This nights question was on what has drained us today. A few responses from the class were the constant pulling out of nails, the language barrier, the rain, and comparing our American lifestyle to their poverty. A few comical reliefs for today are Jeffrey ripping his jeans and having Mrs. Lehman re-teach him how to sew, our advisers discussing foot massages, and several girls were singing, in marvelous voices, as they worked. All in all, we are having a fantastic time and please continue to keep us in your prayers! As I finish this update for all of you,

Thank you!
On behalf of the Senior Class of 2013
Rebekah Mowen


October 26

Bienvenido! Greetings to family and friends.

As usual we woke up and had a wonderful breakfast provided by Franco and his staff. We then went to the Abraham Project and were assigned work jobs. Another group of students worked in the day care teaching English lessons through songs, games, and other activities. Tearing pallets apart and pulling the nails out of the boards was another task. More pressure washing was done to clean gutters. Another big task was painting. We were provided another delicious lunch, which was then followed by another friendly soccer match between our group and the local workers. Today was a blessing of not having rain and having to work in the mud. A few of the students got some sun but not very bad. In the evening we have been talking, playing music and singing, playing games, and going to a local shop to buy a few drinks and snacks. Tomorrow we have our first fun day going to the beach on the Pacific side. Things are going very well, however there has been some minor intestinal issues, so please pray for healthy students.

Thank you for the prayers
For the Senior Class of 2013
Benjamin Holderman


October 28

It’s 10:00 p.m.  and house rules say that it’s quiet time and everyone should be in his/her own room.  The students are respectful and cooperative.

This morning we had our own church service at the Abraham Project.  Darin and Raven led us in worship.  Kayla shared some thoughts.  Students also had time to debrief about their Saturday at the beach.  We had a pizza lunch and played games with the children in the children’s’ home.  Then it was time to shop!  We spent an hour in the local market.  Parents, you have great gifts coming your way!  In the evening we returned to the Abraham Project for a meaningful drama.

Saturday was a gift from God!  The weather was beautiful for a great day at the beach after working hard all week.  Several students commented that it was the most fun they’ve had in a long time.  We went snorkeling, rode the banana boat, swam, played volleyball, took walks, ate great food, and just enjoyed the amazing day.  We’ll try to post details and pictures on another day.

We’re safe with no storms in our forecast.  Praying for you at home as you prepare for Hurricane Sandy.

Mrs. Petersheim for the Class of 2013


October 29

Hola familas y amigos!

Terminamos nuestro cuarto día trabajando en el Proyecto Abraham hoy. Broma! I won’t write in Spanish. Today, we continued to pull nails, paint, and work in the daycare. Pulling nails only proves to be a challenge of strength and perseverance.  (And if parents ask why we didn’t hear them the first time they told us to do something when we get home, it’s because pulling nails is also a very loud job.) About twelve people helped with painting today.  In the daycare, two of us read the story of Daniel in the lions’ den. We then helped the children color a paper plate to look like a lion mask. Another task some boys did was moving dirt to smooth out a path behind the Project. It rained a little in the morning, but God held off the rain for the rest of the day. We came home, showered, and ate a delicious hot dinner made by Franco. (I hate to say this, but Franco’s food competes with homemade meals.) Debriefing followed dinner as we discussed where we saw God at work. We’ve been learning from each other and bonding well together as we share our thoughts on the day. Games of Mafia and Rummy are our way to relax before heading to bed tonight. Please pray for continuity in work and goals as we go into our last day of work tomorrow. We continue to pray for your safety back in Pennsylvania and hope there is bread and milk left in the stores when we get home! And a special shout-out to my mom, who is my inspiration for this post.

Thank you for your support and prayers!

On behalf of the Senior Class of 2013,

Audrey Birkhimer


October 31, 2012

Hola everybody in the United States! This will be the last post from Costa Rica on behalf of the Senior Class. Our day began at 6:00 this morning, when we gathered for our second to last breakfast in Franco’s dining area for waffles, some fabulous coffee, and of course… rice and beans (breakfast style)! At 6:30 we left for the Volcan Irazu, a volcano 11,000 feet high (the second highest peak in Costa Rica!) After a twisty, foggy road on the side of the mountain, we reached it. The peak is actually in a cloud forest, so it was difficult to see into the crater, but for some the hike to the top was enjoyable. Others drank hot coffee in a little souvenir shop. After that we drove to the city of Cartago to see a Catholic Basilica where many Costa Ricans make pilgrimages for their faith. The afternoon was then ended by eating at a restaurant (a very nice one!) near Franco’s. Then we all got into our two buses and headed to Franco’s to have a goodbye debriefing session with Jason, a leader at the Abraham Project. After that, many people went to pack up. (Some suitcases are lighter because many of us chose to leave behind some clothing for the Project, and some bags are heavier because of souvenirs!)

We are all very blessed to have had this time in Costa Rica. Many of us have been inspired, changed, or simply had our eyes opened to a different culture. We will keep the Abraham Project in our prayers and remember the workers there, the children, and the work they continue to do in Costa Rica.

Please keep us in your prayers as we travel home, and we will remember you in ours. We will see you all soon!

Writing for the Senior Class of 2013,

Abigail Koontz