Wednesday, January 16, 2008

La Carpio - Sanctuary For A Lost Generation

La Carpio (the Grandaddy of the Barrios) can be many things to many people. To the "Ticos" (Costa Ricans) it is a dangerous and forbidden place. It is separated from the Ticos by one road that leads to a quarry. The road is narrow, there are buses, autos, bicycles and pedestrians all trying to squeeze into the lane littered with burning trash piles, garbage and unnamed things. You are certain where the dividing line is between "the haves" and the "have nots"

It is also a place where the "Nicas" (Nicaraguans) scratch out a meager existence and just try to survive to the next day. Where the day brings hunger and the night, danger. There are almost 40,000 Nicas living on a patch of ground that is basically a garbage dump. The "streets" are barely passable, and children and animals are everywhere.

But in the middle of the chaos, there is a small rectangle of hope in the form of a Community Center. Here the lucky few have a safe place to play, learn and worship. It is still a place that is unfinished but progress is evident. To some it looks like a place to play soccer but, if you look closer into the faces of the children, it is a place where the Lord protects and nourishes his children.

It is a place where the children received medical care. It is a place where they learned the story of a loving Saviour. It is a place where there is hope to break the shackles of their existence.

The kids had a blast as they sang, busted the pinata, and listened to stories of the Bible.
One of the highlights was Ramon telling the story of Noah. As they listened to the story, some children had to pretend to be certain animals and the rest of the children had to guess what the animal was. It was hilarious to watch them make sounds and guess!

Dr Rita and the Team were amazing! Even on the last day, everyone maintained the highest attention to the children and making sure every person recieved the same amount of care and concern as the first one. We are soooooo blessed to be here.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

We are here!

We arrived safely yesterday. We made it through customs great! After checking into the hotel we traveled to La Carpio and prayer walked. Those of us that were courageous made the trek across the bridge over the river. The community center has changed alot and looks great!

Today we finished our first day of ministry. The clinic and the bible study went well. We fed 100 kids. I was reading the Bible this morning and found the memory verse for today.

"A wicked messenger falls into adversity, but a faithful envoy brings healing." Proverbs 13:17


The Clinic saw over 90 children and adults. It was encouraging to see hope in the eyes of those we were serving! Lalo (Steve) has done a tremendous job of advancing the Lord's presence here. We were truly blessed! Tomorrow, we expect to see twice the amount. The Clinic team is truly amazing.

David S

It's quite incredible the diverse talents that God brings together to be his hands and hearts for a mission trip. This is my first mission trip and I am blessed by the heart, generosity, and love that God has brought to bear on the people of this small town in the middle of Central America in middle of January, 2008. It's always His time and place. There is great comfort in knowing that when you are with people who want to do God's bidding, Satan cannot bring words, or feelings, or situations that can't be turned to understand there is great joy in serving our Lord. My goodness, what knowledge, what surety, that provides!

I watched Dr. Rita, as her small, nimble and gentle hands, guided by a strong God-given intellect, diagnose the well and the sick. I couldn't help but think that our job here is to show that healing has as much to do with knowing that your loved. Knowing that your loved is the surety that Christians have, that we can count on. Even if you don't speak the same language, the language of caring, of love, is felt through our hands and through our eyes, as we reach out to make a connection. Whether or not its Dr. Rita's hands, or one of our's on the shoulder of a young child caring for her siblings, in the crook of an arm of an old woman who managed the hill outside the clinic, or a hand to the community, as Lalo, our resident missionary, extends to those he loves here. Love comes through as a bearded, tall gringo cavorts and hands out Bible messages from his pockets to children who circle him. Christ's perfect love comes through as a young Latin American doctor, who is aiding our mission, tends to every patient with what can only be described as a heart that knows of gentle Grace.

So just like everything God does, there are way more blessing here than what we might have thought we would be delivering in our mission. It's my heart that was blessed last night as I thought about no matter the human condition, God's creation thrives when He is acknowledged.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

We completed the work phase of our mission trip today at the children's home. Dr. Rita examined the children and found them all to be in great shape. The family houses look great and are well maintained. And the children are doing super with their house parents.

While Dr. Rita was examining the children with Laura Shook's assistance, the rest of us was working on the fence around the perimeter of the property...and hanging out with the children.

We have had a great trip. God has supplied our needs the point of providing extra workers from the language school that Steve Edward is attending. Because of the extra man power we were able to accomplish much more than we anticipated!

We will leave San Jose Tuesday morning for our trip to Arenal. We are anticipating a leisurely travel day on Tuesday and a great day of relaxation on Wednesday at the Tabacon.

We will return to San Jose early on Thursday morning to catch a 1:00 PM flight. Please pray for travel mercies as we spend several hours on the bus traveling mountain roads. And for speedy departures from San Jose and a safe arrive to Houston. There is always potential to spend hours in lines in customs and immigration, etc.

Thank you, Champion Forest, for being a generous people. God has extended His Body through your influence in Costa Rica.

This will be our last post until after we return to Houston.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We completed the LaCarpio leg of our mission trip today. Today in LaCarpio the doctors saw many patients. We also feed 150 children a lunch of PB & J sandwiches, bananas and Tang. In the Bible clubs today, we taught the story of Jesus feeding the 5000.

It has been a great trip and we have dozens of photos to share. There are a few from today published below.

On Monday, we will travel to the children's home. Dr. Rita will have the opportunity to examine the new children. We will also be available to do some light construction. Several of our team have not had the opportunity to visit Coronado, so it should be a great day. And there are new children that none of us have met.

Please continue to pray for our safe travel and to stay healthy. Also, pray for the children you see in the pictures. I realize that you don't know their names, BUT God does. The future of these children is dependent on your prayers and support.

"He who refreshes others will be refreshed" (Proverbs 11: 25b)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dr. Rita Lakes

Another day another praise. Our team is one of gifted prayer warriors who look forward to God's wonderful provisions. 1Cor. 12:7: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. A bevy of helpers from the community, language students, retirees, and my favorite Carlos, (age 12) all helped in our clinic. The disease de jour at La Carpia has been streptococcus in many forms. We have seen its manifestation as sore throats, impetigo, scarlitina and strep skin infections after chickenpox.

It is wonderful that God placed us there just in the midst of the public health crisis. In addition, we have treated wonderful pathology and met many patients who we have treated on and off for the past 4-5 years.

Dr. Mark Barhorst

Christian Sylvan is a desperate young man, living in La Carpio, with his wife and two children separated from him by divorce. Life has been hard for him. Severe depression and possibly schizophrenia make it difficult for him to function in what is already a tough place to make it in life. Demon drug use may have played a role in his mental illness too, but he's clean now. He lost his job and soon after his family a year ago, and that's when drugs got him, in a moment of despair, of weakness, he succumbed. Without a job he can't afford his psych meds, which has him severely depressed at this time.

Yesterday we prayed with Christian, told him what his name means(he had no idea), and got him several months of his meds to help him get on his feet.A Bible you all provided him has his name written on its inner cover now.

Please put him in your prayers too.

Thanks to you all, and to our savior Jesus Christ, for putting me here to reach out to the people of La Carpio.

Dr. Mark

Laura Shook

I am so glad to be back in Costa Rica, and especially in La Carpio! It is always exciting to see the same children return to the clinic that we have seen for several years, and to see how they have grown, and to see the new little brothers and sisters that have been added to their families! We've had two full days of seeing patients. One special thing that happened today is a set of new 4 month old twins who came to the clinic! They were beautiful babies, and it was such a special priveledge to be able to pray for them as they are starting out in life. Dr. Rita and I have a special assistant - Carlos - a great young 14 year old who we have fallen in love with! He has been so much fun and it is obvious that he is very intelligent and has so much potential! Please pray for Carlos that God would continue to teach him and grow him in the wisdom and knowledge of Him. Thank you for praying for us while we're here! We depend on your prayers! - Laura

Kristina Farmer

Last night I read this devotional that really hit home. The first is by Elizabeth Elliot and it talks about the loaves and the fishes. Jesus asked for ALL and then Mrs. Elliot quotes a woman she heard in chapel saying, "If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad." Wow! My saving grace has been Mark 10:13-16. Jesus asks the children to come and touches and blesses them. That has been me. The reason this has been so powerful is because my espanol is no bueno, but I can smile, touch and bless in the name of Jesus. Thank you to all who are praying.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

We arrived in San Jose safely late last night after a 2 hour departure delay, but thankfully immigrations and customs went very smoothly.

We had a great day in LaCarpio today. We focused our time this morning getting everything unloaded and the clinic up and running. We saw 88 patients in the clinic...the most "exciting" was an injury for a machete fight.

In the afternoon, we hosted Bible clubs for the children (of all ages). During the Bible club the children hear the story of Noah and the ark.

Tomorrow we will continue the clincs and the Bible clubs. We will also feed the children lunch.

Please continue to pray that we will have favor in the community and God's blessing on our work. Also, pray for us all to stay healthy.

Hopefully, we will have more on the blog tomorrow night from our group.

Thanks for checking us out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

And we're off...

It's time for our next trip to Costa Rica! We will be departing IAH on Thursday, October 29, 2006 at 5:55 PM and arriving in Costa Rica at 8:39 PM.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we will be conducting medical clinics in LaCarpio. In addition to the medical clinics, we will be feeding the children lunch, and doing Bible clubs during the afternoon.

On Monday, we will travel to orphanage for a visit.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be for traveling and sighseeing.

Please be in prayer for us and for the people in which we come in contact.

The team is made up of Dr. Mark Barhorst, Mark Craber, Marcus Carber, Stacy Craber, Martha Eusse, Kristina Farmer, Dr. Rita Lakes, Stephen Ramsey, Bonnie Ritchey, Laura Shook, Janie Wills, Nathan White, and Morris Horner.

You can send us comments through the blog and we would love to hear from you.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The posting from Monday will likely be the last until we return to Houston. We appreciate your prayers and thoughts. I will post more information and photos in the near future.

Blessings, Morris!

Work Day in Coronda--Children's Home (Monday--Part 2)

Monday's blog will most likely be our last entry until we return to Houston on Thursday. Thanks for reading and responding. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I will post more information and pictures when we return.

Blessings! Morris

I think of a carp, a fish which feeds upon the bottom, considered by most a trash fish, if caught it is thrown over the bank to rot. When I tried to find LaCarpio on the map before the trip I could not find it. It does not exist. I was told there could be 40,000 or more people there. They do not exist.

But they are there. I have seen them; they exist. Modern day lepers; gangsters, drug addicks, prostitutes, diease ridden, down trodden, dirty, the "po" (like Voddie Bachum says, "to poor to afford the "r", these people could not afford the "o" either and had to scrounge in the trash for the "po". But know thndey are people. "Healthy people don't need a doctor-sick people do." Lk 5:31-32

Yet there is a light. "I have come into the world as light." Jn 12:46

They are people; parents, children who smile and play. "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them!" Mt 19:14

There are those who work each day here. "...I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from Satan to God." Acts 26:17-18

There are those who come to help; to heal, feed, quench thirst, to be a friend, to set free. "For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.I was naked, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me."Mt 25:35-36

"Let's get dirty, let's get used" - Audio Adrenaline

I am amazed at my own response. A feeling that I must rely on God... there is so much to do, so little time, so little ability to do all the things that need to be done. "Do you believe I am able to do this?" Mt 9:28


Noel thanked us for having patience with the people of LaCarpio. One of my prayers is to thank my Christos (and the people of LaCarpio) for having patience with me to respond. While I have a feeling of guilt, Christ gives me peace again. "...don't worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time." Mt 10:19-20

So many faces, voices, smiles, and names. All to be planted, watered, harvested, and sent to do the same. "One plants and another harvests..." Jn 4:37-38 "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men" Mt 4:19

Pray for the people of LaCarpio; "God blesses those who are poor and they realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs" Mt 5:3

Pray for the discipling of the boys, make them Jesus Freaks, that Steve is working with; that they will not fall prey to the gangs and drugs, that they become solid men, leaders who will change their, the, world.

Pray for God's Centurions leading from the front line, by example, Steve and Antonio. They are doing His Work. Pray Christs well refreshes them constantly, for wisdom and guidance, for safety, and to reap a bountiful harvest for the never ending Glory of God.

I am the way the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." Jn 4:16

What will I do in the future? Return, how could I not!

What will you do, where, when will is your LaCarpio to be?
*do something

Pablo Stirling

Just when I think I have been blessed more than I can imagine, God graciously shows himself again. I found myself in the midst of rolling hills covered with lush greenery. As we rounded each turn the view was greater than the previous. Then the greatest view of all came into sight, the orphanage. I long awaited this venture with God. I met six beautiful children. All full of grace, hope and childhood. All of which was once forgotten. We sanded and painted the new edition to the orphanage which will be a home for hopefully eight more children. The work was hard but I would not have missed it for the world. Later, as we were in the middle of working on the house and at peak exhaustion, God surrounded us with his presence and clouds floated across the area. It was cool, peaceful and stirring. When we least expect it, God speaks to us. We need only take the time to stop and listen. Today, I stopped, I listened and I will never forget his message. "You have done well my child and I am pleased" What a blessing to be still and know God.

Danielia Mickan

Work Day in Coronda--Children's Home (Monday)

The beautiful thing about Coronado besides the mountains, hanging clouds and lush scenery is the sweet hearts of the children in our home there. Presently, there are six children who have developed more wonderfully than we knew how to ask or think. They ha ve been loved back to health and the sparkle in their eyes is a clear look into their little hearts. Their progress is one that cannot be explained by psychotherapy or medicines but the agape love of the house parents and directors Roxanna and Noel. They have become attached and secure in their environment. This is evident by their wonderful behavior and progress in school and community. Their interaction and love of the dogs and pig is just great to witness. Emmanuel, our failure to thrive kiddo is thriving just great, thank you!!! This was so very rewarding to see. Thank you Champion Forest!!! and our fearless leader Morris.

Dr. Rita

have you ever seen impatiens growing wild up and down mountainsides? today's trip to the orphanage was simply beautiful, especially in contrast to where we've been in la carpio. there is so much potential to reach and disciple many children,one-by-one, through the orphanage, a plan/ministry that will really actually change lives and send these little ones back into their world with a heart for God. it is truly living out Jesus' scriptural precedent of caring for orphans. amazing!

i've been thinking about it, and i've narrowed it down to only about six kids that i think i need to bring home. is that o.k., duane? (see you thursday!)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 12, 2006

Today was our last day in LaCarpio. On Monday, we will travel to Coronado to do some construction work on the next family house at the children's home. Since I've added a lot of pictures tonight.

Please keep praying. Thousands of seeds have been planted.


Theresa has a new friend. I'm sure her face is etched in Theresa's heart! Posted by Picasa