Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Engineering in Costa Rica

I had an amazing trip to Costa Rica and arrived home Sunday night.

1 Peter 4:10 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

I kept bumping into this verse before, during, and after the trip.  This fits because the team used our own gifts and skills – engineering and architecture – to serve the missionaries in Costa Rica.

This is the property that YWAM Guanacaste owns, 2.5 acres between a mountain and a road.  Our job was to create a master plan for developing this property over time and design the multi-use building that would be the first structure built.  My specific job was the grading and drainage of the property, making sure it drained correctly and the rain stayed away from the building.

During the first couple days, the architect and land planner were figuring out how the site would be laid out and how the big multi-use building would, the engineers focused on some field tests and gathered data that would be used later.  We dug holes on the site to find out the nature of the soil and see how well it drained water.  This was intended to be particularly useful for the engineer designing the septic tank system, but the soil was so dry and wouldn’t hold water long enough to perform the percolation test.  However, the site had a soils investigation performed by a local engineer and we were able to obtain the data we needed.

As soon as the architect and land planner gave me a rough idea of the plan for the site (the multi-use building would be partially open on two sides and would house a kitchen, stage, classrooms, office, and storage space), I began working on a grading plan for the first phase (multi-use building).  Most of us stayed up until 1 am Thursday night (Friday morning) trying to get some rough concepts ironed out before our presentation Friday night.

Friday night was very special.  Several other missionaries and YWAM board members gathered in the small room inside the base where we had worked all week and we presented our project.  The architect and land planner spent most of the time telling about the multi-use building and the master plan, but each team member was given an opportunity to tell about what he or she worked on.  The audience was very pleased with our work and looked forward to the time when they would be able to serve the local people with their new building.

I was very blessed during the week I spent interacting with the YWAM staff.  They really had a heart for the people of Guanacaste and the LORD is working there.  Seeing their passion blessed me as I was using my skills to bless them.  I was also blessed by the other members of the EMI team that I worked closely with all week.  Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in your own little world, focusing on what is immediately around you, and miss what God is doing.  You can get discouraged by the direction the country seems headed or the backsliding of the church.  But last week in Costa Rica, God showed me He still has a remnant of people serving Him, from the volunteers from California, Michigan, South Carolina, Mississippi, and even Alberta to the Costa Ricans and Finns working in Costa Rica’s “forgotten province”.

The YWAM team (left to right):  Robin, Kimmo, Laura, Oliver, Yojhanna, Vivi, Salla, Diego

I know I was in the center of God’s will, and everything about all of us working together and serving our Savior seemed so right.  It made it difficult to leave and say good-bye to the missionaries and the other EMI team members.  I hope I will be able to keep in touch with YWAM and their project in the future.

Thanks to each one of you who prayed or otherwise supported me during my week in Costa Rica.  It is blessing to have so many brothers and sisters behind me.  You also share in the ministry.

(I apologize for the lack of great pictures.  I didn't take very many.  I may be getting some better ones from other team members and may post them when I have access to them.)

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