Team Costa Rica Updates
Leaving Costa Rica at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, we thought our trip was over with just five hours before we would arrive back in Clearwater, but
the Lord had different plans for us. Flexibility had been one of our key words throughout the trip, and during this last day of travel that is what we
had to do...be flexible.
Arriving at the Costa Rican airport at 4:45 we had plenty of time to get our business done to leave the country. While waiting in line to check our
bags, an announcement came on that our flight from Costa Rica had been delayed by 2 hours. Of course this would also affect our connecting flight in
Miami. When we got to the ticket counter, the agent informed us that we would not be able to make our connecting flight and that we would not be all
able to make the next flight to Tampa. In fact, five of us would not be getting back into the Tampa airport until 11:30 p.m. Remember now, we are hearing
this at 5:00 a.m. also remember our word "flexibility."
After trying several different options, it became apparent that this would be the way we would spend our last day together. After the 2 hour delay
in Costa Rica, we flew to Miami arriving at 2:30 p.m. The first group was able to fly out at 6:30 p.m. with Lou Denny, and the second group
stayed at the Miami airport for 8 hours waiting for the last flight of the day. I stayed with the last group and we had a wonderful time of fun
and fellowship during the delay. We also had the chance to pass out a tract to our waitress.
I was very impressed with how well the team handled this change of travel plans, and although everyone was ready to get home, we made the
best of the situation. The final leg of our trip from Miami to Tampa was only 50 minutes, but we had to wait 8 hours to do it. Arriving back
on campus right after midnight, it was good to be "home", and it was good to reflect on the many ways God worked on our team during this trip.
Learning flexibility was just one of the many lessons.
Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny
The following journal entry by Coach Denny was posted on the SCORE International Web site on 8/6/2008:
We traveled about an hour to San Ramon on Sunday and ministered at Iglesia Bautista El Calvario, a church started by Russ Turner. We sang and
Evie Compton and Ginette Cerrud gave testimonies. We then traveled to our game which was held at the same place we had played several years
ago in Alajuela. It was a great game. We won 3-0 but played two more for fun and then had an excellent time of one on one with all the team
After the game we traveled to Punta Leona beach resort for a nice relaxing time at the beach. We leave tomorrow (4:00 a.m.) to return home.
Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny
Today God showed us His sovereignty once again. Due to a Costa Rican holiday, our plans to visit the orphanage were cancelled. However, we had
the opportunity to run another volleyball clinic for a group of girls at a small school. These girls were so energetic and had such sweet spirits.
It was so much fun to teach them the basics of volleyball, even though we couldn't speak their language very well. We also gave them wordless
bracelets and presented the gospel. Several girls responded to the message. It has been such a blessing to be able to share my testimony
and all that Christ has done for me with the people here!
Later in the afternoon we played our fifth volleyball game and afterward had a great time interacting and talking with the team and the coaches. Back
at the villa our team spent an extended time sharing blessings and worshiping in song. Even though we didn't get to go to the orphanage like we
had planned, we know that God was in control all along and is working in ways we can't even imagine.
The following journal entry by Summer was posted on the SCORE International Web site on 7/30/2008:
This morning we traveled to a school for two volleyball clinics. The first group was 8th grade and the second group was 9th grade.
The boys and girls did well in both groups. They knew English pretty well so we conversed easily.
My favorite part of the day was when we broke up into small groups after the clinics. Each team member took three kids and shared the Gospel
with them. The kids really listened.
In the 8th grade class I was with Chrissie. We spoke with two boys and a girl. After small talk, we shared the real reason we were there.
One of the boys was a solid atheist, the other boy was a Christian, and the girl, Erica, was Catholic.
Mihai, a SCORE rep, came and took the young atheist aside to speak with him while Chrissie talked to Randal, the Christian, and I talked to Erica.
She watched me intensely as I spoke of Jesus. I explained how Jesus died for our sins and all she had to do was accept His free gift of forgiveness.
After she understood, she prayed and asked Jesus to forgive her and come into her life. Her eyes became joyful. I was overwhelmed with happiness!
That was the best 15 minutes of the day!!
CCC played a 6 p.m. game against the University of Costa Rica winning one set out of four.
The following journal entry by Peggy was posted on the SCORE International Web site on 7/29/2008:
This morning we had the opportunity to conduct a volleyball clinic in a public middle school. The young people were so receptive to the basic skills we
introduced to them. They barely knew us and yet they were respectful and open to instruction.
Although there was a language barrier, we still were able to show our enthusiasm and care for them by smiling, positive responses, and taking time with each individual. We showed them forearm passing, overhead passing, serving and spiking.
Most importantly we demonstrated God’s love to them. After the session, Kayla shared her testimony and a SCORE representative finished with a salvation message. A seed was planted in each heart and that is more important than any volleyball skill they might have learned.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the youth of Costa Rica in teaching them about the game I love and the God whom I love above all!
CCC played at 6 p.m. against Goicochea who’s team has two of Costa Rica’s olympic players. CCC lost three out of four games. Game 1: 19-25; Game 2: 20-25; Game 3: 25-15; Game 4: 17-25
The following journal entry by Dr. Vickie Denny, volleyball coach, was posted on the SCORE International Web site on 7/28/2008:
Coming to Costa Rica for a volleyball missions trip I knew that I would have limitations since I do not speak Spanish, except for a few select words
and phrases. This morning while our team was distributing tracts in downtown San Jose, I saw how God can open doors of opportunities where we least expect it.
The streets were busy with the downtown activity much like any major city in the U.S. With Spanish tracts in hand, our volleyball team walked up and
down a major avenue handing out God’s message.
Most people smiled and took the tract but some simply refused or looked away. This was much different from my last experience with tract distribution
in 2002 when we were in San Ramon. There the people eagerly accepted the tracts and many even came back requesting more.
Towards the end of our time on the avenue, two young men approached us. They were from the University, and were doing an assignment for one of their
English classes. They were to find an American couple and request an interview. We eagerly accepted the open door of opportunity. We answered questions
about our culture in the States, the food, the customs and our values. I told them of Jesus Christ who is the only way to heaven. I told them about
God’s love. We gave them a wordless bracelet with a tract.
As we finished up the interview and they left, I remarked to Rachel, “Here I am in a country where I cannot speak the language, and God sends two
Costa Rican young men to talk with me in English.” God never ceases to amaze me.
CCC played a 4 p.m. game against the first division team of San Antonio de Belen. They won three out of five sets. Game 1: 27-25; Game 2: 14-25;
Game 3: 25-10; Game 4: 22-25; Game 5: 25-23
The volleyball team left for Costa Rica at 3:30 Saturday morning. Lou Denny called and confirmed their safe arrival. They had a slight mix up in the airlines,
but it worked out just fine. The girls sang in church yesterday and fed the homeless last night.
The following journal entry by Laura was posted on the SCORE International Web site on 7/27/2008:
It is Sunday–our first day of ministry in Costa Rica. I never dreamed to be impacted the way that I have been in this one, single day. It is a
beautiful thing to see how God works in so many different ways.
This morning, the team visited a local church. Just the experience of being in a different culture and meeting new people was incredible. We
frantically attempted new phrases, so we could communicate. We still need tons of practice.
Although our communication was hindered, it was awesome to see the love of Christ plastered on the faces of those around us. We struggled through
the congregational singing, but we could still praise our Lord with the Costa Rican people. During the message, two local girls interpreted for us.
First of all, their English was very good. More importantly though, we could see the love of Christ in their eyes.
After lunch and an afternoon of shopping, we were able to make bologne and cheese sandwiches to hand out to homeless people. After eating dinner
we piled on the bus and sang while driving to the “red light district” of San Jose. It was the perfect time to focus on God and the real reason
we are on the trip. We are here to glorify Him. Our last song and prayer before arriving was “A Passion for Thee.”
We made an assembly line and began handing out a sandwich, juice, cookies and a tract to each person. Drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes, and
others who needed food came to us. These people are made just like me. They are made in the image of Christ and they posses a soul. They just
made decisions that have placed them on the streets hungry.
We were only there about 10 minutes before we ran out of food. The hardest part was knowing that we didn’t have more to give. Just as we
were closing the bus door, a young girl walked up holding a baby and begging for food. It was so hard to watch her walk away hungry.
These people are hungry! They are starving! But they are starving spiritually as well. What will it profit us to feed the hungry if they still die
and spend an eternity in hell?
Christ is our only source of complete satisfaction. More than food and drink, we need the love and salvation of our Lord. On this trip, our goal
is to share Christ by planting seeds and watering them. I Corinthians 3:7 reminds us that God giveth the increase. I pray that God will use me to impact others for Him and that He will bring the increase.