A Church of the Highlands Family Adventure

We were so excited to host our first Church of the Highlands Legacy Family team along with visiting physician Dr. Gilbert Ghearing! They brought a brand new dynamic of fun to Rio Viejo. With twelve adults and fourteen kids ranging in age from seven to fourteen, it was a non-stop adventure from sunrise to bed time the whole week. 

After a full day of traveling on Saturday, having a good night’s rest, a hot breakfast, and a few pots of coffee made Sunday morning a little easier. We all gathered together upstairs of the dorm and enjoyed a nice church service, but after that, the real work began. The guys built four new wooden benches to set out on the front porch of the hospital, while everyone else started learning the dance routines and puppet skits that would be performed at the school visits later in the week. 

Monday, the team was able to see what exactly goes on around the hospital on a regular basis. Dr. Martin and Dr. Gil saw patients, and the adults were able to help with various tasks, from pulling patient charts to filling prescriptions. One was even brave enough to assist Dr. Martin in removing stitches! The kids had a blast playing outside with the other children: lots of soccer for the boys and stickers and coloring for the girls. After lunch, they were able to go across the street to IER for a tour and chapel. Then, the adults were taken on a tour of the new property while the kids stayed back for some more puppet practice led by Tabby and the interns. Mrs. Wendy bribed the kids with a trip to the river if they did a good job, and I hear that was the best practice they had!

Tuesday was our first day of school visits. We hiked two hours to Los Limpios, and unloaded everything and split into groups for lessons on healthy habits. After educating the students about healthy eating, proper teeth brushing and hand washing procedures, and giving each of the students their vitamins and anti-parasitic, we went outside to do some door prizes, dancing, and relay races. It was great to see all of the kids interacting together. After lunch, we hiked back to Rio Viejo. Everyone handled the day like a champ, and even after all of the day’s activity, they made sure to still have a fun evening at the river and play more soccer!

Wednesday, we broke out the trucks and trailer and rode up the mountain to do school visits at Yaruca, Japon, Urraco, and Give Hope 2 Kids. At Yaruca, our kids were given the opportunity to show off some of their talents with some of the students, and you could tell they enjoyed it! While visiting Give Hope 2 Kids, the orphanage in Urraco, everyone was given a tour of the facility and the story of what they do there. It was great to interact with other missionaries on the mountain and to see their vision. It rained most of the way back home, and we were able to see a beautiful double rainbow. We ended our day with an epic lip sync battle, which was for sure an entertaining and unforgettable experience, especially since we were without electricity. What a full day of fun!

Thursday was the team fun day, and they decided to stick together and go snorkeling. After a day out on the water, the team enjoyed a nice meal at our favorite restaurant in the city and stocked up on some great souvenirs! After arriving back, they signed the hospital wall, and we had our closing debriefing meeting. It was a great end to an even better week. We loved having such a helpful, loving, and thriving team!