Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 7 The Sunset

Our final day here in Costa Rica has now come and gone. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here an entire week already. Tomorrow, we head home.

Today, was a day to rest after the Pastor’s conference that ended yesterday. So, what better place to kick back than at the beach. It’s about a 1 hour drive from Atenas to the beach and what an eventful drive it was. We stopped at a roadside stand and bought a couple of fresh coconuts and drank the coconut water inside of it. Delicious! Next we stopped at a bridge over a river where the crocodiles hang out. The week before coming here, I saw a show on Animal Planet called “The Killer Crocodiles of Costa Rica”, and there I was seeing them first hand. We saw about 10 of them. 3 of them were huge. The next stop was the beach. Black sand, big waves and clouds. Yep, clouds, it’s the rainy season here, but it actually didn’t rain today. We had a good time playing in the surf and just listening to the ocean. We had a first time experience of feeding an Iguana right from the table at lunch. He was about 2 feet away, on the ground, so, we gave him some tomatos. Also, we saw about 30 Scarlett Macaws, you know the really expensive birds in the pet stores in the US, just flying around and hanging out in the trees, at the beach.

As we left the beach, the Lucas’ took us to the Villa Caletas Hotel to view the sunset from the hotel’s restaurant/amphitheater perched on the top of a mountain, looking down over the lush, green forest and out over the ocean. They thought it would be the perfect way to end such a great trip. Well, they did not disappoint. It has to be one of the most magnificent views I’ve ever seen. All I could do was just soak it all in and say thank you, God! It was the perfect ending.

We’ve seen and done a lot this past week. It’s been a week that I’ve witnessed the work of God’s hand in His creation, the children at Hogar De Vida Orphanage, and in His people. It’s been a week that God used me and my 2 kids to bless the lives of others. And, it’s been a week that God, in turn, used others to bless us. God’s taught me many things this week. I have a new perspective on what following Jesus is all about.

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Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 6 Conference Ends

The end of our 6th day here has come to an end, and we only have 1 more full day left. What a great day it was. The closing of the Pastor’s conference was a blessed time. Although it’s been a very busy 3 days, I was kind of sad to see it end.

We started out early once again to get to Vista Del Valle before breakfast started. After breakfast we were to go on the hike down to the bottom of the waterfall for a morning Bible study, but because it rained all night last night, we had to cancel it. The ground was too slippery. The remainder of the day consisted of 1 more session, lunch, and then a final session dedicated to testimonies.

Oh man, what a blessing to hear those that shared a testimony. We had one of the Pastor’s wives, who spoke very good English, sit with us and interpret for us. Each 1 that got up to speak talked of how the conference had been a blessing to them. How it was a gift from God. A few of them talked about how they didn’t know what to expect and were nervous about going, but were now, so glad that they had come. One spoke of how they had had a number of issues come up right before coming, and that Satan was doing everything possible to stop them, but they came. And with tears in her eyes she expressed her heartfelt thanks and praised God. When they were done, they had all of us (the Lucas’ and Caskey’s) come to the front, and then they prayed over us. Just WOW!

I know these Pastors and their spouses were blessed by being there, but little do they know how much they blessed us. They left with a new fire burning inside of them. They left feeling like they had just taken a dip in a nice, cool pool on a steamy, hot summer day. They left feeling encouraged, loved and supported. And, they left with a renewed faith in our Lord. I left with a new sense of awe at what God did in their lives over the last 3 days. I left with thanksgiving that God gave me and my kids the privilege of serving them.

After we left the conference, it was time to celebrate what God had done. It was time for…Pizza Hut!

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 3 Party Time

Day 3 is now in the books. It was a pretty easy day today, by design, as we were resting up, and prepping for the Pastor’s conference, which starts tomorrow. But, that doesn’t mean we did nothing.

The day started with me wishing my oldest daughter a happy 19th birthday. Yes, she turned 19 years old. Man, am I feeling old. Then after everyone was up, we went on a walking tour of the town of Atenas. The town is your typical Costa Rican town with a big Catholic Church and a park as the center pieces on the main square. We got a glimpse of what life is like in Costa Rica by visiting the local grocery stores, some restaurants, walking through the church, hanging out in the park for a while, and just walking along the streets. The people are really friendly and very laid back. The slow pace here, could be very contagious. We had lunch a one of the local restaurants, which was nice. Also, we were able to pick up a few decorations and things for my daughter’s birthday party we were going to have later back at the Lucas’. I was also able to buy a few bags of Costa Rican coffee to bring back home. It was a requirement from my wife that I bring back some coffee. Costa Rica is known for it’s coffee and Atenas specifically is one of the largest coffee growing areas in Costa Rica. It’s the best I’ve had and it’s very inexpensive here. Bonus!

Later, back at the Lucas’ I spent some of the afternoon listening to and watching some iWorship DVDs in preparation to lead worship at their Wednesday night English speaking service at their church. Then, we got everything ready for my daughter’s birthday party where we had pizza and a delicious, homemade chocolate cake. What an experience she had spending her 19th birthday in Costa Rica.

After that, it was time for church. We got there a little early to get setup, and the church’s Spanish worship team was still rehearsing for their Sunday service. So, I got a chance to listen to them for a little while. That was pretty cool, but of course, I couldn’t understand hardly anything, but their sound was good. Finally, our service got started and it was a lot of fun getting a chance to lead worship for the group that was there. I’m glad I was able to help Steve out. It was a great night of teaching also, because Steve, as usual delivered a great message. It was awesome hearing him teach again. It was on Revelation 2 and the first part of chapter 3.

Once back at their house, it was time to get things ready for the Pastor’s conference to start tomorrow. We spent the rest of the time preparing the packets the Pastors will receive, the gift bags and going over the agenda for the next few days. It’s going to be a packed 3 days coming up, but  looking forward to it. It will be a privilege serving these Pastors at the conference. I look forward to meeting them and seeing how God can use me and my kids to meet their needs. I pray that they will be blessed, refreshed and equipped for their ministry. Please pray for them.

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 2 Adrenaline Rush

We had a very early start to our day, today. It was our excursion day, which was a day set aside for us to get a chance to have some fun and do something that’s somewhat uniquely Costa Rican. So, we headed out to the San Luis Canopy Tour. What’s a Canopy Tour, you may ask? You can check it out at the link I just provided, but in a nutshell, it’s zip lining, but zip lining on steroids. The most intense rush ever!!! And, I wanna go again, and again, and again!

The whole time you’re immersed in the lush green forest in the high mountains. ‎12 different zip lines of different lengths and heights, and you go from 1, to the next, and the next, until you’ve done all of them and you’re back to where you started from. This included 1 free swing they call “Tarzan”. You swing out 3 times over the tops of the trees, with the guides catching you each time and pushing you as hard as they can back out again. About 150 feet below you is a river and you’re swinging out from the mountain side, from between trees, and then over the tops of trees. It made the old rope swing you might have had in your back yard or maybe one that you used to swing out over a lake look pretty small. Then the tour concludes with the ultimate zip line that they call “Superman”. You’re strapped into a special harness and you’re going HEAD FIRST! The line is about 350 meters long (almost 4 football fields), and you’re about 300 feet above the canyon floor. Yes, you read that correctly. From the platform, you shoot out off the mountain side, between some trees, and then it’s like the whole valley opens up below. There is nothing but you, that line, and maybe some birds flying around. Just unbelievable! I still can’t get the view, from that high up, out of my head. It was like flying. No amusement park I’ve ever been to even compares.

I’m thankful that we had a day that we could just have some all-out, adrenaline rush kind of fun today. I’m thankful that God gives us those experiences. It was a thrill seeing the smiles on my kids’ faces, listening to their laughter and yes listening to their screams as they were flying through the trees. It was fun doing that myself. We now share that experience, that thrill, and no one can ever take that away. I’m sure we’ll always look back at this and tell stories about it. Today, we created some memories.

Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Update 2

Friends,

We have entered the “Home Stretch”, the last ten days before we leave on our mission trip to Costa Rica. Still, I stand amazed at what a wonderful God we serve. I am so thankful for all of those that He has surrounded us with, who are supporting us with their prayers and/or supporting us financially. It is truly humbling to watch His hand move in this way. I look so forward to see how He is going to use me and my two kids for His purposes in Costa Rica, and to see what He has in store to teach us. Our hearts are open and ready to serve however He sees fit, and ready to learn what He wants to teach.

As we enter these final ten days, please consider giving of your time and pray for us leading up to our trip and during our trip, and I also ask that you prayerfully consider supporting us financially. We still have a gap in our funding to close, but I’m confident that God will provide.

Praise our Lord God Almighty.

Rick

 

Re-post of our mission trip letter:

Dear Friends,

I am so excited to share with you an opportunity I have to serve the Lord this summer. I have been invited by The Brook Ministries to work with them for a week, helping at one of their pastor training conferences.

On June 19, I will fly to Costa Rica with my oldest daughter, Ariel, and my oldest son, Austin. Together, we will serve for a week at a pastor’s training conference working behind the scenes to serve the pastors from numerous Costa Rican churches. Ariel and I will return home at the end of one week, but Austin will stay on for another two weeks, helping with the beginning stages of the construction of a youth center called Casa de la Cultura. It will be a place for teenagers to come for discipleship and fellowship. Lord willing, it will help keep teens out of trouble and reduce teen pregnancy.

I am writing to ask for your support in two ways:

  1. We need a prayer team to support me and my family. We will be sending out regular updates from Costa Rica on my blog at https://thereasonsedge.wordpress.com, Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rick.caskey and Twitter at http://twitter.com/rickcaskey, and I need a team of people who will be faithful to pray for me.
  2. We need help funding the trip. Time is becoming critical and we need to have our funding secured in the next couple of weeks. The total is made up of $1,500.00 for Ariel and I, each, and $2,550.00, for Austin. We’ve made it very easy to make donations directly online to The Brook Ministries (www.thebrookministries.org). Click “Donate Online” then select “Caskey Mission Trip” where it says “Please direct my donation to.”

Thank you for any support you can give. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord, and we would love to have you on our team.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at rickcaskey@tx.rr.com or message me on Facebook.

Because He First Love Us,

Rick Caskey

Thankful For…

I thought that I should take time, once again this Thanksgiving, to think about what I am truly thankful for. I know that most of my life I’ve neglected to think about this, let alone write it down. Last year was the first time that I ever really took time to do it. So, here I am to do it again. Much of this is probably the same as last year, but who cares. Who knows, maybe this will become an annual thing.

Thankful for…

  1. My God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the salvation that I have by His gift of grace that He made possible by His blood that was shed on the cross. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8).
  2. For my wonderful wife of 22 years and the fantastic mother that she is. She makes life a joy each and every day. She is a great gift from God also. May I cherish her more deeply and be the husband that God intends for me to be.
  3. The blessing of 4 great kids who are all special, each and every one of them. God has blessed me so greatly here. I pray that I can be the dad that they need and that God designed me to be.
  4. Family in general. Thankful that they are always there and always in your corner.
  5. Friends. God has put some great friends in my life. I pray that I can be the friend to them that they have been to me.
  6. A great church and church family. God has placed us in a church that is commited to teaching the Gospel of Christ and reaching the lost for Christ. Also, a church family that lives out their Christianity by taking time to serve others in many different ways. It is a church family that is committed to bringing glory to God.
  7. The privilege of living in America and the freedoms that we have. I pray that God continues to bless this country. I pray for our leaders, that they will be men and women who will seek God and His guidance each and every day. And, as part of this great country I’m thankful for those awesome men and women in our military, that serve and protect our freedom day in and day out.
  8. A good job that God has blessed me with. I thank God for the privilege it is to work and the skills that He’s given me. I pray that I do it as if unto Him.
  9. God’s provision each day; shelter, food, water, clothing and the additional blessings that He has given.
  10. God’s continuous teaching and working in my life. I find it amazing that God finds it worthwhile to keep trying to teach, correct and instruct me each and every day. I thank Him for what he’s teaching me about His sovereignty, that He’s in control, that He has a plan and that I need to trust Him completely. I pray that I learn to follow Him completely and surrender all.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, just take a little time and give it some thought. Don’t let it slide by another day, another minute. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Memorial Day Thoughts

Finally, Memorial Day Weekend is here! Even though I will probably have to work some over the weekend, it’s nice that I have one extra day to be home with the family and not have to go into the office. So, at some point this weekend, I’m sure we’ll be relaxing by the pool or in the pool, maybe going to see a movie and cooking some burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Basically, doing as much relaxing, playing around, eating and celebrating as we can. But, as I thought about it, I had to ask myself, what are we celebrating?

I, like just about everybody, was getting caught up in the thought of this being just a fun weekend. The reality is, it is so much more than that. My thoughts now turn to, “why am I able to have so much fun this weekend?” Who makes it possible for us to enjoy spending time with friends and family over the next few days? My thoughts have now turned to the those that have served, fought for, been wounded for, and died for, this great country of ours. Yes, the real reason for Memorial Day Weekend is not for us to just have fun, relax and enjoy ourselves, but to remember those that have made it possible for us to have the freedom to celebrate this weekend.

In these next few lines I want to remember and pay tribute to all those that have served in the different branches of the Armed Services. Thanks to those that have gone before us, and fought for, and in many cases died for the freedoms that we enjoy today. And, thanks to those that serve today, standing guard, protecting and fighting for our freedoms.

I pay tribute to my deceased father, who, in his day, served in the Army during World War II. He was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He fought and was wounded for our country. In all my life, until now, I’ve never taken the time to think about his contribution to the freedoms we have today. So, even though he’s been gone for many years, I honor him and say THANK YOU!

I say thank you to my brother, who served in the Air Force in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I thank him for his willingness to serve and defend our country.

Now, I have a nephew serving in the Navy. And, I want to make sure and thank him for his service. Even though he’s early in his career there, I appreciate him none the less.

So, this weekend, while you’re celebrating with your family and friends, enjoying yourself, having a good time, at the pool, on your boat, taking a trip, having a big juicy burger or steak, or whatever, take the time to remember who’s made it possible for you to have the freedom to do so. Remember those that have sacrificed greatly for you to enjoy yourself. If you take the time to do so, you may find yourself more appreciative for this weekend than ever before and you may enjoy yourself more than you ever have.

As an added extra, I heard this on the radio today and it sent chills up and down my spine. I think it’s a good reminder of why the members of our Armed Services are willing to sacrifice all for our country.

Have a great Memorial Day!