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Morgan and I are still raising funds for our mission trip to Costa Rica, but I am also hosting a fundraiser for the children's home.
I am taking pre-orders for coffee. For $10 I can bring you back 1 pound of delicious Costa Rican coffee gr...own right in the town we will be staying at. ALL proceeds will be given to Residence of Life Children's home. All you need to do it let me know how many bags you want, and send me the money before May 22nd. I will deliver it as soon as I can after we get home. If I need to mail it to you please send $12. I can only bring back 35 bags, so please let me know if you want some now so I can start a list. It is first come first serve! You can comment here or send me a message through Facebook or call/text me!



This is a coffee plant growing in Costa Rica!

 
 
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As I get ready to lead my first ever mission trip I have been thinking a lot about what advice I'd give the girls who have never been on a mission trip.

I have been on a mission trip to Mississippi to help cleanup after Hurricane Katrina, and to New Mexico to volunteer at a boarding school on a Navajo reservation and Church cleanup. I also have been to Nicaragua twice, where I worked at an orphanage, and this will be my second trip to Costa Rica where I will be working at a children's home. No matter where YOU are going, these tips will be helpful! 

1. Go to the bathroom when you have the opportunity to!

I learned this lesson the very hard way, the last time I was in Costa Rica. I have a very embarrassing story about a long bus ride on that trip! If you want a good laugh you can ask me about it!


2. Ladies, leave the makeup bag at home! Unless you are going to a cold climate it's not worth the space it takes up in your bag. In all of my experiences my makeup just sweat right off my face. If you feel it's necessary, just pack the very basics to wear to church services.

3. Ladies, leave your hair straightener at home. Unless, you will be working inside or in a cold climate it's not worth the room it takes up in your luggage. In my experiences I was either so hot I just put my hair in a pony tail or if I did attempt to straighten my hair it just frizzed out.

4. If you want to bring back a lot of souvenirs or lighten your load for the trip back, pack clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. that you can donate to the organization you are working with. Not only will you be blessing others with your donation, you are also lightening your load!

5. Ask to see what exactly you should pack! Last time I travelled to Costa Rica, I was having a hard time keeping my bag from being overweight. Since my full size bottles of shampoo, face & body wash weighed so much I took them out of my bag, thinking I could buy them for cheap in Costa Rica. If I had asked I would have found out that toiletries are outrageously priced there. I spent way too much on a much too small bottle of shampoo.       

6. Make sure you contact your bank and let them know where you will be traveling and what the dates are otherwise they will freeze your account for suspicious activity! It is much harder to contact your bank from a foreign country, so call them before you leave!

7. If you are going on an overseas mission trip ask your bank if they charge a service fee for using your debit card in a foreign country. That is definitely good to know!

8. If you are traveling overseas, check the Center for Disease Control's website for any required vaccinations and the recommended vaccinations. Just search for the country you will be traveling to, and they will let you know what health risks are in the area you are traveling to. You can also check for travel warnings on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website for other travel warnings.    

9. Do not be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, and church for prayer/financial support. One thing that my mom has always told me as I was planning on going on a mission trip is that my job is to give people an opportunity to give, and God will do the rest. So many times people would give to a great cause, but are never asked.

10. Enjoy a day of rest and recreation. Sometimes in the past I feel bad about taking a day off to explore or do touristy things. But I think God wants us to go out and enjoy His creation! Sometimes when I went into town or on our trip to see the Volcano Arenal I would just stop and look around me and thank God for making this beautiful place. Definitely, remember that you are there to work and to help, but have fun too! The picture at the top is of me enjoying a day at the Animal Sanctuary!

BONUS & MOST IMPORTANT

 11. BE FLEXIBLE! GO WITH AN OPEN HEART! BE PREPARED TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY!    


 
 
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One of the most amazing things about missions is watching the body of Christ come together for God's Glory. There are a few things that you can do to help us bless the people/children of Costa Rica. I want to share those with you!




1.  Pray! Pray! Pray!
 *  Safe and smooth travels 
* That we be a blessing to everyone we
encounter
*That I be a good team leader
* That the right community service project comes our
way
*That all of the girls can raise the necessary
funds


2.  Collect needed items. We are collecting the following items to take to the children's home in Costa Rica:
(children’s sizes)
-Umbrellas/Rain boots
-Black dress shoes
-Long-sleeved PJs         
 -Navy socks
-Craft Kits
-White button up shirts
-Shorts/t-shirts
-Rain Coats
Please contact me before purchasing items or hosting a drive to make sure I still have room in my suitcase. We are limited in space, due to weight restirictions.


 3. If you feel called you can support us financially.
We each need to raise:

$769.56-airfare
$25-room & board
$30-exit tax
$50-bus/taxi/luggage costs

Total: $874.56
Financial donations for both me and my sister Morgan can be sent either directly to us or to our home church.
Ava Assembly of God
P.O. Box 1240
Ava, MO 65608

If you want to support Hanah or Amanda please contact them directly. :-)

 How lovely upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings the
good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good tidings of good things, who
proclaims salvation, who says to Zion “Your God Reigns!” Isaiah
52:7


 
 
 

 
 
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I wanted to share some info about my trip! All this info will be coming out in letter format hopefully by next week!

As most of you know I am headed back to Costa Rica this summer. I am only staying 10 days this time. Last summer I was blessed to be able to volunteer for a month at a
children’s home in Costa Rica, called Residencia de vida or Residence of Life.  Residence of Life is a private children’s home run by Cheri McCullough who works  with Globe International. Cheri has 6 special children. 
This summer I am excited to
be leading a team of 3 other girls. Morgan (my sister!), Hannah,
and Amanda will be joining me. We will be in Costa Rica May 24th.-June 2nd.
We will be staying at the children’s home and walking the kids to and from
school, helping teach English, helping with games and crafts, helping with field
trips, and anything else the kids or Cherie need help with. We are also going to
work with the children’s school and church to find a community project we can
work on.
I am so excited! This is one of my life long dreams that is finally
coming true! I would like to invite you to pray with us as we prepare for this
trip.
Thank you for your friendship and support!

Love,
Ashley

How lovely upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings the
good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good tidings of good things, who
proclaims salvation, who says to Zion “Your God Reigns!” Isaiah 52:7




 

 
 
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I want to share an urgent prayer/financial need in Costa Rica. This is an e-mail I received from Cherie a few days ago.







"We just got approval for the house we are renting and the owner now wants
it back.  We are scrambling to find another place and all my Costa Rican
friends have told me to not rent because the owners will let you fix their house
up and then want it back. 

We need your prayers desperately!!! 
We have a situation here where we have to find a place right away or we will not
have a place to live and if I don't have a place for the kids the government
will shut down the ministry.  (Nothing like a little stress to add to my
life)!  I've been looking for land, houses, any option that will work for
us and out of the MANY I've seen a few would work but I don't know which one God
has for us so I need His clear guidance.  Please have the church pray for
us here so we are able to make the right decision.  

Here are the options:

Poco Cielo- a B&B that has 5 cabins,
a rancho, a river, a swimming pool, and 7 acres which is enough to put all of
our 10 homes on.  The children would go to the same school they are in
now.  It has an income of $50,000 each year, and the only option that has
potential income.  It is the most expensive, by far, at $925,000 and then
the first house would be $200,000 more.  Although it would work perfectly
for us it is a big YIKES with the price.  

Barrio Jesus- a lot that is almost 1/4
acres on the main road and close to school, a different one than the kids go to
now.  It is leveled and ready to build on.  The land is $105,000 and
the house would be another $200,000.  The buildable area is only big enough
to have a house for 7 children not 10 because of all the space stipulations of
the health department.  

Vista Atenas- a lot that is 1/2 acre and
$150,000.  The children could go to their same school and there is enough
land to build a house big enough for 10 children and maybe be able to fit a
second house, although may have to be a bit smaller as well.  The
first house would be $200,000 as well (we are building a house that fits 7
children and will add on later when we have more finances).  

Rio Grande- this is a house that was
foreclosed on and is in the process in the courts right now.  It is a 3
bedroom home with a 3 bedroom apartment and with very little remodeling would
work for us.  It is $415,000 and has enough land to build a second
house.  It would not be available for at least 2 months.  It is close
to a school and a soccer field.  Several businesses are getting ready to be
built right behind it so the land will probably double in value (although the
house will stay the same) in the next year. 

I appreciate your prayers with us! 
At this time we have $20,000 in the land account so please pray with us for the
finances as well.  

Once the decision is made and the land is
purchased, we will be needing construction teams.  Do you think your church
could put together a team?  She wants her house back in April so we are
going to hopefully start construction some time in October and hopefully be done
by February or March.  I appreciate ALL of your prayers!!!"


Blessings,
Cherie McCullah
Missionary to Costa Rica



If you feel led to give financially or would like to contact Cherie about bringing a construction team you can find donation/contact info at this website. http://globeintl.org/missionaries/cherie-mccullah/ Please, please pray for this situation! Love, Ashley




 
 
I wanted to take a moment and tell all of you about the child sponsorship program. All of the kids are supported through sponsors, but as of right now not one of  them are fully sponsored. Residencia de Vida relies only on the financial support of others who want to help. I wanted to share the link to where you can sign up to be a child's sponsor. It's $35 a month. Torey and I are sponsors for Esmeralda. She told me one day as it got closer to the time for me to leave, "I won't forget you ever!"  All of the kids are sweet, and I am so glad I was blessed enough to meet all of them! If anyone is interested follow the link, and make sure you choose Residence of Life Costa Rica. I also have an extra sponsorship packet for Esmeralda, if anyone is interested. Thank you!!



                                      

 Here's the link. Make sure and click on Residence of Life-Costa Rica   http://globeintl.org/globe-hope/
 
 
I just wanted to share a short recap about my trip to Costa Rica. Costa Rica doesn't want the children's pictures posted on the internet so for the good pictures you can message me so I can give you access to my private blog.
I am just going to post my thank you letter here. If you haven't got yours yet, don't worry I am still working on some. So sorry! I am not very organized!

Dear Friends and Family,
Sorry this is a little bit late! I hope you and your family are doing
great!

I arrived safely back from Costa Rica on July 6th! What an amazing month I had there! I cannot tell you enough what a beautiful and friendly country it is! If you ever have a chance I highly recommend you go.
 I lived at a children’s home in Atenas, which is about an hour outside of San Jose.  The orphanage is run by
Cherie McCullah, who I met while I was in Nicaragua. She was working at the baby orphanage. She now has 6 kids that live with her. They have a very low chance of adoption because of special needs or a large family size. That is why they were chosen to move into her home. They are Natalia (11), Priscilla (10), Esmeralda (9), Naydeline (7), Jacsel (6), and Emanuel (5). Super amazing kids! Each of them is very special.

While I was there I mostly helped with household chores. I did laundry, dishes, cleaning, walked the kids back and forth to school at least 2 times a day, and helped on a shopping trip. I helped here and there with the kids’
activities, but there were other volunteers that would come in the mornings, so I just helped them when they needed some extra hands. Some other cool things I got to do was help take 2 of the kids for their shots, we took all the kids to the beach, to an animal refuge, and an outing to the movie theatre at the mall.

One amazing answer to prayer that happened while I was there was the group of 4 siblings had an abandonment hearing, where they had to go by themselves before a judge and she asked them questions about whether they wanted to stay with their siblings and if they like living with Cherie. Costa Rica recently got a new director of social services who is supporting separating siblings to open more spots for children in homes and orphanages and taking it as far as separating twins.  Before the court date there were two social workers that came and interviewed 2 of the kids, just to kind of prep for court. The 11 year old, questioned the social worker about her biological mother and grandma, and told them she wanted to move back in with them. Then the 5 year old told them he wanted to move back to the orphanage he moved from, so he could be with his friends. So needless to say that didn’t go well, and the social worker told Cherie that if they answered those questions like that in front of the judge, they would probably take the younger two and put them up for adoption separately. We did a week of prepping and talked about how important their siblings are to them. Something amazing happened after all the bad attitudes and anger about not being able to live with their mom they got in front of the judge and
answered everything perfectly! They told the judge about all their extra classes they do at the house, and they had to explain what a bagel is to the judge! Bagels aren’t a very well-known food in Costa Rica, but Cherie’s kids love them! So we were able to relax and go watch a movie with all of the kids after we got the good news! It was Priscilla’s birthday so she picked Despicable Me 2. I still need to go see it in English! 

In my free time I went to a local coffee shop in town, took 2 Spanish classes, and went with 3 other volunteers to the volcano Arenal in La Fortuna and did a zip line! I saw a lot of iguanas everywhere, and we saw monkeys high
up in the trees when we did the zip line.

This trip built me up in a lot of ways. I think God was showing me how to be more independent.  When
the other volunteers and I went into town I was usually the one communicating to the taxi drivers, purchasing the bus tickets, etc. I was so nervous at first about traveling alone and even going to town with the other volunteers, but I am much stronger and braver than I ever thought! By the end of the trip I felt so much more comfortable and really trusted that whatever I faced I could handle. I missed Torey so much! I am so grateful to have such a loving, supportive husband.  

I hope that I made even a small difference for Cherie and the kids! Please continue to pray for the pastor of the church I went to there. He recently found out he has a tumor on his spine that is cancerous. He is getting chemo therapy now, and is already improving.

Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and financial support!
May God bless you!

Love,
Ashley


 
 
    As most of you have seen on Facebook I am heading to Costa Rica in June, and will be staying for 4 weeks.  I am super excited. I have spent the last few days addressing and stamping letters to tell all of you about what I will be doing and more specifics.  There has been a slight delay that included printer problems and alot of SNOW! :-)  So I thought since I am snowed in at home I thought I'd just share some things in my blog.  I just want to share a little bit.

As you all know I have always had a special place for missions in my heart, and all of the mission trips I have ever been on have really touched my life in one way or another. When I was in Nicaragua in 2008 I met Cherie
McCullah an amazing missionary that was working in one of the orphanages there. Cherie has since moved to Costa Rica where she is a mom to 6 special children ranging in age from 4-11 years old. I have been given a great opportunity to go to Costa Rica and stay with her for a month (June-July)  and help the children that live there. I will be helping by teaching art, small group activities, getting the children to and from school, providing one-on-one attention, and any other miscellaneous task I get assigned!  I am so very excited, and would like to invite you to pray with Torey and I as we prepare for this trip.

It's been 5 years since my internship in Nicaragua and 3 years since my week in New Mexico, and I must admit I have not been the most patient. I have tried to force things when it wasn't the right time, and been angry and hurt when they didn't work out. It has been so refreshing for this to go as smooth as it has and I am amzed that God has given me this opportunity at this time. I know this is His plan and I am excited to see what He will do in me and through me. :-)

If you would like to learn more about Case de Casey you can visit residenceoflife.wordpress.com

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This will be my home for a month in the summer!! 

Isaiah 52:7 that says:
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation,who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”


 
 
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This time of the year I think people especially start thinking about how they can help and serve their community and beyond.   Sometimes I wonder what else can I do without spending more money?
I recently stumbled upon an awesome organization.  I was googling who I could send my unused coupons to.  I had thought maybe I could find a pen-pal that could swap coupons with me, instead I found OCP, which stands for Overseas Coupon Program that allows you to adopt military bases from around the world to send coupons too.  Did you know expired coupons (30 days) can still be used at the on-base commisary (grocery store) and PX/BX (department store)?????!!!  So instead of throwing those away why don't we send them to people who can use them???

How can you be involved?  You have a couple of options.  You can go directly to the OCP site, and follow their directions to adopt a military base of your choice. The link is below.
                                                                                        http://www.ocpnet.org/default.htm

Or you can visit the Krazy Coupon Lady web site, and then send them in for them to mail for you. Follow the link below.
                                    
                                                                        http://thekrazycouponlady.com/coupons-for-military/

Or you can mail your coupons directly to me.  As the daughter of an Air Force military man (that's my mom and dad pictured) I am adopting an Air Force Base in Turkey.  What you need to do is mail your coupons (can be expired up to 30 days) to me.  They need to be sorted between edibles and non-edibles and  the monetary value of the coupons for each category. I will then fill out the customs forms and mail them  with mine!  I am sending my package around December 17th., so please get them to me before then! If you want to mail me your coupons my address is

Ashley Rowlett
2957 Vinyards Parkway Apt.2 
Branson, Mo 65616

You can not sent printed coupons, as they have access to those no matter where they are, and no coupons over 30 days expired.

No matter if you decide to mail them to me or directly to the base comment and let me know what you did!!    And  Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!


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You can also write the coupon amounts directly on the baggy if you want.
 
 
So obviously it's been forever since my last post, but what can I say between
work, the house, and family time I am super busy! I have spent lots of time
thinking about what I could blog about that anyone would want to read! My life
just seems boring!   I thought, well I am learning alot about cooking healthy
foods, and I have always loved saving money, so I figured I could share some of
those parts of my life.  I hope you enjoy it!
 

    Author

    I (Ashley) am a recent graduate from College of the Ozarks.  I majored in Sociology with an emphasis in social work, and a minor in psychology. I am now working as a program director for Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks at the Reeds Spring Primary School site.  I have
    always had an interest in missions and learning about other cultures.  I met Torey my freshman year of college, and although we didn't fall in love
    automatically, we eventually did.  We got married on December 16, 2011.  We are now in the process of figuring out God's next step for us.


     

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