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January 26, 2021

I love going on workteams and especially love the workteams I have been on to Costa Rica. I have made so many friends, both from Costa Rica and workteam members. I have had great experiences and our missions and travels to Costa Rica even led our oldest daughter to pursue a career in International Relations.
On this particular workteam, we were helping to build a church and other buildings. Some of the group worked on building the foundation for the church while a few of us were assigned to clear an area to build a bano (bathroom) for the church and to build a wall for the complex. We were handed machetes and shovels and told to clear the area so that we could dig down to lay the foundation. We began clearing and the first day went well. We felt like we had accomplished a lot but there was much more to do. We came back the next morning, ready to clear some more brush, vines, etc. and do some digging. About mid-morning we took a break, sitting on the ground or against a tree, when one of the guys asked which one of us was throwing things at him. We replied that it was neither one of us. About that time something whistled by, a small stone, and landed harmlessly near us. Then something else came through the air, a branch. We looked around and couldn’t see anyone or couldn’t hear anyone laughing. We were perplexed!
We got back to work, and I heard something in the trees but couldn’t see anything. A couple of more things came through the air, but nothing hit us. Then we saw them, monkeys. I guess they were irritated with us (or playing), so they kept tossing things. About that time, one of the branches harmlessly hit Pete (names have been changed) and he shook his hand at the monkeys. Then I got hit by a pebble. We were not sure if they were getting more accurate or if they were just throwing more things so that the odds increased of them hitting us. A few more things came flying, but nothing really came close… but it was aggravating. Suddenly, the volume of things being thrown increased and Pete got hit again. He turned around and raised his shovel and made a comment that he was coming up into the trees and he was going to teach the monkeys a lesson. He no sooner got the words out than an object hit him in the forehead. Pete’s face got red, he dropped his shovel and headed into the trees. However, Jim and I intercepted and grabbed Pete by the arms and escorted him back to the main area. He finally settled down but only Jim and I returned to the site to work that afternoon and the next day and the next day… and no one else would join us. They would not believe us that the monkeys had stopped throwing things and that it was peaceful… they truly had stopped, and it was peaceful.
What observations can I take from this to pass on to you? First, there are going to be times in your life when you work hard, do the right thing and life will unexpectedly throw something at you. In times like this, you pray and ask for God’s strength and you must be resilient.
Secondly, there will always be people that are negative and critical, and you cannot let them get the best of you… even if it sometimes means you need to walk away, to regroup, to seek solitude. In every aspect of our lives, it is important to spend time “in the garden.”
Finally, sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we think we will never get out of or the situation just seems to go on forever. Trust in God and turn it over to God. I assure you God will give you the strength to get through. Hang in there! You will find peace. God bless and God’s got this.

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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