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Costa Rica Chronicles, Day 4

Jeff Raymond on October 1, 2013

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Tuesday, October 1

After a late night finishing up photos and unloading camera cards, getting up this morning was really tough.  I shot video all day yesterday, and video takes up a LOT more storage space.  The card I left importing overnight still was not finished when I woke up.  Fortunately it finished about 5 minutes before we had to leave.

Shooting video and taking still photographs are different animals.  The equipment set up is totally different and the thinking is totally different.  Since I have to transport all the gear each day, my plan was to shoot only video one day, then only photos the next.  However, about the time I was getting into a good video groove yesterday, the monsoons washed out the afternoon.  So as I sit here this morning I have mixed feelings.  This is the last day at this training location, so I need to make wise equipment choices, but there are only a few minutes until we must leave to meet the team for breakfast and devotions.

Arriving at the TACTICA Ministry Center, Mike and I discovered we have misunderstood the team memo. Although we DID wear the right color of TACTICA team shirts, we arrived late (which is a relative term in Latin cultures).

After unloading and setting up for training at Dos Pinos, the team greeted the officers and inspected their weapons again as they arrived.  Relationships are already building, and the Costa Ricans are quick to pull out their Bibles working hard to learn the verses assigned to them.

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After platoons lined up in formation, Ryan surprised them with a competition they did not expect before the morning opening meeting.  If you read my description of this place, it is a very decrepit manufacturing facility composed of numerous crumbling buildings.  The team designed an insane obstacle course that involved transporting a 220lb man (“downed officer”) through a series of challenges.  I got creative and strapped a GoPro video camera, and wireless microphone on one of the men that was carried by his team.  I’m anxious to see what I might have gotten on such a blind shot.

I shot like crazy this morning – some photos, some video (OK, so I’m a glutton for punishment) – in anticipation of a washout again this afternoon.  Actually, although it began raining at 1:30 like clockwork, it was not nearly as bad, so I’ve been able to do some extra creative shots.

An hour lunch break is key time for ministry.  All the Costa Ricans have to bring their own lunch, so they spread out in groups all over eating.  Many of them have the Bible they were given yesterday open, working hard to memorize verses.  They are so open to talk and respond to questions, “What verse are you working on?”  “Come on, give it a try.”   “It says you are saved by grace.  Do you know what that word means?”  I had great conversations with a couple of guys.  Team members all over the place were doing the same.

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After I finished shooting pictures this afternoon, I had a chance to shoot a gun.  Ryan came to me and said, “C’mon, you can’t come all the way to Costa Rica and not shoot.”  So we went into a building with an Airsoft assault weapon.  It’s a fully automatic training rifle that shoots those little plastic balls.  Apparently I’ve not forgotten how to hit a target, but the SWAT training exercises Ryan was walking me through were totally new for me.

Tomorrow we move to the new venue – La Reforma prison – and start using real bullets.

Click here to read the next blog from the Costa Rica Chronicles series