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Callie’s Costa Rica Testimony

Callie is Laura’s daughter who recently went to Costa Rica on a mission trip…. This is her story:

On April 9th 2011 I took a life altering journey that would bring me closer to God and to the people of Costa Rica. When I was told that taking this trip would replace our Senior trip to New York City, I have to be honest, I wasn’t really ecstatic about going. Sure, taking a mission trip is a great thing, I’m sure you’re thinking that I am a selfish being for wishing that my flight took me to the Big Apple instead of a place filled with poverty. But really, it was scary thinking about the fact that I was going to be entering a culture I had never been in, with a language that I barely knew and staying in a home with a family I had never met before. After much thought and a lot of generous donations, a scared little southern girl got on the plane anyway. When we landed in Costa Rica, I saw the graffiti on the walls of a much too small airport and I saw the people crowded outside the door- looking for the first sight of a “gringo.” My fear increased, I had no idea what these people would do to me, I had no trust for them and I was judging them although I hadn’t taken the time to know them. Little did I know, these people would show me more love and compassion than I had ever faced in the States. We spent most of our days in the Costa Rican slum of la Cuenca. This place is a six acre plot of land with nearly 400 families living on it. These families live in homes made of barbed wire and scrap metal, their children play with little clothing and no shoes. A small river runs through the center of la Cuenca, flowing through it is trash and raw sewage. When I stepped foot in this place, I knew that God was going to change me, I felt a weight on my heart to help them, even though I had no idea how I was going to do so. I forced myself to rely solely on God in my ministry. We put on a vacation Bible school for these children here, many of them do not attend school because they can not afford it, the school offered them a shelter- a sort of safe place to be in for a few hours. We spent our time singing, dancing and laughing with many Spanish praise songs. I had reached a placed of utter tranquility, I was happier than I had been in a long time and I was in the middle of poverty with no one that spoke English. I found one little boy wandering on the streets alone, he wore nothing but his underwear (that had holes in them) and held a stick that he was playing with. I approached him as he was beating the stick on the ground like a drum, when he saw me he hit the stick on the ground one more time before dropping it and reaching his arms up for me to hold him. From that point on, we were attached to each other, I grew to love Adrian like I love my own siblings, and believe me, I still do. It was hard for me to leave him in la Cuenca, I never knew whether he was going to be fed, or if he was going to be bathed. The thought of losing him was worse than the initial thought of coming to Costa Rica. The thought of leaving only disheartened me more when I learned that his mother was willing to give him to me for a small price and that I had been the biggest mother figure he had ever known. One missionary said, “I have never seen Adrian like this with anyone before. Usually he wanders by himself, never smiling or playing. But with you, it is like you have become his mother and hes your son son. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” Along with Adrian, the children of Costa Rica don’t ask to be given money or food, only love. They know nothing but their situation and have faith that God will always provide. Many of these children are victims of sexual and drug abuse, growing up very early to help their mothers watch their younger siblings. They don’t receive hot meals every day or a hug and kiss from their mother. But,  they have no resentment of this situation, they raise their hands and praise God with an open heart and willingness to only serve him. They are all so inspiring, the children, the women and the families as a whole increased my faith in Christ so much. If they can praise God and trust him, even in their situation, God must be real. When I first left for Costa Rica, I thought I was going down there to help the people stricken with poverty, but it turns out, they helped me.

Until next time,

e

Elaine Martens - Callie, I never get tired of hearing your story! You are an amazing young lady with a heart of Christ! We are so proud of you and cannot wait to see what God has in store for your future. Always remember that HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT! WE LOVE YOU!
THE MARTENS FAMILY

Laura Floyd - Watching Callie grow up and fully bloom into a fine Christian young lady has been one of the joys of my life. As parents, we can only wish that our children seek God first. Several of us, adults and children, don’t seek God first until we are in despair. This is not the case with Callie. Many times she has inspired me, her mom, to seek God first in all situations. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter. I am eager to see what God has in store for her future. I am standing on God’s promise that all good things come to those who love the Lord….and I am clearly seeing God’s plan unveil before my eyes!

I love you, Callie Floyd!
Mom

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Elaine Martens Photography | Mimi loves you to the moon and back

It happened on a early spring evening, I fell in love with a beautiful little girl with the bluest eyes and the cutest smile, Brandie Lynn.  She just turned six years old in March and even though I begged and pleaded for her to stay five time will not stand still, even for her Mimi.  Andy and I took a walk yesterday and when we walked passed her house she ran out screaming, “Mimi, Mimi, I’m coming with you!”  Andy skated ahead of us and we walked hand in hand talking and laughing.  Brandie looked up at me and with the most innocent gestures told me that she is almost seven now and there is nothing that she can do to change it.  I looked at her dimples and searched her eyes for the baby that stole my heart, I found a beautiful six year old who loves me back in ways that words cannot express.  Mimi loves you Brandie…… to the moon and back, bigger that the whole sky….. too much 🙂

Until Next time,

e

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Class of 2011 – Brittany |Elaine Martens Photography, Duncan South Carolina

When I tell you that today was windy, I’m not even joking! At one point I just looked up to the sky and asked God to please make the breeze just a little bit lighter, and He did :). We had an amazing shoot and Brittany was fabulous. We went all over Greer and discovered some really amazing coves and alleys. Brittany attends Shannon Forest Christian school and has decided to go to Clemson after graduation. Go tigers!! Pamela and Robert, you have a truly beautiful daughter and I am thankful that you chose us to capture Brittany’s senior portraits. Jeremiah 29:11 says, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I can’t wait to see the plans that He has for Brittany’s life, I think she is a pretty amazing chick!

This one is from Laura, I think she did an incredible job!

Until next time,
E

I would also like to thank Paulette at The Gallery on Trade, who allowed us to come into the gallery and use her awesome space!! Seriously AWESOME!! If you are looking for some really cool furniture or antiques or maybe you just want to check out the gallery, Paulette will be more than happy to help you.  You can also visit www.galleryontrade.com

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