Bear Creek Friends and Monteverde Friends School

Last year I wrote about this drawing on the envelope of a letter from Monteverde Friends School, which is in Costa Rica.

Student drawing on envelope on last year’s (2018) letter from Monteverde Friends School

Soon after I received my letter, Bear Creek Friends Meeting’s clerk, Jackie Leckband, brought another envelope to meeting that had a student’s hand drawn picture on it.

Envelope to Bear Creek Friends from Monteverde Friends School (2018)

Bear Creek Meeting spent a lot of time sharing stories about our connections with Monteverde Friends. Some present had visited Montverde. Others know people who have lived, or continue to live there. As we shared these stories we thought it would be nice to reply to the drawings from the children at Monteverde, by sending back drawings from us. Some Friends were reluctant artists but I really appreciate how everyone joined in anyway. This may be one of those cases where it’s the thought that counts   🙂 The following slideshow contains the drawings we sent to Monteverde last year.

Yesterday I was delighted to receive another letter with this drawing on the envelope.

Drawing on this year’s envelope from Monteverde Friends School, Costa Rica (2019)

Inside this envelope there were two letters. This is the first letter:

But the real treat was this second letter that was written by Lucky Guindon, who lives in Monteverde, and as explained below was my mother’s best friend as they grew up together in the Bear Creek, Iowa, Quaker community (Iowa Yearly Meeting Conservative).

from Lucky Guindon, Monteverde, Costa Rica

What follows is from the blog post I wrote last year about our connections with Monteverde Friends

My family and Iowa Quakers have a long history with the Monteverde community in Costa Rica. It is always good to hear news of that community. Lucky (Standing) Guindon, my mother’s cousin and constant companion during their childhood, was one of the original group who went to Monteverde and lives there today. On October 14,1950, she and Wolf Guindon had a double wedding with my mother and father at Bear Creek Meeting. In 2010 I was able to travel with Mom and Dad and my sister Lisa’s family to Monteverde so we could celebrate the 60th wedding anniversaries of both couples.

Burton and Alberta Kisling, and Wolf and Lucky Guindon married at Bear Creek Friends Meeting

One of the deeply shared concerns of Quakers in Iowa and Costa Rica relates to work for peace. Quakers from the United States first went to Costa Rica because of the increasing militarism in the United States. Costa Rica does not have a standing army.

My cousin Jeffrey wears a shirt saying NO ARMY

When I shared the blog post I wrote about the drawing on the envelope with Monteverde, I received a nice reply from Tracey Cobb, who wrote: “I told the student how impressed you were by his drawing and he was over the moon. One of the benefits of having students draw on the envelopes is to involve them in helping their school, and your note helps me to show them that their efforts really do make a difference.”

Then yesterday I received the following comment from J. Eugenio Vargas: “Sr. Jeff, it is so great to hear that the whale picture drawn by one of our students has been of inspiration for you to share more about Monteverde Friends history and connections. Every Wednesday I feel blessed by Lucky Guindon’s presence at Meeting for worship with all school. I was also happy to scroll all way down to the last picture and see Mary Mendenhall there. She must be the same Mary M. MFS Head in early 70’s. It was Mary who included me on a list of 3 Costarrican students to receive a full scholarship in 1971 so we could attend full time school there. 43 years later I was given the opportunity to be part of the school administrative team. Another blessing for me!”

Some years ago Bill Deutsch interviewed Mary Mendenhall about her experiences in Costa Rica during the annual sessions of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). One of the main reasons for this blog post today is to allow me to share that video with you and Monteverde Friends.

Interiew with Mary Mendenhall at Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)
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