Costa Rica J-Term Blog
January 11, 2012
As we looked at the schedule coming into the trip, today was scheduled to be our fun day. So often those are the days that God uses to do the most in our lives. That was the case today. Although we didn't minister to any children or present the gospel in San Jose, we found ourselves ministering to one another in a whole new way; a way that many had never experienced before. It is amazing to see what God can do in the lives of 25 high school students and 2 leaders when they fellowship and serve together away from the distractions of normal life. God taught us some things from His Word that we didn't expect to learn. Students stepped up to the plate and took steps to a more meaningful relationship with Christ, and the group has committed to holding one another accountable to following Christ in a whole new way.
As hard as it will be to leave Costa Rica tomorrow morning we can't wait to get home and share with family and friends how God used us and changed us during our time here. Pray that the fire that has started in our hearts will be multiplied and that commitments made during this week will be just the beginning of a new way of life following Him.
Moms and Dads we will see you at the airport on Thursday afternoon at 5:40. God Bless!
January 10, 2012
Today we served a local church that is having an outreach event on Sunday. We went door to door in a small village town to distribute invitations to the festival. It was a challenge considering our very limited Spanish speaking. The students stepped up to the plate and did a great job serving the church and encouraging the people.
This afternoon, we traveled to an area of Costa Rica about three hours from San Jose. The area is best known for the volcano and the hot springs that litter the side of the peak. We had a great time swimming in the hot springs and enjoying the natural beauty of God’s creation. We had great food at a local pizza place. Lamar, the missionary here in Costa Rica, challenged our students to go above and beyond in their spiritual lives. Many have responded in a very positive way to the challenges this week.
Tomorrow morning we will enjoy the hot spring for a few hours before heading back to San Jose.
January 9, 2012
This morning we went to downtown San Jose to present the drama we've been working on. We set up in a park that is a thoroughfare to many of San Jose's workers. Many of the locals stopped and watched the drama and the gospel presentation. Our students shared their testimonies, prayed and had conversations with the people in the park. We were thankful and gave glory to God for several individuals that professed faith in Christ. God gave us a harvest when we only planned to sow seeds.
In the afternoon, we left downtown to return to La Carpio. The children from yesterday's VBS had told others and they decided to come out and see what all the fuss was about. The attendance leaped from around 100 the previous day to more than 200 eager kids. We did everything we could to show them the love of God and in return they gave us their love. After a session of Vacation Bible School, that seemed much too short, we had to give the children a tearful farewell. Not a single eye was dry. Most of the kids in La Carpio aren't in a loving family situation and were all the more receptive to the message of love, faith, and hope.
January 8, 2012
Today was our first church service in Carpio. Hunter Anger and Victoria Johnston presented their testimonies with Jessica Guevara translating. We performed one of our songs and our drama. Pastor Charlie preached about men with great faith in the book of Daniel. When the service was over we got ready for VBS. Before the flood of excited young children tackled us, we broke for prayer. "With great faith" we entered the playground where the kids awaited our arrival.
After our second day with the children, it will be tough to say our last goodbyes tomorrow. We are preparing ourselves for performing the drama in downtown San Jose tomorrow morning and our last day of VBS in the afternoon. Praise God for a great day ministering to the children in La Carpio. Please pray for us as we go to downtown San Jose; hopefully their hearts will be opened to the gospel of Christ.
January 7, 2012
This morning we woke up to one of the most beautiful sights, the sights and sounds of the jungle. Breakfast itself was an experience. It was most of our first time having rice, black beans, and plantains first thing in the morning. After we ate our fill, we took a little hike to a waterfall - a truly remarkable experience. We prayed and worshiped together in the heart of God's creation!
With a loaded bus filled with excited students we made the hour journey to Carpio. Our first stop was at a house in the middle of a sight that will not soon be forgotten. Entering into a house filled with children laughing and jumping on "the gringos" to help paint the house. Little girls on shoulders with blue and green paint sprinkling the hair, face, and arms of the ninos and those holding them. After the house and rooms were painted the little children taught us some songs and in exchange we taught them a game of ours. With tight hugs for goodbyes we left to set up for the mass of children that would swarm through the doors of the church for VBS.
The silent church was suddenly filled with laughter and music. We taught the kids songs and we learned some ourselves. 103 running children toppled the playground - as well as us. We had so much fun making crafts and pulling out as much Spanish as we could to communicate. With the last treats and toys given out we said goodbye with hopes to see them -and their friends- tomorrow.
Please continue to pray for the team, and that God will use them to minister to the people of Costa Rica.
January 6, 2012
We left TMA for the Orlando airport at 7:00 this morning. All went smoothly and the flight into Costa Rica was beautiful. We moved quickly through customs and Lamar was waiting for us as we exited the airport with the bus. It seemed as if time flew because we moved from the airport to the church for an orientation meeting.
Now the excitement begins, we changed for the evening soccer outreach. About 100 Costa Ricans joined with our students for some fun games of soccer and a gospel presentation. Julie and Ben shared their testimonies and we preformed the drama presentation. They fired up the grill; we enjoyed some burgers and had a wonderful night of fellowship. It has been a wonderful day full of excitement and enthusiasm. We have already been blessed tremendously.
All of the students are well, both physically and spiritually. They are ready to share the gospel and the energy they have is contagious. We are looking forward to tomorrow. Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of the children tomorrow as we prepare for community outreach and VBS in Carpio.
January 5, 2012
The team has worked hard all week learning songs, crafts, lessons, and Spanish! Pray for the team as we travel and minister to the people of Costa Rica.