Blog from Costa Rica
Today is our last day - we are sad about that but we are also ready to return home. We enjoyed breakfast and then headed to San Francisco (not the one in California). This is another area that Pastor Luis is hoping to start another church. It took a little while to draw a crowd but then the kids started to show up. We played parachute games, running games, sang songs, and shared the Gospel with them. We passed out candy and enjoyed loving on these kids. There was one Costa Rican child who showed up wearing one of the shirts we distributed at the camp. We then headed to the mall to eat fast food for lunch. After lunch we headed to the Mercada to SHOP. This was a good place for our students to barter and buy gifts for their family and friends. Everyone walked away with multiple bags. We then walked around town until it began raining; then we were off to Eduardo's church to hang out and wait for another church group who arrived today. We are going to have dinner with the other group and then head back for our last praise and worship time before packing. We head to the airport in the morning for our flight which lands in Orlando around 4:45 p.m. I know you are anxious to see your children. See you soon!
Today, we continued planting the gospel among the Costa Rican youth while making new friends. Pastor Luis selected this group of youth from a couple of his outreach missions. It is an honor to come along side him as he builds the church in Costa Rica. We began the day with breakfast followed by more funny ice breakers. The boys then played soccer while the girls hung out around the very cold pool. After this time we came together to share God's word. Two students gave their testimonies (in Spanish), we presented the skit, and then the local outreach pastor shared a very profound message with them and many of them came to Christ. Even though we only spent a few days with this group, we became attached and the goodbyes were difficult.
This evening we continued with our study of Colossians and spent some time truly thinking about the importance of knowing our worth as children of God. Even though we slowed down today (just a tad), we are beginning to feel the emotional aspect of mission work. We are reminded of our own personal value to Christ and see the urgency to let Christ rule in our hearts. Tomorrow we will be able to take in the beauty of Costa Rica at a series of waterfalls near the Poas volcano. Pray that we will get rest but more importantly that this break will only strengthen us to continue our work as we will also be going into another neighborhood led by Pastor Luis.
Today we were able to enjoy a free day. After a big breakfast (pancakes, scrambled eggs, and of course beans & rice), we headed to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Time before lunch was filled with seeing many different animals. There were rooms filled with caged monkeys, snakes, and mountain lions. Other rooms allowed us to walk around with butterflies or hummingbirds flying all around us. The butterflies would even land on you; many students were able to have a toucan sit on their arm. After a huge lunch buffet, we then enjoyed a walk up and down paths looking at about five beautiful waterfalls. The sound and sight was amazing. On our way back to our hostel, we of course had to make another stop at POPS. We then went to Walmart one last time to pick up food for dinner. After dinner, we enjoyed another fun game, sang, and shared Scripture together. We will sleep well tonight as we are all tired.
Thursday started with spicy rice and beans (gallo pinto) for breakfast. The team then headed to concepccion to spend the morning with young kids. This seemed to be the highlight of the week as these kids stole our hearts. The poverty we witnessed in this area was heart-wrenching but also brought much joy as all of our students played and loved on the kids. We passed out toys, candy, and shared the Gospel with them. It was great to watch our students in action. Parents, you would have been so proud! After lunch we headed to the camp for our retreat with 21 Costa Rican youth. Our kids blended with the locals as they sang songs and played many crazy games. We definitely laughed a great deal, and this has been a great opportunity for our students to practice their Spanish. The local pastor, Louis, shared his testimony. Tomorrow two of our students will share their testimonies and Pastor Louis will follow up with the Gospel and call for decisions. Our kids have been so flexible and have poured themselves into the Costa Rican children. They've blown us away over and over again by their selfless attitudes, love for one another, and love for the kids.
We began our day in a local high school where our kids shared their family photos as a way to interact, played games as a way to teach English, and performed our skit to share the Gospel. Because of a National holiday, our students were able to support the local senior class by purchasing authentic Costa Rican delicacies and then we watched authentic Costa Rican dances at the elementary school. Our students also gathered many of the younger students and sang and danced with them (it was as though our students were celebrities!). We then finished the afternoon with 4th grade classes. After dinner, our group attended a Wednesday prayer service where we performed our skit. We also had two students share their testimonies while another student translated. They did a great job. Three of our students then sang songs with the little kids and Mr. Johnson preached to the adults while Lamar, the local missionary, translated for him. Of course we had to stop at POPS again on our way home. We finished the night being challenged from Colossians 3, sang songs, and then the students affirmed each other. It was a great day and we are excited to have another day serving and sharing Christ's love. Tomorrow we will head to a camp - Internet access may be limited....
What an incredible day! Our day started early with a delicious breakfast including a first for many, fresh papaya. We started at an elementary school where we taught a group of 61 sixth graders. We spent time speaking English, playing games, and presenting a powerful skit illustrating God interceding on our behalf. The local pastor brought it all to a close with a gospel message. Decisions were made for Christ today.
After lunch, we did the same program six more times at a high school. Our students did fantastic engaging and speaking Spanish. By the end of the day they were completely in control of the program. It is and will continue to be a blessing to see the kids at work. One of the highlights of the day was our last stop which was an adult high school class. It was really great to see the students minister to adults. We had dinner and finished off the work day with some well deserved ice cream from POPS. Once back at our hotel, we had a challenge from Mr. Johnson and a time of singing praises!
Lives will and have been changed. God is a great God and He moves in big and small ways.
Today has been a day full of travel. We left Orlando early and landed in San Jose a little after lunch. It was wonderful to have people notice and ask about our shirts: God's move shapes our moves which shapes the lives around us. Our missionary, Eduardo, met us, fed us and took us to our resting stop for the day. Once there we took some time to practice our skits, games, and the lessons we will be doing tomorrow in the public schools. We also took some time to worship and pray together. It was neat to see several students take turns playing the guitars. The evening finished when Eduardo's wife prepared a delicious fish dinner for us. Everyone is tired, excited, and ready for tomorrow.