Today we went to the Los Cuad Ros section of San Jose – one of the roughest areas of the city. There we met up with David and Maria who run Un Corazon Samaritano (The Samaritan’s Heart) – a ministry to those in need. We helped them run their outreach to children. What a beautiful couple doing a great work! This evening we drove 2 hours to a small church and ministered. Our friends Walter and Yadira from Guatemala shared and it was a powerful service! Afterward we gave out toys to the children and toiletry kits to the adults.
On Wednesday we drove back to San Jose from Puerto Viejo. During the morning the team went shopping, then in the evening we traveled an hour to Heredia where we ministered at a church. The church is in a tough area, but they are doing a great work! We got back to our lodging at 11pm and were up and at ’em again early this morning. It’s our last day of ministry before returning to the United States.
|Sid the Sloth. One of 2 sloths we saw.|
|Howler monkey outside our hotel room.|
This morning we were up at 6am and packed up and on the road by 7:30am. We headed up north through the rain forest to Puerto Viejo where we’re staying until Wednesday. This evening we drove an hour away from our hotel and ministered in a small church. Before the service we went door to door giving out flip flops and bags of toiletries and inviting people from the community to come to the church for the service. Many did and we had perhaps 40 people there plus our team. The children of the church had prepared a special in honor of our coming and sang “Open the Eyes of My Heart” for us in English. So precious! We then did dramas, singing, testimonies, and I preached. A few people responded to receive Christ and we also had a time of ministry to the people of the church. When we finished they served us some fruit. They’re praying for a big revival in the area, and they asked me if I would return tomorrow night to preach again while the team goes to another church. People are inviting the unsaved of the community, so please pray for many to give their lives to Christ. Thank you!
|If you can zoom in, you can actually see the smoke rising out of an active volcano at about 9 o’clock.|
|Dinner in the rainforest!|
|The bats hanging in the rafters outside our room. Well, we shouldn’t have any problems with mosquitos! lol!|
|Little girl excitedly showing me the ground where a new church will soon stand.|
|The children sang “Open the Eyes of My Heart” in English as a special gift for us for coming.|
|With the pastors.|
On Sunday we enjoyed over 7 hours of church services. We went to the main church in Los Guido in the morning for a service that went from 9am-1pm. The pastor was away last Sunday for Father’s Day, so they had their Father’s Day service this weekend. At the end of the service the children and youth performed songs, skits, mimes, etc. to honor their dads. After a quick lunch we headed off to an area called Tejarcillos de Alajuelita. Along the way we were informed that this is a very rough part of town. When we arrived, I instantly recognized it. I affectionately call it “The Fight Church.”
Three years ago when I was here with a team, we visited this tiny church in the side of a hill. With chairs it seats maybe 30 people. We packed it out with close to 200 children! We did our dramas, shared testimonies, etc. and all of a sudden, in the middle of my preaching two boys started having a fist fight right in front of me. Preaching with a mic in one hand, I had to reach down with the other hand and pull the one boy off the other. He was flailing all over, and I had to have my friend Giovanni come up and restrain him and remove him so we could try and resume the service. It was no use. The place got chaotic and we had to end the service. It was a sad ending to the night, but certainly a memorable one. On the way home we just prayed and trusted that God’s love had gotten through anyways.
Back to this trip. When we arrived the people were in a time of worship and slowly people arrived. A total of about 50 people (including our team) packed inside and we had a good service. The children of the church sang some special songs, did some dances, and mimes for us. One of the songs they did a dance to was The Voice of Truth that we did here 3 years ago. I can’t say with absolute certainty, but I’ll venture an educated guess that they probably learned it from our team. Neat to see when that happens! We finished the service with a powerful time of prayer ministry about 6:30pm and returned for dinner and to debrief our day. Got to bed about midnight. Got up at 5:45am today.
One more thing I’m really enjoying about this trip is being reunited with our friends from Guatemala. Pastor Walter and his wife Yadira whom we met 8 years ago on our first missions trip with Lendahand. They traveled to Costa Rica to be on our team, and it’s so fun hanging out with them!
In a few minutes we’re heading north to the rainforest for two days. If you don’t hear from me until Wednesday or so, it will be because we didn’t have internet. Thanks for your continued prayers for our team!
|Pastor Walter and Yadira – friends from Guatemala!|
Today most of the team went to an orphanage and worked with street kids. They threw a pizza party for them and were able to give them simple gifts like flip flops and crayons for which the children were extremely grateful and excited. I remained at the church with a young man on our team named Matthew and our interpreter Abby and spent all day training about 100 youth workers. It was a long but very productive day. We really tried to help youth workers catch a vision for youth ministry grounded in solid theology, God’s purposes, and biblical principles. We talked about things like soul care, priorities, as well as being strategic in their planning and programming. Many of the youth workers came up to thank us for challenging and inspiring them to passionately pursue and love teenagers for Jesus.
Today was our first full day in Costa Rica. Since most of the team just met each other yesterday, the majority spent most of the day preparing their music, dramas, etc. I ran some errands with some of the other leaders and did some prep and message-tweaking to adjust to the always-changing schedule typical of missions work. This evening we had a service to kickoff our ministry to youth workers and student leaders in Los Guido. It was a great service and we’re really excited about our day of training tomorrow.
|Our buddy Danny the bus driver! He says “Hi” to all of the Costa Rica 2009 team.|
|More rain in an afternoon than I’ve seen in a year living in the desert.|
|People responding to the call to be difference-makers in their generation.|
Here are some of the Roller Coaster pics I’ve picked up through the years.
Apollos Chariot, Busch Gardens, VA 2001:
Pulled our shirts over our heads and put our shoes on our hands.
Hypersonic, King’s Dominion, VA 2002:
Was difficult trying to make faces going like 80 MPH.
Ricochet, King’s Dominion, VA 2002:
This was a kiddie ride, so we all just got silly. Yep, that’s really my hair!
|Anaconda, King’s Dominion, VA 2003.|
Journey to Atlantis, Sea World San Diego, CA 2007:
Claudia’s 1st roller coaster.
6 Flags Great Adventure, NJ 2008:
This one’s my favorite ever. Everyone’s screaming and I’m calmly reading a book.
|6 Flags Great Adventure, NJ 2008.|
Farenheit, Hershey Park, PA 2010:
I wasn’t posing for this one, but had to pick it up when I saw the girl in front of me losing her mind. Ha ha!
|Tatsu, 6 Flags Magic Mountain, 2012.|
|X2, 6 Flags Magic Mountain 2012: If he wasn’t right with God before, he sure was after the ride. Ha Ha!|