Sunday, July 20, 2014

Costa Rica Mission: Day #2

I could get used to this!

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After finally getting some much-needed sleep, we were up early for a busy day.  

The food here is delicious!  While I wouldn't typically request scrambled eggs with beans and rice to start my day, none of us were complaining.  As if that wasn’t enough, there was also a buffet of fresh fruit, cereal, and a variety of  bakery items.  (Braxton loved his donut!)

Before heading to church in El Camino, we dropped all of our luggage off at the Coronado Complex where we will be staying for the rest of the week.

While the church we attended didn't look much like a church, God was certainly present as people from the area gathered to grow in their faith.  The church service started with song and continued with one LONG, Spanish sermon.  (Like, it was easily an hour…) There were two translators that stood near us to translate the Pastor’s message of humility, maturity, love, and forgiveness in Matthew 18. 

“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

The service continued with a closing song, announcements, and, lucky for Chris and Alex, a celebration of July birthdays!!  They both ended up at the front of the church while the congregation sang Felix Cumpleanos!

We ate another delicious meal before making our way to Pueblito, an orphanage for children of social risk.  We were all a little anxious.  Most of these children have dealt with more hardships in first few years of our lives than we can even imagine.  There were many rules that we had to follow for our safety and for the benefit of our ministry.  (no pictures…)

I think it took less than two minutes after climbing off the bus for the children to come running.  Many of the boys joined a soccer game.  (…and got destroyed…  Now we know why USA doesn’t win many soccer games.) We played football, catch, frisbee, and eventually taught some of them how to play basketball.  We also enjoyed sidewalk chalk, bubbles, face paint and crafts. 

Although the language barrier made it difficult to communicate, it was easy to fall in love with their smiles and excitement.  While we weren’t necessarily able to explain the reason we were there, or the hope that we have in Christ, we were able to share our love of Jesus through our actions.  “Christo te Ama” was written all over the sidewalks, each child received a bracelet with pictures that told the story of their salvation, and there were many hugs.

With the help of Emmanuel, our translator, even the boys playing basketball were able to take a break, gather around center court, and share the LOVE of Jesus.  My heart was full when I noticed them bow their heads in prayer.  God is good!!

After leaving the orphanage, it was time for a little sightseeing.  …during our rides from place to place, Raymond, our host for the week, made sure to stop and buy us a variety of authentic Costa Rican treats; mamones and galletas.  yum.

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One of our sightseeing stops was THE Catholic Church.  While I don’t know the name of the church, it certainly has an interesting history.  Each year, during two days in August, over two million Costa Ricans travel across the country BY FOOT and gather there with the hopes of touching the alter and drinking the holy water.

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Our final stop was to an authentic Costa Rican bakery before heading back to the Complex for dinner, worship, and sleep.  (Yes, Daniel ate that whole loaf of bread…)

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