The day kicked off with Graham getting to go with Noemy to a Chinese Church where she helps to lead worship. They worship in both Cantonese and Spanish! He was able to see Anna who knew him when he was "little" at the age of about 2 or 3 years old. It was a sweet reunion and Graham learned about another culture within this culture.
Matt and Craig went on a walk in the neighborhood where we are staying and soaked in the culture. Seeing older men and women get ready to play soccer on a small cancha (field/court), people buying hot bread (a yummy cultural tradition here), a few attending Catholic Church, and many people out for biking and running as groups. We also returned in time to watch a live stream of the worship service at Peace Haven thanks to the legendary Trevor Williams who streamed it live. Others connected to his live stream as well, so we may have unintentionally started a new ministry!!!
All of these opportunities were great, but I can hear the gears turning for many of you all..."Why weren't you in church?" The church/ministry that we are looking to partner with (the Christian Light Foundation of Costa Rica/Iglesia Nueva Vida) doesn't meet until the afternoon so we had some time to explore, study, and prepare for the day. Once we did get to the farm, it was a great time of fellowship as they had various meetings and a service that felt like worship to us, but they call it Sunday School. The praise team did a great job and Graham even played piano for several songs which stretched him a bit. Mark Kuzdas did a great job explaining to the people about the new Heaven and new Earth teaching as it related to Genesis and Revelation. Then we had a spaghetti dinner and some fellowship around La Fogata (the campfire). It was a great time and we saw God do some good things!
As I walk among the people, I keep thinking of the Phil Collins song that repeats over and over "It's just another day for you and me in paradise." It is ironic that we are literally in paradise as we look around us and see the majesty of God's creation in this beautiful country! Yet, the needs and the lostness is very real as well making it a far cry from paradise for many who are struggling to live without Christ. Just an example of the spiritual needs that exist would be the fact that there were only about four men (not counting gringos) in the gathering yesterday who were not involved in leadership. The need for men to be evangelized, discipled, and trained in leadership is a dire need in Costa Rica. One of the hardest things to observe was a family who had suffered domestic violence sitting in the gathering that day when one of the most recent incidents had just occurred that morning between the Father and a young son. Observing such needs drives us to our knees once again as we know that there is a desperate need for people to know this Jesus who has changed our lives. I am also thankful that so many children are being discipled by this ministry so that we can see a difference in the days ahead as these boys grow up to be men who know and love Jesus.
That is probably enough of my deep thoughts for today. Be sure to notice that Matt was able to make an international connection at the local McDonald's here as he met the Manager of the restaurant. She was very gracious and answered questions that he had. Our friend Noemy interpreted and it was a great opportunity for our team.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our time in Costa Rica. We have just a few days remaining until we begin the trek home. Pray for our health as we may be facing the threat of strep throat (just Craig so far) and other minor illnesses that have threatened. Pray also for the neighborhoods of El Carpio and Tejarcillos as we continue to visit, pray, and learn about the work that is being done here. Que Dios le beniga y Pura Vida! (May God bless and pure life to you!)