Sunday, June 29, 2014

Costa Rica Missions Update #4

             There are certain events in your life that you know you will never forget. We experienced one of those today. But before we get to that, let me give you a ministry catch-up.
Joyce teaching with Nanda translating

            I promised you updates on Joyce’s and Zac’s meetings last night. Joyce had a great time with the ladies. There were over twenty, and she really connected with them. The message that she gave was both personal and powerful. They’ll be getting together again through this next week.

Zac teaching the youth with Dennis translating
            Quick aside – yes, I know that this is not my most flashy update. Truth is that I’m ridiculously tired. The all-day training of yesterday combined with preaching today combined with being in a constant state of extreme diaphoresis has caught up with me. So, my apologies – my hope is a good night’s sleep and some Gatorade will perk me back up.

Madeline letting her feet get in on the worship action
            Zac also had a great time with the youth. He spoke on “pura vida” or “pure life”, which is pretty much the nation’s slogan. It means that everything is great – no worries – life is good (it’s sort of like the hakuna matata of Costa Rica). Zac took this phrase and showed how pura vida can only truly be found in Jesus. He got a great response with a number of the youth afterward telling him that they’d never looked at phrase that way before.

            This morning, we had another wonderful time of worship. The band was amazing, as always. Madeline even joined in the dancing in the front of the church. Powerful time of praising God.

With a history of pranking my translators, I surprise my buddy
Tim Stairs with Madeline's sunglasses for an illustration
(personally, I think he looks quite fashion-forward)
            The message I brought was on having an eternal perspective – seeing our lives through God’s eyes. I talked about there being no such thing as “fair” and “unfair” in the Kingdom of God, because “It’s not fair” is a totally me-first statement. So, when we get angry or envious of others, we’re totally missing the other-firstedness that we’re called to.

Pastor Jose's daughter, Sharon, celebrates Navas's blocked shot
            After church, we relaxed for a time. Then we headed back to the church, where a projector was set up so we could watch the Costa Rica vs. Greece World Cup match. Talk about an unforgettable experience! When that fourth penalty shot was blocked by Keylor Navas, the goalkeeper for the Ticos, I thought the roof was going to blow off the place. And then when the final shot for Costa Rica went in, it was complete pandemonium. The whole town erupted. People took to the streets singing and dancing and waving their flags. A spontaneous parade of cars with celebrators filling their insides as well as their outsides cruised the streets with horns honking. It was amazing to witness.

            When the next game is played, we’ll be down at Pastor Jose’s house in Cartago, south of San Jose. It is a much bigger city and I look forward to seeing the much bigger celebration when the Ticos teach the Dutch a thing or two about futbol.

            Tomorrow the VBS and the soccer camp begin. A lot of preparation has gone into these events the last few days. Please pray that God uses these times to touch the lives of many kids and youth, but also that the impact would reach to the parents.

            Again, so sorry for the reporter-like recitation of events tonight. I promise to be much perkier mañana. And, as always, thank you so much for your prayers.
The church surprises Nancy with a birthday song
A very odd and creepy pre-game ritual
Everyone "redded" up for the game
Better than stadium seating
Who needs a big screen TV when you've got a white wall?
Dancing in the streets

I'm thinking more than one traffic safety law
was broken in this parade

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