Friday, July 4, 2014

Costa Rica Missions Update #8

Happy Independence Day everyone!!! We’ve got a few surprise celebration plans for the team tonight that I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Question: What’s wet and rubbery, with hard ridges on its back? (I’ll give you the answer at the end of the update)

Joyce passing out VBS gift bags
            It’s been a great day so far, but I’ll wait until tomorrow to fill you in. There will be plenty of time to write on our long drive back to San Jose. Today I want to give a VBS and Soccer Tournament wrap-up (and, yes, it is soccer tournament, not soccer camp as I’ve been saying – one the joys of delegating is that I don’t have to have a clue what’s going on).

            The final day of VBS saw 115 kids attending. Most all of the kids were very disappointed that the time was ending. At the end of the day, gift bags were given to each of the children. Then, for some of the kids who were able to come up and say all their verses, they were given Bibles.

Soccer Tournament Championship Game
            The finish of the soccer tournament was quite dramatic. The quality level wasn’t quite the same as Brazil vs. Colombia World Cup futbol (which I currently have showing in the background), but it was pretty intense. I threw my lot in with the blue team, mainly because they had one player who (as Zac put it) looked like a Navy SEAL. Zac was leaning toward the yellow team. Well, as the blue team quickly proved, it doesn’t matter if you own a howitzer if you’ve lost the aiming mechanism. While the SEAL blasted errant ball after errant ball, the yellow team ran well-practiced plays. Final score – Yellow-4 Blue-3.

One of the children who earned a Bible by reciting verses
            Two big take-aways from the past four days: 1) What a blessing it is to work as a team. Mike led the devotional this morning and talked about how we’ve blended together as one big family – it doesn’t matter whether we’re Americano or Tico – we are one in heart, in service, and in the Family of God. We’ve built relationships with each other, with the INCRESE gang, and with members of the church that will last for years to come.

            2) When people sacrifice for God, lives change. Each day at VBS and soccer, the Gospel of salvation through a simple faith in Jesus was preached. Each day, children and youth responded. Yesterday, when the children were given an opportunity to receive Christ, 60% responded. By my math, that’s a bunch. Now, we understand that at that age, all levels of commitment are actually made. So, it’s such a wonderful blessing to know that Fuente de Vida has a follow-up program in place ready to keep up the connections with each and every one of these kids.

            Going to keep the update short today. I’ve got to take a little time to go over my sermon for tonight. As always, thanks for your prayers.

Quick Vortex Update: I think the Vortex has gotten bored toying with us, and is ready to move on. It returned Nancy’s gum and a few other assorted items yesterday afternoon. Then, last night I was awakened by some rustling in our room. I turned on my phone’s flashlight and discovered five disoriented cleaning women huddled together. They were murmuring things like “El Vortex habla y yo obedezco” and “No prestes atención al hombre detrás de la cortina.” I had no clue what they were saying, so I just ushered them outside and quickly locked the door behind them.
Un cocodrilo gigante

Question: What’s wet and rubbery, with hard ridges on its back?

Answer: The guy to the right. How do I know? Personal experience. More about crocodiles, monkeys, and sad farewells tomorrow.
Drama presented between soccer games

The championship team with their prizes

Zac and Madeline attend a youth strategy meeting for
reaching their neighborhood for Christ. Apparently,
in Costa Rica, as in the U.S., it is impossible to have a
youth get-together without pizza

Mike and I visit a recuperating Pastor Elias at his home

Working to prepare the VBS gift bags

VBS face painting

A final day snack of hot dogs

A VBS girl

A trio of VBS boys

The VBS team

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