January 7-14, 2017
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Today is our first full day in Tirrases, Costa Rica, and the second day of our trip. We started off our day with a lively and joyful worship at Concepcion, 30 minutes ride from Tirrases, where we deeply felt the presence of the Holy Spirit!
We helped set up the tent that becomes their church "building" on Sundays and met some of the members and community participants. As the worship ended and the tent was folded again, we went to have lunch with some of the local leaders.
We returned to play soccer (futbol) with kids and adults who attended the service (in the pouring rain!).
We were invited to a member's house to learn about the church's future plans for a community project in their neighborhood. A huge dream that God has put in their hearts!
We finished the day with an outdoor dinner prepared with much love and a time of fellowship at Capilla del Camino. We then departed with our host families for the night.
(From Katia Faroun)
My favorite part of Sunday was the soccer game. There were 30 people playing or watching a great game in the rain. No one complained about the rain or mud or the ball going over the hill 20 times. It was just a group of adults, youths, and children from different places, races, and languages that became one through worshiping together in the morning and then having a great time together.
Monday, January, 9, 2017
Wonderful time of devotional and Bible study this morning based on Genesis 32:23-33 when we discussed facing fear and seeking God to do so.
Later, with strong winds but blue skies, we departed from Capilla del Camino. We were surrounded by a group of over 25 children from 6 to 14 years old, excited for the day and ready for the 20 minutes walk that took us to a nearby park.
So much fun to be participating in games and suggesting games to this group of kids! Most of them never got tired during the few hours that we played non-stop! With the end of the morning and after we ate a simple lunch the skies darkened and the rain returned; everybody was going home. Unexpectedly one of the children's leaders offered to take all of us on an adventure to visit a dam an hour away.
The generosity of her husband and herself was so evident as they pointed to a large 14 passenger van which was the means of the husband's work. They did not want any payment simply the joy to show us their beautiful part of the country and the opportunity to share a time of fellowship with us. The rainy weather did not matter any longer as they pointed to us coffee fields, lush hills, the cattle in the field, a craftsman's display of coffee wood's carvings, a suspended bridge (of course all of us had to walk on it even under the rain) and finally the dam.
At the end of the day burned from the sun in the morning, and our muscles aching from the games we played with the children, we could still thank God for his mercy and care through the love, laughs, and kindness we received from our Costa Rican friends.
Pastor Manuela on behalf of the Costa Rica team.
Tuesday, January 10
We started the day with the encouragement of 1 Cor. 13:1-13 in preparation for the health fair that the local church together with Omega International hosted for the residents of Tirrases. The fair consisted of 4 stations: Welcome and short presentation of the gospel, health screening, eye screening, and individual prayer as needed.
So many people came that instead of the fair going from 10 am to 3pm, it went till 6 pm. Our eyes were really opened when we heard the prayer requests of the attendees and their many needs (physical and spiritual).
After the fair ended we went to Omega International's headquarters and learned about their story and mission: to help the youth of Costa Rica and neighboring countries stay on the path of God by keeping themselves holy and pure, providing teaching and celebrations for quinceañeras and couples that want to be married and have not done so for multiple reasons, as well as supporting single mothers. We were able to give them two large duffle bags filled with beautiful dresses and suits donated by our congregatons towards these ministries.
From Katia Faroun
Katia's favorite moment: I loved playing with the kids at the health fair. I was able to show them how to take photos with my camera and they loved teaching each other afterwards. We also played some "futbol"/soccer (but with a two litre bottle. Whatever works!)
January 11, 2017
After a hard day of work God gave us the gift of a day of enjoyment. A total twenty-three of us from Capilla and Bethlehem visited a beautiful small beach on the coast of Costa Rica. The country really lives out to its name! We spent the day playing in the warm water, feeding the monkeys in the trees, playing soccer on the shore, and getting to know each other more. Some of us even used the black sands as a natural, free spa! After the beach we drove to two nearby more touristic beaches and experienced a beautiful sunset. God was certainly present in not only the fellowship between us all but also seeing his creation in Costa Rica.
From Katia Faroun
Carolyn Johnson"s additional thoughts:
Although today's trip to the beach was "plan B" after the volcano we planned to visit and that was closed down, it was a wonderful day of fun and fellowship. God be praised that we were able to set aside the disappointment we may have felt about not seeing the volcano and just enjoy a relaxing day with our new friends. Thank you God that all went smoothly!
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Today we started our day with an early morning devotional shared with several of our partners. With this good and encouraging beginning we started our work at church which consisted in getting the church kitchen area a new ceiling.
We did not have the people or materials to get going easily to the task but we did all we could to be helpful.
We then got ready in the evening to join the congregation in worship. A lively worship team greeted all who entered the church gates. Pretty soon praises, liturgical dances, prayers were lifted up to God. Manuela was invited to preach and bring a word from the Lord. Soon after our whole team went forth and gave short but powerful testimonies about the Lord's work in their lives and the impact of Capilla's members on the each one of us. The evening ended with greetings, embraces, conversations, and powerful individual prayer time.
Meaghan's favorite moment: Today was an amazing day. We did so many things, but my favorite part was the church service!
Everyone was worshipping, singing and praising God. Some of the young girls from the liturgical dance ministry took my hand along with that of Korrinne, Katia and Carolyn to be a part of their dance. It was so powerful to be included in that form of worship!
Friday, January 13, 2017
Great devotional to start the day followed by a ride to go to San Jose Central Market with the idea to see a glimpse of downtown San Jose, get some souvenirs including some good coffee, and return to Tirrases to continue the work.
Well pretty soon changes to that plan came about. Juan was not feeling well and one of our partner together with Manuela had to take him to the main hospital's emergency room while the rest of the group remained in the market area.
We are thankful to God for good (but very slow) public and free health care that allowed Juan to be released by 5 pm with some recommendations to follow up with his family doctor. By that time the group had gone back to their homes and rested some.
With the joy of having our whole group back together we joined a large number of members of the congregation as they celebrated Husai's 13th birthday (one of the host families' daughter). Here again we sang and praised God, played guitar, had the best time with fun games, and were treated to a lovely meal and birthday cake. It was probably more than 11 pm when people started to leave. Some of us still had our suitcases to make, and goodbyes to say. It became a very short night...our last night with our dear costarican families.
Thank you Lord for your protection and your care upon each one of us!