Monday, August 4, 2008

Finally, Costa Rica 2008

I can't believe I'm just now getting around to sharing about our time in Costa Rica. I could give you my list of excuses but this post is going to be long enough! If it gets too long, I'll do a part 2 but I hope to get it all in one.

Let me give you a piece of advice: If you live more than an hour away from your airport, always, and I mean ALWAYS go up the night before your flight. We are so grateful that we did! We had a tire blow out and then we realized about an hour outside of ATL, that we had left the 2 suitcases, that contained ALL of our ministry stuff, at the church! God intervened in both situations and we were so grateful when we checked in at the airport on Friday morning!

Our flight to CR was uneventful and we arrived around 12 noon (2pm our time.) We were picked up at the airport by Melissa (a student intern for SI) and Manuel, a missionary for SI. Melissa is from USA and could translate for us.
They took us to our home, which would be a dorm at The Bible Institute of Central America. At first I was disappointed that we weren't staying at Score's villa but that changed when I realized we would have private bathrooms versus common bathrooms! As it is for anyone, the first few hours of being in a foreign country are absolutely overwhelming. San Jose is not the tropical, resort area of CR. We were stunned at the looks of the homes. Not the homes themselves but the large fences, iron bars, gates and even razor wire that surround every home. Melissa told us that the perception of crime is much higher than it really is and with the lack of faith in the police, people choose to guard their homes this way.

Saturday, we went to buy school shoes for an orphanage. We brought $600 to go towards shoes and other minstry opportunities. Our plan was to buy 70 pairs of shoes for about $490. When we arrived at the shoe factory, they were having a sale!!! We bought 82 pairs of shoes for $320! We were beyond excited because we knew that now we would be able to buy groceries for some families as well as have the opportunity to feed the homeless.
That afternoon, we went to the orphanage. One thing you always learn on a mission trip is to make the best of any situation. They wouldn't allow us to go into the building, so we met with the kids in a covered basketball court. We sang songs, did our puppet show (by holding up a balck tablecloth!) and then Steven presented the gospel. While he was sharing it rained so loud you couldn't even here him. But the kids were very attentive and several raised their hands to say they had prayed to receive Christ. It was an amazing time. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the kids. We even played "pato, pato, ganso."
It was a day that I will remember for a long, long time.

Sunday we went to church with David and Marianella. They were our house parents! They are a wonderful young couple from Uruguay. They felt God's call to come to CR and be apart of the SI team. After lunch, they took us souvenir shopping. It was a great day.

Monday we set out to downtown San Jose to pass out tracts. The area was very busy and there were plenty of people to hand the tracts to but to be honest I was very intimidated. But after I got past my self, it wasn't intimidating. But the range of emotions was unbelievable. Some people readily accepted the tract which made me joyful. Others refused to make eye contact which made me feel sad. Some would shake their head and refuse to take it which caused me to feel rejected. I felt persecution when I saw some who took a tract from someone in front of me and when they realized what it was, began laughing making fun of it. It was hard fighting the feeling of desperation, when you walked by a trash can and the top was filled with the gospel tracts you had just passed out. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not responsible for others decision, I can only be faithful in spreading His word. And God promises that His Word will not return void but will accomplish His purpose.
Monday evening, we attended a Score basketball game, in which a group from Tn. was playing against a Costa Rican team. This wasn't part of our plan but we were sharing our dorm with these guys and we wanted to support them. During halftime, we passed out tracts to the fans and then at the end of the game, the players shared the gospel with the other team.

Ok, I'm going to stop there. I'll try to wrap it up tomorrow!

3 thoughts from Y*O*U:

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Yeah for the shoe miracle! Can't wait to read more! :)

Jennifer said...

Wow!! That's incredible! I'm so glad it went well...I can't imagine what it must have felt like to know you have something that could make their lives better and they refuse. Thankfully, God doesn't need us. He chooses to use us. Miss you!

Fran said...

Cheryl...gotta check out the Vicki COurtneys blog first and then I'll be back! :)