Costa Rica

Costa Rica: Ministry to Families

I went on the Costa Rica family mission trip recently with an awesome group of people!

The connections we made with people through the door to door evangelism really impacted me.  One of the first families we went to see was a mother and two teenagers.  The teenage daughter had a lazy eye and had quit school because she was being bullied.  The daughter, Jao, walked in with her head down and would not even look up at us.  I had just read a book through my Titus 2 mentoring group about being a confident woman, and God has really been working in my life in that area.  During the prayer I prayed that God would help her to find her confidence in Him the way that He had recently helped me.  I told her that she is beautiful before we left.  The mother looked at me with so much love as we were leaving the home.  I¹m praying that God will work through this interaction and that she can find her confidence in Him.

On the same morning we went to another home with a 16 year old girl and two smaller kids that she seemed to be the caretaker for.  We were sharing the Cross talk tract with them and going through it. We asked the very hardened 16 year old if she knew who died on the cross, and she had never even heard about Jesus.  Her life is so different from mine.  I can¹t even imagine what her life is like, but I pray that our sharing about Jesus will take root.  We invited her to our host¹s weekly youth group.  I just really hope that she will go learn more about God¹s love with our amazing host!

Costa Rica: Day 8

A couple of things I forgot to mention from our time yesterday.  During the warm up time of the professional game, they played a popular song and a few JFCA basketball players got into the groove…you can view it on facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=396351387118678&set=vb.100002314593308&type=2&theater.  The tikos/tikas (what Costa Rica’s call themselves) like it so much, they award Isaac Harrell a t-shirt.  It was hilarious!

We got up and packed and meet together for Bible study.  We studied Daniel 5&6, it was a great ending to our time.  Packed up the bus and went to the airport.  It was a little confusing exiting the country, but we got everything done and at the gate in time.  We had an expensive airport meal and were just about ready to board the plane when Renea took a tumble and it looks like she sprained at least one, if not both of her ankles.  We packed her up, wheeled her on, Adviled her up, iced her down, propped her up on Alan and I, and she was a trooper on the flight and following.  We were greeted with flowers and meals at the airport, perfect given the situation.

We were highly blessed.  Thank you for your prayers and financial support for this trip.

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Costa Rica: Day 7

We spent a beautiful morning in Punta Leona.  It was full of wildlife, tons of monkeys. Many of the kids got up early to witness the sunrise.  Great food for breakfast.  We hung out at the beach, cleaned up, had a great lunch, packed up and was on the road back to Escuza.  

We spent time with missionaries Carlos and Sarah Labriel and I would like to share with you their prayer needs.  First, for their new baby which is due in July.  Second that a job would open for Carlos to play or coach basketball.  Currently, Carlos is an intern through Score while he waits for his commission which should be in 6 more months.  During that time, he needs to help provide for his family.  Costa Rica is very expensive, in many ways more than in the states.  It has been difficult for them to live just off of Sarah's support.  It is compounded because she had Dingy, which you get from a mosquito bite and is very serious, she spent time in the hospital and then they had their wedding. These have placed her in a deficit with Score, around $2500, plus Score what's missionaries to have 2 months reserve, which really makes her about $8700 behind.  There next request has to do with Mattias and Layla, Layla does not remember her dad, Hugo passed away at 29, just a month after Layla was born.  They have transitioned well with Carlos and you can see that he truly loves them and they have embraced him as their new dad.  Carlos is concerned about providing for them and their education which is roughly $5000 for the year, which they do not have and school starts in February.  There is a concern for Carlos and seminary, the one he currently attends is very liberal and it is not a good situation.  Having grown up in Guatemala, Carlos was not exposed to even simple Bible stories that we have granted.  He needs good, sound instruction to prepare him to preach and teach.   The last request is in regards for provision, about $4000, to return to the states in June for Sarah to have the baby, for Carlos to receive his commission and for them to work to help Carlos raise support for them to continue their work here.  Want to help support their work here and meet these needs?  You can donate at 

https://Simplecheckout.authorize.net/payment/CatalogPayment.aspx

I know that they need your prayers!

We made a quick stop at a mall food court, got everyone a snack and went on to the gym.  We played the 17u team of Escuza; it was the same coach we played against at our last game.  One of the players plays for Edguardo on a national team. It was a close and exciting game, Saints won 60/57.  It was funny to look at our white boys that had a lot of "pink" on them from the sun. Also, Michael got into the game; it was the first basketball game he ever played in :).

The more exciting numbers were those that followed.  Carlos shared his testimony about playing professional basketball, but how money, fame, girls, none of these things satisfied, that only Jesus fills all our needs.  Fifteen trusted Christ, it was the greatest harvest during our time in Costa Rica.   Following our game, there was a professional game that we got to stay and watch.  We were able to distribute 300 Bible tracts during half time which was a great opportunity!

A trip to McDonalds to get everyone some food and back to Score to start packing and get some showers, and there was warm water!

It was a good day and God has been so faithful in keeping us safe, opening doors or opportunity, and providing the opportunity to spend time away from technology so that we can hear from God.

Costa Rica: Day 6

Today was our day of rest and fun.  We drove about two hours, on the way, we stopped off at a bridge to see alligators, and there were over 20.  We had the opportunity to bless Sarah and Carlos, Mattias and Layla, and they came with us.   We are at the Resort in Punta Leona, you can look it up on the web.  It is beautiful.  There are two beaches, one with black sand, one with white, and mountainous areas with caverns and cliffs for climbing.  We saw some really incredible rocks and fossils.  Lots of wildlife, monkeys, blow fish, raccoons, and animals we have no idea their names... God is so very creative and it is a joy to have time to relax and be reminded by His vastness! 

Also, all you can eat meals :)...and access to the Alabama versus Notre Dame game..Isaac is very happy and looking at the half-time score as I type, I'm surprised I can't hear him yelling.

Chris and I got to take Mattias and Layla putt-putt golfing, it was a taste of grandparenting!!  Oh, and we got hot showers, which we've been without the last couple of days because they ran out of gas at the Score campus, so that was nice too.

Our last ministry day is tomorrow and then we will see you Wednesday evening...

Costa Rica: Day 5

This morning we worshiped at the church on the Score campus, Ingleisa Baptista Misinerio El Rodeo, there were about 50 in attendance.  Chris preached from Revelation 2 and 3, it was a great service.  The team made a donation to the youth ministry to send 15 students to a Word of Life camp.  They had received scholarships and had raised enough for most of the kids to go and we were able to finish out their remaining balances.

We had pizza for lunch, YES!... And then left for our canopy tour.  We did a zip line in the mountains, it was awesome.  Everyone had a great time.  From there,  we went back to our favorite native market and made our final purchases.  From there, we stopped at a food court at the mall and everyone got an American meal of their choice, I saw kids with McDonalds, Wendy's and Subway.

From there, we went to the Gathering Place, a church in Guadeloupe, near the Score Villa.  The other Score team and the gap students, plus some from the local community were there, there were about 150 there.  It was a great service.  From there, we went to Pops, a local ice cream chain, loaded up on sugar and returned to Score.

It was a great day of worship, adventure, and relaxation.

Costa Rica: Day 4

We traveled to Palmares and the boys conducted a basketball clinic for 14 young children and some middle school aged girls.  Tyler gave his testimony, Owen, Isaac, Gabe, and Tyler shared scripture from the Roman road.

The court at this school was very slick, it made the game tough and a little home cooking and only one ref, we lost 40 to 66, but that was fine in light of the fact that a young man named Henry trusted Christ.

We had lunch at a place called Angela's Comidas Rapidas and during our time there, Angela asked to speak with us.  Through a translator,  she asked for someone to pray for her, that her mom needed prayer.  Before we prayed with her, we asked where she was at with the Lord.  She said she thought she was a Christian,  but had never trusted him.  We asked if she would like to, she said yes, right now'. We prayed with her, she trusted Christ and we prayed for her mom as well.  It was a wonderful time.

We left Palmares and hit some bad traffic, so decided to pull off at the airport to use the restroom.  As we were leaving, we saw Wesley Guzman returning for his Gap year, it's a small world at times.  Tyler did some Monte Python karaoke.  We stopped at a mall in Ezcazu, it was huge, 3 stories, lots of American stores.  We had a snack, were amazed by over 100 parrots in the trees outside the mall, loaded up and headed out for the game.

The game was very exciting, Luke is such an aggressive player' the Szell boys played together, the Meadows boys played together, it was awesome to see them play, Asa rebounded, Mason scored, and Luke tied up the game to 17/17.  Owen was up and down the court, Andrew got a rebound, stole the ball, and scored 2, Gabe got a foul shot, and Nate had multiple blocks.  Joey was also up and down the court.  We had really great refs'

During the next quarter, Isaac scored at least 3 and got a rebound.  David tied up the game again with a foul shot, Jonathan stole the ball, and Tyler scored, Luke scored a foul shot, and Andrew scored 2 foul shots.  At half-time the score was 34/26.  The game only got better...

Owen, Nate, Jackson, Gabe and Austen started the 3rd quarter.  Jackson is so enthusiastic!  Again, Joey and Owen were up and down the court moving the ball.  Nate scored several baskets and 2 foul shots.  Gabe had a steal, a foul shot, and scored.  Jackson got a rebound.  Score 41/32

In comes Isaac, David, Luke, Jonathan, and Tyler.  Luke had 2 foul shots, David and Isaac both had a foul shot and scored.

Fourth quarter started with Andrew, Jackson, Gabe, Joey, and Nate.  Andrew had a steal, David came in and had two foul shots and scored.  Mason also came in and scored a couple of baskets.  Game ended with Asa, Jonathan, Owen, Tyler, and Austen and final score was 58/46.

Following the game we were able to share with over 50 kids. Luke and Joey shared Bible verses and a young man named Jowel prayed to receive Christ.  It was an incredible day.

We returned to Score for a late dinner of chicken lasagna, Bible study in Daniel 3, and off to bed.

Costa Rica: Day 2

We were up early, a little cereal and fruit for breakfast, loaded up and off to Grecia, which is about 1 hour from the Score complex.  Our driver was Santiago, Daniel and Javier joined us again, along with missionary Raymond and Marsola.  The morning started out cool, but warmed up nicely.  The landscape is beautiful.  The main school system here runs February through November, so the students are out of school right now, but we were able to go into a public school system.

We were met by about 16 boys and our team conducted a clinic.  They split up into 4 stations and rotated, sharing a verse from in each one.  Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, and Ephesians 2:9-10.

Following the clinic, it was the Saints versus Grecia High and I am happy to say that we one, 74-68.  We rotated teams of 5 of our players in and out.  It was a great game, everyone did well.  There were several fans and parents that came to watch.  Following the game, Asa shared about sin and separation from God.

Costa Rica is not too different from the US in many ways...

Tyler commented that he noticed they seemed to like to joke and hang out.  Isaac felt like they were cool, wore stylish clothes, and that it reminded him of his friends.  Catherine commented that it was interesting that some girls had come to watch, which was typical teenagers.

The greatest issue they are seeing here is that most Costa Ricans will tell you they are Christians.  Even Catholicism here has become less of a separate religion and is blending with Christianity. The greatest challenge, just like we see in American is that many that call themselves Christians are truly not.  

John 3:3 says, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Raymond did an outstanding job using painting and the game of basketball to communicate the truth of "head knowledge" versus "heart knowledge."  Twelve of the people, players, parents, and spectators prayed to trust Christ as their Savior, to move from a head knowledge to a heart knowledge.  

Nate commented that as he saw the hands go up, that it was a very powerful movement of God.  Mason noticed that how those that paid attention were the ones that responded.  Gabe noticed how many of them knew and acknowledged the verses that we shared.

God was as work today.  Score is doing a great job getting information on those that made a decision and there is follow up that takes place.

They made us lunch at the gym, some rice, chicken, black beans and chips.  It was good, we said goodbye and headed to a marketplace to souvenir shop and then Raymond took us to his favorite ice cream shop.  We returned to Score for a little down time when we returned.  

Dinner was pork chops, mash potatoes, and vegetables.  Bible study was at 7, we started our study of the life of Daniel.  A young man, taken from his home, Daniel purposes in his heart not to defile himself.  The study was a meaningful time to reflect on their lives, their choices, and the impact that they can make on others.

They are working on their skits and program for tomorrow morning, I hear laughter, singing, doors slamming, and a glimpse of what heaven will be like, believers together purposed for worship.  It is a joy to be with your sons.