Sunday, August 31, 2014

Costa Rica Adventure – Update 1

Hi Everyone,

My Favorite Experience So Far
Seven people with a heart for God and sharing His love, gathered in an apartment living room at 9:30pm, singing praise to our Lord and Savior. Praying that He would continue to soften our hearts, fill us with His love, and use us that night to share with others this same life transforming love.

Last night, I had one of my favorite experiences so far. Two young ladies and I got to go out at night to work with a ministry called Light Force. Costa Rica has the largest brothel in Central America and is known for its rampant prostitution and sex tourism, especially in San Jose, where we are located. Light Force works with the girls and guys that work on the streets by building relationships with them, showing them God’s love, and providing an avenue for them to get out of the sex industry.

Our group of seven met to get a run-down on what would happen, then pray and worship together. Afterwards, we piled into a van with coffee and cookies and hit the streets. As we drove around and found young women at various corners we would get out, offer the coffee and cookies, and hear more about their story. Street prostitution is the lowest level of prostitution here, so many of them are treated like scum, spit on and abused. Our goal was simply to love on them, show them that they are valued - that they are people worth talking to - cast them some hope, and show them that we’re there to help them and provide a way of escape. My favorite part of the night was seeing their eyes light up as we pulled next to the curb and jumped out to give them a hug and start talking to them, like carriers of hope. Please pray for these men and women, that they would see and come to understand the hope and life transforming love that our God can provide. Pray for the Light Force ministry that faithfully works with these people. Their top two needs are funds and labor. Also, please pray for guidance as they continue to learn better ways to reach out.

The Light Force Ministry Team for Saturday Night

Life at the Villa

During the last four days, I've been settling into the villa where I am staying, and getting to know the Costa Rican culture. I live at a villa, or ranch house, with 25 other students around my age and place in life. I have three really fantastic roommates (their names are Kailen, Macie, and Peyton) who I’ll be staying with while I’m here. The whole group will be taking Spanish and Bible classes together Tuesday-Friday, and then split into smaller teams to help in various ministries on the weekends. I’ve been here since Tuesday night and the last few days have been focused on orientation, settling in, becoming familiar with the area, and getting to know each other. We have an awesome group of four interns (students from last year that were asked to come back to help) who have been really kind, encouraging, and helpful as we have settled in. They are such a blessing. We also have a student life director, as well as a missionary couple (and their four kids) who runs the Gap ministry. God’s work in their life is evident already, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be friends with and serve under them.


I found out yesterday that the main ministry I will be helping with is located in a shanty town about a 20 minute drive away from our villa. I’ll be going with a small team every Saturday to play with the local kids and reach out to them with God's love. We’ll be working with the youngsters in the morning, and then hosting a form of youth group with the teenagers in the afternoon. Today we got to go for a short trip to the area for the first time. We arrived during the youth group portion and had fun playing games with the teenagers, listening to a bible lesson, and then touring the area. I am so excited for this opportunity. The kids live in very impoverished area where many of the bigger gangs reside (witnessed our first Costa Rican drug deal). We’re there to cast light and hope amidst the turmoil and be faithful friends to the kids

We already have one girl, an out-going fourteen year old Tico (local), who has assumed the position of our Spanish teacher. She went around telling us names of various objects as she pointed to them. Learning Spanish has been going well. The Ticos are really sweet and patient, and they love to have us practice. We speak in Spanish when we can. When we don't know how to say something in Spanish, there is usually someone around who knows enough English to interpret for us, so we can communicate pretty well.

Catholicism and Christianity are pretty common here in Costa Rica, but there is a deficit in understanding what it means to really have a relationship with God. So our focus here will be to create faithful friendships through which we can share more about God’s character, His life transforming love, and how both of those impact not only our eternity but also our daily life as we take up the cross and seek to follow Him. I am really looking forward to my time here.

My Tirrases Ministry Team Eating Lunch Together

Prayer Requests
·         Light Force Ministry
·       The kids at Tirrases - Tirrases is the ministry that my team and I will be working with
·       The Gap Leadership Team - Pray for the Lord's wisdom, strength, and guidance as they lead us and make decisions regarding the Gap program
·       Healing - I've come down with a cold, and am fighting a sore throat and congestion. My amazing mom sent me with some cold medicine, which has been really helpful.
·       An adept mind and good memory - to help in learning the language here. Our classes start Tuesday!

Thank you all so so much for your prayer, encouragement, and support. You have been a huge blessing to me already and I thank God for each of you. I am so excited for this opportunity to serve, love on others, grow, and become better equipped. God has been working in my heart a ton already and really confirming the passion he has placed in my heart for ministry. Thank you for making this a possibility, encouraging me in this call, and praying for me as I seek to serve Him here in Costa Rica.



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