Saturday, September 09, 2006

Getting around in Costa Rica

A long time ago, I wrote about the daily contrasts we run into here in Costa Rica. This past week, I took a short trip up to Guanacaste, the northwestern province of the country, to visit our new neighbors and give Justin, an intern that worked with us this past summer, a look at a very different part of this small country. As we drove through San Jose, everything was fine. Shortly after we began climbing into the mountains, my 4runner started knocking and pinging like the engine was going to fall apart. This really made me sick at my stomach for a couple of reasons…first, it’s not good to be stranded on the highway in CR, and second, I just had to have the entire engine rebuilt earlier this year and it shouldn’t be having problems. Anyway, we had a couple of choices… stop and find a mechanic to look at it (a dicey proposition at best) or keep driving and see what happens. I decided to keep driving and as bad as it was, it didn’t really get any worse.

We made it into Junquiallal around 6:30 that night and were welcomed by Mike and Joanna (who are moving into the house next door to us here in Puerto Viejo tomorrow). Turns out that Mike had to take his car to the mechanic on Monday, so I just planned to go along with him. That being decided, we ate and then hit the sack so that we could get up and surf the next morning. We ended up getting some decent surf and then just hung out with Mike and Joanna the rest of the day, visiting an Indian village with them in the afternoon so that they could buy some pottery for the shop they are opening here in Puerto. Monday was spent at the mechanic’s…from 8:00am until 5:00pm. Tuesday was the reward as we caught some of the best small waves I’ve had in months, not more than 200 yards from Mike’s house.

Now, about the contrasts that I mentioned earlier… First, we had a safe trip to Junquillal but experienced some car trouble (got that fixed), then, we scored some good waves but my car was broken into while we surfed and I lost about $350 worth of stuff. Great surf topped of with a robbery. Par for the course. Anyway, it was a great opportunity to get to know our future neighbors a little better. Turns out that they are Christians and had been praying that they would find a house near another Christian family, specifically one with little kids. They were really excited that God answered their prayers so specifically and we are looking forward to them moving in. They have already come to our house church once, when they were in town looking for a house, and are looking forward to coming on a regular basis. God is really doing some cool things and we appreciate your prayers as doors continue to open.

Why we're here

Well, I wish I was a little more regular at this. It’s hard to imagine being any more irregular but something always seems to come up and I run out of time. Not to mention that it’s a little more difficult to get online down here. Anyway, things have come a long way since I last made time to post. We now have an almost completed skate-park and a regular youth program taking place each Friday night where the kids are getting exposed to biblical truth and are having lots of fun at the same time. At the same time, the kid’s church is going well on Sunday mornings and the house churches (both an English and a Spanish speaking church) are beginning to grow.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that I actually have the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing down here. The more time I spend with the kids of Puerto Viejo, the more time I want to spend with them. They are an incredible group of kids that come from some pretty gnarly home situations. A couple of Friday nights ago, Louie (who heads up the youth program) asked the kids to write down some questions that they had about life, God, church, etc… on index cards that he handed out, so that we could answer the questions from a biblical perspective. I helped one kid write down his question on the card and almost started crying when I read what he wrote. He is only ten years old and he wrote, “Why is it that someone can hit you and God doesn’t come and help you?” That really hit me and gave me a better sense of what these kids deal with on a regular basis. Some of the other questions addressed the existence of God and other questions such as what happens to you if you commit suicide? I was blown away by the depth of the questions but at the same time am very excited about the possibility of answering the questions with the love of Jesus. It is such a privilege to have the opportunity to pour into the lives of these kids when they are at such transition points in their lives. Already, two of them are coming to our house church and a third expressed interest in coming tomorrow. I pray that God speaks to them and works in their lives so that one day soon, they are the ones taking the good news of Jesus to the people of this community.