Saturday, October 27, 2007
Just wanted to leave you all with a couple of photos of the deck as it stands right now. The Lifechurch team was awesome. They worked hard all week, had great attitudes and were also a lot of fun. We got quite a bit of work accomplished and by the end of the week, we had all of the main portion of the deck in place. It really came in handy last night at the youth event as we finally had a place for people to sit, stand and hang out.
Last night was the final night of the Lifechurch outreach. We hosted a special youth night with some crazy games, hotdogs and hamburgers and a really great time teaching. We had between 30 and 40 youth show up and let me tell you, it was total chaos...and a lot of fun. After the food and fun, everyone gathered in the skate park to hear Peace's story. Peace (below right) shared about his life growing up in one of Limon's toughest neighborhoods and how he almost died several years ago from an overdose of crack. He explained how caught up he had been in himself and how it had almost cost him his life. He then told about his journey in coming to know Christ. Peace had an interest in spiritual things for many years but it was a mix of rastafarianism, Christianity and new age beliefs...along with a lot of confusion.
Five months ago, Peace accepted Christ as we prayed together one night on the steps of the cafe after a night of skating. Since that night I can honestly say that I have never witnessed the renewal that God can bring to someone's life and mind as clearly as I have seen it take place with Peace. Last night was the culmination of that journey as Peace, a new Christian, stepped in front of 40 of his friends and neighbors and shared about the impact Jesus had made on his life. he didn't hold back as he challenged everyone within listening distance to open their hearts and make the same decision to follow Jesus that he had made. He was clear that there are still struggles and anyone that knows him would understand that following Christ doesn't automatically bring health and wealth. Peace was clear that following Jesus brings forgiveness for sin and a sense of purpose that he had looked for all of his life.
This was Peace's first time speaking in front of a crowd and he was incredible. God spoke through him. While he spoke, there was no joking or talking. Everyone gave him their attention and when he finished, there was an immediate eruption of applause. Peace isn't a bible scholar but he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is real and that He changes lives. He shares his new faith with everyone he meets and has a new story for us each week at house church. I would not be surprised (especially after last night) to see Peace leading a house church in the near future. Such is the grace and power of God. Funny thing...we came looking for "the man of peace" and God blessed us with a man called Peace.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Here you can see the progress that we made by mid-day. Later this afternoon we will begin laying the decking over the beams. No job is without it's trouble and we've run into a few problems but things are coming along. I'm hopeful we'll be finished by the end of the week.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
What that means is that our water is regularly getting cut off every afternoon at 5:00pm (just when you get home from work and want a shower) and isn't turned on again until around 6:00am the next morning. That means every afternoon we have to fill up buckets and pots so that we have enough water to flush toilets, bath and cook.
Fortunately, it's not as bad as it was a few months ago. Back in May the water was cut off by 1:00pm every day and wasn't turned on again until 5:00am. To top it off, we went through about a month of electricity rationing with rolling, unannounced blackouts. Talk about frustrating...try having no water and no electricity at the same time. Oh well, we're not in Kansas anymore (Florida either for that matter). It's just a part of life here on the edge of civilization.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
our residency application along with all the paperwork, have been "lost" by the immigration office for the second time. We can't even find out the status of our application at the moment.
Anyway, until we have residency status, we are living and working here under a tourist visa which must be renewed every three months.
The closest place for us to stay are the islands of Bocas del Toro in Panama. This time we stayed on the island of Basitmentos which at the moment, has no roads and only one small town of rickety houses built on the water and up the side of a hill. The place we stayed was owned by a self-described former East-German anarchist. Breakfast and dinner are cooked and eaten family style with the owners, their helpers and anyone else that may be staying at the "hotel" which is really a small house with four rooms and one private bath. The owner was quite a character and refers to himself as Tio Tom (Uncle Tom). We had an interesting discussion about our choice of careers (read "calling") and he was quite proud to tell us that he beat up the last missionary he ran in to. I guess the guy got really pushy and was also extremely defensive about his way of thinking to the point of being insulting. Rather than walking away and difusing the situation, this missionary escalated it to the point of a fist-fight on a bridge linking Costa Rica and Panama, all in front of the border guards and a crowd of spectators. Anyway, we had an good conversation and he was interested in what we do. He especially liked our work with the youth.
My point is this...you never know who you will meet and what their experiences with Christians have been. One thing I know... in every conversation and every "chance" meeting, we're either building bridges or building walls. This is true even during a required visit to Panama to renew visas. Let's make sure we're sharing Christ, not defending ourselves. Let's build bridges instead of fighting on them.
Here's a picture of Maili getting a little R&R on the dock in front of Tio Tom's.