Part of our effort in Costa Rica is now complete. As the electric was wired into the house we finished up on Monday, final touches just before wiring begins were done on the house we started on Sunday. We all feel like we have achieved some amazing things in just over 5 days. Windows went in, two nice doors were installed, the roof was completed (including a "sky light"), steps were built out the back of the house with access to the out house and painting was completed on our first full YELLOW HOUSE. We had to laugh when Joselyn told us she really would prefer beige!!!! But, alas it is impossible to paint a Yellow House beige.
The children have latched onto us -- hopefully not just because of chicklets but because they have sensed from us the love of Jesus in their lives. In too many cases, these kids do not experience the real love of fathers and strong male role models. On Sunday we will return for a big baseball game with the boys in the village. This should be quite the show since there is very little flat ground!! I'll nominate one of the guys to be the official ball chaser. It's one of the perks of leadership!! HA!
The PPP (Praise, Prayer and Pizza) gathering took place in Carla's home -- the first house we helped finish. All the workers, some from the team that began the house (from East 91st Street Church in Indy), our Tico fellow laborers and the families of both women gathered in just one room of this new home. Think about this -- probably 25 people in one room with space left! Maximo, one of the leaders at CCA began the time and introduced Pastor Marleen who is "1/2" of the pastoral team at the little church in Jasmin. She shared with us the passage in Matthew 9 where Jesus tells us to pray for workers in the Harvest. Pointing to us she told of her thankfulness for us being part of the answer to that prayer. She reminded us all that Jesus met the physical needs of people allowing Him an open opportunity to share the Good News of the Gospel with them. She then prayed for the families, the workers and over the new homes.
Pizza was next. You have not lived till you have eaten pizza in two languages! What a blessing to realize again the power of Christ to connect people from two very far away places around something as simple as crust and tomato sauce!
Following this were presentations of Bibles to the two families. Larry, and Elder at East 91st Street Church spoke about his team's love for Carla and her children and the priviledge of building them a home. Through tears Carla thanked those who worked on her home. I am sure that those who had to leave and missed this precious time could sense her gratefulness all the way back in Indiana. Following this, our team gathered around Joselyn and her little baby. I was able to share with her our joy in being able to minister to her. This became overwhelming to me and as I paused to try and compose myself, I looked to our team who were all emotional too. I think even our Tico friends and the staff of Harvest Hands were moved by this powerful moment that God had put together. As I shared that it was really Jesus who had built her home, she began to cry and I found it impossible to go on. Joselyn then very meekly thanked us for making sure that her baby would now be dry in a safe home for the first time. Needless to say, this moment is one that I know none of us will allow ourselves to forget. Who knew that 7 Gringos from the US could turn to mush so quickly!
We finished the painting and final details before heading back down the mountain. Our only solace is that we will be back on Sunday to say goodbye one final time to the people of this tiny and unknown village -- unknown by most but not to our great God who cares about even the smallest of people and places.
Tonight, we went into Los Anonos to help at a gathering especially for addicts. 16 men and 1 woman came and sat for over an hour and intently listened to testimonies from former addicts and a message. I was able to meet up again with my friend Jason who we met last July here. We were amazed when one of the men who came in was one of the biggest crack cocaine dealers in the area. Rodney told us later that he really wants to change his life. Many responded in a positive way to the idea of giving Jesus their life. You must realize that substance addictions can hold so tightly that it makes it very hard to surrender to the call and drawing of the Holy Spirit. This is where we must trust the love and soverienty of God to get through these challenges. 5 individuals indicated that they wanted to enter the Christian Rehab Center that we visited. Our pray is that all of them and even more will follow through. We served hot dogs, chips and Fresca' to everyone. What a great honor it is to serve rather than be served. Again, this group of men came through, even going into the hard streets of Los Anonos at night to "recruit" addicts to come join the event. New Life should be proud.