Day 7 begins early for most of our team. 7am brings a bus to the door and we head to the mountains along with 15 or so of the young men and women from Los Anonos. Above the city of San Jose' is a large white cross -- the plan is to hike to the top of the mountain to the cross. This is a grueling effort, and I (call me crazy) have chosen to take a pass! So Aaron Walker will share with you the experience:
The hike took an hour and a half to get to the top of the mountain and the view was amazing. The boys ran ahead of us the entire way and pointed out different locals as they took great pride in the beauty of their country. Once we reached the cross at the top, the energetic boys wanted to take a different trail down to show us the river on the other side. We were told that it was "close and easy" (Ha!). Taylor (the 20 year old intern that is living and working with Rodney and Cindy) and I decided to go. We soon realized that the "trail" was a series of cliffs along the side of the mountain. As we "climbed" down, we would literally slide, surf, and roll down the cliffs and catch one another before falling off one of the footings. Taylor was a great sport, but after numerous falls and scrapes and realizing the river was actually near the base of the mountain we had just climbed (and knowing we had to climb back up the same way) we decided to turn around. Taylor was pretty tired, but what was really cool was seeing 3 of the boys care for and carry her each difficult step of the climb; the boys were truly sacrificial gentlemen. Well, we eventually all made it back up and then down the other side. It was a great bonding time with the boys as we all breathed in the overwhelming beauty of God's creation (and we can now all laugh about each others' falls).
Those of us who stayed behind spent some time in the village talking with those we came across, stopping at the little school where several moms were having a sale to raise funds for the school. Mark's donated soccer shirts (probably 60 of them) were the first things to be sold, so we feel we had a small part in helping in the effort. We cleaned up some around the mission house and tried to see our "mountain crew" with binoculars! It was the less strenuous part of the hike! HA!
The dedication of the yellow house took place at 2pm. Nearly 50 of those who participated in the effort gathered in the living area of the new home! We presented Marvin with a Bible to commemorate the day and told him that though his house had a key, this Bible was really the key to life. Several others shared about the beauty of building a house together as a multi-cultural team, some of the local guys shared and we were all touched by the joy that they had as they were learning the happens when you serve others. The electrician was there too and told a story that most of us had not heard -- several years ago, a bridge connecting the two sides of the community was washed out, so Marvin, all by himself, with lots of resistance, built a small foot bridge from bamboo, pieces of wood and wire, really anything he could find. His bridge reconnected a whole community until a new bridge could be built! He had served his neighbors in the past and now his neighbors were serving him by building a new home. Pastor Alberto from CCA talked about the fact that this effort is proof that the church is indeed the hope of the world! Prayer for the house is followed by a pizza party -- exciting here since pizza is not a normal part of a poor community. As we take photos of the the "team", expanded to far more than the 9 of us from the states, I am touched by the sight of what God wants happening all the time in His church -- people from all kinds of backgrounds working together, ministering together to prove that we are really ONE "cross-cultural"!
Friday nights is the meeting of the young people and by 7:30, nearly 50 people are jammed into the Casita to worship and seek the face of Jesus. The temperature continues to rise but no one seems too concerned since they are their to meet with God, not be comfortable...hhhmmmm...I wonder how this would work at home? Lester and Tito lead worship and then Rodney says that this will be a night for Q&A. Here are some of the questions:
* "What is happening when people are prayed for and begin to cry and seem to lose control?"
* "Why don't I always feel like others do when God is here? Others say they feel a fire inside them,
but I don't."
* "Sometimes the pull towards drugs seems strgoner than the pull toward Jesus. Why is that?"
* "Can I get the same feeling that I had when I was saved?"
* "What will it take for us to be ready to be leaders?"
These are excellent questions from any group, any where. Several of us help to answer these questions and Rodney carefully guides the evening. I am convinced that this helped many people grow in their walk with Christ.
A call to those who desire prayer is given and several people come to the center. The ladies move to the area where the young ladies are and begin to pray for them while others pray for the guys. Again, the Holy Spirit begins to minister in our midst. Young people weeping and repenting and others holding on to their brothers and sisters as they deal with God. We could learn much from this energetic and passionate group of believers when it comes to honesty and humbly sharing your failures and pains with each other. As the prayer time continues for over an hour, a youn man with whom Aaron has struck up friendship goes to him and embraces him...for probably 15+ minutes. It is a special moment as this and other relationships have so quickly developed to this level. One of the Costa Rican ladies shares a word from God with Tandy too. The point is that ministry is going on "both ways"; a mutual spiritual impact from culture to culture. It is well after 10 before we return home.
With the mountain hike, the dedication and intense ministry time --- every one is dead in bed very quickly...thus the lateness of this blog. The thought of "goodbyes" is getting harder.