Surprise- Pastor Brian's blog has been hijacked by Cindy! Be warned - this is a spanish keyboard and some of the keys don't do what I expect. WOW- today was a great day. It didn't rain until after dinner (yay!) so we had a beautiful breezy sunny day to visit the town of Los Anonos. Our buddy Luis walked us down the giant hill (NO REALLY, like.... a 90 degree incline. not kidding) and across the bridge where we then walked back into the jungle overlooking a rushing river. We walked single file on a path made of mud, rocks, boards, plastic, mud, moss and leaves to a WONDERFUL yellow house in the jungle. A yellow house donated through the generous hearts of the people of New Life Church and constructed by our team this summer. Remember Marvin, the dad with the autistic adult son - he met us at the door wearing a big smile! He was so thankful and told us to make sure to thank the church. His bird cages line the walls, he has made a hammock in the front room for his son - best of all, the night before in the torrential storms, this family stayed warm and dry in his new home. I was just overcome with joy when I saw that glimpse of yellow peeking through the green leaves. This was the Body of Christ reaching out in love to the "least of these" and it was an awesome sight!
We then walked back down the hill, across the concrete bridge and wound our way back into the town of Los Anonos. Rows and rows of small homes made of tin and concrete packed in rows just beyond the river banks. In many areas the raging river had come perilously close to flooding their homes the night before. It is in this little neighborhood that the Weds night small group meets- they put 18 or so people in a room about the size of your bathroom at home and CHURCH breaks out! Fires were going, cooking rice and all manner of foods, chickens wandered the streets, music blared from houses while boys played pool or hung out on the streets - wild dogs roamed around, chasing the kids on the riverbank. Two little boys rolled their plastic car waaaaay too close to the river bank for this mama while two others shouted ' gringo!" and pointed our way. Everywhere we went, people waved, hugged, or flagged down Pastor Brian - this is his 4th trip to this little village and he has made a name for himself. He has invested his heart in this community and it is obvious. The "muchachos" - the young men who have been meeting in what looks an awful lot like revival to me - adore him and the feeling is mutual. By preaching the treasure of the Gospel faithfully and regularly into the lives of these boys, he has earned their respect. But enough about that - I'll already be banned from his blog for that last paragraph.
You know the biggest thing I saw today was this - people are messed up all over the world. Haiti, Uganda, Gahanna, Costa Rica - families are broken, people are scarred, drugs and alcohol steal lives, poverty is universal. BUT, God's people are there, praying, working, giving- offering a safe place, a warm home, a hot meal, a prayer, the truth of the Gospel, the reality of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit is alive and well in Los Anonos - He looks a lot like Rodney and Cindy who organize prayer meetings and Bible studies and host teams and spend every day tirelessly reaching out to this community in love. Like Luis, born and bred in this village and spending every day working with addicts and kids and spreading the Gospel all over Costa Rica. And the "Muchachos" - young boys - one whose dad just died, one who keeps falling back into drugs, one who feels rejected because he doesn't have the right clothes- who meet every week and vow to serve Jesus and reach out to their families and neighbors despite hard circumstances.
Enough of Saturday - headed to church on Sunday and then our meetings continue with the other 4 churches involved in the work here in Los Anonos. We have already been blessed to be in their company and learn from them and their passion for this humble town. More to come - we wish you were all here with us! Cindy