Saturday morning we rose early in the morning and after a quick breakfast set out for a dormant volcano. It was our first time leaving the city of San Jose. We didn’t have to go far outside the city to become surrounded by some of God’s most stunning handiwork. We climbed into the mountains until we topped the clouds. Looking down into the valleys shrouded by the low hanging clouds quieted us all.
We arrived on the top of the volcano excited to see what we could. I think we all paused a bit when Javier (our driver) backed into a parking space and explained why. Everyone is expected to back in to their spot . . . just in case. Yes, just in case the volcano begins to erupt. We were all so cold by that point that we reasoned that if it did go off, at least we would warm up a bit!
It was an incredible walk out to the crater. The clouds moved in all around us. You could barely see ten feet in any direction. Occasional clear patches would drift by and we would catch a glimpse of a barren lava field. We arrived at the rim of the crater and almost on cue the clouds gave way and we peered deep inside the mountain into a crystal blue pool. It was tranquil and stunning. Of course, the pool was a lie – hiding the fiery chaos underneath.
We retuned from the mountaintop into the city to see Costa Rica flags flying everywhere. The national team was playing Mexico in San Jose that night.
We led worship for a final time that night. The collective youth groups of San Jose had been invited for a worship celebration. We were led musically by two different local youth praise teams and our own team. Songs were sung in English, Spanish, and sometimes both at once. We danced before the Lord until sweat poured from us all.
My sermon that night was, “Stand Up.” Through Ray who interpreted for me that night, I exhorted the young people to stand up for Christ. I commissioned them to take the authority God had given them to build his Church and bring about a great spiritual awakening in their country. I concluded by inviting all the pastors to come down and pray with kids who were ready to lead. Again, hundreds came for prayer and renewal.
After the service, we joined with a team recently arrived from Alabama to watch both the soccer match – and the Alabama football game. Our team was wiped out and didn’t make it through the whole match, instead retiring to the seminary for the night.