We awoke bright and early Sunday morning with a full agenda. First, we traveled out to the sight where Ray, Lydia, and the Methodist Church is building a children’s home.
This is a project being supported by University. In response to overcrowded orphanages, Ray & Lydia are spearheading the construction of a campus where children will have their lives forever changed. Several years ago, the church was able to purchase seven acres just outside of San Jose. It is a stunning piece of property that is bordered by a river that cuts through the area. The first of several homes is now under construction. When completed, the campus will have a number of homes – each housing 10-12 orphaned children. Each home will have a permanent set of “house parents.” In addition, a large building will be constructed to serve as a rainy-day play place for the community. It is a huge undertaking that will take years to complete. When finished, children without hope and without a family will find opportunity beyond imagination.
On our scouting trip, Mark and I had visited the sight and taken in the vision. Together, we decided that we would use every opportunity we had to help support the construction. Thus, Sunday morning we filmed on the sight and are preparing a video to show everywhere we go this coming year. Mark and I get invitations all year long to lead worship and preach. Part of our “yes” this year will include the opportunity to show the video and take a love offering to support the children’s home in Costa Rica.
We finished filming and drove on to Puerta Viejo which is a couple of hours outside San Jose. We attended the Methodist Church there and thoroughly enjoyed worship. We met on an open air slab covered by a tin roof. Just across from us a permanent church building is being built. It will include a sanctuary, office for the pastor, free clinic, and an apartment for a missionary nurse from the states who will run the clinic.
As it happened, it was “Missionary Sunday” at the church. Pastor Fernando preaching one of the best sermons on outreach I have ever heard. I was seriously impressed and hope that someday I can invite him to University to share the message. More impressive than his sermon though, was the work of his church. Though they are meeting under a tin roof with an incomplete church building, this little congregation had already planted two others. Representatives from both churches planted in the last two years were there to report on their progress. As if that weren’t enough, Pastor Fernando then told the congregation that they would now start making plans to support a church plant in neighboring Nicaragua.
I was humbled by the entire experience. I was in the midst of a people who out of their poverty were planting churches and reaching beyond themselves while work on their own church slowly progressed.
After church, we had lunch in town and then took off for a little fun. The whole team zip-lined from tree top to tree top. It was an exhilarating experience that we all greatly enjoyed. The final zip line took us across a big river. Wow.
That night, we closed out our time together with some sharing and final worship. We sat around a little circle and shared, 1) what we learned about someone else on the team; 2) what we learned about ourselves; and 3) what we learned about worship that would enrich our community life back home at University.
All told, it was an incredible time of learning for us all. We slept well that night and in the morning the team headed for home.