Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Psalm 37:23 (NLT)
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Do you really believe this? Do you believe in a God who DELIGHTS, ENJOYS, rejoices in, finds pleasure in
the nitty-gritty, daily,
sometimes ugly
of your life?
Zephaniah 3:17 says:
"The LORD your God is with you,
   the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
   but will rejoice over you with singing.”
"The LORD your God is in your midst,
         A victorious warrior
         He will exult over you with joy,
         He will be quiet in His love,
         He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."
Now THAT'S an AWESOME God!!!

Job 26: 7-14

7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
   he suspends the earth over nothing.
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
   yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9 He covers the face of the full moon,
   spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
   for a boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
   aghast at his rebuke.
12 By his power he churned up the sea;
   by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13 By his breath the skies became fair;    his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
   how faint the whisper we hear of him!
   Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.
 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.
 3 He will not let your foot slip—
   he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.
 5 The LORD watches over you—
   the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
   nor the moon by night.
 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
   he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
   both now and forevermore.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Changing the face of Anonos

The following pictures are in chronological order of the changes in Los Anonos. The first picture in the series was taken in June when I came to Costa Rica with my church on a mission trip. Then we had a fire in the beginning of October. After that came 2 floods with a landslide. The municipality came in and told people to leave. They are now tearing down the houses. The last picture I took this afternoon of how far they have come in taking down the house.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears

There are definitely some unusual creatures here in Costa Rica. Some times it's like living in a VERY interactive zoo... The following creatures definitely demonstrate the creativity of our God. Who else could have though up such unique and fascinating creations?

This spider lives right on the side of our house.

Imagine my surprise when one day I was showering and all I could see was this long black thing moving (I didn't have my glasses on and I could only see the shape...ick...

We find geko's on the walls. None of them work for Geico.

 Of course there were all kinds of interesting things at the beach.
 This little crabby guy liked Christina so much she found him on her pillow one night....

 Chuck came by looking for food from the kitchen. He was quite curious about what we were cooking.

Psalm 104:25
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.
All types of sea creatures wash up on shore. Christina ended up putting this little guy back in the water.

Meet Waldo. We called him Waldo, because every morning we would find Waldo some where in the ceiling. He would hang out and sleep all day, then leave around 6 or so for the night. He was sooo cute!!
 Sea slug...I think...

This lizard was HUGE!!!!

Psalm 148

 1 Praise the LORD.[a]
   Praise the LORD from the heavens;
   praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
   praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
   praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
   and you waters above the skies.
 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
   for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
   he issued a decree that will never pass away.
 7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
   you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
   stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
   fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
   small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
   you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
   old men and children.
 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
   for his name alone is exalted;
   his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,[b]
   the praise of all his faithful servants,
   of Israel, the people close to his heart.
   Praise the LORD.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The alleyway to the right of this house used to lead back to where we held
Bible studies at Adrian and Meylin's houses.

As much metal was taken as possible. It was either taken to new places to rebuild, or sold as scrap.

The road is completely washed away. 

Many people left their furniture where it stood.

Where did YOU sleep last night?!?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Changing Gears

Over a thousand people in the capital and along the Pacific coast were evacuated to shelters to escape the flooding last week. Officials would have declared a national state of emergency if the heavy rain storms that had been forecast would have continued any longer. At one point, President Laura Chinchilla solicited help from neighboring countries for emergency relief aid. Emergency workers were sent in to search for approximately 30 people who were declared missing in the shanty dwellings of the suburb of San Antonio de Escazu. Twenty ended up being found dead. The mudslide followed two days of heavy rains that also flooded a local river in the area, namely the one where the community we work with lives. According to Costa Rica's Meteorological Institute, the region received 6.3 inches (161 millimeters) of rain in only two hours Wednesday. Reports stated that rains also damaged a dam in Parrita, near the country's western coast. Engineers had trouble reaching the area because of road damage and bad weather. Because of the danger of continued flooding in the area, as well as the already shaky nature of the hill where many houses were tacked together, the municipality decided to evacuate the majority of the houses in the Quebrada.

There are approximately 3500 people in Anonos, which is divided into several smaller regions/neighborhoods. The Quebrada is the neighborhood along the river on the city of Escazu side of the river. The municipality moved some where between 300-500 people out of the Quebrada. But the people were not only evacuated, they were told they had a day to move all of their belongings out of their houses because they would be torn down. The area is no longer safe to live in. After the original decision to move people from the Quebrada, officials came in and marked houses which were to be torn down. Additional inspections showed further danger of mudslides in the neighborhood higher up the hill called the Mangoes. Houses were also marked up there to be torn down.

And so began the Exodus. I have never seen anything like it in my life. The people were bused back from the shelters to gather what they could. Some people were given storage areas, some weren't. Men, women, and children were frantically packing up whatever they could, whatever was salvageable and not water damaged. Then they were tearing off their rooves and even the boards of their walls. Good metal and boards were loaded onto their moving "trucks", too, to help build some where else. Metal that was old or rusty was sold to a scrap guy.

While I saw some laughter and comraderie among families, I have also never seen so much injustic in my life. People taking whatever metal they could find to sell to the scrap guy. People taking from each others houses. Men charging outrageous prices to move peoples things less than a mile. Greed was more rampant than the cockroaches in the floorboards. Even children realized the concept of selling scrap metal for money. I saw many children gathering sheets of roofing, tying them together, and carrying them off to sell. People who had refused to move to the shelters at the beginning of the week were also left off the lists to receive government assistance for rent. They still had to move out of their homes and into shelters (by police insistance), but they would not be eligible for assistance. Some of the things that were donated from well meaning people also turned my stomach. Dirty, stained, ripped clothing, useless knick nacks, and broken toys did not speak of giving out of love and compassion, but of laziness.

In spite of the injustice, I also saw the hand of God at work. People in horrible living conditions are being given a chance to find something better. Illegal immigrants are being provided with a way to finally get legal citizenship and not have to fear deportation. Churches opened their arms to take people in. The shelter in Pavas was awesome. We were free to come and go to visit our friends, to play games with the kids, and to hold our regular Bible studies. Other people from the Vineyard church gave generously, both of their wallets and of their time. Several people came to help pack up peoples belongings. Some came just to pray. I know God has a bigger plan for this community and I can't wait to see it unfold in the coming weeks.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

How to pray:
  • The people of Los Anonos will find new homes quickly.
  • That these people will get financial help from the government.
  • Justice will reign.
  • God will strengthen them during this hard time, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
  • That they will find peace in the midst of the storm.
  • God will protect those people who are working at tearing down their homes.
  • God will unify the people during this time.  Right now it is “every man for himself.”
  • God will show us the best way to help those people who are a part of our church here.
  • God will show us the best way to help others.
  • God will show us the next steps to building our new church.
The house on the left with the orange paint is where Adriana and her family used to live.

Tearing down walls...and rooves.

All of the sheets of metal were sold to the scrap guy.
They made up some one's roof.

Police stood by the whole day. They really didn't do much.

This was taken from the Mangoes looking down into the Quebrada.
The houses on the left now have no rooves. They are pretty much
completely gutted.
People continued to work on taking everything they could.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our House Creed

We’ve decided that teaching the Gospel without demonstrating the gospel in not enough. Good preaching, good doctrine, being good people is not enough.

We’ve decided that having a good church club is not enough. Good fellowship is not enough. And just being a member of that club is not enough.

We’ve decided that having good Bible studies is good, but not good enough. That just making it to heaven is not our goal, and that knowing about God without truly knowing and experiencing God is meaningless.

We’ve decided that having good programs is not enough; that change without transformation is intolerable. And that staying the same is not an option.

We’ve decided that gifting without character is futile.
We’ve decided that singing songs without worshiping is hollow and having meetings without God showing up is pointless.

We’ve decided that having faith without works is not enough and having works without love is not acceptable – that our function comes out of our relationship first with the Father and second with each other.

We’ve decided that reading about the book of Acts without living the book of Acts is unthinkable.

We’ve decided that confident faith is good…..bold faith is better.

We’ve decided that hearing about the Holy Spirit without experiencing Him….. is silly. That believing in His presence without seeing it manifested in signs and wonders……is hypocrisy. That believing in healing without seeing people healed……is absurd. And that believing in deliverance without people being delivered………is absolutely ridiculous.

We’ve decided to be Holy Spirit filled, Holy Spirit led, and Holy Spirit empowered – anything less doesn’t work for us.

We’ve decided to be the ones telling the stories of God’s power – not the ones hearing about them.

We’ve decided that living saved, but not supernatural is living below our privilege and short of what Christ
died for.

We’ve decided we’re a battleship not a cruise-ship! An Army not an audience! Special Forces not spectators! Missionaries not club members!

We’ve decided to value both pioneers and settlers – pioneers to expand our territory and settlers to build on those territories – but we are not people who take up space others have fought for without improving it … we are not squatters.

We’ve decided to be infectious instead of innocuous. Contagious instead of quarantined! Deadly instead of benign!

We’ve decided to be radical lovers and outrageous givers.
We’ve decided that we are a mission station not a museum.

We honor the past but we don’t live in it.
We live in the present with our eyes on the future.
We see past events – the successes and failures – as stepping stones not stop signs.
We pursue learning in order to be transformed, not learning in order to know.
We are people of engagement not observation.
We focus on what could be – not on what is or has been.
We are not limited to the four walls of this building – our influence is not restricted by location. Not even the nations are out of bounds.
We are more concerned about how many we send out into the world then how many we convince to come into the building. This building is meant to be filled and it will be – but it will NOT be the measure of who we are or the measure of our effectiveness.
We raise-up world changers, not tour guides. We train commandos, not committees.
We are a people of our destiny, not our history.
We’ve decided that it is better to fail while reaching for the impossible that God has planned for us than succeed in settling for less.
We’ve decided that nothing short of His Kingdom come and His will be done, in our world as it is in Heaven, will satisfy.
We’ve decided that we will not be satisfied until our world freaks out and cries out, “Those who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”

These are some of the decisions that define who we are as a community and how we live our lives.
These decisions are not destinations – but rather a journey – a journey along an ancient path – we’ve not found some new way – but rather rediscovered the path as old as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The same path followed by Moses, Joshua and Caleb – Paul, John and Peter.

The path followed by the first century church – a church that revolutionized the culture of the first century and beyond.

It’s a path that will impact the world we live in today. It’s a path of Bold Faith – believing that what God says is really true and acting on it.

It’s a path of Outrageous Generosity – giving our life away in order to demonstrate His Kingdom.

It’s a path of Radical Love – loving God with EVERYTHING in us and our neighbor as ourselves.
This is a path of liberty, freedom and healing.
On this path – you will find significance, purpose, and destiny.

It is a path less traveled however – it’s not a path only available to a select few – but to whosoever will … they may come.

It’s for people of EVERY nation, tribe and tongue – for those in any occupation or vocation.

No matter where you are in your journey – there’s room on this path for you.

 Decisions That Define Us, By Graham Cooke.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Before and After

June 2010

November 6, 2010

June 2010                                                          November 6, 2010

June 2010

Novemver 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The second flood

This used to be the pulperia, a place to buy basic food and supplies. It was a two story building that at the time was on it's side. They were tearing it down.

The river did not discriminate against what it took.

This is what is left of the road. It was pretty much washed away.

 There is a car in the garage on the left side of this picture. It will probably never leave the Quebrada. The road is completely gone.
 Pretty much this is all that's left of the road. Some people threw down scraps of whatever to cross on.

The kids we work with at the shelter.

October 29, 2010

November 6, 2010