Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Another month has passed here at Harvest Hands. Lots has been happening. We have had two teams, one from the Portland Vineyard in Maine and the other from Mountain View church in Virginia. Projects included building a new house for Jacqueline behind Doña Francisca´s house, re-roofing Pipo´s house, hosting an Easter themed Vacation Bible school, teaching sewing classes using sewing machines, electrical work in precarious homes, and guitar lessons. The Portland team also gave Alejandro and Verania a much needed night out. They paid for a romantic dinner for the couple while they took their 6 kids out for a big treat: McDonald’s Happy Meals Of course, the most important work was the Kingdom work, which included praying with people for their daily needs, worshiping as a united family, and building friendships and fellowships that transcend time, county, and language.
Easter week, Semana Santa, is a much holiday here in Costa Rica.
It is considered a national holiday and many people get the entire week off, or at least Thursday and Friday. The Virginia team helped us celebrate with a full Seder meal hosted here at the house. Rodney and Cindy walked us through the same Passover meal that Jesus and his disciples would have had so many years ago. It was an incredible reminder of the real reason why we take communion. On Good Friday morning the team and about 17 people from the community hiked the mountain behind our house to the three crosses.
Although the original intent is to celebrate the Passover, the crucifixion, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, many people have perverted the holiday here by celebrating with drinking, partying, and carousing. Unlike in the United States where Christmas and Easter are two of the most attended church services of the year, here it is the least attended as people travel to visit relatives in the country or head to the beach for the long weekend. The Viña Anonos, however, was a stark contrast to the norm. We actually had the highest attended service yet, reaching about 100 people, including 45 children! The kids had to be divided into 2 groups to handle them all!!
This increase in attendance has been noted since the beginning of the year. It coincided with singing the Bethel song, “One Thing Remains” for several weeks in a row. Every week, the neighbor behind the church would cause a scene, yelling that the music was horrible, it was too loud, it was bothering the whole neighborhood, and that he was going to shut us down as an “illegal church”. He even threatened to have a petition signed by the community to stop us from hosting Sunday morning services.
His persecution actually backfired. The neighbors told him that they didn’t want us shut down, that the work we were doing was a blessing to the community, and that they wanted us to continue holding services. They even started attending! Whole families are attending and the next door neighbor, Vanessa, accepted Christ as her savior this week! God is so faithful!! The picture seen above is from our all-church picnic that we hosted the first week of April.