Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Missions within a mission
One of my favorite parts of my work here is mobilizing people to do missions work. I love seeing them activate their own gifts and talents and fulfill the great commission. Missionaries from the United States are not the only type that I'm talking about, either. We also also training and equipping Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans in becoming missionaries as well. Every year we go to Tipitapa, Nicaragua to work in an impoverished community. We take several gringos from the states and several Ticos from here. This has been the school of missions training. Teams also come from the states and work here in the community. They construct things, teach skills, play with children, and share their gifts and talents with a poor community. They teach how to do missions by working alongside the natives here. You have no idea the impact that has made over the years. The Ticos here are starting to mobilize themselves, now. They have seen missions modeled for 6 years. And now it's their turn.
Elidey (Eli), a local woman who works for us here at the house and is a part of our worship team at the Vineyard, came to us a few weeks ago with a mission in mind. She and several of her friends from a women's Bible study had gone out to the coastal province of Limon to do some visiting. She and her friends saw a hunger and need for a touch from the Lord. The virtually unreached village of Baltimore, Limon, Costa Rica had never had missionaries minister in the community. Eli come home and proposed a mini missions trip. So we got a group of 9 Ticos, 2 Gringas, and a Nica, packed a 15 passenger van with food, a guitar, games, and faith, and hit the road.
It was a very quick trip. We left Friday night and drove 2 and a half hours into the mountains, ministered all day Saturday, and drove back Sunday in time for the 10 o'clock church service. Here's the summary:
Limon is a province that butts up against the Caribbean. Where we were was at the edge of the province inland, about and hour from the beach. It is very desolate and we had to drive about 3 miles down a dirt road to get into the community. It is surrounded by banana plantations and avocados literally the size of small pumpkins.
There were not enough beds in the house, so the youth nominated to sleep in the van. At least there weren't as many mosquitoes in the van as in the house!!!!
Eli models a "small" avocado...imagine!!!
Our first order of business was going out and inviting the kids out for an activity in the plaza. The activity included face painting, a piñata, water balloons, and making bracelets. We also invited the women out for a Bible study in the afternoon and any one who wanted prayer could come to the house after lunch.
There was some interesting fruit along the was!! These long bean-shaped pods were hanging from the trees. Kevin climbed the tree to pick some for us. Inside were these fuzzy pods that covered a huge, jelly-bean sized seed. They were sweet and a texture that has no description.
At the start of the kids activity there were...no kids. Yup. None. So we painted each others faces in preparation of kids coming. The dudes had a blast. An hour af
The kids kept coming, and coming, and coming, and coming
until we had almost 50 kids filling the plaza!!!
We started with a water balloon toss...which quickly became a "chase the adults around and get the soaking wet" festival...which felt AMAZING in the 100 degree heat!!!
David taught the kids the gospel story through colored beads. Each child made several bracelets or necklaces to keep and to give away. Each child knew the meaning of each colored bead. What a neat way to share truth!!!
Of course the highlight of the trip was the piñata. We were told later that the community is so poor no one had ever been able to afford one before. Each child was given a turn to whack the box of confectioners delight!!!
This little kid couldn't wait to start grabbing candy :)
Of course the best way to make sure no one was injured (except the piñata) is to just have an adult start throwing the candy in all directions. Nanis volunteered :)
It was like a spring rain of sweets!!!
In the afternoon we split into two groups: the youth went with the youth of the community to swim in a nearby river and build friendships. The women stayed to pray for people in the community.
The last time Eli and her friends had been here, they prayed for an elderly woman who had leg problems, heart palpitations, and difficulty with balance and walking. She was bed ridden and the doctors told her there was nothing they could do. The women prayed for her. She actually WALKED to where we were staying and showed us how God had healed her!! She had gained weight and he normal coloring had returned. Praise the LORD!!!! WOO HOO!!!
It was amazing to see the team rally bond and work well together. Even though it was a fast trip, everyone said they would love to do it again. We all agreed that we want to go back and continue working in this community. This is what it's all about. Mobilizing people into spreading the gospel, encouraging the body of Christ, and sharing with the poor.