Tuesday, July 3, 2012

From Mark

Wow!  What another amazing day.  It truly is a blessing to be here and enjoy the cultural exchange and get to know the people of Costa Rica.  This morning we worked on mixing sand, stones and cement to make a floor.  Much like yesterday, it was a lot of hard work, but our group has had such a positive spirit, and we all agree, it has been a great experience.
I'm so proud of our church people as well as the interns from Texas and Florida.  We have such a feeling of accomplishment with what we're doing here.  Also, the locals we are working with have been some of the most genuinely nice people I've met.  I thank God for the privilege of meeting and working with them.
God really is working in the lives of our people.  It's amazing how many of our group have said they wish they could live here.  Just another testimony that what most of us know is that what's most important in life are to love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself.  All the other stuff that we have doesn't really matter.
This afternoon we went to the men's rehab center.  It is what it sounds like.  There are several men living there who have had trouble with addiction, and have had shattered lives.  But thanks be to God that these men have found Christ with the support of the local church in Guayabo.  They were all so happy to see us and talk with us.  They shared their testimonies so openly it was truly impactful to us.  I saw a few wet eyes as they spoke to us through our translators.  They had so much good to say about how God has rescued them from their addictions and now have faith in Him, as well as hope for restored lives.
We played soccer with them after meeting at the house.  So many of us were so tired after two days of hard work that we honestly are not used to.  We played because we knew God would want us to.  It was such a good time.  It was amazing how God gave us strength to play and have such a good time of fellowship with them doing something that means so much to them.
Then we had a pizza supper at their church, which was delicious.  As we ate we had a great time of fellowship.  I think we can all say that we met new friends that we will likely never forget.  I know one particular man will be in my prayers for years to come.
I'm thankful for so many of our team members as we have all become even closer than we were before.  We have such a close, caring and loving church.  I'm glad Nick was able to bring his guitar as we have enjoyed music almost like we were at home in our own church.  I'm proud of our youth too.  Several times a day I fight back tears at things they've said and done.  We are truly blessed.
The church here at La Fortuna has been so welcoming as well, their services have been a blessing too.  I could talk all night, but I'll close with one more thing, and I think I speak for the others when I say this.  I miss my family very much.  From the first night here, my most frequent thought is that I wish they were here with me.  I think that's probably the only thing that could make this experience any better.