The past week has been very busy, and very fun! Mark and I spent the week hanging out with another Community of Faith team in Costa Rica. We spent several days in La Carpio hosting a free medical clinic for the neighborhood, and several days painting and finishing the fence at the children's home in Coronado. By the end of the week we were all exhausted and enjoyed a day at the Arenal Volcano before the group headed back to Houston.
One of the most rewarding things for me all week was to be able to talk with the people we treated in the clinic. Many of the mothers and children are friends that we have watched grow up and seen their families expand over the years. It is encouraging to see them and to know that they are doing well.
Two women in particular stood out for me and I have committed to pray for them daily until I see them again:
One mother, my same age, came to the clinic for the first time. She was obviously distressed by the expression on her face. Her symptoms were typical of someone who is experiencing anxiety and depression. We didn't have any medication to treat her symptoms, but I really wanted to be able to help her in some way. She asked me if her physical symptoms could be a result of the troubles she was going through in her life. I responded that could certainly be the case, and at that point she began to talk about her personal life. She poured her heart out to me, tears streaming down her face. She told me about her three sons who were convicted of drug dealing and sent to prison. She worries about them constantly and is unable to sleep. She told me about her 22 year old daughter who was diagnosed with AIDS and the fear she has that one day she will lose her. I listened to her and cried with her. I held her as we prayed together. She smiled, squeezed my hands, and thanked me. She told me to come find her when I come back. My heart bled as I watched her walk out of the clinic and I prayed that somehow God would use our encounter to encourage and strengthen her for the journey.
The second woman who stood out to me was an elderly woman who has lived in La Carpio for sixteen years. She was a beautiful, strong woman. In the course of our conversation I mentioned that she must have seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood over the past sixteen years. She looked directly at me and said, "Yes, I have seen a lot of changes, and they are all because of you." Her response surprised me. She went on to tell me how the work that we have done in La Carpio has changed everything. By caring for the people, providing a safe place for their children to play, providing the medical clinic, and not giving up on them, we have changed La Carpio. I was humbled by her response and full of joy to know that somehow God has used me and Community of Faith to make a difference in the life of these sweet people. That's what the Gospel is all about.
Here are a few pictures from the week:
Medical Team: Lindsay, Lisa, Claudia, Dr. Keller, me
Mono, Maykol, me, Roberto, and Freddy
Family time! Sarah, Sydneyann, Ashley, Callie, me
Fun with friends! Gretchen, Teri, me
Me and my sweetie!
The Arenal Volcano - amazing!
We are headed to a week of vacation at the beach at Manuel Antonio. I'm not sure if we'll have internet access or not. If you don't hear from me, just know that we are relaxing and celebrating God's goodness toward us over the past year and a half!
As they say in Costa Rica, "Pura Vida!"