Wow! The past five days have gone by in a blur, and I am finding it hard to put into words...
Last Thursday afternoon, Mark, Ashley, Callie, and I left San Jose and headed to camp with 60 kids from La Carpio and 11 kids from the children's home in Coronado. The camp is set in the mountains about two hours outside of the city. It is an absolutely gorgeous place; and an amazing place for the kids to be able to escape. They all had a great time being kids while at the same time learning about the love of Christ. The beds were horribly uncomfortable, there were drenching rain storms every day, and we ate rice and beans, literally, for every single meal for four days - but none of us would have missed it for the world! As I sat in the chapel Saturday night, singing praises in Spanish with my sweet Costa Rican kids, I was overwhelmed, again, with gratitude and love for my God. Thank you for letting me have some small part of their lives!
The internet is too slow for me to upload pictures here, but you can see a few on my Facebook page, as well as on our missionary, Steve's, blog at www.lalodelacarpio.blogspot.com.
Another incredible moment happened last week. Ashley and I went to go watch one of the La Carpio soccer teams play in a tournament (which they won!). The tournament took place on the soccer fields of an organization known as Christ for the City. As we were there, we met several of the people who work there. One woman's eyes opened in surprise as Steve introduced me to her. She broke into a huge smile and exclaimed, "I read your blog! I've been praying for you! I feel like I know you!" My heart was so full of wonder as I was reminded of how God put together an amazing worldwide team of people who have prayed for me and my healing on a regular basis for over a year. It was such an honor and a pleasure to meet one of these sweet friends face-to face and to be able to thank her for loving me through prayer. I am so humbled to be the recipient of so much love! Thank you!
Sunday night a small team of people from Community of Faith arrived in San Jose to join in our work in La Carpio and in Coronado. Today, we spent the day in La Carpio strengthening friendships, making new friends, and hanging out with the kids. We spent time praying with them and praying for them; as well as praying for our missionaries here. We also celebrated the birthdays of two of the young men who we've been able to watch grow up over the last several years, Maykol and Manuelito.
I haven't been to La Carpio in two years. Changes and improvements in the community are evident. Progress is being made. But the most amazing changes have taken place in the lives of the children who live there. Many times today I was brought to tears as I saw glimpses of what God is doing here - young men and women with a heart to serve others, faces bright with hope and confidence, families growing and persevering in the face of difficult circumstances. God is at work in La Carpio.
And again, I was overwhelmed with the kindness and love of the people. They have prayed for me over the past year, and they were happy to see me. I got so many smiles and hugs today, and many asking me how I am doing now. I even got an hour long neck and shoulder massage at the hands of two of the kids! It was such a sweet expression of love to me and it left me almost speechless - to know that God would love me this much! I have seen the face of Jesus today and I have experienced his love through some of the most beautiful children in the world! Thank you, God, for one more chance to hang out in La Carpio!
For a quick glimpse of our day in La Carpio check out Ellen Olive's blog at http://oliveourmoments.com.
"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Romans 9:16-17