Monday, March 8, 2010

As I spoke with my Dad over Skype last week, he asked me if I was writing down any record of all the adventures and exciting things that I had been communicating to him every week. I told him I had a blog… his response? “Yeah, but that’s pretty formal…” Ha! I’m not a formal kind of person. I’d prefer for my writing to reflect who I am, and so my hope for this blog is that it would be a more intimate and personal reflection of what God is doing in my life and all the adventures He has taken me on since arriving in Costa Rica 2 months ago. Perhaps my previous entries have been a little more like mini-devotions or philosophical rants or obligatory reports of what’s been going on here. That shouldn’t be the point. I hope that my passion is communicated through these posts… that my heart for missions and the people here would be understood. I also hope to have a record of all the little ways in which God has shown me His beauty, humor and loving nature during this time!

That being said… last week was awesome blossom, extra awesome J A guy named Mati from Samoa works in Brazil with street kids. He’s the YWAM base leader there, and came to hang out with us for the week and share about working with street children. His dedication to serving street children and wisdom in working in tough situations was incredibly inspiring. The police in Brazil are known to be corrupt as well as highly violent and intolerant of street kids. At one point, Mati was arrested on false charges, severely beaten by the police of Brazil, and narrowly escaped being killed by the very authority that were supposed to enforce order and justice. After that experience, many asked him if he would be returning home. But Mati stayed in Brazil and has been there for over 20 years, faithfully serving God by loving, mentoring, housing, educating and serving the street children in Recife, Brazil. His story really affected me. For the most part, it is easy for me to be overseas… in Costa Rica, I feel pretty safe. I know not to walk alone after dark and to always be aware of my surroundings, but I have never had any problems in my time abroad. However… if I had been living and serving a community, and then endured horrendous physical, emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of the local authority, I don’t know how much longer I would stay there. I’m afraid that my fear of man might take over or that I would be so bitter about the injustice I endured to continue on in that place. But Mati’s call to Brazil and confidence in God’s power and overriding justice sustained him and he continued to serve street children of Brazil with love and dedication. That faith is so admirable and inspiring to me.

I’m only going to be living in San Jose for four more weeks… I can’t believe how fast time has flown! I am just now becoming truly familiar and comfortable in this place where I live. I am on a first-name basis with the women across the street who sell an assortment of fried treats and candy… I’ll attribute that to my conversational efforts and relationship skills, not the amount of empanadas and lollipops I’ve bought in the last 2 months J The woman that I met on the bus, Amparito, is becoming more and more of my Costa Rican mother here. With smoothies and cookies, my broken Spanish and a lot of laughs, our relationship is really growing. I wish I could pack her up and bring her home with me! It is such a blessing to have met a stranger on the bus, have her welcome me into her home, and then have her take care of me during my time here. She is hilariously adamant about me learning Spanish, and I don’t mind the help! I’m finally figuring out my way around downtown, and love going there to meet people. I could see myself living in this area for a much longer time, yet I will be moving on in just four weeks. I hope I can get permanently established doing ministry someplace in the near future… short-term relationships and frequent change just aren’t my preference.

Speaking of which… I have to say good-bye to all the children in Santa Ana soon! Every week during the children’s program we run, I develop more and more love and affection for the kids there. We are all learning each others’ names and getting to know each other better. The only sad part is that in just four weeks I will no longer be working with them. I have mixed feelings on coming into the lives of children for such short amounts of time – on the one hand, I am getting good experience working with kids and love meeting new little ones as often as I can. But on the other hand, I don’t know how healthy it is for children to begin forming relationships with mentors and then suddenly have that relationship broken off and discontinued. I’ve loved my time in Santa Ana; I just wish it was lasting longer, and that the kids could have more consistency in the relationships we form with them.

Shooting in Dallas, TX Office Building

A gunman entered an office building in Texas this morning and killed himself after shooting the owners of Smith Financial Group - a father and son. Authorities believe he was targeting these two men. Please be praying for the victims' families, as they lost two loved ones in this tragedy. Pray for the members of the office, who witnessed a horrendous crime and will have to cope with all that they saw and will now have to deal with at work. Keep the gunman's family in your prayers - that they would be able to cope and heal from the loss of their loved one, as well as work out the implications of his actions in their community and relationships with the victims' families. This is a real tragedy, and one that will take a lot of time and prayer to begin to heal from.

The MST Project

I was pretty excited to learn a little about this project going on in the Red Light District of Thailand and some other locations... the MST (Male Sex Tourism) Project aims to minister to the men who visit the Red Light District. They believe that God wants to reach and restore all people, and so they reach out to the men there through conversations about why they're there and touch on topics of faith and such... it seems like a really cool organization that is ministering to the often forgotten side of sex tourism. I pray they reach people and can change the hearts of the men they encounter!

Kiva - Loans that Save Lives

Kiva is an incredibly innovative organization that networks people around the world to unite lenders with entrepreneurs to help alleviate global poverty. The concept is that a lender loans a small investment to an entrepreneur who has the ability and willpower, but lacks the resources or finances to get his business off the ground. As the business generates money, the loan is re-paid, and a relationship is formed - facilitating global support, encouragement and generosity to better the world. REALLY awesome.