Wednesday, January 16, 2008

La Carpio - Sanctuary For A Lost Generation

La Carpio (the Grandaddy of the Barrios) can be many things to many people. To the "Ticos" (Costa Ricans) it is a dangerous and forbidden place. It is separated from the Ticos by one road that leads to a quarry. The road is narrow, there are buses, autos, bicycles and pedestrians all trying to squeeze into the lane littered with burning trash piles, garbage and unnamed things. You are certain where the dividing line is between "the haves" and the "have nots"

It is also a place where the "Nicas" (Nicaraguans) scratch out a meager existence and just try to survive to the next day. Where the day brings hunger and the night, danger. There are almost 40,000 Nicas living on a patch of ground that is basically a garbage dump. The "streets" are barely passable, and children and animals are everywhere.

But in the middle of the chaos, there is a small rectangle of hope in the form of a Community Center. Here the lucky few have a safe place to play, learn and worship. It is still a place that is unfinished but progress is evident. To some it looks like a place to play soccer but, if you look closer into the faces of the children, it is a place where the Lord protects and nourishes his children.

It is a place where the children received medical care. It is a place where they learned the story of a loving Saviour. It is a place where there is hope to break the shackles of their existence.

The kids had a blast as they sang, busted the pinata, and listened to stories of the Bible.
One of the highlights was Ramon telling the story of Noah. As they listened to the story, some children had to pretend to be certain animals and the rest of the children had to guess what the animal was. It was hilarious to watch them make sounds and guess!

Dr Rita and the Team were amazing! Even on the last day, everyone maintained the highest attention to the children and making sure every person recieved the same amount of care and concern as the first one. We are soooooo blessed to be here.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

We are here!

We arrived safely yesterday. We made it through customs great! After checking into the hotel we traveled to La Carpio and prayer walked. Those of us that were courageous made the trek across the bridge over the river. The community center has changed alot and looks great!

Today we finished our first day of ministry. The clinic and the bible study went well. We fed 100 kids. I was reading the Bible this morning and found the memory verse for today.

"A wicked messenger falls into adversity, but a faithful envoy brings healing." Proverbs 13:17


The Clinic saw over 90 children and adults. It was encouraging to see hope in the eyes of those we were serving! Lalo (Steve) has done a tremendous job of advancing the Lord's presence here. We were truly blessed! Tomorrow, we expect to see twice the amount. The Clinic team is truly amazing.

David S

It's quite incredible the diverse talents that God brings together to be his hands and hearts for a mission trip. This is my first mission trip and I am blessed by the heart, generosity, and love that God has brought to bear on the people of this small town in the middle of Central America in middle of January, 2008. It's always His time and place. There is great comfort in knowing that when you are with people who want to do God's bidding, Satan cannot bring words, or feelings, or situations that can't be turned to understand there is great joy in serving our Lord. My goodness, what knowledge, what surety, that provides!

I watched Dr. Rita, as her small, nimble and gentle hands, guided by a strong God-given intellect, diagnose the well and the sick. I couldn't help but think that our job here is to show that healing has as much to do with knowing that your loved. Knowing that your loved is the surety that Christians have, that we can count on. Even if you don't speak the same language, the language of caring, of love, is felt through our hands and through our eyes, as we reach out to make a connection. Whether or not its Dr. Rita's hands, or one of our's on the shoulder of a young child caring for her siblings, in the crook of an arm of an old woman who managed the hill outside the clinic, or a hand to the community, as Lalo, our resident missionary, extends to those he loves here. Love comes through as a bearded, tall gringo cavorts and hands out Bible messages from his pockets to children who circle him. Christ's perfect love comes through as a young Latin American doctor, who is aiding our mission, tends to every patient with what can only be described as a heart that knows of gentle Grace.

So just like everything God does, there are way more blessing here than what we might have thought we would be delivering in our mission. It's my heart that was blessed last night as I thought about no matter the human condition, God's creation thrives when He is acknowledged.