Day 13 & 14 - !Pura Vida ... See You Next Summer Costa Rica!
I have a serious problem... I think I left my heart in Costa Rica...
If you keep on reading this post... all the mushy reflection stuff is at the bottom...
The last two days, although very relaxing, was bittersweet. The team drove 1.5 hours to Jaco, a huge tourist city known for it's beautiful beaches and narly waves. We went zip-lining in the morning of day 13. It was my first time going zip-lining, so you could just imagine how excited I was to realize that the lines expanded throughout the forest. We rode in the back of a truck to reach the first line. There were seven different lines, with the first five being connected and the last two connected. The last line was my favorite, since it was the highest up and longest (the line lasted for over a minute)!
On our way to the zip lining base, we passed by some crocodiles...
After zip-lining, we ate lunch at a restaurant nearby. Brandon described his lunch as "the best fried fish I've ever had." What made it even more memorable was that our bus driver asked to borrow a machete just so he can chop down some coconuts! Amazing.
After lunch, we checked into our hotel and headed for the beach. Conveniently, all that separated our hotel and the beach was a gate! We heard thunder and saw lightning in the distance... but that did not stop us from going into the water. The view was amazing and the water was a lot warmer than San Diego's, but the sand wasn't as nice. The perfect beach would be a combination of Costa Rica's water and San Diego's sand :).
Because there is no guanabana in the states... I decided to maximize my guanabana intake before leaving Costa Rica... went into a food coma shortly after.
The six hour flight back to San Diego gave me a chance to reflect on these two weeks...
1. To the kids in Tirrases: I've never seen so much energy in one room before! Although it was hard getting your attention and communicating at times, I felt that the Holy Spirit was really present in all of you. From singing songs at the top of your lungs to making beautiful crafts and finishing your worksheets, I pray that you all will never forget who it is that you sing about, and how important putting on the armor of God daily really is. I hope to see you next year... until then, I pray that you all will continue to trust God with your lives. Stay in school, do not fall into the drug trade, and remember that no matter what obstacles life may bring, God is bigger.
2. To the people in Pavas: Meeting each and every one of you in Pavas has been a huge blessing from God... and one of my best highlights of this trip. You are my familia from God. To be honest, I was really sad to leave Tirrases in the beginning. I've built really good relationships with the kids and moms, and it was sad to think about how I could not spend one more week with them. However, God had big plans for us in Pavas, and even bigger plans for you all in Pavas. I know that each of you had a rough start in life, and with all the bad influences around your community, it is very easy to fall into that life again. I pray that you will look ahead towards good and not turn back towards bad. I pray that you will seek to learn more about the Lord daily, even if we are not there to teach you. I pray that we will keep in touch and see each other again soon.
3. To Melissa: You are one of the biggest role models in my life. Throughout this trip, I saw how you adjusted yourself to fit the role of what this team needed - a support. Although you were the oldest (sorry), you gave other people the opportunity to take leadership and implement their ideas. I really appreciated the time you came up to talk to me on the roof, when I was painting myself. Even though you were scared of heights, you still came up. Sorry about getting paint on your new shorts though... I cannot wait to lead outreach this year with your help!
4. To Gabriel D. : I'm not going to say thank you for being our translator... because to all of us, you and Nathan were more than that. It made me really sad to hear you say "I'm just the translator" when I asked you to share your testimony with the kids at the elementary school. I think that it is awesome being able to grow up with parents who are missionaries, and how you were practically a missionary since birth! You are SO GOOD at what you do as an urban missionary! I wish I grew up with a childhood like that, but my parents are not yet Christians, so continue to pray for them. I hope that we didn't make you feel like you were just a "tool"... and I hope no groups will ever make you feel like that either! Thanks for giving me the courage to lead worship, it meant a lot. We were also all very happy to see you at the airport! Thanks for being awesome.
5. To Costa Rica: Please be ready for me next year again. Although I am still not use to the fact that I cannot flush toilet paper down, I still want to come back. I never thought I'd say this... but long term missions is not completely out of the picture.
This is my last blog post for Costa Rica. Thank you to all who have been following my two weeks in Costa Rica. Thank you for all your support and prayers. I hope my grammar wasn't too bad ;)
In his Love,