Wow the Lord moved in big ways this week! Our team of 46 came in to San Jose late last Saturday night with a three hour delay that left Susie, Roberto, and I killing time by screaming worship in the car, freestyle rapping in front of the airport, and finally admitting delirium while watching UFC fights in the airport café. From the start, I was deeply impacted by the strong leadership of Christ Community Church. Kim, the youth pastor, maintains an incredible balance of energy, authority, and passion for Jesus. Each of the team leaders of this big group acted as genuine examples of what men and woman of God look like. The leaders placed prayer at the forefront of every single activity and there was an emphasis on spiritual disciplines; morning silence, Biblical devotions, group prayer, affirmations, one-on-one accountability, just to name a few.
Above all, I was most impressed by the spiritual maturity of each student. I’d like to take credit for spiritually leading the group throughout the week, but I can humbly admit that I think I took more out of this group then I gave. The group’s love for Christ was absolutely contagious and their servant hearts gave me hope in the youth of the body of Christ. As cliché as it may sound, I always thought of the line from Hosanna “I see a generation, rising up to take their place with selfless faith.” Every person was so eager to serve, from something as small as filling up your waterfall to making real friendships with those who they worked with in the community. I loved the eagerness of everyone who shot up their hands to pray or serve food and who constantly supported and encouraged all the interns.
My favorite part of the entire week was Tuesday morning when we woke up to a downpour of rain. We had expected this would happen eventually, I mean, we are in the Costa Rican rainforest. Initially, the team was bummed that we would have to wait for the rain to clear before we could start work. However, it didn’t take long to make the decision that we would spend the morning in devotion to the Lord. The team loves worship and their voices are strong and powerful, so as we began worship it was only a matter of time until the community began to slowly trickly into the church sanctuary to get a glimpse of the scene. Susie led us in singing with the community simultaneous Spanish and English, and after the second set of worship I had the incredible opportunity to share my testimony with the group and the community. It took a few minutes to adjust to having to share my testimony in both Spanish and English, but as I opened myself up and let my walls come down I experienced the complete fulfillment of the Lord. After letting every person in the room hear my story I felt extremely broken and vulnerable, reminded of my past and the all-powerful grace that I am so unworthy of but has covered my past regrets. As we continued to sing songs the Lord completely brought me to my knees to worship in complete surrender and awe of His Majesty. It’s rare that we are given four hours to spend in devotion with the Lord in worship, but I praise God for that rain that allowed us to do just that. It was a time that I know Roberto, Susie, and I all desperately needed- a revival in our hearts that reminded us of the beauty of our Lord and the true purpose of this summer: to share that beauty with others so that they may come to know it as well.
Before the week began, I had prayed desperately that the Lord would build a desire in me to build relationships rather than be so distracted with the work. My prayers were answered as I felt so eager to learn about those in our group and in the community. The Lord completely engulfed me as I somehow miraculously improved in my Spanish and was able to have in-depth conversations with the Bribri. It was so beautiful!
Of course, the week was not without its problems – for what is the point of life if we were not made to depend on God? Our struggles mainly occurred between Susie, Roberto, and I. It was tough this week especially, because for the majority of the week we all had to split up. We had four construction worksites: the church bathrooms, the sanctuary floors, a house demolition project, and a computer lab for the local high school. It was a struggle to keep the flow of communication as we all ran around like chickens trying to keep all the different worksites together. Roberto especially felt overwhelmed as the construction coordinator. I apologized to my team about the constant struggle to balance forming relationships and tasks- please pray for me as I grow in this!
Through it all, I praise the Lord that within my job I get to work with two other leaders who love Jesus and desire to do His will. We were all extremely broken by the end of the week. I had gotten sick earlier in the week and was drowned in tears and held/comforted by our cook, Sarah. Susie had a long week at kids club which ran long every single day. Roberto ran from one worksite to the next and stepped up as one of the students fainted from heat exhaustion. We began to snap at one another, and I even had to retreat into the mountains to just cry out to Jesus. Last night, we knew we had to sit down and talk. What followed was a night of beautiful reconciliation and complete brokenness. We went from fighting, to talking and listening, to crying, to holding and kissing each other desperately crying out to God to overcome our team. We ended the night running out to our car and driving down the bumpy roads of Bribri screaming out “We will run to you, we will run to you. Desperate for your truth, we return to You.” How powerful is the healing hand of Christ!
No words could describe how beautiful this week was. It was filled with experiences like climbing a mountain to chop down wood and killing a pig for dinner. Most of all, I was just so touched by each student, who shined their flashlights over their Bibles before bed and woke up in reverent silence before the Lord. They made a special impact in the community who took part in their evening affirmations, joined us for worship, and were touched by the deep love they offered. This is the body of Christ, and I am thankful that this week gave me the opportunity to get a real glimpse of the Kingdom.