By Lanaya Silva
We are here!!! It is so exciting to finally be here in Costa Rica. We have all been planning and praying for so long. We left the church about 8 PM on Monday night. Once at LAX, we got all checked in and boarded the plane about midnight. The flight was easy and most of us were lucky enough to get some sleep. We had a layover in Guatemala, but we didn't actually get off the plane. Going through immigration and customs was easy and we were quickly lined up in our single file line ready to board the bus. Mark, one of the missionaries we are working with, and two of his daughters were eagerly waiting for us as we exited the airport. After a few moments, Cory, our faithful bus driver, pulled up. We loaded our luggage and headed to the mission house.
Meg, Mark's wife, had lunch prepared for us when we got to the mission house. This was very exciting since most of us were ready for non -airplane food. We had a brief orientation with Mark about our trip and we were able to rest for about an hour. The plan for the afternoon was to shop for the food bags that we will be handing out in Sector 7 later this week. So, we loaded the bus and headed to Hiper Mas. This is basically the Walmart of Costa Rica. The shopping trip was quick and easy. We purchased some basic food supplies: rice, beans, salt, sugar, spaghetti, cooking oil, and sauce. These few ingredients will feed a family for a week. As we began preparing the food bags, I was overwhelmed. I saw us complete just bag after bag, and I was overwhelmed with God's goodness and providence. I was overwhelmed with the diligence of many of YOU, who supported these food bags with your donations. I was overwhelmed with the thoughts of all the many ways God is going to use these food bags in the lives of the people of Sector 7. So, THANK YOU. Thank you for being such an important part of the ministry that the Lord is doing here.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner cooked by Meg, followed by a time of devotion with Mark. I wanted to share with you a few of the things Mark shared with us, as well as, some of the challenges he gave us. He shared with us two verses from Titus. The first verse was Titus 1:16: They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing good.
Mark used these verses to encourage and challenge us. He shared with our group that we are an incredible example and witness to the Gospel by the work we do while here in Costa Rica. He shared that God has used the ministry and resources we bring in mighty ways. He also turned this into a challenge that we be living this same way at home. That it is not just here on our mission trip that our actions show that we know God. That we live every day in a way that shows our knowledge of God.
Mark also gave us the challenge of pointing the student leadership team to Christ. These kids anticipate our visit every year. Many of us returners have formed special friendships with these kids. Tomorrow at lunchtime, we will get to meet up with them for the first time during this trip. Mark shared that they have already been asking how early they can show up to wait for us to arrive for lunch. This just shows a small glimpse of their excitement. While it is wonderful that this team looks up to us so much, it is important that as they look to us...we point them to Christ.
As I write this, the night is winding down for us. We are quite exhausted yet eagerly anticipating an exciting first day out in the mission field. Some of us are preparing for bed (which is next on my list of things to do) and some are spending time together playing games.
I wanted to leave you with a few specific prayer requests for tomorrow:
*Pray that God will give the team good rest tonight, as well as, strength and energy for the days ahead.
*Pray for the families who will be receiving hygiene bags that we packed tonight. Pray that God will use this small gift as a way to share the Gospel.
*Pray for our first day of VBS. Pray that God will be seen through us and that the Gospel will be heard and received.
I want to leave you with the second verse he shared with us from Titus 3:16: Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.
I pray this for our team-for the next 10 days, as well as when we return home: that we devote ourselves to doing good and providing for daily needs in order that we don't live unproductive lives.