Today, our main focus was finishing the work projects that we started yesterday. We needed to finish digging the trench, lay foundation inside of it for a wall, and finish the sidewalk on the side of the feeding and tutoring center.
Overnight, the trench that we had begun digging the day before had filled up with water from the rain, and from sewage drainage. This proved to be a major setback. Since we had not finished the trench the day before, it wasn't draining, which meant that we had an extra two feet of water to deal with, literally on top of the now completely saturated soil.
We had a long, arduous day ahead of us, but we jumped right into the action and got to work. Back in the trench, as we tried to start draining the water, things didn't go so smoothly at first. We all had different ideas on how to handle the situation, and we weren't making much progress. However, after a few minutes, and talking to one of the team leaders to clarify what we should be doing, we all got on the same page, and started making real headway.
In the mean time, the other team set out mixing cement, and continued working efficiently on the area where we would be putting the sidewalk in.
After taking a break for lunch, the trench still needed more draining, and the sidewalk was ready to be laid down. Most of the team fired up their cement mixing skills. These skills continued to be used for the rest of the day, as we finished the sidewalk. And as far as the trench goes, we may not have been able to lay the cement foundation that we were hoping to, but we were able to get it draining properly, and also able to fill the trench with the large rocks that will serve as a foundation for the wall. This was in no small part due to the help of the Costa Rican kids who worked alongside us tirelessly, singing, laughing, and having good time making fun of us Gringos.
One of the phenomenal things about both the team, and the kids from Costa Rica, was that there was not a frown to be found on anyone's face. You could go absolutely anywhere, and you would hear someone cracking jokes, or the team singing, which was absolutely crazy. God must have been fueling us today, because there is simply no other explanation we can give for our team to be working as incredibly hard as we were despite people being dead tired, various kinds of sick, or having cuts, scrapes, bruises, and blisters.
After this exhausting day of work, we came home to the mission house to a piping hot meal ready and waiting for us. After dinner and showers we sat down with Mark, the main missionary we work with here in Costa Rica, for devotions and debrief.
Mark asked us to define compassion. A few different people defined it as empathy or something along those lines. We wanted to ask you, what you think compassion is. Is it simply feeling the pain of those suffering around you? Is it feeling bad for those people? Is it wanting to help those people? Let us know what you think.
Mark's answer went back to Christ Himself. In Matthew 14:14 (NKJV), "when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick."
Mark began thanking us for our hard work, and pointed out that this was compassion. Seeing people's needs and sufferings and jumping in to help instead of standing afar, pitying them. The people here in Costa Rica don't want our pity, they want our presence to be spent loving them by bringing our work clothes. They see us picking up our shovels, digging in the sewage, and getting up to our ears in cement. In these things they find our true compassion. We are not here to feel empathy for them. We are not here to feel their pain. However, if you ask us if we have compassion for them, this will be our answer:
Our compassion is evident by the blisters on our hands, by our sewage and mud splattered jeans, and by our cement caked shoes.
It's evident by the imprints left on our hearts by these young children. We see that these kids have been so blessed by God and we find ourselves wanting what they have. We begin to notice that it is these things that are most important, not temporal worldly possessions. What's more is that these kids selflessly work alongside us, singing and joking the entire time, showing their compassion for their dear gringo amigos.
It is impossible to fully describe to you how amazing it is to come thousands of miles to help these people living in these cramped, meager conditions; and yet be taught so many lessons about faith, about hope, and about love.
Tomorrow, after two long days of work, we leave for our fun day at the beach....speaking of which, I think we need to wake up in a few hours for that. So we're done!
How late IS IT?
Que hora es?