Romans 11:36

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen."

Oct 21, 2009

Preachin' again

Forgot to mention it, but last week I preached my second "official" sermon in Spanish. I've done many impromptu messages or reflections, but this was only the second time that I've actually been the "featured" preacher, if you will.

It was in Puerto Viejo, same spot as my last preaching experience, at the church you see in the background of the picture above (I looked all over for a picture of just the church, and I just couldn't find one). It's one of my favorite churches in Costa Rica.

It was a Thursday night service and I spoke on the second half of John chapter 1, Jesus' invitation to the disciples to "Come and see" where he's staying. I spoke about the adventure that Jesus has in store for us, and how he's usually not one to provide details of that which will occur once you start following him, he just wants you to "come and see."

As the disciples found out, Jesus offered way more in that invitation than they could have ever imagined--and he offers us that same invitation today.

Oct 18, 2009

Kids Club, Los Guido

Yesterday, as is every Saturday, was Kids Club day in Los Guido, one of the poorest and most gang-ridden neighborhoods of San Jose. Every week two Methodist missionaries down here, Will and Ella Faircloth, run the Kids Club for approximately 50 kids, teaching them Bible lessons and giving them a place to hang out.

This week was special because we had 4 students from the Methodist School join us, students who don't normally see such poverty. One of them, Benjamin (pictured above), a 10th grader, feels called to be a pastor, and looked right at home among the little kiddos. It was such a joy to watch him interact with the kids, and for them to run up to me asking, "Is that boy in the red shirt a Tico?" "Yes, yes he is." And they'd run right back to him and keep on playing.

The lesson this time was about Jesus' promise that he will make us fishers of men. As you can see in the picture, the kids have little fishing poles with fish-people attached to them, and the Bible verse from Matthew 4:19.

Benjamin and the other students who joined us, the triplets from the Tatum family (who will be the first house parents at the Methodist Children's Home) came from a Bible Study that I've been hosting two times a week at the Methodist School. My dream is to see those kids grow into leaders for Christ, and to see His influence spread throughout the school. If only all of them could see the Kids Club and be touched as Benjamin was.

As we were leaving, Benjamin said, "So are we coming back next week?"

Monos Locos

Two weekends ago the Ticos (Costa Ricans) celebrated Columbus Day, giving everyone a 3-day weekend.

With 3 teachers from the Methodist School and two of Ray's other interns, I headed to the beach of Manuel Antonio, one of the favorite tourist spots in Costa Rica.

While beautiful, I was unsure as to why Manuel Antonio has become such a hot spot, because every beach in CR is just as beautiful--but maybe it's for the monkeys. The national park there, which is a small peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean, is home to all 4 types of Costa Rican monkey, the only place like that in the country. And they're everywhere.

Check out the monkey above, just chilling on a rope that was stretched between two trees. As I was taking this picture, I was having to dodge the branches, leaves, and fruit that were falling from the tree above me, due to the plethora of monkeys playing around up there. One monkey fell off a branch and nearly smacked another intern, Kim, and me on the head, before catching his balance on another branch.

The funnier moment of the weekend was when I was falling asleep on the beach, only to wake up to Kim screaming in surprise. As I opened my eyes, I saw a monkey running off and up a tree with a shining bag of pretzels in his hand. He was shortly accompanied by 3 friends of his, and they began making a ruckus as they vied for sole ownership of the stolen goods. Then the burly beach security guard came and broke up their fun. Boo.

Oct 5, 2009

The Party Has Arrived

Yesterday I went to church in Llano Grande, a small town halfway up a volcano. It's one of my favorite churches to visit, as the congregation there feels like a family away from home. They're marvelous.

So the pastor begins to preach and talks about how this Sunday is a celebration Sunday. Well, every Sunday is reason to celebrate he says, but today we're having a party. Today we're celebrating the party that is Holy Communion--partaking in the blood and body of Christ Jesus. He wanted us to know that we were to celebrate that which Christ has done for us, dying on the cross to forgive us of all of our sins. Of our imperfections. And now it's time to party.

After the sermon, everyone begins to line up in the only aisle of this 50-member church, getting ready to receive the cup and the bread. Quietly, background music begins to play from the speakers hanging precariously over the plastic chairs and wooden benches, the only affordable seats for a congregation in this community. The moment is serene, and I'm contemplating that which Christ has done for me. Then I look up.

And there, walking down the aisle, is one of the church members, probably in his late 40s, early 50s. He's carrying the cup in one hand, the bread in the other, and he's wearing navy slacks with a navy t-shirt, nicely tucked in. He's returning to his seat to pray and receive the blood and body of Jesus. And I can't help but crack a smile. Because written across his t-shirt is a rather simple message, in English:

"The Party Has Arrived"

How appropriate :-)