Extreme Love – Costa Rica Mission Trip

joyce and butterfly

I finished my journal for our mission trip to Costa Rica. It is online as a flip book. I hope you enjoy!!

Click Here: http://www.flipsnack.com/E9D77986AED/f7pm4nnu

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Day 7 – Costa Rica Journal – Heading Home

Day 7 - 1Monday morning was time to pack up and head home, always a bittersweet moment. Of course we want to go home to our families, but we have found a new family here and we are sad to say good-bye.

day 7 - 2Selene and Serene came to see us off and we spent some time in prayer with her. Such a special friend with such a heart for the Lord and such great love for us!

day 7 - 4Michelle and Sarah were two of our translators and they would be greatly missed by us. Michelle lives in Puntarenas, Sarah in Honduras. Separate worlds from us, yet we know we will be with them again, and that our hearts are connected forever!

day 7 - 3Hannia and Maria were our cooks for the week. They took such good care of us, cooking us such wonderful meals. Always there by the crack of dawn and staying till all were fed at night. I had a lot of trouble with my stomach, and Hannia brought special herbs and made me a tea that kept me going when I wasn’t feeling so well.

day 7 - 5Good-byes are never easy. We had really connected with our new friends and with each other and it was difficult to say good-bye. A lot of love had been shared this week and love always connects hearts. And when hearts are separated, it hurts.

day 7 - 7We all piled into the bus and headed to the airport. A lot of reflection was going on as we pulled away from Casa San Francisco, our home away from home the past week. Everyone was lost in their own thoughts. I can’t profess to know the thoughts of the other team members, but my mind was reliving the week I had just experienced and thanking God for allowing me to be a part of such an awesome adventure. To be able to bring His extreme love to the people of Puntarenas and Miramar, Costa Rica had most certainly been an awesome privilege!

day 7 - 9More good-byes at the airport. The beginning of the trip with all the welcomes and greetings and connections, the ending of the trip with hugs and tears. Interesting … but the nature of the journey. It hurts to leave people you love.

day 7 - 10Navigating through the airport at San Jose was no issue. We paid our exit fees, checked our luggage, passed through customs and found our gate with no hiccups. We watched a man roll cigars in the airport and another painting a beautiful picture.

day 7 13We landed in Miami and made our way through customs. As we entered the airport, we came across this sign that shared our focus for the week, All You Need Is Love.

Thank You JESUS!

Day Six – Costa Rica Journal – Babies and Birthdays

Day 6 - 1On Sunday morning, we had breakfast and then headed off to Pastor Octavia’s church for Sunday service. We were going to be guests this morning and everyone was ready for a little break, I believe. Serving the Lord on these mission trips is awesome, but it is not for the weak at heart or body.

Day 6 - 2Selene and Serene met us at the church, it was Serene’s dedication day and we were all excited to be a part of such a special event. The kids at the church were also putting on a special dance presentation for us and we were eager to spend the morning with our special friends. It will never cease to amaze me, the special connection of love we felt with our friends here. We loved them and they loved us. Even though we could not communicate through words with most of them, God’s language of love is universal.

day 6-4We so enjoyed the spirit of the kids during the dance time. They did two numbers for us and none of us had a dry eye when they finished. The depth of God’s love they were able to express during their worship was overwhelming to us. So very special and such a blessing to each one of us.

After church, we headed off to purchase souvenirs. We didn’t have the opportunity to do any shopping during the week, and we enjoyed seeing the local crafts. T-shirts and handcrafted jewelry are always a hit when we head home!

Deanna found a really neat hat and was happy to model it for us. She looked so cute!

day 6 - 6

day 6 - 7We then headed to Pastor Martin and Pastora Sonia’s home for lunch. It was Pastor Martin’s birthday and we were eager to join in the celebration. We headed up the mountain, once more to Miramar. What a special place this tiny mountain village had become to us!

day 6 - 9Pastor Martin and Pastora Sonia had a beautiful home, on the side of the mountain, and we were all enjoyed their hospitality. We loved our time serving the people of Costa Rica, we enjoyed every minute of it, but I have to confess, it was so enjoyable to sit on their deck and just enjoy the food and the company.
We were served ceviche and tostones and homemade pizza and we were honored to be enjoying the day with our special friends.

Day 6 -10After lunch, the keyboard came out and Pastor Wilmer and Ruth began blessing us with worship. It was such an amazing time of ministry. All week we had been ministering to others, now the Holy Spirit was ministering with us. Each one of us had our own personal time with the Spirit and it was so very special. Sometimes we think we have to be in a church to experience God, but that afternoon on the mountain showed each one of us that when we seek him, we will find him, no matter where we are.

day 6 -11Pastor Martin really touched my heart on this special day. He shared with our team that he didn’t really have a good impressions of Americans, most of the ones he had met were not really people that he wanted to associate with. But he saw something different in our team, he saw love being lived out and our group gave him a different perspective of how Americans could be. I was so thankful for God that we were able to live out life, His way and be a living testament of His love! Thank you Jesus!!

Connect to Power

connect to power

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

The other morning I turned on my Ipod and saw this message, Connect to Power. The battery was dead. As wonderful as my Ipod is, all the amazing messages and songs and encouragement it brings me, without power, it was useless.

This is like our walk of faith. The Holy Spirit is our power. And we can have amazing things inside of us, but without the power of the Holy Spirit to bring it forth, we are like that Ipod, dead to the world.

As soon as the Ipod received power, it came to life and everything in it is available to me!

I want to stay connected to the power, to His Spirit. I want all the power He as given me available to bless and encourage others; to be His witness and to enable me to walk confidently through the challenges of life!

The Broken Rose

rose

Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (Isaiah 61:7)

On the last night of the Encounter I attended in Costa Rica, there was a huge celebration of life with the entire church. All the family members of the encounterers attended and they brought flowers and gifts to show them their support and love.

I didn’t have family there and wasn’t expecting anything, but a sweet woman came up to me during the welcoming time and gave me a rose. She had been at the women’s conference we did the month before, she knew I was at the encounter and she wanted to bless me. I was so touched that she had thought of me.

I set it off to the side and all was well until we piled into the truck to leave that night and the stem of the rose got broken. It was a beautiful flower, but it hung limply down, and I knew it would not live long like that. But I didn’t toss it, I carried it back to the room and laid it on the table.

I was looking at it in the morning and God showed me how that rose is like our lives. Something happens and we become broken and we think we are of no value and we need to be tossed away.

But all I had to do was snap off the broken part of the stem and arrange the flower with the greenery and put it in some water and it was still beautiful, still of value, still able to fulfill its purpose of bringing beauty to the world.

Today, you might feel broken. But take heart. Let God snap off your brokenness and restore you to full value. Let him bring you into the destiny that He has prepared just for you!