This past weekend we all went to Jaco, the closest beach to where we’re staying in San Jose. Friday’s class dragged on as we stared at the clock waiting for the weekend. We watched one of the world’s most interesting spanglish movies. Not only was the movie really random, but also Jenifer Lopez was in it. After being in a movie like that I just don’t understand how her career has been successful. Anyway, we rushed into a taxi right after class in order to get to the bus station on time. The day before we purchased our bus tickets and man I’ll tell you that we probably walked up and down each street in the city, Twice! I didn’t mind the walk and the fact that we were completely lost but I could tell that some of the girls I was with were getting pretty annoyed and upset. What can you do though? I can cross getting lost off my bucket list now! And yes, that was actually on there. Anyway, the bus ride there was only about two hours. When we got to Jaco we were all sweaty and gross and just wanted to hop into the ocean. The waves here are huge, unlike any other waves I’ve ever seen. Apparently it’s a popular place to surf. We saw some surfers while we were there and some of the guys rented a board and spent some time trying to learn (aka getting smashed by the waves). After one day at the beach we were all pretty toasted. My skin is fried, but there are worse things to happen so I’m not about to complain. The food there was pretty good for the most part except for the last night we were there. My friend ordered what she thought was going to be a nice fried fish but ended up being a nasty bowl of raw fish guts and octopus. I couldn’t stop laughing the entire dinner. My food wasn’t much better, but my burrito was at least edible.
We got back midday yesterday. Most of our group didn’t get back until last night but I was glad that I got back in the afternoon. When I got back I went with one of my friends to walk to the fruit market. Unfortunately it was closed right when we got there. Story of my life. But hey, now I know where the market is. My friend was one of the few that stayed back this weekend, She didn’t miss much at all and I was really glad I got to spend time with her. She had a nice and relaxing weekend here at home and that’s what I’m planning on doing this upcoming weekend. I really am just looking forward to spending more time with my tica family and hopefully getting more spanish down. Estoy Tonto (I feel stupid). Every meal I have here at home I pretty much just sit there and can’t understand a thing. I’m not going to lie, I get frustrated a little bit because I am completely lost all the time, but I know that with time things will become easier to understand. I just need to practice that virtue called patience. Last night I went with my family to church again. This church service was a big deal, but I was so confused the whole time. Mama Tica told me to bring my camera but I realized I forgot it in my room by the time we got there. The church was packed, and that was surprising because this church is a very big one. I think it might be a mega church because there are several videographers taping the sermon. People had brought signs and banners to the service and clearly it was a celebration of some sort. The worship was enthusiastic (as usual) and the sermon was passionate. Many people were crying. Heck, I even shed a tear and I didn’t know what was going on. The woman next to me tried to explain it to me. There were people who met God on a mountain, that’s what I got from my conversation with her. After the sermon, the videocameras shifted towards one of the doors to the sanctuary. They busted open and everyone just started screaming and cheering obnoxiously. I felt like I was at a concert. I asked mama tica if the people that just came in were famous or something. You have no idea how confused I was. Some of the people started getting on the stage and they were clearly sharing testimonies. IT turned out that Mama Tica’s grandson, Jefé was on the retreat. We found him after the service and he embraced his father with tears streaming down his face. I had gone back to the house to get my camera and mama tica made sure we took some pictures.
When we got back to the house, Jefé talked a little about his trip. Paraphrasing his spanish, he basically went on this two day retreat in the mountains and had an encounter with God that was so powerful that he spent much of his time crying. His life has been made new and he has accepted christ into his life. It was really powerful for him, I can tell that it has had an impact on him. What I’m mostly shocked about is the excitement of the church. I’ve never seen a group of people so excited to see people come to know Christ. It was honestly amazing. At first I thought it was somewhat strange that they were celebrating so enthusiastically but then I realized that that’s how it should be. When you think about, it’s ridiculous how under-enthusiastic we can be about it. There is nothing greater than a relationship with the Lord. These people had an encounter that has allowed them to see that there is more to life than what we experience here on earth. There is a God who loves and these people have experienced that. We SHOULD be thrilled. They’ve come to know Jesus! I’m really excited for Jefé and I’m excited for the day when my spanish is good enough to have a good conversation with him about it.
Today I met with my mentor, Natalia. For those of you who don’t know, I’m doing a mission work practicum through ISA where we get to do service projects here in Costa Rica. Last semester I had a breakdown (or what I like to call a quarter life crisis) where I questioned everything I was doing in my life. Seriously, I felt like I needed to be doing something more. Not for myself, but for God. I debated if staying in school was what God even wanted for my life. For the past two years I haven’t been able to stop thinking about a program called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). I have many friends who have been and or are a part of the program and it’s something I have had my heart set on for awhile. I had a breakdown towards the end of the semester where I just felt like I needed to be doing YWAM. My poor roommate found me sobbing (which I rarely do in front of people). I seriously was more than willing to drop out of school, drop everything and leave if God provided me the opportunity. My roommate calmed me down and assured me that everything will work out and that He has a plan for me. Right now his plan was for me to study abroad in Costa Rica. I realized that was true and how far I had come just to get to the point where I was set to go. By the time it was time for me to leave for my trip, I was more than ready to go (the only hard part was leaving my family and then surviving the airports). Anyway, back to my point. Today I met with Natalia and we talked about some of the things we will be doing. I realized just how great God is when she mentioned that we are partnering up with YWAM this semester. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT? Seriously, I’m realizing more and more each day how God has been working in all of this. I’ve only been here for one week and God has answered so many prayers, Basically all of them. Why YWAM has been placed so heavily on my heart I can’t explain, but I can tell you right now that it is no coincidence whatsoever. There’s so much to look forward to and I cannot wait to see what God has in store. In the meantime, I have a lot of spanish to study and my first quiz is tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind if people wanted to pray for my spanish and also, more importantly, for God to use me these next four months. I’m feeling overwhelmingly blessed just to be here. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I want to live it to the fullest.