This trip is continuing to be a great experience for both us and the people we are ministering to here in Costa Rica. Each day brings its own set of problems, changes, and surprises that keep us on our toes. Today, July 12, 2018, our Lebanon Valley youth group teamed up with a group of people from SCORE International, the missions trip organization that is running our stay. In the morning, we met two local police officers who were going to escort us later on. We had the opportunity to talk with them and show them how to make the balloon animals we would use. We walked through Cot (a neighborhood in the province Cartago) and we handed out tracks and candy to people on the streets. The tracks consisted of a Bible lesson, some information about our groups, or both. Along the way, we got to share the gospel with the people as well as invite them to a church VBS and movie that would happen later today. Most of the people we talked to were accepting and they listened to what we had to say. Surprisingly, later today, we had over 100 kids come to our VBS, many of which we invited while handing out tracks. We also had a balloon animal group that made flowers, dogs, cats, swords, and giraffes for the small kids on the streets. My favorite part of our handout was when we stopped at a small school that gave lunch to poor people. We got there right when they were eating so we got to have a small puppet show for the kids. We stayed outside that building for the rest of the track time; making over 100 balloons and working with the local police. The only problem with all that walking was the lack of sunscreen we had brought. We all got burnt, some worse than others, so we are definitely making sure we bring some tomorrow!
The food here is delicious, and we are being fed really well! During our trip, we have been eating mostly a meat, a salad, and LOTS of rice and beans. Today, however, was the first day so far that we had refried beans. Almost everyone gave them a shot (they tasted better when mixed with the rice). We ate this interesting meal in a local church in Cot. The church group we would later hold the VBS for was really kind; they made our lunch for us, they tried to learn some English, and they wanted to play games with us. In was really encouraging that they wanted us there instead of just thinking about us as another group of boring gringos. All the food we ate so far has been Muy Bueno and I’m glad I haven’t gotten sick of eating rice and beans over and over again!
As the missions trip progresses, we will get more tired and frustrated. Please keep us in your prayers that we can finish this trip strong and that we won’t get discouraged. Please also pray that we will continue to live for Christ after we get home instead of just doing it when we are on our “Spiritual High.” Thank you all for the constant support and prayers and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
– Ben Zimmerman