I went on a mission went to Costa Rica, with a team 17 people from Merge Ahead. We went as just a bunch of normal people crazy enough to believe that God is who He says He is and we saw Him come through mightily.
We arrive in San Jose on Friday night, settled into our hotel and prepared for the next day. Saturday we went to a service at Kingdomtakers (the church we were there partnering with) for the youth group, Takers, of 7,000 kids. Our team of dancers (6 of us) performed a dance a young man on our team had choreographed to a song by Fireflight called "Unbreakable."
Sunday we did the dance again at the 2 morning adult services. Our team also ran the children's church for the morning. We all gathered together with the kids, in a swelteringly hot indoor soccer field, to do some puppet pieces, object lessons and Bible stories (all centered around teaching the children about talking to God as their Heavenly Father). Then we played soccer and jump rope with the children until the adults services were over. In the evening we went to one of the Kingdomtakers/Mana church plants (Kindgomtakers oversee 28 smaller churches. We visited many of them throughout the week.) and ran the service there. Puppets for the kids, 2 dramas (The Exchange- about Jesus bringing salvation into a fallen world and conquering Satan. And The Everything Skit- about a girl who walks away from God and the world begins to destory her. Just when she is at the end of herself Jesus comes to her rescue.) and team members giving testimonies in between. We saw many salvations and healings at the altar call.
Monday daytime: Nicaraguan refugee camp.**Stay tuned for more on this, as it was my personal favorite part of the trip and will be getting a post all its own.**
Monday night we went a did the service at another of the Kingdomtakers/Mana churches in the area. Around 20 people accepted Christ after the service and many people were healed. I was able to pray for a girl struggling with insomnia and night-terrors (I PRAYED IN SPANISH! And I don't speak very much Spanish and was scared to try! But God made up for my lack, just like He always does) and watch the power of God come and touch her life. I am believing she was fully healed and went home and slept with great peacefulness. (When you are obedient to what God says, you see pretty cool stuff go on! Glory a Dios!)
Tuesday: another Mana church to do the service at. This one teeeney tinny, only about maybe 50 people, but we still saw God move powerfully.
Wednesday: We took a 3 hour drive into the mountains (holy windy roads, batman!) to a town called La Fortuna. There we worked with another Mana church, doing a children's service, street ministry and the evening service as well. In between all that we also paid a visit to some crocodiles and came close to an active volcano. Long day but a good one. The people we encountered there, waywayway up on a mountain, were beautifully passionate about God. The whole team loved being with them for they day; truly a blessing.
Thursday we went out (yes, with another Mana church) to do street ministry and invite people to an evening service. We performed our dramas and gave our testimonies, struggling through it as our portable sound system didn't want to cooperate with us. We were slightly bummed, thinking our "performance level" has messed up our chances of touching people, but once again God came through and His strength covered over our weakness. We were able to pray for LOTS of people out on the street and 85 *EIGHTY FIVE!* people came to accept Christ as Savior! Hallelujah, our God is bigger than faulty sound systems!
That night we were back at THE Kindgomtakers to do one last service. Our youth pastor gave a phenomenal message and we watched as God ignited a new passion in the Costa Rican people to reach their city for the Kindgom of God. After the service, Apostle Guido, man of God and head of all Kingdomtakers churches, took us all out to dinner.
Friday was our day off. We zip-lined in the rain forest. 8 line canopy tour for everyone. Some of us also did "The Superman" in which we were zippin' along, horizontally, head first, 240 feet up, going 55 mph. (Sounds extreme, but remember, I did Bungee Jump last year off of a 265 foot bridge. Nothing else compares...) It was mad fun. Absolutely loved it. They taught us how to "brake" before sending us out onto the lines, but I didn't slow myself down at all. Not once. I love heights. Love speed. Love adrenaline. Goooood times.
Saturday we packed it all up and headed for San Jose International Airport. It was over. We were all back home (after a quite interesting plane flight) by 2:00 am on Sunday.
The trip was very, very, very (veryveryvery) different from what I expected, but was still amazing. God came through for all of us. We all were able to be used by Him. We all learned things. And we all, though different in experience and age, came together as a team and saw God use each of us in special ways to further His Kingdom down in Costa Rica. People were saved, delivered and healed. We, some random, crazy people from CT, got to go to Central America and join in what God is doing there. We got to share the love God has given to us and see hundreds of people come into the family of God.
And that is what it is all about.
***remember, check out the mergeahead.com website to see pictures and videos under Missions, Costa Rica 2010 (or you can check out the local team that is ministering to our area this week!) Thanks for all the prayers! You took part in the work God was doing in Costa Rica!!!!***