Post Contributed by Richard Grier
Arriving in the beautiful rain forest of Shiroles, Costa Rica is always refreshing…especially when you bring 3 ten and eleven year old girls that are full of life, wonder and love with you! Our team of 9 arrived in early October to serve alongside the leaders of Esperanza for the week. While we had some things planned, we were prepared for anything God brought our way. Our crew came prepared to teach the women and children how to weave on a loom. We saw many beautiful creations (along with some half-finished-due-to-frustration looms). In addition to weaving, the women and young girls from KY got to share about their personal journeys with God and encourage the women and children from the area in different ways.
Three of our leaders spent 4 nights training 16 Tico leaders to hopefully begin an IAM3RD soccer league in the area. (IAM3RD is a sports ministry based out of Centenary UM Church that is now in 4 countries and has over 4500 participants in Central KY.) Each afternoon following the training, we invited local children to come and participate in a two hour clinic, which included a devotion, physical training, soccer skills training and games. The number of children grew each day until we finished the last day with 48. By the 3rd day of clinics, the local leaders were running the show (in spite of the lightning storm nearby). It was so powerful to watch the leaders plan the next day with their group of coaches and then execute the plan to perfection. They shared responsibilities throughout the two hour clinic and all the children were very engaged. We can’t wait to see what God does with this league in the near future.
Our crew also got to hike up to Kimi and Raul’s new “retreat lodge and farm” (fancy name for a 150 sq. ft. room with all kinds of planted vegetation and fruit overlooking the rain forest and mountains. While the hike was fairly straight up, the destination and its view made it all worth it.
For some of us, we have been to Shiroles multiple times so it is great to deepen old relationships, encourage othersand just spend time sharing God’s love. The time spent there is always renewing for us as well. For everyone, we witnessed one of the closest models of the Acts 2 church that a person can find - disciples making disciples that serve one another and their community while digging into God’s Word together. They serve the orphans, the widows, the elderly, the least, the last and the lost. They send people out to minister to those around Costa Rica and the world. Most of what they have is shared in common and there seems to be a deep trust in the Esperanza community. We jumped in with some manual labor, home visits with food and prayer, and great times of worship as a community of believers and friends.
Until next time…