Today I want to share a letter from one of my five granddaughters, Jordan, who recently graduated from The King's Academy high school. I learned a lot from this letter--hope you will enjoy it as much I did. Jordan is right front.
Dear Papa and Grandma,
I wanted to thank you for your prayers and support during my trip to Costa Rica. I want to thank you especially for your donations. It really was a trip that I will never forget. The girls and boy that went with me, all felt the same way. We stayed in the YWAM Costa Rica base and we traveled all over San Jose, CR and the surrounding villages.
We were there for 8 days and we did a different ministry every day. One of the ministries that we did was to work with the homeless of San Jose. We were able to go out and interact with the homeless and hear their stories- they shared how they got there and some of the ordeals that they went through. We were able to pray over them, share the gospel and give them food and coffee.
We also worked with a Prostitution ministry. This was a tough one- only the volunteers who were 18 were able to go. We were not allowed to get out of the van but we were able to bring coffee and some cookies to the men who worked the streets. There were mostly men who dressed as women working on the streets. We were able to hear some of their stories through the YWAM volunteers that already had an on-going relationship with these people. We were able to pray over them in the van and see the interactions between the men and the YWAM volunteers. San Jose, unfortunately, has a lot of brothels and though we never went inside one or got close to one, as we were driving, we passed a few and we knew just by looking at the conditions and characteristics of the place. It was very sad and eye opening to see how many there were.
We were able to participate in a village VBS. We went to a village near San Jose and sang songs, played games, did crafts, and shared the bible with almost all of the village kids. It was amazing when the kids recognized the van when we were driving in and swarmed the little garage where we were holding the VBS activities in. Watching these kids want to know more about God and what he is about was incredible. It really makes you realize how little kids share an interest in what God is about.
It was so interesting to watch these kids emerge from their, in most cases, shack of a house and sing songs about Jesus on the top of their lungs.
One of my favorite days was when our group broke up into two groups and half of us went to a special needs orphanage and the other went to a government run orphanage. I had the privilege to go to the government run orphanage. The children ranged in ages from new born to 7. They were wonderful, they were not shy about wanting to play and color and dance, we were able to play with them and hold the babies. For most, that was all they needed- someone to love on them and play with them, because many came from homes where love was nonexistent and playing was dangerous. It was sad to see, but I was glad that I could provide some kind of love at least for a couple of hours.
Later that day, the most amazing part of the trip took place- we went to a house that is run by a lady and her husband, who have adopted over 100 children. She, at this moment, has 46 children living with her, in her home. But over the course of 30 years she has adopted and raised over 100 children. These are all her own children, she is legally their mother and that is exactly what all the children call her. She is an absolutely incredible woman and we were lucky enough to hear her story- about how she got started on such an amazing journey. She not only has this many adopted children but she also has six of her own children! More incredible, not one adopted child from her house has ever fallen back into what she took them out of.
Most of the kids she adopts are orphans, many were crack babies, some were found in dumpsters, others were simply abandoned. Many times because the parents couldn't take care of them or because they had special needs. She and her husband of over 40 years live in a beautiful two story country style house that was given to her by a pastor and his wife. She has a whole system down that everyone follows in the house so that everyone is clean, fed and helps around the house. That was one of my fondest memories of the trip, because it was so amazing to see what one woman was capable of, when asked how she does it, she replied, “I don't do anything, it is God that gives me strength and tells me how to take care of his children.” She is a woman that all should take notes from, I know I did.
The next day we participated in an on-going bible distribution mission. A man living in Costa Rica is on a mission- he wants every house in Costa Rica to have a bible in their home. We were able to help him work on his mission, we got to go to some of these homes and distribute bibles. It was amazing the amount of people that let us into their homes. Some didn't even know what we were handing out, they just would let us in and we talked to them. The village that we went to was very intricate. Just when you thought you were at the end of a road, there was a little rabbit trail that led up into another little colony of houses, it seemed like they never ended. There were houses that were on top of other houses and houses that looked like a little shack from the outside, but when you walked in, it was intricate and very cool looking. Some houses were big storage containers put together to make a home and some were very worn down houses. The villages were very interesting to walk through. As a group we delivered at least 150 bibles to the people in the village in about 4 hours, as well as having conversations at almost every house. It was an incredible experience.
Sunday morning we went to church. We were told that the pastor preaches for two hours, plus an hour of worship time. All of us were thinking, great, this is going to be so boring and we aren't going to understand a word he is saying. The worship started and I was blown away. I don't think I have ever seen worship like that before. It was so powerful, so moving. The members did not care about who was around them, people were jumping up and down, shouting on the top of their lungs, falling on the floor in praise, and really feeling God’s presence in their very souls. Watching praise like this makes you feel God everywhere. I could feel the spirit flowing into that church. When worship ended the Pastor came up with one of the staff on YWAM to translate. The two hours flew by, the message was so interesting and moving that the time went by so fast. It was one of the best sermons I had ever heard.
Because this trip was more about building relationships and talking to people, we didn't do a lot of construction or heavy lifting. So we thought we should do something for the YWAM base as a thank you for dealing with a bunch of high school students for a week. We cleaned gutters, swept, cleaned windows, climbed really sketchy roofs that felt like they were going to give in, and ultimately had a wonderful, silly time working around the base.
On one of our last days we went to a church that had a club for single teen mothers. The church provides schooling for the mothers so that they can get their license in nails or hair, and eventually get a job and earn money. We got to sit down with them and share the bible, hold their babies and hear their stories. Some of their stories were very sad to hear, but it was encouraging to see that they are trying to get schooling and jobs.
On our last day we were able to have a fun relaxing day, we went zip-lining and we went to the beach, it was a great day to end on. I was able to meet so many amazing people on the trip and had a blast with all of them. This is a trip I will never forget. But the main reason for this letter is not only to share what I did and experienced but to thank you for all of your support and prayers. Because without you, I could never have gone on a trip like this. My life was changed in so many ways and I pray every day that we were able to touch someone’s life there. This trip was a pilot trip for us, but because it went so well they are making it a regular trip for senior at TKA! I’m grateful that we were able to have such an experience and it is all thanks to you.
Thank you so much again and I look forward to more mission trips in college.