1) The Volcano at Arenal.
2) The church we visited Sunday morning.
3) The church we visited. The sign means, “The Church of Christ Without Borders.”
4) Peter and the Volcano.
The debate often arises as to whether it is proper for a mission team to spend time and resources site-seeing and being tourists. I remember being on a youth mission trip to Russia when we had finished our difficult and powerful ministry to orphans. We were due to travel from the Moscow area to visit St. Petersburg. This would be purely sight-seeing. The youth on that trip didn’t want to go and had a hard time reconciling the poverty we had just experienced, and the time and resources we were preparing to spend. A wise adult with the group said, “we have experienced some of the worst of this country. We have seen poverty, depression, neglect, lack of hope and basic care. It is also important to see the best this country offers. To see this county’s art, architecture, and beautiful places is extremely important.” I agree with that statement. If we do not see some of the beauty of a country or place, we may go away with a skewed perception and a false understanding of a country and its people.
So on Saturday, we traveled North to the town of La Fortuna, to Arenal. Arenal is known for it’s ACTIVE volcano, yes—ACTIVE volcano. From the pictures, you can see how immense it is, and how close we are! If you look closely, you can see a plume of smoke coming out of the top of the volcano. The conventional wisdom is that if the smoke stops coming out—run! There are small rumbles and blasts that occur regularly. Last night we could even see hot molten rock shining it’s astonishing heat into the night. It’s quite a site!
This area is built around the volcano and offers horse back riding, zip lines, white water rafting, waterfall and other various hikes, and more. We participated fully in these events! Sunday morning, several of us attended worship at a local protestant congregation. We all enjoyed the two hour service, (which was air-conditioned-Gloria a Dios!), and stayed in town to have lunch. You will see pictures of the sign for the church and the inside of the church before worship started. The name of the church is “The Church of Christ Without Borders.” It was exciting when we knew a song that they were leading. When they played, “How Great Thou Art,” it was power and moving as we could sing along in English, while our church friends sang in Spanish.
Today we head to San Jose to spend the night. We will leave first thing in the morning from that airport and arrive in Atlanta later in the afternoon. We are expecting to arrive in Tallahassee around dinner time.
Overall it has been an amazing experience. The partnership and with the church in Fray Casiano, in Puntarenas, is valuable, meaningful, and powerful. ITCF has been working for four years with this church and the benefits from the relationship building and the construction building are clear. We all want to thank you for your prayers and support of this trip that is transforming and powerful. God bless you all.
See ya’ll soon!