Because I didn't get to blog much last week while I was in Costa Rica, I wanted to share a little about the trip. This was my 7th international mission trip. If you have never had the chance to go to a third-world country and experience the culture in a missions setting, I highly recommend everyone take a trip like this at least once. It will change the way you view your lifestyle, your possessions, and your standard of living.
While we were in Costa Rica, we spent most of our time in the barrio of La Carpio, which was described to us as the most poverty-stricken area of Costa Rica. About 90% of the 40,000 poeple who live in La Carpio are Nicaraguan refugees. They are looked down on by the people of Costa Rica. (This was brought home to me on Tuesday when our guide on the whitewater rafting trip shared that he was Nicaraguan and had experienced discrimination first hand because of his accent.)
Here are a couple of pictures of La Carpio:
La Carpio is literally built on a trash dump. The city of San Jose dumps its trash on one side of the barrio. On the other side is a huge limestone quarry. While some of the homes are larger and made of stucco, most of the houses are little more than a maze of corrugated metal. Sewage runs through the streets carried to the river at the bottom of the hill.
On Monday, we passed out bags of groceries (beans, rice, sugar, salt, butter, and more staples) in an area that was new to our missionaries. While our team carried and handed out the groceries, a team of teenagers from a local church shared the gospel using The Bridge illustration. In about six hours, we handed out almost 100 bags of groceries and 67 people prayed with our Costa Rican team asking Jesus to be their Savior. It was an awesome experience.
Later, Mark, our lead missionary, said that they would go back in to the area where we passed out groceries and begin discipleship groups led by Costa Rican believers. The hope is to begin having worship gatherings among the people of La Carpio once they have established enough discipleship groups.
Here's a picture of the bags that we passed out as well a couple of pics of us passing out the groceries:
If you want to catch up on the team's day-to-day blog, check out kudzas.com.
I'll blog some more about the experience later this week.
-- Peace, Jamie