I have now been in Costa Rica for almost two weeks. This weekend was a lot of fun fellowship time with my fellow YWAMers. Friday night we had some crazy games and then a bonfire with s’mores, singing, and laughter (complete with breaking a bench, bugs, and jumping over the fire). It felt like I had known these friends for months, not a week. Getting to know each of these unique people gives me so much joy. Then Saturday we drove 2 hours to Jaco beach. It was a bit hard to walk on the pebbles on the edge of the water, but it was gorgeous! Standing with my toes in the sand surrounded by bright blue water and mountains on either side, I was in Heaven. And the waves were spectacular! We spent hours in the water, which resulted in me getting pretty burnt despite the sunscreen (estoy quemada). But it was worth it! After Jaco we visited another beach with smaller waves. It was much more peaceful and relaxing.
Since being here in San Jose, I have felt a sense of home in the friends I’ve made, the base that is becoming familiar to me, and most of all the amazing God I am getting to know more and more each day. Coming off of last week’s incredible lecture on Intimacy with God, I have realized that in my relationship with God I must be the one to take the next step. If I wait for God to speak to me without doing anything to bring myself closer to Him, it is not a real relationship. In a relationship, both individuals work toward getting to know one another. If one doesn’t try, the relationship fails. God has been trying to talk to me for so long now, but I haven’t been listening. I want so much to get to know his heart and his will for me, so I must devote myself to praying without ceasing. God should be my best friend – that special person who I tell my deepest thoughts, concerns, and joys.
So with this desire in my heart, I am seeking to know the Lord. This week we are talking about Identity in Christ. We talked a lot about what makes up our identity and how we define ourselves. In line with this topic, this Tuesday we went to the streets of downtown San Jose to film a short video about identity. What an unforgettable experience! Each one of us held a sign and dressed in costume to go with the words we held. Half of us held signs that said things like “I am what I wear”, “I am what I play”, or “I am my music”. These represented aspects of our life that often define people. Behind these people stood Jesus with the words “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Following Jesus, the second half of our team held signs saying things like “I am loved”, “I am free”, and “I am beautiful”, representing how we find our identity in the love and sacrifice of Christ. Standing with our signs being videotaped was a powerful witness to the people around us. Many people stopped to read the signs or take pictures, and some people even asked us what the video was all about. This was a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ and about our mission at YWAM.
Along with all we are learning about Christ this week, we have had some incredible times of intercession and prayer. On Tuesday during our designated intercession hour, we did an activity that was new to me. We each drew a name of another student from a bag and put it in our pocket without looking at the name. Then we went off somewhere to pray for 20 minutes for this person. I was extremely nervous at first because I thought, how could God speak to me about this person when I didn’t even know their name? But I opened my Bible and a verse came to my mind, so I wrote it down. Then somehow, I thought of the word JOY. Without knowing what this meant, I returned to the class and we shared our insight with the person whose name we had drawn. When I told Kristen the verse and word God had shown me, it impacted her. God was using me to speak to her! Another example is Thursday, when our leaders washed the feet of each of the DTS students. What a humbling act of service. During this time we all prayed for each other. Many of the students were quite emotional, and the group responded to this by surrounding them with love.
Every day here I feel incredibly loved and appreciated. From people praying for me to compliments to actions of servant hood, I can feel the body of Christ being fulfilled here. It is a glorious thing! There is something different in this community. There is more than just a willingness in these hearts to reach out for the hurting and the broken. There is a pure love that transcends all borders and perceptions.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7
Spanish vocabulary trivia: asombroso = amazing