Hola, mi nombre es Julia! Today has been our first full day in Costa Rica and what a day it has been. We woke up pretty early to go for a short run and then split into two groups. My group went to a church here in San Jose that is working on extending their building in order to accommodate their growing congregation. At first, we had to overcome that awkward moment when the 8 other members of my group and I realized that our translator had disappeared and we all spoke very poor Spanish and the crew from the church spoke no English. Eventually we worked out a system of hand motions and grunts that we could all use to attempt to understand one another. We worked with them to tear down their walls, shovel in dirt, paint multiple bars and lay down new gravel. Despite the language barrier, we created great relationships with the other workers and I was surprised by how much Spanish I actually remembered from my High School days. By the end of the work day, we all knew so many new Spanish phrases and the Costa Ricans were learning to speak to us in broken English! We had a great time working with them and ended if off with sharing a yummy meal of tortillas with them. The church invited us to attend their service later in the day which we did and that was an incredible experience. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong there and I loved being able to stand in the back and just watch these people fill this space that we had just knocked down the walls for them to fill earlier and praise Jesus. I learned that the church started off having service in a garage, and now today, on the mark of their 2 year anniversary, had people filling up the space all the way out the door. Even though we did not understand a lot of what was said, none of us wanted to leave the church when it was time to go. As we were walking out the door they began to express their thanks for what we are doing and it was just amazing so worship with these wonderful people and be able to serve them. I shared my testimony with the team today, explaining how I feel called into ministry and want to at some point become a missionary and it's just amazing to see how God is working in my life and filling my heart with so much joy to be around these people and answer the call He has for my life. I have so many more thoughts and feelings about today which is crazy because it's only day 1 but God is working and I am so excited for what else He has in store for us!
From Julia :)
Another group went to El Alberge de Lincoln, which was a home for children who have been abused. We painted the living room and played with the kids all day. The kids really enjoyed helping us paint. One time coach had to fill the paint tray with more paint and it was taking a while and the kids got impatient. When it finally came one kid yelled "alleluia pintura!" which means Hallelujah more paint! It was funny. Another time the youngest boy at the home, fell face first into the paint tray. His whole arm and face was covered, but he didn't even cry he was actually smiling.
After working at the home, we went back to the house we are staying at and ate dinner. Then we went to a worship service at the church where the other group helped build. In Julia's words "there is no party like a holy ghost party!" After church we strolled down the street and got "Helado Trita"(Ice Cream Treats). It was a perfect way to end day 1.
Pura Vida Mae!!
-Shelly y Kajsa...and Eric helped too.
Shout out to my mom, Love You!!