Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Letter From Mark

The following is an email we received from Mark Kuzdas (CLF Costa Rica Missionary). We thought we'd share it with you...

Just a quick note to thank you and the team! Because of your obedience to the call of the Lord, our CLFCR team was blessed, the New Life Churches of Los Guido and Tejarcillos were blessed, a young leadership team was wonderfully blessed, and many were eternally blessed as they put their trust in the Lord for the first time.

Our prayer is that God blesses you and the CBC church family many times more, in amazing and tangible ways, because of your love and sacrifice for the people of Costa Rica so far away.

As your team pulled away, I said "mission accomplished!"

Already looking forward to the next time...


Christian Light Foundation Costa Rica

Friday, January 8, 2010

Home Safe

We arrived at LAX at 11 P.M. last night and made it through customs in less time than expected. Our bus picked us up and delivered us to CBC at around 2 A.M. Everyone is home AND safe! Thank you for your prayers and support.

Join us NEXT SUNDAY (JANUARY 17th) as we share all about our trip. You don't want to miss the stories, videos, and pictures!!!

Community Bible Church
324 West 40th Street
San Bernardino, CA 92407

Our Last Day

by Jen Hinkle and Naomi Martinez

Wow! What an eventful trip. It is Thursday, January 7th at 1pm and we have already had such a rewarding day. We had the pleasure of taking the kids from the leadership team to shop for clothes. This was such a blessing for us to watch the joy in their faces as the picked out the shirt they wanted. There is one memory that will stick with us forever. One of the little girls brought us a shirt she had chosen. It was beautiful and she was glowing. She had asked one of the group leaders something in Spanish, and the leader answered “no it’s ok.” I (Naomi) asked what she had said; the little girl had asked if the shirt was too expensive, that shirt was priced at $8! What a humbling situation. God has blessed us to the point that we don’t even realize how blessed we are sometimes. Our prayer is that we would be a grateful people!

Later on we took them to McDonalds (something they never get!). After lunch the kids had such a fun time in the play place! They might have gone down slides for over an hour. They had a blast. However, it quickly came time for our tearful goodbyes. Our hearts were heavy as we hugged the kids. We will miss them but they will always be close to our hearts.

We had such an amazing time here in Costa Rica. God has done and incredible work in all of our hearts. He has stretched us and molded us into new people. As this trip comes to a close we are honored that the God of this universe chose us to be a part of his story in such a magnificent way. What a good God we serve; A God that loves his people so much that he would take a group of sloppy Americans into forgotten Costa Rican communities to share his Gospel of Love. We truly believe that the mission we set out to accomplish was a success. That mission was to grow in Christ, encourage the church, and expand the kingdom. WHAT A GOOD GOD WE SERVE!!!

We will soon be on a plane home and we can’t wait to share more of our experiences with you. Again, we thank everybody for their support financially and in prayer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Turrialba Volcano

Yesterday a local volcano began to erupt sending clouds of ash into the sky and causing some small mountain communities to be evacuated. Today San Jose and all surrounding cities (which includes us) were put on alert out of fear that a larger eruption may be coming. Basically, we just have to keep the windows closed (because of the ash) and be prepared for "small" earthquakes...lucky for us, we live in California and are accustomed to "small" earthquakes. Anyways, everything is fine. We are updating you just in case you see something on the news...please know that we are SAFE!

Finishing Strong, No Matter Our Struggles

by Spenser Carnes

We had a lot to finish today and this being our last full day we had to get an early start. We met at 6:45 A.M. but even then we made sure to start the day off worshipping the Lord and focusing our attention on Him. After a short breakfast we were off to La Finca for a day of work projects and playing with the kids. We had the majority of the benches to finish staining and then we put a final coat of lacquer on each of them. It was an amazing sight looking out over the grass and watching both Americans (Gringos) and Costa Ricans (Ticos) working together.

After lunch we still had some benches to finish and later the team was split up to start on other projects. One group was to make cement and repair a low wall that leaked sewage onto the grounds. Another was to dig a trench to lead it away from the buildings. After we had completed our projects It was a quick run back to the mission house to clean up and prepare for the trip out to Tejarcillos.

We have focused on Los Guido the majority of our time here and today was our first visit to the people of Tejarcillos. Scott and Naomi led us in bilingual worship and afterward a group from the church put on a short skit depicting the story of Jesus raising a girl to life. We had seen this skit many times in VBS but it still gave me chills to watch it; not knowing Spanish it still made clear to me the awesome power of Christ. Pastor Rogelio (the Pastor of New Life Church of Tejarcillos) spoke from Colossians 2:1&2 which talks about being encouraged and knit together in love. He focused on our struggles and that even though our lives are full of them we should be encouraged by them. We must seek God to be in our lives more than ever. It is God who gets us through our struggles and we need to live lives that please Him no matter what. It was a short sermon in a small rented out room but the power of God shown through to touch us all.

We had dinner with the Tejarcillos church and visited with the community before heading back to the mission house. Though it was a short night for us in Tejarcillos, we were able to see the many struggles that they face. Yet they are being called to rise above all that stands against living for Jesus just as we are called to back home.

Last year Jenna Grotewold ate a GIANT worm for $50. Kelsi got the same offer...did she do it??? Hmmm. You'll have to come to CBC on January 17th to find out. Yes, she looks as though she would never eat a worm BUT those of you who know her also know that she is incredibly CHEAP and would do almost anything for money...

Hebrews 10:39 "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved."

Our Sabbath

By Megan Wylie and Andréa Johnson

For our day of rest, we got up before the sun and headed out to Manuel Antonio. Although it was hard to leave the kids, it was nice to be able to take a day to relax. The drive out was long but full of God's beautiful jungle! Once we reached Manuel Antonio, we all went down to the beach-which was breathtaking! You literally walk out of the jungle onto the soft, sandy beach. We all hit the waves and the water was perfect! A little salty and warm, but amazing. After that, we parted ways. Some of us continued to lounge on the beach (Andréa), some of us went kayaking (Megan), some of us went and explored the mysterious jungle (where we saw monkeys and sloths), and some of us walked around the town. We all met up for a spectacular dinner at El Avion, where we ate delicious food while the sun was setting over the vast ocean and jungle. It was truly an amazing experience for us all to witness God's beautiful creation at work.

Even though it was our day of rest, we were able to talk and minister to lots of people from all over the world who were also visiting Manuel Antonio. Our adventures did not stop at the beach...on our way home, we got a flat tire...luckily Cori (our bus-driver) and Conway were able to change it out quickly while Noemy (a local and friend of the missionaries) cautioned other cars. We were sad to leave, but it was a day of relaxation that was much needed, and a fun day of hanging out as a team and enjoying God's beauty. We are excited to get back to the kids and back to work at La Finca tomorrow!

These pictures were all taken by Kayla Romero during her hike through the National Forest. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Don't Worry

We just wanted to let you know that we will be away from phones and computers until Wednesday morning. Expect a lot of fun pictures and updates when we return to the Mission House.

A Sunday of Worship

by Andy Scott and Kelsi Miller

Unlike every other Sunday morning back in the states, I didn't roll out of bed at 10:15, take a quick shower, comb my hair, brush my teeth, and grab a piece of fruit to eat on my drive to church, and somehow manage in such little time to pull into the parking lot with only minutes to spare. Today was much different. There was preparation involved. Before heading to La Iglesia Nueva Vida in Los Guido, our group took to the streets in an attempt to fill the pews with some new faces. Since church does not begin until 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there was ample time to do so. Us 18 "gringos" along with the 24 kids who comprise the leadership team of the church, walked up and down the streets of the city to pass out flyers inviting our neighbors to worship with us. This was such an awesome experience for all of us because instead of spending the morning sitting in church thinking about what we are going to eat for lunch and waiting to be dismissed so that we can continue on with our busy lives, we were completely focused on preparing ourselves and the community to worship our Lord. To be fair to those within our group who would abject to being labeled as "unprepared church-goers", self-preparation was not the extent of our morning walk discussion. The fact that even those of us who take the time to prepare ourself for church on Sunday have never ventured out into the community before the service to invite others to partake in our time of showing reverence to the King of the universe was convicting to us all.

Once we finally arrived at La Finca (the location of La Iglesia Nueva Vida) after hours of walking, the service began. This service however was different from what the locals were used to because Naomi and Scott led worship, while Josh delivered the sermon. Some of the songs we sang were in Spanish, while others were in English. It was so amazing to hear our culture blend with the Costa Rican's. For instance, when we were singing in English, the natives were singing the same song in Spanish, and vice versa. It was definitely an experience we will never forget. Josh delivered his famous sermon on worship while one of the ladies who helps run the missionary organization translated. This is one of many examples that demonstrates how the language barrier isn't getting in our way one bit on this trip. Directly following the service we had the privilege of enjoying dinner with the congregation. As a result of the generosity of those who donated money to the members of our team, dinner was served at La Finca for all that attended, some of whom might not see another hot meal for the rest of the year.

Once again the Lord chose to use our team both to further the Kingdom and encourage the leadership team here in Costa Rica. Keep us in your prayers, that we might not grow weary while sharing with the people of Costa Rica that which they are in need of the most; the gospel of our Lord Jesucristo.


By Jordan Perl and Benjamin Yuem

This Costa Rica Mission's trip has been such a blessing. Today we began by heading to La Finca. After playing and hanging out with the kids from the leadership team for a short while, we split into three groups and then walked through the areas where our previous Vacation Bible Schools were held. New Life Church of Los Guido hosts a “Kid’s Club” outreach event every Saturday, so the teams dispersed door-to-door throughout these neighborhoods handing out invitations to attend.

After all of the teams arrived back at La Finca, we played some soccer. Later, we broke into two teams that would compete in all the games of the day. We then sang and danced to a few songs, teaching them to all the new kids who showed up with parts of their family. The kids were such an awesome testimony of how God can do amazing things through young lives. We took a small break to celebrate the mission team’s birthdays that were in December and January. In Costa Rica, when you have a birthday, it is customary that the birthday boy (or girl) gets eggs smashed on top of their head. Megan, Kayla, and Conway were all privileged enough to participate in this ritual. The kids lined up one by one to smash eggs on top of the lucky “gringos”.

Kids had a blast playing games throughout the day. Many of them were brand new to La Finca, so we were able to just have fun with them and show them God’s love.We are definitely hoping to see them again at church on Sunday.

After a great afternoon of fun with the kids, we were able to come back to the mission house and rest a while. During our evening devotion, we discussed our day, and how unique and rewarding this mission trip has been so far. Unlike most mission trips, we haven’t been doing a lot of work projects. Most of what we have been doing is spreading the Gospel, through things like delivering food bags, and just simply playing with local kids. Yes, the people here definitely have enormous physical needs, but what is even more eternally important than that is the enormity of their spiritual needs.

The work we’ve been doing here hasn’t necessarily involved building people new houses or buildings, or fulfilling some specific need like that, but God has definitely been working on the people’s hearts here through us. For example today we found out that at least thirty-nine people prayed to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior in La Carpio yesterday. The work that God is doing here is simply amazing and beyond human comprehension! The fact that God has allowed us to participate in His plan is truly a privilege.

He has truly been strengthening us and helping us to do His work. Whether we’re walking through the streets of Los Guido or playing an intense game of soccer with the kids, God has been providing us with the energy to keep going, despite our own shortcomings. One minute we’re telling each other how sore we are, and then the next, we are sprinting across the field after the soccer ball, or playing tug of war with the kids again. Thus far, this has truly been an amazing experience for us and those we are serving. We can only anxiously wait to see what God has in store for us next.