Words from Emma

iPhone journal entry provided by Emma H

We woke up, super early. About 6:45 headed to breakfast, might I add being the first ones there and ready to go. (This is a big deal, we are late to everything haha) today we are heading to church and to do a walking tour of Costa Rica. due to their culture, all the girls are wearing long skirts. it’s actually really cool to see everyone in such a different light. the scenery is breathtaking. maybe not because it’s the most clean and upscale place, but because it’s so different. it’s so out of the normal for me and out of my comfort zone. looking around and having everything be different from my everyday point of view, is something that just makes you look a little closer and be a little more engaged. Knowing God reaches all the way here beyond my little johns creek bubble is something that just brings joy to my heart. of course I already knew this, but seeing it for myself is an incredible feeling.

Heading to church was our first experience getting to see all of the city. I couldn’t stop looking out the window seeing all of the scenery. the buildings are so different than what we see in the u.s. But then the nature too is beautiful. the mountains and the fog in the morning are a sight too good for a picture.

We headed to the market next. where it was constant movement with everyone there. it was a routine for the people there. they knew what they wanted, where it was, and how to obtain us. for us, it was nothing of the norm. our Costa Rican leaders challenged us to find a list of fruits. while this may seem a simple task, it was entirely difficult trying to complete when we were not a regular. we knew very little Spanish and trying to communicate with the vendors was complicated. some were nicer than others. some would slow down and talk through it with us while some didn’t really want to give us the time of day. eventually we got all the fruit we needed. we got to try all the fruit which was so cool. it was all so good and so different tasting. it was different to need so much help. we couldn’t do much for ourselves besides attempt to communicate to ask for help. looking around we all started to notice we were the minority. it’s a little intimidating and scary but it’s beyond my comfort zone and that’s exactly where I asked God to take me.

Next we headed to church. it’s called Openhouse here in Costa Rica. It’s a strategic partner church for north point. they have all the same programs. upstreet, transit, insideout. but it’s much smaller. it’s not as developed, as they do not even have a building to call their own yet. they hold their services at a hotel right now.

Getting to see all the small rooms for the different programs was eye-opening. north point was there once. we were that small once. but as long as you invest, invite, and really reach the unreached, it can become north point. they’re all so passionate about growing and expanding. they have the same hearts as us. the same mission, the same passion. that fire is inside of all of us, it’s a fire God sets.

The service itself was very similar to a north point service. the loud, concert like worship, and the sermon that comes off more as a conversation with an old friend. of course for us, we had a translator speaking to us through headphones which made it hard to keep up. For me personally, I couldn’t stop just looking around in awe of the things God was doing in Costa Rica rather than the sermon itself. but I do know he told the story of David and Goliath. which for us on this trip is a pretty good story to hear. we go at this nervous and not sure what’s in store, but with God on our side, we can be fearless and brave. and that’s what we’re doing. we are just as broken and imperfect as the people we are serving, but we are granted an opportunity and with God, we can take it with bravery and fearlessly.

We headed to lunch at the hotel, had a little free time to change and just kinda relaxed for a second. then we headed out on the busses to do a walking tour of San Jose. we walked around while our Costa Rican leaders told us all the history. I couldn’t help but to keep thinking to myself how sad it was to see how run down such a beautiful place was. they tell you this all the time before you head out on the trip, but until you see if for yourself, it’s not really real. so much of the downtown was run down, vandalized or falling apart. and we haven’t even gotten to the places we are going to serve?? wow what a sight we must be in store for tomorrow. it’s time to try to mentally prepare for how much this place is really struggling and the fact that we are going to be the light of hope for the people of the area.

After walking we headed to a souvenir shop where we experienced bargaining with the Costa Rican vendors. it was exciting attempting to speak and communicate with them in order to get what you wanted. we headed to the hotel next to get dinner.

After dinner, we sang some worship songs. which lemme tell ya, they were some good pump up songs. after this we sat together as a group and let Ben speak some real truth into us heading into not only this week, but our senior year. something he said was “are you going to step up or step back?” And this was a lot deeper than it seems. are you ready to step up to the opportunity God has for you? are you ready to let fear go and go all in? God’s plan is the best plan, but fear becomes an obstacle in the way of going all in with God. we learned about the story of Joshua and Caleb. he compared the difference in the two stories being told to Moses. (to check out these stories check out numbers in that cool thing called the bible) 10 of the 12 came back telling everyone all about the obstacles they were going to face, while Joshua and Caleb came back telling everyone about the amazing God they were blessed with. so that’s the question. what’s your report? are you going to make your report about the challenges in life or keep the focus on God? People of strong faith tell their problems how big their God is, while people of weak faith tell God how big their problems are. You can choose to see God in all circumstances. But just because you see God doesn’t mean everything is going to go your way, he promises us hard times, but also promises to be there through it all.

This is my prayer for the year. I want to be a person of strong faith, I want to tell my problems that they are insignificant because my God is for me. As for this week, I am so excited to see what’s in store. We start working tomorrow. I hope to be the hope for these kids. To be the light. I want to show them the joy that comes from Jesus. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me and my team. I not only want God to come in and wreck the kids, I want him to wreck my own heart and those of my team members. From here, I want to take this home. I don’t want this fire to end. i want to take the passion we have here and bring it home. Continuing to spread the love and joy that comes from Jesus. It doesn’t have to end here. But this is just the beginning.

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