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Team Costa Rica's Reflections from Day 5: What the Love of God Does

Tuesday we went to serve at Altura (Heights) Ministries for children, Remendante (Mending) Ministries for Women, and Refuge a Men’s rehabilitation program. They served us an authentic Costa Rican breakfast along with lunch and home made cake in the afternoon. Their program is blessed with a trained chef. Our lady leaders and two of our girls spent the morning with the women in the rehab program sharing personal testimonies with each other. Learning that even though we live in different places in the world we share similar struggles and disappointments, yet the same hope and the same God. It was uplifting and encouraging. We finished our time together by painting their nails and giving them facials which for many was their very first one.

While serving the women upstairs, our students were downstairs creating joyful noise, singing and dancing with all the children. They did crafts, a Bible study, and games.

Our amazing Coach Doug, Jack, Caiden and Carter along with Ellie as our interpreter went next door to the Refuge center to bring a message of encouragement: making every day count. These men struggled with drug addictions to gang violence. 

In the afternoon the JRHS leaders went on a prayer visit to a shanty home on the train tracks. We brought food and clothing and prayed with a struggling family whose daughter had been rescued from train tack trafficking by the Alturus program and is now at the top of her class and has earned a college scholarship. 

In the evening the students played a competitive soccer game with the men from the Refuge ministry and they kicked our butt.


Reflections Alturas:

"Tuesday morning we traveled to the community of Pavas. We went to serve the younger children with Alturas ministry. It was so enlightening to see the younger kids who had so little in such an impoverished community; smile and dance like they were the happiest kids in the world. The stories they shared about Pavas and the violence within the community had me in disbelief. It made me realize truly how lucky I am to live in a safe community. The leaders were so welcoming towards us, and they served us the best cappuccino and cake.  It was such an incredible, and impactful day of being with the kids. The whole experience floored me with how far a simple action of love meant to these kids. And how much love they also wanted to give in return. Being at Alturas gave me hope to truly see how God is moving, and making real positive changes within these communities." ~ Alyssa B. 

Reflections Rehab:

"The guys and I went to the Refuge men’s ministry to present a devotion. The men that were at this ministry were all current or former drug addicts, gang members, as well as alcoholics. The refuge is an eight month program that rescues men out of gangs who live in the Pavas community.

Pastor Cristian fearlessly leads the men in the word and in learning trades so that they can reassociate themselves into society. We shared with them Romans 6 and 7, how if we trust in Christ,  have been buried, have been set free from sin, and will be raised with Christ. We encouraged them to continue in the faith and to fight against sin. We also made a bond with these men over soccer or, as they call it,  futbol. They then challenged us to a game of futsol futbol, which is 5v5 soccer on a small indoor turf field with a smaller but weighted ball. Just about everyone on our trip went and about half of us played. The game was really fun and it allowed us to let out some energy and bond in community with each other, as well as with the men who we previously ministered too. I never thought upon first seeing these men that we would end up becoming best friends over soccer and making such a strong connection with them over sports as well as our unity in Christ." ~Carter Woodrow 

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