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  • Writer's pictureLucas Kroeker

Pura Vida

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Life has been moving fast here in the country of the sloths! But I'm happy to be able to update you on how God is moving in Costa Rica and how He is using our team of young people to partner with Him! This update will be more of a general update on the team, ministry work and how God has moving through us. I will be posting a more in-depth and personal blog when I'm back in Italy after the school. Also will have more pictures. Enjoy! We arrived in Costa Rica jetlagged but excited to be where God has called us! The first four weeks we stayed at a church that had a school attached to it as well. The church is bilingual speaking Spanish and English, as well as the school. We got the privilege to sleep on air mattresses in the classrooms of the school because the school is on summer holidays. As a team we had an overflow of ministry opportunities. It was amazing, in praying for this missions trip we really felt like God wanted to let us serve in community and being in this spot was perfect for that! The time we had in that school was incredible, to share everything God did in and through us as a time would take a long time, but I'm excited to share some highlights from our time there and maybe update more in the future.

Highlights Our first full day we spent in Costa Rica we had some football (soccer) time with the youth and people from the church community. Wow who knew that Wednesday morning football with the local community would be so impactful. The first day we met so many young people and started to build connections instantly. Our time of soccer very quickly turned into inviting people to the table to enjoy food and community. Cooking for the group to share life around the table. We see so much in the Bible how Jesus just invited people to the table, to do life with one another. Something so special about playing football first and then coming together and eating at the table is that everyone is physically hungry but also spiritually hungry. The table was full of food but also Jesus, all of us being able to serve eachother food but also share Jesus with one another. When Jesus is your everything you can't do anything without Him, even eating. He is in all. It was a place of things coming alive and people leaving the table changed. Throughout the weeks of doing this as a missions team we were changed by the love of Christ shared with us by the people of Costa Rica and we saw them changed by us showing the Jesus as well. Another highlight was the Vacation Bible School (VBS) we were trusted with running for four days. We spent lots of time in preparation for this event, it's a huge blessing to show the love of Christ to young people in the community. We spent days evangelizing and handing out invitations to the community. When the time had come our preparation showed! We were singing Spanish songs and dancing with the kids, having another YWAM team come and out on a rodeo who were also in Costa Rica on their missions trip. The first day was the rodeo with the kids, then the next three days we had games, crafts and teachings sharing about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A fun challenge to teach children from the ages of 3-11 years old on these topics but they received it really well. Also this whole thing would not have been possible without the help from the local teenagers from the church and school translating and helping us out in the whole program! They are great! During our time in the church we were able to run Bible studies every thursday night. These were so encouraging and a time where we could go deeper with the community and be more vulnerable as well. As a group we were able to grow in how we share testimonies and sharing the Gospel. God really moved during these nights and I loved how we were able to just discuss the questions that aren't always asked. Praying for one another, sharing our struggles, being fed by the word of God and being open for the Holy Spirit to come and change us. A beautiful reflection of community. We were also able to minister to a man from the community who recently accepted Jesus as Lord! Which is amazing. He has been discipled by our friend Johnathon Abarca, a fellow Ywamer serving in his local community. Alberto is the name of the man that has been discipled. Coming to faith, Jonathon told him that Jesus wants to clean your heart and your life, inside and out! He is going for hip surgery and has a part of his house that can be rented out, so that he can gain income while recovering from surgery. We had the blessing to show him the love of Jesus by coming to his house and cleaning out all of his stuff. To show and share the transformational power that Jesus can do in our lives when we give our lives to him! He wants to fix us up inside and out! We were able as a group to host some worship nights. Inviting the young people of the community over for dinner and then a night of worship. To pray and encourage one another. The most impactful thing about this was seeing the hunger for Jesus in everyone there. People all in a room wanting one thing. To praise Jesus and serve Him with their whole lives, being filled by the Holy Spirit. I remember a friend sharing at the end of a worship night with tears "you guys are an answer to my prayers, to have young people here so in love with God. People who are crazy, you guys are crazy. But in a good way, the church needs to be more crazy for Jesus. This has been my prayer, you guys are an answer to my prayers." Multiple other amazing things happened during the worship nights but this was one of the most impactful.

Time to move to the next destination. After our time in the Union Church we spent a week in ywam Heredia. Terry, the base leader, spent the last 30 years in Costa Rica pioneering ywam in the country. The Heredia's base has an eco-sustainable farm and we had the opportunity to help out in milking the cow, move out some poop from the chicken's house and learn some basics about ecological farming.

During the week we had the opportunity to hand out bibles to houses and families in some remote areas in the region. A beautiful opportunity to pray for families and bring light, joy and the perfume of Jesus among those streets. Ending Bible poverty starts with a house receiving a Bible and a prayer on a normal morning, we are excited to be able to partner with God and all the other christian in this big plan! During this week we had a pastoral visit: Chasity, our school leader, and Caroline, part of the staff, stayed with us for a week to check in with each one of us through 1on1's and by spending some quality time all together as a team. It was such a blessing having two familiar faces joining us in this time. A moment to look back on what God has being doing in the first part of outreach and realizing how much we were able to grow closer together as a team. My first goal has been always seeing all of the students and myself as well being empowered to walk this journey of life with God shining his glory everywhere and to discover more about our identity in Christ. I found myself and each of these beautiful people that I'm traveling with being transformed by God's love as we've been experiencing the transformational power of the cross giving new purpose to people around us. Terry during one of our meeting told me that the most important thing that he learned from farming is that God's creation is made in a perfect way. Nothing is to be thrown away, even what we consider trash can be re-used as compost for then be a nutrition for all the new plants. Everything has a reason to be there, everything has a purpose and everything can be use and in my mind everyone can be used for God's glory!

After this refreshing week we were ready for our last destination: Limón a region on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica to work with Teen challenge. The organization offers rehabilitation through a 1 year program to help people to get out of addictions of all kinds (alcoholism, drugs, crime, prostitution). On this last part of outreach we have the opportunity to bring with us CJ a ywamer that did her DTS in Norway in 2020 but due to covid wasn't able to experience outreach. She have been living in Costa Rica for almost her whole life and we needed a translator for our last part so we invited her to be part of the team. What a blessing has been to welcome her in our team!

Before leaving San Jose we decided to have a night of evangelism in the streets downtown the city from 8pm to 2am. One of the leader of Teen challenge in Costa Rica, Pastor Max, with a couple of staffs lead and instructed us for the night. I got to share the love of Jesus with so many people and prayed over them. That night we saw the darkness tremble and I realized how much the light is powerful and cannot be overcome. LIFE IN THE JUNGLE After our day in San José we traveled to the men's rehab center in Limón. We've been living in the jungle the past 2 weeks in a wooden building in which the only walls are the one around bathrooms and dorms. There is so much to learn in the jungle that I could not be able to learn in my own house inside my comfort zone! All these guys that we live with now have impacted our lives by showing us what can happen when they left the flesh addictions and start being addicted to God's presence. On the night when we come all to together in the house for a time of worship & sharing I realized that with all our stories and different backgrounds we express something beautiful about God's creation. We can have nothing in common still we can be unified by the one Spirit that we carry. We were all once lost and now we are found, these former drug addicts are now my brother's through Christ, praise God! Armando is one of the guys that was addicted to crack and alcohol for 20 years of his life, living on the streets and sleeping on cardboard. Now he's one of the leader of the center and with his life he inspires the other guys to search for God. One of the ministry that I enjoyed a lot was going out under the rain bringing bibles to the indigenous areas around and seeing people giving their life to Christ after our visit. Couple days ago we went back to spend a evening in downtown San Jose to reach more people and before going out on the street we prayed and worshiped all together. During this intimate time of fellowship with the Holy Spirit I realized the real privilege that I have to spend time in prayer with a community of young - crazy, in fire, fool for Jesus - people!I

I hope you enjoyed! Glory to God. Looking forward to updating more in the near future! -Blessings, Lucas

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