There is great joy in friendship, and great sadness in saying goodbye. We joined our Tico friends for a worship service filled with songs in both English and Spanish on Sunday morning. Fitting for the culmination of a week of Vacation Bible School, the focus of the service was on children, complete with a puppet show reinforcing the lessons learned over the past several days. The children performed for their parents and the congregation the new songs they learned, and they recited John 10:10b, the Bible verse of the week: “I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance.” Two members of our group, Kayla and Marta, shared their gift of music, playing a lovely piano/flute duet.
Our group was called forward toward the end of the service, and we were presented with gifts of appreciation by the children of the church. Then ALL of the kids from escuelita came up and gave us hugs and kisses and thanked us for the week we spent with them. Several members of our sister church then prayed over us for safe travels on the way home, giving thanks to God for the many years of our friendship. The children were then called forward to come and pick up the photos in the frames that they decorated during craft time on Friday. After that, everyone was served a delicious lunch of arroz con pollo y frijoles negros (rice with chicken and black beans). What a huge blessing! We feel so loved and accepted here, and we were told many times that we are all an extended family in Christ.
But the fun was just beginning! A water park was set up in the church yard and the park: there was a slip ‘n slide set up and two swimming pools, one placed strategically at the bottom of a slide. All of the kids had a blast getting sopping wet as they ran, splashed, played, and giggled. How much fun was that?!?
After an emotional time of hugs, hugs, MORE hugs, and teary goodbyes (not goodbye forever, just “until later,” I was reminded), the adults headed back to the Hotel Robledal to meet with ABC missionary, Ruth Mooney, who was instrumental in helping to establish our sister church relationship. We enjoyed a fun visit with her, and she was very excited to hear about our week. We headed back to our favorite restaurant, Cuba Pizza, for dinner with Ruth. She shared with us lots of interesting information about Costa Rica, and what it’s like to live here.
Our youth (and Emily) stayed behind at our sister church to help clean up the church, enjoyed a grilled cheese snack, and made plans for yet another game of fútbol that night. They returned wet, dirty, sweaty, and filled with happiness over the time they got to spend with friends old and new, just in time for a quick shower before the Jensen family headed to the airport for their flight home.
Bev and Ted left early this morning, and Ryan left shortly after breakfast. There are only three of us left, and we’ll be leaving for the airport shortly. Please pray for safe travel for all of us as we make our way back to the States.
Thank your for your prayers, your love, and your support. We have been blessed by the time we’ve spent here serving alongside our family in Costa Rica. ¡Hasta luego! More reflections and photos to come.