I am not sure how many of you remember the story of our trip to Costa Rica in 2005. That was long before this little space existed in Cyberspace. We had some sort of web page that we tried to update, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was, it's probably still in the bowels of the internet somewhere.
But here's what I am getting to. When we were here in the summer of 2005, we took a trip up the mountains. This is not typically where tourists head, but we wanted to pretend that we could do things on our own. We found a cloud rain forest canopy tour in our Lonely Planet guide book, and a cheap ($14 a night) hotel that had hot water. And we went. We hired a taxi to take us up towards the canopy tour, but decided to walk in most of the way.
It was there in the mountains where God planted this idea of Christian Camping in Latin America. As we walked we joked, "Ha, wouldn't it be funny if this place was closed? hahahah." And then we got there. Yeah, closed. Completely. But God used that trip. It was the next step. The next piece of the puzzle.
This last weekend, we had the opportunity to head back into the mountains. We spent a great couple of days at Campamento La Cumbre. Noah and I looked at each other with wide eyes and mouths open as we drove past the road we walked where God spoke to us. Yeah, it is like a half hour from La Cumbre! What in the world! Only God does stuff like that!
We were invited to observe the weekend by the director, a Costa Rican woman named Silenia, who shares an excitement for sharing Jesus in the context of the amazing outdoors and through the unique aspects of camp. She was so gracious to spend so much time with us, talking about how she deals with different aspects of camp. It was so encouraging to hear that so many of the lessons that we learned about Camping while we were in the United States can and do translate to Latin America.
We not only got to observe what was going on with the campers, but how Silenia works with her volunteers, the conversations behind the scenes, you know, the real camp. The group that was out for the weekend was a group of very at risk teens from San Jose. These were kids that were part of a program to show them Jesus and to help them make the right choices in the midst of terrible home lives, drugs, alcohol and all the other junk the world has to 'offer'. These kids had earned the right to come to camp that weekend and it was such a beautiful thing to watch them get to play. Just play and be kids. And learn about Jesus in the midst of the playing. Silenia mentioned that to them, this is like Disneyland.
We saw Costa Rican college age kids 'give up' a weekend to come and work at camp for nothing. They come because they love Campamento and they have caught the vision for what God is doing through La Cumbre. I got excited to watch them work with the campers and realize that this can happen in Honduras too!
I filled up a good two or three pages worth of thoughts, observations, and ideas in my journal. And did I mention that this whole weekend was in Spanish? Yeah, there were a few other English speakers with us, but all our conversations with Silenia were in Spanish, Noah facilitated a team building activity in Spanish, I helped run a relay race station in Spanish, and we were able to have conversations with different campers and volunteers in Spanish! Sure my verbs weren't always right, but I got the point across!
Is this the look of a happy man or what? It's so fun to see Noah doing what God made him for, playing with kids in the mountains of Latin America, sharing a very real Gospel with them.
And so now we are back in the city. Last night we both sighed a little when we heard the car alarms go off and the bus roar by our house. But what a refreshing, encouraging weekend it was in the mountains!