Costa Rica MWS Trip Update- 5-16-12

It is hard to believe that already it’s been a week since we met for training on Messiah’s campus in Grantham, PA.  This trip has been amazing thus far!  Today was the end of our ‘ministry’ time here in Costa Rica, as tomorrow we will head to the Pacific Ocean for a little beach retreat before returning home to the US on Saturday morning.  We are not sure what our internet will be like at the hotel, so this may be it until we return Friday evening! We will keep you posted, not to worry.

So today, where to begin!  We began the day heading to a local prison where PTR Costa Rica visits two times a week to work with a group of young men, using soccer and basketball to build love and hope into their lives.  We were able to join the effort today as we filed into the prison, handed in our passports, and walked into the ‘gym.’ We huddled up for prayer together as the young men filed in, handcuffed together, escorted by various armed guards.  Our PTR Costa Rica contingent introduced us all, and then one of our team shared her testimony as they listened very respectfully.  We then split their group into various team for some 5v5 soccer, and our group did the same.  It was a blast, and the guys from the prison played very fair, and very gently as well, but still in a manner that showed their amazing skills!  We rotated through multiple games for an hour or so, mixing with them in the bleachers between games, but then their free time came to an end after the girls shared 2 songs with them, which they LOVED!

We were then taken on a sobering tour of the facility, hearing some heartbreaking stories.  Really, the prisoners in the prison could be any of us, but for the grace of God.  Many of the team expressed their surprise  in the guys who came into play against us- how they seemed gentle and respectful.  The truth is, we all make mistakes.   This experience is a great reminder to all of us about the forgiveness of Christ and how with out His truth in our lives, we could be there too.  The time in the prison was eye opening to us all I think, and  a good time with those we met, who were very grateful we spent the morning with them playing soccer and sharing.

After the tour we headed to the school where we would be doing some painting.  The tour put us a bit behind schedule, but since flexibility is key, we knew it would just have to be okay!  We gobbled up lunch upon reaching the school, and then broke out the paint!  We were to paint a ‘mural’/design on the wall surrounding the basketball court/soccer field, and also repaint the goal post and lines marking the cement floor.  Everyone jumped in with lots of energy, as the clock was ticking towards the time we would need to leave by to make it to our game!  We had about an hour and a half to get it done, and it was so cool to see everyone working at different things to help get this project done!  It turned out great, and hopefully it will bring some smiles to some children’s faces in the days, months, years to come.

We said our goodbyes and headed back to the house for a quick snack, before boarding the bus to head to our second and final game during our time here.  Equipo Arenal Coronado was our opponent, the current top women’s team in the country(not counting the National team of course!). The field was very nice, and it was clear from the start that this would be a tough match.  Both teams played hard, battling to a 1-1 tie.  Corinne scored in the first half, and then Arenal Coronado tied it up in the second half…after a very questionable foul call! Arenal’s goalkeeper made an amazing save that kept Messiah still at 1 goal,  and so the game ended in a draw.  Messiah did well against this very skilled and quick team.  What makes it even better is that Messiah spent the day working and even playing, and still managed an amazing effort.  After the game, one of our players shared her testimony, all prayed together, took various photos, and loaded back on the bus to head home for dinner.

It’s been a great week for sure, but we are clearly all feeling the effects of the schedule.  I couldn’t be more proud of this group of young women who have served as Jesus would serve, and have loved the children and opponents as He would have them love.  It’s been a blessing for me to be a part of.  As I mentioned earlier, we’ll be heading to the beach tomorrow, which means we could be ‘offline’ until our return on Friday!  We have a bit of a drive, so we’d appreciate your prayers for sure!

Thanks for your continued support, we are soaking up the time here in San Jose!  New pictures and video are up on the PTR Facebook page, be sure to check them out!

Pura vida!

Eric, for the team

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