Costa Rica Update #3 March 17, 2010

Hard to believe it is Tuesday night and we have only been here for 3 days. The team feels like we have been here for several weeks. It has been very warm, made evident by the red arms, necks and legs. Yes, there is some sunburn on the team, but we are grateful for the heat and dry weather to allow us to run volleyball clinics outside. Yesterday (Monday) morning and this morning we were at a school of 1,500 kids in a marginalized zone. We ran two 80-minute clinics for 210 third graders Monday morning and two 80-minute clinics for 215 sixth graders today. Volleyballs were flying everywhere and there were kids all over the place, but we had a great time loving on the kids for that time, sharing volleyball skills and our personal relationship with Christ. The administration and teachers were very hospitable and even fed us a snack in between clinics. It was a great time with the kids and it was evident that they are often passed over for other schools when it comes time to give attention to kids.
Monday afternoon we went up into the mountains and ran a clinic for 18 kids in a foster home. There is ongoing ministry there through another sports ministry here in Costa Rica, so we partnered with them and had a great time with these kids who are being cared for and loved while their families work through personal challenges. It was a long, yet beautiful drive up into the mountains.
Monday evening the ladies played UCR (University of Costa Rica) at the UCR campus. They played several friendly sets before sharing testimonies. The team has really enjoyed playing these matches and getting to know fellow volleyball players. There are some very good players and teams here!
Tuesday afternoon we went to a women’s detention center where one of our partner churches has weekly Bible studies with the ladies. The ladies from the detention center had their own team and really wanted to match their best with our best. After three sets the teams were mixed up so that the ladies could interact on a different level together. Afterwards two players shared their testimonies and both teams sang songs for each other. Every lady in that detention center has a story, has a need for Jesus, and it broke our hearts to hear some of their stories! We have much to be thankful for … His grace, mercy, forgiveness, love …!!! This was certainly a highlight for our team! Praise the Lord for the opportunity to be there and to share Christ!
After the detention center the ladies played another match at UNED, another university across town. There were actually some recognizable faces from Sunday’s match, which was encouraging as it allowed us to interact with familiar faces and continue to build relationships. The ladies played for two hours before the men’s team from UNED took the court, at which time the ladies moved into a classroom and shared two testimonies.
We continue to work through “Commitment” according to Acts and have had great discussions as a team. We praise the Lord for opening doors and opening hearts, including our own, these first four days! Thanks for praying for us and for thinking of us as we are here in Costa Rica! Thanks so much for being a part of the team!
We are excited about our day tomorrow as we will be cleaning and painting a local church up in the mountains that runs a food kitchen for kids off the street. It is the same place we were at Saturday night for the youth service. The team is really excited to serve in a different way tomorrow!

Blessings in Christ,

Chico Schlonecker

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