International Ministries

Our many-ness becomes one-ness

November 5, 2009 Journal
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 “When we test drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness- Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are, he raises us to what he is. “ 1 Corinthians 10:15-18 The Message

The other day someone asked us what a typical day looked like for us living in Costa Rica.  We laughed and said that we don’t know what a typical would be like if we had one. The following are a few examples of what our days have looked like lately. 
Two Sundays ago I had the blessing of sharing communion with a variety of loved ones in the First Baptist Church in Costa Rica, located on the Caribbean coast of Limon.  I preached.  My friend Hope, shared why she decided to leave her home in California to spend three months here working in a slum and living with a Costa Rican family. Her Costa Rican “mom” Alba, thanked the church for their prayers and financial support towards the ministry she and her recently deceased husband Rigoberto started 8 years ago and that she carries on in his absence. Though we come from very different cultures and experiences we celebrated our one-ness in Christ.
Last week we had the blessing of hosting seven pastor/ leaders from the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers region as they learned what God is doing in and through the churches here.  Serving as translators, orienteers and guides, we helped build bridges of friendship and partnership between our Costa Rican colleagues and their North American counterparts.  Though they serve in very different contexts, they found commonalities in their work, worries and dreams.  Their many-ness became one-ness as they listened to each others’ stories and drew closer to the Christ that called them all.
This Saturday we spent the day with a group of Costa Rican pastors and seminary students at an organic farm in the hills overlooking San Jose.  The farm is the result of a dream that one of our pastors and his wife had to offer a place of refuge and prayer for their friends and church groups free of charge. Getting to and from the farm was an adventure in itself as we traveled over muddy roads and near 100-foot drop offs. Since one of the cars couldn’t make it all the way to the farm and space for misplaced passengers needed to be made in the other cars, I hiked the rest of the way to the farm alongside one of our seminary students who came dressed in a skirt and heels. I couldn’t believe that she would come to a picnic in the country dressed as if she were going to preach, but as I spent time listening to her story she shared that she didn’t own any jeans or tennis shoes. I was humbled as she held onto my arm and I learned to walk in her shoes.  
Last night we hoped to bless a group of 12 tired friends as we served them supper and heard how they have seen Christ in the people and community of La Carpio. Hope, from the story above, helped organize a group from her home church in Hacienda Heights where her Dad serves as pastor, to help Alba finish a new building that will be used for the kid’s club ministry.  
Today I spent the day out in La Carpio. I held ladders, attached metal framing, counted out 500 metal screws at the hardware store, chatted with street kids, encouraged cross-cultural communication, was called a gringa more than once by school kids passing by, was asked by a random neighbor to give money to fix her “ranchito” or tin shack that was in disrepair, ate fresh warm tortillas with salty cheese, drank coffee, took pictures, sat in rush hour traffic, played pool toy swordfights with my son after dinner, washed dishes and wrote this update. 
Even though our typical days never look the same, each one is filled with a variety of blessing as we are built up into Christ. Thank you for your faithful friendship, prayers and support that allow us to experience new, though not typical, things everyday.
Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring,