The second trip of my Spring was to a small town called San Fernando with 2 amazing teams. One team was from Salina, Kansas, and the other team was from GOOD OLE ROCKY TOP – Knoxville, TN! Both teams were awesome. The Kansas team chose to stay at a hotel -thank y’all very much! So, some of the staff (including myself and Eli) got to stay at a hotel that week! WHAT?!?! It was great… especially for this nervous momma for her baby’s lungs.
These 2 teams grabbed hold of the vision of PPM, the ministries, and the pastor like I have NEVER seen before. They wanted more time with Pastor Emmanuel to learn more about him, his heart, and his vision. They wanted to figure out how to best support him and serve alongside him. They loved him, honored him, and invested in him in a very rare way. I’m grateful for them!
This trip was PACKED FULL of amazing ministries. Really… it was a busy, amazing week. It’s going to be hard to put this one into words, but I have to try.
First, meet Pastor Emmanuel… he’s the one in the middle.
I have heard about Pastor Emmanuel since Jacob and I started with PPM. This man is Jacob’s favorite pastor. He absolutely loves him. So, until this trip I had not had the pleasure of meeting him because Jacob hogged all the trips to this location. I couldn’t wait to meet him, his wife Maricel, and his son Kevin because of all the amazing things I had heard.
He didn’t disappoint. He is an incredible man who loves people and his community in a tangible way… more than I’ve ever seen before. His story is a crazy one! He and his wife used to be bartenders in a bar he owned on, what is now, the church property. They lived in the lifestyle of drinking, partying, and all that comes with that. They didn’t know Jesus and didn’t care. THEN, their son, Kevin, at 4-years-old started going to church. He started out by going at times with his grandmother, and that developed into a faith and love of church of his own. He loved it. He was saved and tried to get his parents to tag along with him to church. They refused at first. Then, because good parents will eventually go to something to see what their kids are so passionate about… they went. During this time, many women came to this bar, and eventually one of them caught Emmanuel’s attention. He left his wife. Maricel hadn’t been walking with God but returned and began praying for her estranged husband, and felt God say He would restore their family. And He did. Emanuel found the Lord and came back. They knew they had to get rid of the bar. So, in that very spot, they started a small church. Everyone told them they wouldn’t survive without the income from the restaurant, but many of those people are now members of the church. Their faith is what they have built everything on. The impact they have made on their community is so extremely evident!
So, back to the trip. Check out this awesome-ness:
Here’s the team. They may be small in number, but they were big in love and passion for people!
One of most amazing ministries many of our teams are taking part in this year is food distribution. Taking food and essentials to families within the community and then sharing the Gospel, praying with them, and just listening to them… that’s good stuff.
I didn’t know this, but Pastor has many dreams from his community and 2 of those dreams were giving groceries to families in San Fernando AND starting a feeding program from his church. We were able to be the catalyst for BOTH of these dreams! Yahoo!
These teams were able to buy and deliver groceries for 40 families!
We were also able to fund and host a feeding program one night for the whole community. Over 110 people came!! WOWZERS!
I knew Pastor was so excited and thankful when he wouldn’t stop taking pictures!! Haha!
Such an incredible evening!
These teams also did children’s ministry at a local school each morning.
They had a Bible story, craft, games, and science everyday. One day, they even had FAKE SNOW!!! How awesome! These kids (and our staff) have never seen snow before. They were pumped. I actually think our staff was more excited than the kids. Ha!
It was a blast. The kids, teachers, and even the director had a great time.
Soccer at the field was also a hit! Soccer is the key to all Costa Ricans’ hearts… and good Pinto (rice and beans). So, when you bring a new soccer ball out, you can instantly break walls and build relationships.
The team also hosted a movie night. AWESOME! The closest movie theater is about 3-4 hours away, so going to a movie is not usually possible. So, if you show a movie at a church, people will come and feel comfortable in the building, see the love of the people, have fun watching the movie, and want to come back!
The team showed “Kung Fu Panda” and related it to the Holy Spirit inside of us making us how we are destined to be. Pretty cool! The church was packed out!
What a great week! We got to close out the week with prayers over the church. I love this picture… 3 churches coming together in the name of Jesus. Yes.
Here’s some random pictures from the week that I have to share, because they are awesome:
So thankful mom was able to stay for 2 weeks with us! Grann Kare in Costa Rica is the best! She got to participate in the ministries more during this week and still hang out with the Chunky Love.
Love these people! Our staff (minus Ciri and Josh) with Pastor and Maricel at lunch!
Y’all… I don’t know what to say. This was an outfit given to Eli by our of our favorite Ticas (Costa Rican girls), but I just can’t take him seriously like this. He looks like a RED-NECK to the 100th degree!
The life of a missionary babe.
And this lady! She was my mentor and so much more through college. I have the privilege of teaching Bible study with her… but learned more than I could have even fathom signing up to help. Her family decided to move to Costa Rica as missionaries months ago and just HAPPENED to end up going to Pastor Emmanuel’s church, serving there, loving the people there, and being such a light in that community. I am so thankful for her, her influence on me and everyone around her, and that she was obedient in going… even when it’s hard! So glad I got to see her for a little while and hug her neck!
Wow… God is good.