June was jammed packed to say the least! Please forgive me for being late. It has been difficult to blog from a tent and on the road. 😉
To start off the month, we went on a mission trip to Costa Rica. We and three other staff members flew down there on the 30th of May. One of our goals for the trip, was to touch base with a lot of our contacts there and discuss how we, Ride Nature, can support them in the future. We started off by driving up to a mountain village 45 minutes from the airport. This church had been in contact with us but we had never visited them before. They told us they had started a skating ministry recently and that kids all over the area had been coming to use their facility. They had 1000 kids one night and 500 another night! We were pumped to go see this! We drove and drove up this windy mountain road and started thinking how in the world is there a nice skate park up here. Finally, we come upon this huge structure with a sign in front for the church. We pulled up and saw a disco ball, heard music and saw kids roller skating. Turns out the “skate ministry” was roller skating all along! Not Ride Nature’s forte. But, sure enough, we joined in the skating circle that night after the church service. Nevertheless, we had a great conversation with the pastor and talked about in the future getting a church to sponsor us coming back to build some moveable ramps so they can use that as another form of outreach to the local kids. The open air building is massive and it would be a perfect location! After spending a day, there we loaded back up into our rental car and made the drive to the missionaries we mainly work with in the little town of Matapalo in Guanacaste. In Matapalo, we are working with a church called Casa Vida. The church is currently in the process of building an open air building on some land and the vision is to one day have a church, bible school, skate park, and dormitories all on this plot of land. We were able to come out to the property to clean up the grounds and paint the fence around their plot. It is slow moving because they are only able to do as much as they have funding for, but they are trusting in the Lord to provide all the finances to accomplish this vision.
Also on the schedule for our trip, was a skate contest at the end of the week. We held the contest at community center that has some ramps Ride Nature built last summer. The contest consisted of two groups, 12 and under and 13 and over. We had quite a few contestants and some guys really tore it up! Before we gave out the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, we had one of our staff, who is fluent in spanish, share his testimony and the gospel. Ride Nature’s intent when we hold a skate contest is never to come in tell the kids about Jesus give out boards and then leave. The reason we held a contest there is because Abner, a missionary we support, is there doing weekly bible studies with the kids who skate. Our intent was to come alongside his already running ministry to support him and draw in more kids he can disciple on a regular basis. As you know, if you read my last blog post, we also got to do some surfing while we were there. Abner is an awesome surfer and he gave us some pointers. We were able to surf a few days in between projects or get up early in the morning before we started the day. Both Ethan and I got to ride a few waves, but in addition to that, we also got tossed around in a saltwater washing machine several times! Praise the Lord he kept us all safe! We also had several other ministry opportunities by divine appointments the Lord orchestrated. One was with the woman who owns and runs the “Soda” restaurant we ate dinner at every night. Our staff member who speaks spanish, Frenchie, was able to talk with her and hear her story and struggles. We were then able to pray for her and her husband. She was so encouraged to have us pray for her in addition to supporting her with our nightly business. We also stumbled upon an awesome skate park about 30 minutes from where we were staying. The guys grabbed their boards and skated for a bit. We then ended up talking with the two young men who were there managing it. They were so surprised when we told them why we were there. Because it is a beach town and people come there to vacation, they said all Americans that come to Costa Rica are looking to party. The two guys said they are constantly asked where to find drugs and girls and how hard it is to stay away from that lifestyle. They both had grown up in the church and are familiar with Jesus but are not currently living out their faith. We were able to pray for them and encourage them. We also tried to hook them up with the missionaries we work with in their area. We are planning to go back to that skate park in August to do a skate contest and outreach.
There are many other stories, encounters and details to share but I’d tried to keep it brief and just give you the highlights. So, I will leave you with just a few other pictures of our adventures, beautiful landscapes, and sightings of Costa Rican wildlife. We were so blessed that the Lord worked out this last minute trip and we were able to see the work He has for us there. We will be returning the first week of August to bring a church team and some other individuals who want to join the trip. We are so excited to get back and continue supporting the local church and missionaries there. Please keep Casa Vida church, Abner, his wife Mckenna and their little girl Mila in your prayers. If you would like to support Abner and Mckenna, you can find their information at http://www.ridenature.org/costa-rica/
Stay tuned for Jam packed June – pt. 2: Summer Festivals!