Eight was a magic number
Mission Team 2018 from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hickory, just returned from eight days in Costa Rica building on their more than ten-year relationship with ILCO staff (Iglasia Luturana Costarricense) and reconnecting with members in three of its faith communities.
First, our group of eight walked and talked with members of La Carpio, a faith community outside of San José that ministers primarily to Nicaraguan immigrants. We played with, prayed with, and created memories for the children attending Casa abierta, the remaining daycare run by ILCO. As we exchanged hugs and giggles and captured their smiles in photos, we were reminded of Jesus’s admonition that “whomever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17) The fabric and sewing supplies that we brought to participants in the women’s program was a small contribution to them toward self-sufficiency.
Although the pouring rain disrupted our planned outdoor activities at El Jardin, a small rural community near Puerto Viejo, the children came running to participate in the revised activities and the painting of THEIR church. Boys and girls, as young as eight, eagerly learned to handle rollers and brushes as the concrete walls of THEIR worship space turned from gray into sky blue, a reminder for us of that Carolina blue skies cover all of us.
It was at Guatuso among the Maleku people where we all felt the universality of God’s presence most clearly. The ancestors of these indigenous people once lived on thousands of acres of land but their land, homes and ancestor’s lives were claimed for rubber harvesting in the past and now for pineapple growing. Their stories of pain and loss touched our hearts and their native art, traditions and the forests they are reclaiming moved us with their beauty and hope for the future.
Returning home, we reflect on how the Holy Spirit unites all people, and how we must walk along with those who are different from us in order to be “una iglasia sin parades” (a church without walls).