Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Backpack Sucks

This week, although very loosely scheduled, weighed pretty heavy on me. Our topic for lecture was intimacy with God. Sounds simple, right? It is; God is love, and everything He does is motivated by love. His desire is for us to know Him. In Hebrew, the word “know” is yada. This word is so intense; it is usually used to describe the relationship between a husband and wife. It’s so rich with meaning:

“…an intensive intimate and experiential involvement that exceeds mere cognitive awareness. Yada encompasses contact, trust, intimacy and mutuality in the context of an ongoing and deepening relationship.”
-Vanessa Pavely (who stole this from someone else, I'm assuming)

Wow. So this is what God wants for me?

So, why the heaviness? I honestly don’t want to go too much into it, but I will say this: the knowledge of God’s love and His desire for intimacy with collided full force with my desire for the love of a woman. It made me realize that I probably desire a woman’s affections more than I desire God’s unconditional love, and I never really realized that fully until now. What was most disturbing is that the hunger I feel, I know in reality, can only be filled by the Lord. I know He is the only thing that is faithful, and the only thing that can satisfy. Even still, I try to fill it with something lesser, something imperfect and fickle, but something that is tangible and familiar. That tension between what is true and what I feel is a war inside me. Pray for clarity and focus as I try to open my heart to the Lord.

One thing we did this week a side from class was hear about our options for Outreach. The eighteen of us will split into two teams which will go to either Central or South America, specifically to Peru and Bolivia. That’s kind of exciting, isn’t it? We were to request which one we’d want to go to, and the leaders would pray about it and tell us sometime this week where we’d be going. We had to explain our choice, too…if we had a vision, or felt like God was telling us to pick a certain option. I didn’t really feel particularly led in any direction, so I flipped a coin five times (heads for South, tails for Central) and got South America as my option. Eventually, I found out that I will in fact be headed South America for the summer!

Friday was our monthly base clean-up. Everyone had to work on cleaning the base from 9am until 4pm. Some people were doing yard work, or kitchen work, or construction work. Some people were working on the bathrooms, and washing the cars outside. I had the privilege of retrieving rocks from the river surrounding the base to fill this huge hole someone dug in the ground. What a random job! Clad in rain boots and rubber gloves, new friend Danish friend Lennart and I assisted one of our Costa Rican leaders, Luis, in bringing large stones up from the river onto the bridge and into a wheel barrel. I guess they were working on some plumbing outside and they needed to cover the pipes with rocks before they could fill it with dirt again. I don’t really know. It was fun, though. Gross. But fun.

While we were tossing the stones on to the bridge, I accidentally missed and threw this huge rock into some exposed pipes which immediately shattered upon impact. Oops. It was no big deal, really…the construction guys fixed it, but we didn’t have running water for like three hours. I was pretty embarrassed at first, but it was mostly really funny. Lennart was having a ball.

I went on my first backpacking trip this weekend! Half of the DTS went surfing in Jaco, while we went to the little town of Orosi, which is an hour bus ride southeast of San Jose. We almost lost our German friend, Robin, because he stepped off the bus for a second to get out of someone’s way and the bus started driving away. We yelled for them to wait, and we got him back on. His European courtesy had almost become a disadvantage. So funny.

Orosi was gorgeous! It’s in a valley surrounded by these unbelievably green mountains. Judging by the numerous hostels and souvenir shops we passed by on the street, I guessed that this was a popular stop for backpackers. We stayed in a hostel on the edge of town, and basically had it all to ourselves. This time of year, according to our Dutch landlord, is normally really slow for them.

There was only one other person staying there; a woman from Seattle named Melissa who moved to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. She was in her late thirties, single and just quit her job as an art teacher to travel; she was “following her intuition”. Melissa was a little strange, but very sweet, and we got to cook for her and invite her to hang out with us. Before we eventually parted ways, we got to pray for her, which she eagerly invited.

Our first night at the hostel we just relaxed together; unpacked, had an awesome dinner at this restaurant down the street, sang some worship songs, and looked at the local attractions in this tourist magazine. During dinner, I was able to speak entirely in Spanish for 30 minutes straight with my peers. God’s really blessed my tongue on this trip. We went back to the hostel after that. I liked our rooms because they had clean blankets and sheets for us to use. It was nice to not sleep in a sleeping bag for a few days. Before we went to bed, however, we decided to hike this trail known for its impeccable views of the valley.

We made breakfast the next morning (after being roused by this annoying rooster and waking up with a cat in my bed) packed our lunch for the day and set out for the mountain. As we trekked out of the town and towards the mountain, one of the dogs from the hostel decided to follow us the whole way. At the base of the mountain was a swimming hole, where we spent some time jumping off rocks and relaxing in the cool water. I’m so glad we did, because it was unbelievably hot that day. After that, we continued up the mountain for about six hours. The scenery was pretty average until we leveled out, then we got to see some pretty spectacular views. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera…so I have nothing to show for it.

We walked up and down the mountain for a total of six hours, and accidentally came out of the trail about 3 kilometers away from Orosi. We tried to hitchhike back to town, but with no success. We enjoyed our walk back, anyway, despite our weariness. We made dinner when we got back to the hostel, and toured a coffee farm the next day before returning home.

Praise reports:
-I can speak Spanish! Like I said earlier, my skills are improving so much. I've been able to connect a lot more with my peers who don't speak English, and even the Costa Rican kitchen staff when I wash the dishes after dinner. I'm feeling really confident in my ability to communicate.
-I got my first choice for outreach. I'll be going to Peru and Bolivia in a couple months. We're not sure what we're gonna do specifically, or where we're gonna go, but we're going.
-I love my new friends here. We're all really united, and becoming really close with one another.

Prayer Requests
-Pray for God to work in my heart. I feel myself loosing focus. Pray that He captures my heart above all the other things distracting me.
-Pray for guidance as we figure out where to go in Peru and Bolivia, and what ministries God wants us to be a part of.
- Pray for financial provision. Our trip to South America is going to cost a little more than the original price, and a lot of my peers are short on money still. If you feel led to donate to YWAM, there's a link below that I can use to collect funds for our mission. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated.

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