Thursday, May 19, 2011

View From Above

Our speaker this week was the founder of the base, Giacomo Coghi. He talked about having a Biblical worldview, or as PCC refers to it, a kingdom perspective. As Christ-Followers, we need to see ourselves as citizens of Heaven. When we come into the family of God, we also enter in to a new system of society. In light of our “naturalization” to this new kingdom, we inevitably have to adopt new standards to live by. This week we talked about what God values, in contrast to what the world values. We can see what God values through looking at what He commands of us; His heart is revealed in the things He wants us to do.

Why does He tell us not to covet our neighbor’s wife (or his other stuff)? Because He wants us to be content with what we have. Why does He say not to lie? Because God values authenticity. Why did Jesus tell Peter he would be a fisher of men? Because people matter to God, and that’s what He wants us to focus on. It’s so interesting looking at the core of what God tells us. There’s so much more going on that just what we read with our eyes. These commands are the fruits of something deeper inside God’s heart. In addition to our studies of the Bible, we tried to analyze various social problems through the lens of a biblical worldview. Worldview drives societies. For example, human trafficking is a fruit of the belief that people are commodities, rather than individuals created in God’s image. Racism and segregation are fruits of the idea that some people are better than others. It was a very interesting, thought provoking week. The idea that “a tree is known by its fruit” makes me want to discover what other roots lie beneath the surface of society.

Giacomo presented us with a very striking, but simple, question at the beginning of the week: why are we here? After showing us this awesome slideshow which documented 50 years of YWAM adventures happening all over the world, our base leader challenged us to think about what God might have for us here in San Jose. Good question, don’t you think? God obviously brought me here. He confirmed it time and again that I was supposed to come; everything worked out as it was supposed to; He paved the way and provided everything as needed. But…why? Why did He go to such lengths to bring me to this little country? How will these few months away from home shape the rest of my life? What treasures has God hidden for me? What new adventures is He beckoning me towards? Exciting to ponder, isn’t it?

Perfect timing, I thought, to bring this up. I was certainly feeling sucked into the routine of our quasi-monastic lifestyle. A lot of us have been kind of bored, even jaded with what we’ve been doing. But that’s not what God brought me here for, is it? No way. God is a God of abundant life. There’s always something new to discover, always something profound or amazing to experience.

On Wednesday, a DTS from Korea made us dinner. It was a nice change, to have something other than beans and rice. Don’t get me wrong; I love Costa Rican food. But I also love Korean food, and I didn’t think I’d get the chance to have that until I got home!

The whole DTS went northeast to Monte Verde this Thursday and Friday. We stayed at this crazy hostel up in the mountains. Everything was painted with these really vibrant murals, and there was a pool table. They spoiled us for breakfast, lunch and dinner…but that’s another story. We came to hear the testimony of this one of the guys who managed it. Ricardo was a Christ-follower, formally gay and formally a Quaker, and was married with three kids. He told us his story…which was so unbelievably long and complicated…and the history of the Quaker community his parents founded. Basically, a bunch of pacifists from Alabama fled the United States during the Korean War, and started a village in the mountains of Costa Rica. The story was supposed to be related to the ideas of worldview and how it impacted the community of Monte Verde. I’m still trying to figure out how it did, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Quakers in Monte Verde have evolved into a modern hippy movement. They are peacefully on the search for truth, and they’ll look for it however they can, whether it’s in drugs, music, art, extreme sports or whatever. Monte Verde is like the Santa Cruz of Costa Rica; very eclectic, very earthy, very alternative. Ricardo wanted to show his parents Christ’s love so badly, because they had lost sight of Him over the years. His parents were very old and feeble, but still had this huge farm up in the mountains. We were given the odd task of re-blazing trails around his parent’s farm. His dad was the original blazer of these amazing trails, but could no longer wield his machetes and hacksaws the same way he once did. So we went into the rainforest surrounding the farm and cleared the paths. We walked along, hacking away at overgrown bushes and sawing in half fallen trees that blocked the path. Eventually, everyone was split up in pairs all over the forest. Lennart and I sawed two trees and moved them from the trails, but then we just walked around since the people before us already removed other trees and stumps. We followed the trail really far, kept slipping in the mud and swatting these monster bugs off of each other. We almost got lost, but we found some of our other friends and then we found Ricardo, who led us back to the hotel.

And of course, once again, I did not have my camera for this. I know. I know. You all want your money back. You never want me to come home. I know. I know. It was raining, okay? It was raining! I didn’t want to ruin my camera! Anyways, other people took pictures, so I’ll direct you guys via Facebook to those images when they’re uploaded. The rain forest is something else, you guys. It’s so dense. It’s so full of life. There are so many different kinds of plants, so many animals and birds. God made such a beautiful world; He is truly an artist. The colors are so vibrant, the textures are so diverse. You really can’t help but feel close to God in His creation. He continuously keeps reminding me how big and complex He is. I encourage you to go be with God outside. Go for a hike at Edgewood Park. Go to the beach this weekend (God willing the weather is good.) Let God reveal himself to you through His glorious works.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

Friday was quite a day. After breakfast, we went zip-lining! Supposedly, these were the longest, highest and fastest zip-lines in Costa Rica. Obviously, I was quite nervous at first. I hate heights. I hate speed. I opted to be one of the last people to go, but when I finally did, I loved it! We took a “sky tram” (6-person ski lift) to the top of the mountain after our practice run. We could basically see the entire country of Costa Rica, the Pacific and Caribbean coasts lay bare at the bottom of either side of the mountain. Right below us was the rainforest. This was such a unique experience, because I got to enjoy God’s creation from above…at 50 miles per hour, no less. How weird! We went on nine zip-lines all the way back down to where we started. I got to see that same rainforest I was hiking through the day before from over two hundred feet above the canopy. You really feel like you’re flying. I would recommend zip-lining to anyone. Let’s go when I come back home, okay? We’re gonna have a blast.

On our way back to the base, we found out there was a 6.0 Earthquake in Cartago. All the staff on the base said they felt it, but there was no damage anywhere in the country and no casualties. Crazy stuff. We had a gnarly thunderstorm Saturday afternoon. It doesn’t rain in Redwood City like it rains here. Nor do the thunder and lightning come with such force. It literally makes you jump when it strikes.

I was feeling extremely overwhelmed on Saturday night. My Canadian friend Aryk was organizing a neighborhood worship session in this little park next to the grocery store. He wanted to establish a presence of YWAM in the neighborhood, especially because there were so many college students around. At the same time, YWAM’s prostitution ministry was having a prayer and worship gathering, and was planning on going out to the streets that night. I wanted to do both. But then again, I had stuff I had to finish like our weekly journals and book reports (which I still haven’t finished.) Even more, Giacomo’s question for us this week still haunted me and demanded more meditation and prayer. I just didn’t know what to do. I finally decided I wanted to go to the prostitution thing, because I figured I wouldn’t have this opportunity in the states (prostitution is legal here, and therefore decreases the risks involved.) In my hurry, I forgot about the rain and slipped off my porch and landed on my tailbone. Ouch. I decided not to go, and I ended up not doing anything productive that evening. This kind of depressed me for a few days, but I'm doing much better now.

Kind of a crappy end to the week, but it was a good one overall.

Praise Report:
-I’m continuing to conquer my fears, and live in the freedom of Jesus.
-God has stirred a renewed excitement for my time here, thanks to Giacomo’s question.
-One of our friends was blessed a great deal, financially. I’m gonna post a separate blog about that.

Prayer Requests:
-Finances, as always. I’m about to write an official update about that.
-Self-discipline for my quiet times, still. I’m hopeless.
-Healing for my tailbone.
-Intentionality and deliberation as I try to embrace every day I have here. Pray against apathy and complacency, and against falling into the routine.

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