Day 3 - Thursday
Missionary David and Yonda Schwarz planned to pick us up at 8:15 this morning to get an early start on the church painting project in Los Guido. They arrived a little early and waited while some got breakfast at the hostel. The Hostel provides a simple breakfast of pancakes, pineapple, toast and jam between 8 & 9:00. I was working on updating our accounting sheet and uploading pictures to Facebook so I didn’t get my coffee this morning (maybe I’ll call it a fast 🙂 )! I grabbed a pancake and wrapped it around two slices of pineapple … not bad!
The church in Los Guido was about 45 minutes from where we are staying, and in a poor area. The closer we got to it the worse the roads became. Although they had been paved at one time potholes and dips have destroyed the surface. Mercifully, Brother Schwarz took it slow as we followed the maze of roads to our destination. Los Guido is set among some beautiful foothills and the tall blue mountains are in the background.
The shops and homes in Los Guido are small and joined together, the roads are more like alleys with open drainage ditches on either side of the road. We stopped the van at the opening of a narrow alley that led down to the church to disembark. We walked the distance of a block or so between the rows of shanties. The Schwarz moved the vehicles to a safe place, a chicken yard up the street! Some enterprising local rented out his yard behind a locked and barred gate to secure our transportation. A row of chicken coups lined the wall and several chickens foraged openly around the place.
The church was narrow on the front facing the street so there wasn’t a lot of area to paint on the outside. The interior was larger and it extended back to create a nice size auditorium. It was badly in need of paint and the people were so excited for our support and volunteer efforts. The team quickly jumped in and began putting paint rollers on applicators and extension rods. There were brushes and putty knives and scrapers ready for us to use. Ethan and Roy began assigning jobs and the team set to work. Some started on the front of the building outside. Others began taping the line for the two tone colors in the auditorium.
In a matter of about three hours the place was being transformed. The outside was completed and the auditorium walls were almost covered. The UPC Costa Rican Vice President and the local pastor worked on moving an unsightly electrical wire draped across the platform wall to run it overhead. After painting some of the high parts of the back wall, Kaniel climbed another ladder to assist with the electrical project.
The ladies at the church began work on lunch, chopping and cooking a wonderful chicken stir-fry. Every red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, green bean, and whatever else was in it was all chopped by hand. While that was preparing they provided a huge bowl of fresh mangos for us to enjoy.
By lunch time the auditorium was complete except for an area at the top of the back wall that needs more preparation. The finish was scaling and needed to be scraped so that it will hold the new paint. That project was put on Friday’s “to do” list. A huge mural covered the central half of the platform wall. The decision was made to paint over it so a base coat of white was applied.
We took a break from painting to eat the wonderful lunch the ladies had prepared. Two tables were placed in the middle of the church and slatted benches were pulled up on each side. They dished up a plate full of fresh hot chicken stir-fry for each and brought out plates of lettuce and tomatoes. Fresh strawberries were also brought out. We had a choice of Pepsi, Coke, or Ginger Ale to drink.
After the lunch, the team began painting the office, foyer, and bathroom hallway. Others worked on the trim between the two colors of the auditorium and others helped with the electrical project and some cleanup. Because of our service scheduled for the evening in Heredia we had to conclude the work there a little after 2:00 so we could get back to the hostel and clean up and prepare for another commute during traffic hours in the opposite direction.
When we got back to the room I downloaded more pictures and responded to some emails, took a brief nap and started getting ready for service.
Brother Schwarz was concerned about the traffic heading out to Heredia. What is normally less than an hour drive can take an hour and a half during the rush hours. It started out to be really bad, but after we finally got through the gridlock near the hostel traffic was flowing rather smoothly. Brother Schwarz said it was a miracle! There were some slowing but we made good time and actually arrived about 20 minutes early.
The church was located near a bus terminal and is on the second floor of in a commercial area. It was tastefully decorated and was nice and cool. They were required to install a/c units to help control the noise! I guess they had a lot of complaints from neighboring businesses about the volume of their worship services.
The Costa Rican believers love to worship. The church in Los Guido had two guitar players and a lot of young people. The first younger guitar player lead the first few songs of praise and worship. I recognized one, “Here I Am To Worship.” Another gentleman played a left handed classical guitar and led some of the more traditional Latino worship songs. The men and boys danced in the front of the small auditorium. Because of the small amount of space they mostly had to dance in place.
Our sign group again signed with their song and our praise team sang a couple of Spanish songs. The guitar was so out of tune they sang a cappella since there was no keyboard available. Julia, Kaniel, and Siarrah testified in the service tonight.
Tonight Ethan Brumfield preached and Missionary Schwarz interpreted. It was an exciting service and the people really responded to the testimonies, the worship and the preaching. We had a great altar service with people praying and calling out to the Lord.
After the service our team handed out candy to all the kids and youth. That really connected with them and they took pictures together, visited with their limited language ability, and even exchanged some email addresses I’m told!
On the way back to the hostel we stopped at a nice Taco Bell near the university. Since it was my wife’s 32nd anniversary being married to me I took her out on a special date! I bought her a burrito supreme at Taco Bell and we fellowship with 13 other missions team members and two missionaries!!