Independence Day!

September 15th is the Costa Rican independence day – and the Costa Ricans love to celebrate it! Different schools, groups, and bands from around Jacó dress up and dance, drum, play instruments, and parade down the main street from the municipality building to the central park.

It is an event that I love to watch! I do my best to spot my uniformed youth or any other people I know and cheer them on!

I made a short video that briefly encapsulates this wonderful event!

 

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An Inside Perspective

I once thought missionaries who live on the beach in tropical countries had a pretty easy life. Then I became one.
I lived with Lisa for almost two years during the transition when Casafe was starting. I found out during that time what I didn’t understand before. Living in a different country, far away from your family, often too busy serving to be in good communication with those from home, in a completely different culture, where you are a foreigner, and of course treated as one, truly surrendering most everything you have to live for Christ, is not so easy. When you could have a full-time job but are called to minister to people all day who cannot afford to pay you instead, nearly everything you have is given to you from others. Additionally, as you get to know families and individuals, you get to know their trauma, which can be absolutely heartbreaking. It is so humbling and so touching how God miraculously provides abundantly more than you can ask or imagine, in any form of need, for yourself and others.
After being back in Casafe to stay as a visitor with my husband and two brother in laws, I am reminded how the life of full-time ministry is and am so encouraged and inspired by Lisa. From the time she wakes up to the time she goes to sleep, her phone is buzzing or people are at her gate asking her for some sort of help. In the meantime, her house is full with those who need a healthy environment to stay, whether it is for a few hours, a few days, or a few months. She intentionally takes time to spend time with her visitors, which is considered extremely important in the Costa Rica culture.
In a place that seems hopeless otherwise, Lisa is a source of hope and help, especially to the youth. Most of these youth have gone to schools where they show up when they want (or when their teacher decides to show up), can go to bed when they want, eat whatever they want, play in the streets of their drug-infested neighbourhoods at midnight, etc, etc. The majority of them have experienced sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, if not all three. In their own homes, they see things and hear things nobody should have to experience. Not only does Lisa provide a home with structure and safety, but also opportunities to learn of their self worth and a possibility to live a restored life.
I often think, “Lisa is the perfect person for this place, thank you Lord!” She can handle these youth with genuine care for them, and at the same time enforce necessary boundaries over and over, which is energy draining and extremely frustrating to any normal human being. She maintains this perfect combination of generosity, compassion and understanding, and when necessary, tough love. This is exactly what her adopted “kiddos” (some which are 22 years old) need for personal development and a new understanding of healthy living.
They have a constant example and reminders through Lisa – how to use positive words, why not to start physical fights, how to show respect to others, politely ask for things, clean up after yourself, for example, and most importantly, what it looks like to have a personal relationship with the Lord. Otherwise, most of them have no clue, because they live in a society where chaos, abuse, and disrespect are normal.
On top of everything else she was managing the last two weeks, Lisa had us four extra guests 24-7 in her home and she made us feel like we could stay there forever! (We really would have liked to ;)) Incredible! She hosted us with so much enthusiasm, making jokes and sharing everything she had, including her time and joy with such a generous spirit. It is just not normal.
This must come out of an overflow from the Lord in her. While living with her for two years, she was example for me how she spent time studying God’s words. She genuinely loves the Lord and is a light wherever she goes. You should see her on her bike riding down the streets, people waving, honking, or yelling, “Lisa! Lisa!” every minute or two! People know the love of the Lord through her and open up to her as she has a way of relating to them.
Thank you for supporting my dear friend, Lisa, for praying for her and for the youth in Jacó.
(I wanted to write this for Lisa voluntarily to give you an inside perspective of Lisa’s life. It is hard to understand otherwise, at least it was for me.
Thanks so much for posting this, Lisa, and letting me share some truths that you might not share about yourself!)
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Learning from the youth! 

I love to learn new things from my youth! …especially when it has to do with things you can eat 😉 The other day one of the guys took these coconuts that were beginning to grow and started hacking one open with a machete. In my mind I was wondering why he was destroying a plant, assumed that the coconut was probably bad by now, and wondered what he was going to find inside. On inquiry, he told me that you can eat the spunge part that is inside.  I was skeptical….but I know that they know more about these things than I do. After a little while of patient work getting into the coconut, he got it open and gave me a piece – turns out there is a spongy substance in the middle of the cocunut that is edible and tastes quite good with a little sugar or honey! The coconut inside was really delicous too because it was old it had lots of flavour and oil! 

Learn something new everyday! 

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As Simple as Coloring

Youth colorin sheets!

Recently the youth have really enjoyed these fun, adult-style colouring sheets! Often during free time the youth would ask for me to pull them out, or find them in the supply room themselves and start coloring! I love how it is simple, yet good for them and therapeutic. I often have some chill Christian music playing in the background…and I love it when I hear them sing along while working on their art.
I also love it that they always want me to hang up their finished works of art.
This is what Casafé is all about – more than classes, and not focused on big program – the idea of Casafé is that the youth of Jacó would have a safe environment where they can grow and be a part of a healthy Christian community.

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Family Dinner and Movie Night

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Family Dinner and Movie Night! 

Once a month we have a “family dinner” and watch a movie together. I make a list of food that we need for the meal and all the youth sign up to bring something – a few potatoes, a pack a tang, a couple carrots, etc. By them pitching in to buy the food it not only helps me cover some of the expenses, but also teaches the youth responsibility and empowers them to participate in a bigger way. 

The youth love to help cook!..and make a big mess. The kitchen usually ends up being a bit of a disaster….but it’s a beautiful disaster. 

One of my favorite parts is that they love to serve the food. Today one of the kids said that he wanted to help serve, and one of the girls quickly responded that she already offered to help. His responce to that was, “Don’t be so selfish!” Haha! I had to laugh to myself that they were ‘fighting’ about who would get to serve – that is not usually the case!! 

Some of the food that the youth brought!

Waiting for dinner!

Dinner!!

It’s amazing how many people can fit in the living room!

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By Jordan Harrington

Post and Picture by Jordan Harrington.
Jordan is one of the awesome young adults on the Passport team that is serving in Jacó for 3 months. Jordan captured some awesome moments at Casafé. You can check out her blog and some photography here: http://theheartofaseeker.weebly.com

Casafé is one of the ministries we are working with in Costa Rica. The owner, Lisa, is a missionary from Canada that disciples the youth in Jacó. She shares with them the huge heart that she carries for God. I am so thankful for her, her youth, and her ministry!

Casafé is one of the ministries we are working with in Costa Rica. The owner, Lisa, is a missionary from Canada that disciples the youth in Jacó. She shares with them the huge heart that she carries for God. I am so thankful for her, her youth, and her ministry!

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Black Bean Soup

At Casafé we started the year off with English class! Becky, our favourite teacher (and only teacher – except when I fill in once in a while), taught the youth how to make Black Bean Soup!

The youth learned new words as they read the ingredients, and practiced using them as they had to ask someone to get them from me in the kitchen. They were eager to put the ingredients in the pot, stir it and be a part of the action…and they were even eager to cut the onions even though it made them tear up a bit. They enjoyed a bowl of soup before we went into prayer requests and wrapped up the class. (Some of the youth were quite dissapointed that there were no hard boiled eggs in the soup as that is a cultural norm here!)

Casafe - Englsih Class

English Class!

Starting the class with a Bible verse that correlates with the lesson, Becky does a great job of combining teaching the Bible, English, and life skills all at the same time! …oh, and the youth love it!

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Karate Class

This week there was a short term mission team working with Horizon Church. They came for one afternoon to Casafé. One of the gentlemen taught a Karate class and shared part of their testimony and the gospel while giving the class. They also did some team building games with lessons built into them. It was a fun time for the youth and great to do something new and different!

Karate at Casafe.

Karate at Casafe

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Prayer

On Wednesdays we have a prayer time and a small Bible study. The youth are invited to come at 3 in the afternoon and hang out for a couple hours. Then at 5, after they have had a chance to get some energy out and eat a snack, we gather around the table, study a few verses and share prayer requests. This gives us a beautiful opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level, grow spiritually together, and to hear some of the things that are going on in each others lives, and in the lives of our families.

It warms my heart to hear the youth praying for me and my family, for people back home, or for other requests that I share. I also love to hear them praying for each other – a break from teasing one another, calling them names or just messing around – now they are lifting up their needs and desires to the only One that can truly fulfull them. And I know God hears every single prayer.

Prayer time at Casafe!

One of our first prayer times!

Our prayer times, and the request shared, also open a door for me to have follow up conversations with them one on one. For example, the other week one of the girls asked for prayer for some family problems. Later I was able to talk to her about what is going on at home and some of the things she was having to deal with. This is just a part of the discipleship we do here at Casafé.

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