Day 8-9 The Return

Hasta Luego Costa Rica!  The McKinney’s, Flarra & Orlando, and Pastor Hector were excellent hosts.  The return flight is not really that fun to be honest.  It wasn’t a vacation, we worked hard and we played a little at the end.  Nevertheless, we leave the church in Purral and the McKinney’s a lot of work to do for the kingdom of God.  It is hard work and it will require sacrifice and effort on their part.  It’s pretty easy for us to walk away, get in an airplane and head back to the states to live in our nice houses and drive our nice cars.  
Our accommodations were anything but plush.  Imagine 4 guys in two rooms with a tiny bathroom and luke-warm water at best.  Further, it was a house built for smaller people.  This might not have bothered everyone on the team, but I was the largest person on the team and hit my head on things constantly.  Don’t misunderstand, we are grateful for our host family and the accommodations we did have.  We were fed well even if the steady diet of beans and rice was a little repetitive.  Yet, there is something about returning home from a trip like this that can put a person in a little bit of a mood.  
I loved being in Costa Rica, but Costa Rica isn’t real life for me.  I am headed back to a world with the problems and difficulty I face day to day.  In Costa Rica a lot of those were a distant reality – the distance is closing.  I miss my family and I am looking forward to hugging and loving on them.  Still, tomorrow I go to the church and try to get the playground ready for Kids Camp, I have many emails to dal with, a sermon to write, my brother’s family coming into town (looking forward to seeing them), and all the other demands of life.
I also realize that those we leave behind, especially those who live in Purral and Rio Azul face severe poverty every day and many of them are not only poor from a material standpoint but they lack the richness of a relationship with Jesus.  Pastor Hector and Pastor Gilbert (pronounced Hilbert) are faced with reaching these people with virtually no resources.  Even Pastor Francis (pastor of the McKinney’s church) has far too little resources to reach his community with the gospel…we are so rich in so many ways in the US.  
The mission trip was well worth the effort and resources required for them and us, but heading home gives some mixed feelings and perhaps even a tendency to get a little cranky.  On the other had, it has given me more passion and mission for what we do as a church.  What we do in other parts of the world matters a great deal!!  When we give at Grace, we can know that it is making a difference.  Perhaps I am biased as the pastor, but I give too, and I want the money I give to make a difference in the kingdom of God.
Nevertheless, we will be in Denver tonight at about 5.

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