Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brotherly love & Grape Salad

I tried to get this little girl to sit in my lap, she just shook her head no with this expression on her face.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35


How can people tell we love each other?  How do we show love to each other?  How do we know we love each other?  These are simple questions and it may seem like the answers are simple, but my time at Purral Church of Christ has opened my eyes.

This hotel is so cool.  As I said before, it was the private residence of two CR presidents.  Our bus driver, Jose, told us yesterday that one of them was assassinated as he was walking on the street.  He showed us where it happened.  This was about a 100 years ago.


Do we really love each other if we don’t know each other, if we don’t truly know about our brothers and sisters.  During our time here, I have really paid attention to the scriptures we have read like John 13:35 and the songs we have sung like, “Love one another”.  Let me tell you, when you spend 10-11 hours with someone, they truly become your brother and sister and you understand the true meaning of love in the church.


The congregation at Purral is such good examples of showing brotherly love that I know I need to improve and do a better job.

This is what happens when you leave your phone lying on the table!!


Today’s schedule (pretty much the same as every day)


9:30-11:30  Short devotional, then Ladies’ & Men’s class  (The guys in our group say the men get so interested in discussing their topic that they don’t even finish in 2 hours!!


11:30  Fellowship

12:00  Lunch (Our ladies usually prepare this during the class so, their ladies don’t have to miss the class.  It is usually something simple like sandwiches, except on Sunday, when the ladies prepared a hot meal.


12:00-2:00  Fellowship


2:00-4:00  VBS  & door knocking for the campaign

5:00 Dinner

6:30-7:30  Gospel campaign with a reception for our visitors afterwards.  We usually try to leave by 8:30 or before


You can see it is a full day. 


I have been assisting Diane with our ladies’ Bible class.  I’ve been doing “ice breaker” activities and the ladies love it.  We are having about 12 ladies, not counting our own ladies.  It seems like most of the ladies of the community can’t come during the day.   Diane has been using the lessons that she had used before.  She has been telling a story about Maria, who had been a bad person who eventually changes her life around (because of the ladies of the church) and becomes a Christian. 



Diane spoke about baptism and I used my illustration as I did before.  I told them I had a gift for them, they all drew a piece of paper and 4 had stars on them.  I asked them if they would like the gift, but I wouldn’t take it to them, they had to come up and get it.  (I usually use my earrings for this, but I couldn’t find them.  I took the bracelets off my arm.)  After they received their gifts, I asked them if they paid for their gift, if they earned their gift, or if they had to work for their gift.  The ladies understood my illustration and they concept that they had to obey and accept the gift.
Acting out Daniel and the Lion's Den
(I almost forgot, Diane also taught about the examples in the Bible where God used water, to punish the wicked or to cleanse people.  She always finishes this by washing the ladies feet using a sugar scrub with a massage.)  The ladies were surprised, loved it and then insisted on washing our feet.  This was a first for us!!

This is Helen, she was the first to say she wanted to wash our feet!!


There is an inside joke that we learned from Jo Dawn in Sarasota. (She’s back home now.)  During our mission trip, we our usually crowded and digging through our suitcases looking for things.  We always say, “Someone stole my _______ (fill in the blank).”  Once you say that you find it.  So far, it has worked.  I had four pairs of earrings left to use for my illustration.  I thought I had put them in my backpack, but I couldn’t find them.  I assumed I left them at the hotel.  I told the ladies what I had done and I would bring them back tomorrow.  I have looked all over the hotel room and I couldn’t find them, so I guess they were stolen.  J 


I will really look harder today before I leave, if not, I think they like the bracelets I have them.



In the US, we like a little bit of dessert after our meal.  Amen?  That doesn’t really seem to be the custom in Central America.  I got the bright idea to make grape salad to share with the congregation. (I actually at first, thought I would share it with the ladies.)  I asked some of our group leaders and they thought it was a great idea.


During one of our fellowship times, we decided to take a trip to the grocery store.  I decided to triple the recipe which meant I was buying 12 pounds of grapes!!!  I was uncertain whether I could find cream cheese, but the store had it.  It was called queso crema.  The only thing they didn’t have was pecans, so I substituted walnuts.  Diane and I prepared the grape salad when the group was going door knocking.  I had done that on Saturday, so I didn’t mind missing it.  We probably spent 30 minutes just washing and pulling the stems off of grapes, but it was fun!!

You can't have VBS without cookies.


The preacher, Christian, had said the children would be back in school, so maybe our numbers would go down.  Well, he was wrong, they multiplied!!!  The congregation has classes and meals for the children of the neighborhood every weekend, so they don’t seem to hurt for children at all and the word must have gotten out!  Their lesson today was about Daniel and the lion’s den.  We all enjoyed watching several groups act out the story.


This little girl is beautiful and quite the actress.

The evening campaign was to begin at 6:30, children started arriving before that.  At first, it seemed like we were not going to get any new adults from the neighborhood, but just like in the US, people show up late.  As more and more came, I was afraid we were going to run out of chairs.  To make a long story short, the church was packed and between our 22, and some mothers who came at the end to pick up the children and stay for the reception, there was over a 100 there!!!  This is a church that normally has an attendance of around 20!!!  Needless to say, Christian was happy, as were we!!!

The dogs are much healthier in CR, everyone seems to have them, mostly for guard dogs.  This little cutie stayed right beside a little girl.  The dog would get up and move every time the girl did.  Everyone tried to shoo him outside, but he wouldn't!!



Each night, we have been serving a snack for everyone.  Even though we had grape salad earlier, tonight’s treat was ice cream.  Of course, that was a big hit.  They actually served it with grape salad on the side.  I was stuffed and didn’t try it, but there were no complaints!!!



Another great day with our brothers and sisters in Costa Rica!!!



Hasta luego!!


PJ  xoxo

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