Perspectives On the Overnight Stay and Final Thoughts

Posted: July 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Uncategorized

It tends to get harder and harder to find time to post to this blog as the week goes along. As you can tell… I missed a few days at the end:) So I wanted to post one last thing. First of all I wanted you to hear the perspective from a couple students (Lily Horst and Taylor Lapp) on their overnight stay in a Costa Rica Home and then give some final thoughts on the trip.

  • On Wednesday night, we split into small groups of 2-4 people, and did an overnight stay with families who attend Hannah and Esteban’s church. Grace Hershey, Josh Bailey, Nick Fisher, and I (Lily Horst) were welcomed into the house of Katia and her family. Katia has a son named George, and a daughter named Carla.
    Initially, I set very low expectations as to what we would be experiencing. I was very anxious about the obstacles we would have to face while staying with our host family. I was fearful of the language barrier, food, and rooming situation. Seeing how open and welcoming Katia was to our group made it a lot less awkward. We had google translate to help us overcome the language barrier. Not only did I get to live a real Costa Rican lifestyle for 12 hours, but I also grew closer with the other people from our group who were in the same house as me. Overall the experience was one of the highlights of my trip and I look forward to hopefully doing it again one day soon.

 

  • The overnight stay was a night that I will remember forever. Abby Bare, Abby Horst, and I (Taylor Lapp) stayed with our house mom Maryliz, and her family. Going into the week I was petrified for the overnight. However, as Wednesday night approached, I got more and more excited. When we arrived at the house Maryliz greeted us with open arms. She was so happy to have us all at her home, which made us all a little less nervous. I knew the Costa Ricans were full of hospitality, but you will never know how genuinely selfless they are until you spend a night with them. Maryliz went so far out of the way to make sure that she gave us a comfortable place to stay and amazing meals which she spent hours preparing. A happy surprise was that she also knew English very well which helped us to communicate. Over the course of the night we talked for hours and got to know her and her family well. When we woke up, we played with her children and their cousins. What really stuck out to me was how much she treated us like her own children. She made sure we had everything we needed and even gave Abby medicine because she was sick. It was so cool to communicate with her son through her translating. Coming out of the overnight I really had no reason to be nervous because it was by far my favorite part of the trip. Maryliz gave us her number and hopefully one day we will meet again.

 

Final Thoughts:

  • I sometimes go into these trips questioning whether they are really worth it. It’s a lot of money and time that gets invested and I wonder whether taking these trips are really worth that investment. I left this trip feeling confident in saying YES! these trips are definitely worth it. I think the time spent with missionaries getting to know them and getting a window into their lives and ministry makes it worth it. I think getting a glimpse into another culture makes it worth it. I think the discipleship opportunities a trip like this presents make it worth it. And I think ultimately growing in passion over what God is doing in the world to advance the gospel makes it worth it! I LOVED getting to spend time with Hannah and Esteban and Brandon and Sammantha. I love hearing their stories, hearing their successes and struggles in ministry, and hearing their passion for reaching people with the gospel. And I hope the students loved that as well. I LOVED our debrief times as a team. I said this before, but I think they were some of the best of any trip we’ve been on. The students were very open to sharing, praying, and worshiping together during those times, and they were actually the ones disappointed when I felt like we had the cancel our last debrief time because it was just too late at night:) I LOVED seeing the students step up in prepping and then leading a VBS and watch them build connections with kids over the three days even across the language barrier. There’s so much more that I could say and share about this trip, but those are just a couple things that stick out to me. I encourage you to take time to ask the students who were on this trip questions. You didn’t get to hear a lot from them on this blog, but that’s just because I want you to ask them personally. Pull them aside and ask, “What were two or three highlights from the week?” “What was the most difficult part of the week?” “What was something new you learned?” “What was it like staying in a Tico House overnight? What were your thoughts going into it vs. coming out of it?” “What was something God was drawing to the surface and teaching you throughout the week?” Or come up with your own questions! I think most of the students would love to share with you about the trip if you get the chance to ask them. So I encourage and challenge you to take the time to ask them!
  • Thank you again for all your support! We are having a Post-Trip Sharing Time on August 11th at 7:00pm at Keystone Church that we would love for you to come out to. There will be Costa Rican coffee, treats, pictures from our trip and a time of sharing followed by Q/A where you can ask students any question you want. Hope to see you there!

 

Costa Rica Day 3 and 4

Posted: July 11, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Uncategorized

Highlights:
• Final Days of VBS – We finished up the final days of our VBS in Santa Rosa and Moravia. We also did one afternoon of VBS in a La Aldea.
• Group Debrief Times – These have been some of my favorite times of the trip. We get to talk about the day, share testimonies, and then spend some time singing together before heading off to bed. They have been some of the best debrief times of all the trips I’ve been on.
• Drinking Fresh Coconuts – We stopped at Esteban’s parent’s house to get coconuts off the tree for everyone to drink later that night.

The Story:
• Brandon and Samantha are going to be moving up to Santa Rosa this coming September to work along with Hannah and Esteban. One of the things they will likely be doing is starting a Bible Study in La Aldea with the goal of eventually planting a church there. There is currently a couple who lives there that got saved and baptized through the ministry of Semillas De Vida. The town is about 45 minutes away from Santa Rosa and is very rural. Most people live on farms and the road back into the down is a narrow dirt road. I thought it was a really cool opportunity to get to see the place where Brandon and Samantha will be doing ministry in the future as well as get a glimpse into what may one day become a new church plant. This was one of the first times they’ve ever had a VBS done in that town. And even though it was only for one afternoon, it was really neat to get a glimpse into what God may do in the future in this town with a Bible Study starting up and with a newly Christian couple passionate about reaching other people in their area with the gospel.

Costa Rica Day 2

Posted: July 9, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Uncategorized

Highlights:
• VBS – This was our first of three days doing a Vacation Bible School. We are doing one in the morning in Santa Rosa and then driving an hour away to do another one in the afternoon at a place called Moravia.
• Seeing Esteban’s Home Church – We are driving to Moravia to do a VBS because that’s where Esteban grew up and his brother is currently the pastor at this church. It was fun to get to see the places he grew up as well as get to meet some of his family.
• Worshipping Together at the End of Our Day – Several of the students suggested before the trip that we should close each of our days by singing some worship songs together. This has been an awesome way to finish out our day before going to bed. And it’s even better because I didn’t plan it or have anything to do with it!

The Story:
• We found out about a month ago that we were going to be doing two VBS’s while down in Costa Rica. Over the next month we delegated out specific tasks for students to take. They were responsible to plan a lesson, craft, music, or game; buy all of the supplies, and then run that portion of the VBS. I had a proud youth pastor moment today as I watched the students step up and run their portion of the VBS. Part of our goal in youth ministry is to make disciples who make disciples, and today I got a glimpse into that happening. Students, who are growing as disciples on a mission trip, were also making disciples in singing, teaching, and speaking about Christ’s love for us to the kids who came out to both of the VBS’s. I love getting to watch that happen on trips like this.

Costa Rica Day 1

Posted: July 8, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Uncategorized

Highlights:

  • Church in Santa Rosa – Semillas de Vida – It’s interesting to see how church is different… (It’s hot, hard to hear when it rains because of a tin roof, and Esteban would point out and welcome each new visitor that they had) while also seeing the similarities in church… we sang songs that were familiar (singing in both Spanish and English), shared communion together, and then heard the Bible preached. While the language barrier can be difficult because it means everything has to be translated, it’s also a really neat experience worship, communion, and preaching in two different languages.
  • Soccer – We played against the local youth group. We kept it close most of the game, but they pulled away and won in the end. I always enjoy seeing how sports is able to transcend a language barrier. People who cannot talk to one another are able to compete against each other and develop a connection through enjoying the same sport. This is always a good start to the week.
  • Playing Games and Getting Ready for VBS – We spent the afternoon playing the game that no youth group trip is complete without: Mafia. Then we prepared everything for the next three days of VBS.

The Story:

  • This is the third time that we’ve been to Santa Rosa and the Semillas de Vida ministry (what does this mean?) It’s awesome to get to see the changes that have happened over the year and the ministry that is taking place here. The first time we came, there was only a roof over a dirt floor that the church was meeting at. Now the church is fully enclosed, with multiple floors for Sunday School Rooms and housing guests (that is where the girls are staying). Hannah and Esteban’s house had a fully open second floor that now is entirely enclosed and serves to house more guests (the guys on the trip). I’m amazed by the way Hannah and Esteban welcome us into their home and show us hospitality throughout the week. They have two young children, Esteban has multiple businesses he runs, and yet they make the time to be with us throughout the week, provide a place for us to stay, and Hannah makes almost every meal throughout the week! They are an awesome family and I love getting to introduce the students to them for a week. I’m always amazed by the ministry that Hannah and Esteban are doing and how God is using them in Santa Rosa. Week in and week out they are preaching the Bible and pointing people back to Christ. Although there are many churches in Costa Rica, the existence of Bible-saturated and gospel-centered churches seems to be rare. Semillas de Vida may seem small compared to many churches in the United States, the work they are doing is incredible and I love that we get to spend a week getting a glimpse into the work God is doing here.

Summer Events

Posted: May 24, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Uncategorized

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High Hopes

Posted: April 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Stand Firm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: In Early May 2017, four men attempted to do something that seems almost impossible (Show Video). They set their hopes on running 26.2 miles in 2 Hours or less… which means running 26.2 miles in 4:34 pace. They went through hours of training, testing, and preparation all because they hoped they would break the 2-hour marathon barrier.

 Big Idea: What you hope for shapes how you live.

  • Tonight, as we look back into 1 Peter 1, we are going to see that what we hope for, or what we place our hope in has a big impact on whether or not we live courageously in this world.
  • Everyone hopes for something in this world. In reality we all probably hope for many things, some small and some big.
  • I hope that I get to sleep in tomorrow. I hope that I get to enjoy my vacation to Florida in a couple weeks. I hope I don’t screw up my brother-in-law’s wedding next week and actually end up marrying Micah to the bride. I hope GQ one day recognizes my modeling potential. I hope I one day have a daughter. I hope Oliver likes to read and run and I hope I get to see him married with kids of his own one day (To Matt and Kim’s daughter of course). I hope Bri and I live to be 90 years old together. I hope I’m a youth pastor until I’m 90 years oldJ
    • There are lots of things that we hope for, both consciously and unconsciously. And everyone hopes for something in this life.
  • So, the question I set out to answer this week as I was looking at 1 Peter 1 – a chapter that so clearly talks about hope – is what sets Christian hope apart from all other hope? Or in other words, what is unique about Christian hope?

 Main Points:

  • Christian hope is otherworldly.
  • Christian hope causes us to have joy… even as our hopes in this world get crushed.
  • Christian hope gives us courage to live differently.

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Look Up

Posted: April 16, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Stand Firm Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Things that take courage – Guy getting hit by a truck, Body suit flying, Free solo rock climbing

Introduction:

  • We live in a time where it is becoming increasingly difficult and unpopular to be a Christian.
    • If you believe the Bible and specifically what it says about Jesus, Hell, Salvation, Sexuality, and Sin, you are more and more likely to be seen as ignorant or backwards at best and as hateful and a bigot at worst.
    • Christians and what they believe are being pushed more and more towards the margins of society.
  • Now, before we start sounding alarms, running around screaming, or complaining about how bad things are… let me say several things.
    • First of all, we don’t have it that bad… Western Christians, especially Lancaster Christians, are still very privileged.
    • Secondly, we don’t need to look at the past like the good ole days… they weren’t.
    • Thirdly, this is nothing new. The Bible (Specifically the NT) is full of letters written to people who were living in situations where it was difficult to be a Christian. They were written to people who desperately needed courage in order to stand firm in what they believed and live out those beliefs well.
  • One Such letter is First Peter.
    • He wrote to some churches in Modern Day Turkey to encourage them in their faith and remind them to stand firm, even as they were pushed to the margins, made fun of, misunderstood, and even hated.
    • He wrote to them because he knew that holding to Christian beliefs and living as a Christian was going to take more and more courage in the years ahead.
  • Not the type of courage that looks within, but the type of courage that looks up.

 Big Idea: Courage is found in looking up to God.

 Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-2

 Main Points:

  • Christians are outsiders.
  • Christians are chosen.
  • Christians have an anchor.

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