Day 5 in Costa Rica
Phil. 2: 14 - 18 "Shine like stars ."

"Everyone got something stolen today," says John Duggins. "Their hearts."

WE saw the work of Renacer up close today. To the smell of diesel and the racket of buses and muffler less cars, we met 17 children who came upstairs for the "program." Brian and Mike Griego got the crowd going with a rousing version of Blind Man and other songs from Children's Ministry.

Kids. Kids who were up all night on crack. Girls who were refugees from Nicaragua, living on the streets in the gang. Hard kids, and sweet kids. Martha who has been clean two months. Lazaro who is a hard user and leader. Mariela who does not know where her mother is, but that she's left her in this huge city on her own.

We do a skit about friendship. John Pani tells his compelling story of God's deliverance from 11 years of drug abuse. The kids sit still and listen - last week they were hanging off the ceiling, today they hear. We pray for the Gospel to get through. Maria shares her story of meeting Christ and they listen again. We try to talk to the kids in our uneven Spanish, sign language, roughhousing, nerfball-throwing, eating rice and beans, foosball, and more music. We try to tell them that they are loved by God, Jesus died for them, and they have a choice to find a new life of hope. What do they hear? Some hold our hands while we talk. We pray a lot on our feet. At least they are in a safe place during the day 5 days a week.

We go out after lunch to a dangerous area where the Catholic church has a building for social programs. We get some quick advice from Sandra, veteran missionary, and soon 20-plus boys are there for improvised English lessons. The girls have the most fun -- they line up along a table, about 15 girls on each side, with adults mixed in, while some give elaborate manicures. We're talking multi-colors with tiny stars painted perfectly. Yet many of these kids too know drugs and prostitution, in the very homes they go back to tonight.

We get back to the office and pray our day. Lori and Amanda tell us we will see harder things tomorrow.

Some of the street boys hanging around for the day in the office. Frank enjoying time just hanging out with Francisco. Mike playing the guitar for the kids. John Pani sharing his testimony with the kids.
Maria hanging out with the kids during free time. Maria singing and clapping with the kids. The ladies of the group showing off their beautifully painted nails done by the local gals in the beauty class. Praying has been an important part of every day; some of the team are praying for John and Maria before they share their testimonies.
The kids of Renacer enjoying the gift of 6 puppets The Renacer downtown office from the streetside view. Sergio, the Renacer director, enjoying a good time with the kids singing and dancing. John, Bridget and Stacey posing by the Renacer sign.
Brian and Mike in the middle of a skit.