Costa Rica Mission
Costa Rica Mission
In December I (Jonny) received an email from Ricardo, one of my skate ministry contacts in Costa Rica, requesting for me to come and speak at a skatecamp. Ricardo, a generous business man, had supported the launch of several skate ministries in Costa Rica and helped organize this annual skatecamp to bring each of those skate ministries together. He donated the funds for Josh Franco and I to book flights to be at the skatecamp and a day or two later was found dead in his apartment from heart failure. Although he is gone and is dearly missed, the ministry continues.
We arrived in Costa Rica on Thursday, Feb 2nd and stayed with Steve Edwards, a missionary who has been serving youth in the ghetto’s of San Jose for 11 years. He leads the skate ministry there doing Bible studies and skate sessions every week. Friday morning we met up with some of his riders and then headed up to skatecamp. 74 skaters arrived to the open air gym that is used as a church throughout the week. Ramps are stored here and pulled out for weekly sessions. Three other skate ministries, including one from Guatemala, attended the camp bringing riders and ramps. Everyone skated from noon until 9 or 10pm. It was packed and there was so much energy in the room. With the help of a translator, Josh Franco shared his testimony and about how Jesus gave him strength to overcome the challenges in his life. He also shared the gospel and invited the skaters to come forward to pray, receive Christ and receive that strength. Two guys came forward, Josh and the other leaders prayed with them. Praise God for doing his work in their lives. We slept, or sort of slept, on the gym floor that night.
The next morning the riders were up at the crack of dawn ready to skate again. After breakfast I shared a devotional about satisfaction and fulfillment. Skateboarders are some of the most driven and motivated people on the planet. That relentless motivation to land a trick is aimed at satisfying and fulfilling ourselves. But as it talks about in Ecclesiastes 1:2-9, we will never be satisfied by that. We will always want more and that leads to destruction. John 10:10 says Jesus came to give us life to the fullest. John 15:11 talks about how Jesus can make our joy complete. In John 4 Jesus offers a woman a drink so that she will never thirst again. Jesus wants to set you free not only from death, but from the constant chase for satisfaction and fulfillment that we strive for everyday of our lives. Romans 8:35-39 says that we can be more than conquerors through Christ and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Skaters want love, freedom and joy. I challenged them to find that in Christ.
Next we had a skate contest and all the riders threw down incredible tricks. We gave boards, tshirts and Bibles as prizes that we were able to get donated from different skate companies. One of the local skate ministries bought some wood and asked me to build a portable bank ramp. It was challenging working with limited and not the best materials, but I was hyped to see some of the kids get involved and use power tools for the first time. On Saturday skatecamp came to an end and we packed up to head back to Steve Edwards house. That night we went up on the mountain side to look over the city and we later ended up at a restaurant with live music and really good food. Sunday we went to church and then caught a flight home.
Please be praying for the riders in Costa Rica. They are tempted to get into drugs, gangs and plenty of other destructive behaviors. Jesus is the only one who can save them. Please also be praying for the skate ministries and missionaries that are there being the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus everyday.