Thursday, August 28, 2014

Journey of Godly Reminders ~ Part 3

The sunset is creeping on us fast.  Here in Costa Rica the days start very early.  Dusk is around 4:40am and it is dark at 6:00pm.  We had been hiking for several hours, pretty much a very steep incline the entire way.  We came upon a school where a woman shouted from the porch asking what we were doing and where we were going.

We stopped, rested our backs and our feet, and chatted with this lady.   And gladly used the facilities {an outhouse} she offered.  A 4X4 vehicle passed by and she looked at us like we were crazy...."Why didn't you ask him for a ride to get you further," she asked us.  Hindsight....we should have all gone running like crazy chickens asking for a ride!  
We loaded back up and hiked some more, daylight is ending and we are not going to make it to Roca Quemada tonight.  Our options of places to pitch a tent are scarce to say the least.  We are about thirty minutes from dark, you can see the thunderstorm rolling in from a distance, and our options on each side of the road are a wall of red clay or the deep valley of jungle {a drop off}.  Moving as fast as you can when hiking and hauling 30-40 pounds on your back, our goal was just keep moving.  We came across a small open spot where a couple horses were grazing.  An answered prayer, I am sure each of us were praying about.
We all waited outside a bamboo fence while Keith stepped inside the yard of a very humble home {a bamboo and grass hut structure} of a Cabeccar family.  This would be where we camped for the night.  A man walked out to the field and staked the horses.  It is 5:50pm and thunder rolling in.  I think we all pitched our tents in record timing.  
I have to throw some humor in here for you.  I am a girl who loves a soft bed but likes to camp as well and can rough it when need be.  I knew this would be a rough trip.  My question to David before I left was, "Will there be a river?  Anywhere?  Anything to get clean?"  He assured me that would not be a problem.  Ummmm, yeah that didn't happen.  Remember back when I said I would never truly be able to relate the entire experience to you because it would be void of the things you could see with your own two eyes, feel with your heart, taste, and let's not forget the SMELLS!  I am beyond disgusting.  I will just say, I wasn't the only one in the same condition..ha.  There are about 179 layers of sweat, grime, and mud.  My hope of a bath tonight vanished around 5:00pm when I knew we would never make it to the river tonight.  My cleaning up consisted of unhooking a small black hose, soaping up a washcloth and washing my face and arms, filling my water bottle, and running back to the tent.  The lightening in Costa Rica is wicked...WICKED.  I love storms here, the lightening is beautiful, and I love the rain.  But not when I am at the top of a mountain in an open field.  
This trip brought an whole new meaning to the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  As the lightening flashed and the thunder was crashing, I prayed constantly for God's protection over each one of us.  And, at the same time was so thankful that this lightening was not striking where we were at, because it strikes so close to our house all the time that the windows rattle and your heart takes a few steps out of your body.  This trip was definitely a journey of lots of prayer with the Lord.  A reminder that we get busy in our daily routine and my prayers just become routine and not hours of uninterrupted communication with God.  
I finally fell asleep and managed to nap for a few hours.  My camping mates did not fair so well with the rain that poured continuously until the early hours of the morning.  Reid was floating in his tent and moved in with his parents in their two men tent with all of the gear.  Jessica was semi-floating in her tent.  And, I believe the others managed with only the bottom of the tent being wet and everything that was sitting on the bottom of the tent being wet.  Everyone was up and packing bright and early and we were heading down the mountain by 6am.

{all packed up and ready for day 2}

This part of the trip I think was definitely the hardest.  It was hours of down, down, down....sliding down, slipping, falling, and so much mud caked on your shoes that they were coming off and added several pounds of weight.  
The further we went the muddier it got.  About an half hour into our hike, we came to the most amazing view.  Pictures cannot capture the justice that God's majesty portrayed.  Breathtaking, and really silence, was an appropriate response as we all stopped and took in the peace that surrounded us.


We finally reached Roca Quemada, much later than we had anticipated.  At this point we met Yamileth, one of the women who is working with Dr. Judith in helping teach prenatal care and newborn care, and most importantly she is saving lives.  Her stories are an entire other post all alone.  

{Yamileth, Keith, & Emily}

We were supposed to meet Yamileth at the "store" ( a small shanty consisting of tuna, sugar, rice, and beans) the night before, but we did not make it.  She was sitting in the doorway waiting for us when we arrived at 9:30 Thursday morning.  She told us her plans to visit a pregnant woman in another village later that day and asked us to come with her.  We agreed to meet her in this village later in the day.  We headed to the river to filter water and restock and then continued our trek further into the jungle where we camped in the yard of another young woman who has also helping the women on the reservation.  

{This is the Chirip√≥ river where we filtered water and treated the filtered water with 
bleach.  Let's just say I wanted to cover all bases.}

While we were down at the river there was a woman washing clothes in the river with her children.  I mention this because many people have died on the reservation doing this very thing.  One particular family we know adopted two children whose parents and other siblings all died one morning when they were down at the river and out of nowhere a huge wall of water came.  It was a sunny morning when this happened, but it had been raining higher up the mountain and the river started rising fast and went downstream, taking the lives of this family, except two children.  Drowning is the number one cause of death on the reservation.  Every time we went down to the river to do this or had to cross a river this was always in my mind.  Everything can look fine, and then in an instant life is gone.  You never know when life will be over.  It can be any second of any day.  I know this, there are things that remind us of this, but when you are literally standing in a place where you know people have died from something they didn't expect it seems even more surreal.  Another one of those Godly reminders, a reminder of why we are here, a reminder of what we are doing, and that the journey to these people is worth every bit of the hardship.   

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