The following words–originally posted on brookrakow.wordpress.com on July 26,2015–still ring true today, and my heart is full as I remember the time spent in this country with these people.
So, for that reason, the next few weeks will be devoted to remembering the people, the adventures, and the lessons learned during the time I have spent in Costa Rica over the last two years.
To the best of my ability, nothing will be changed from the original thoughts written as the events occurred–however, if for some reason I find it appropriate to add or alter anything, I’ll let you know by changing the font color.
I am a firm believer that God best teaches us through what often appears to be mundane and basic. Yes, it most definitely can feel like He is more present in places where we are considered outsiders and are definitely out of our comfort zones–but we serve a limitless God.
So, as you read, I pray you are inspired to search for God at work in your own day-to-day life!
Somewhere between being a little girl who was afraid to make eye contact and becoming a college student who lived with complete strangers for a month in a foreign country, I developed a love for adventure.
And the past three days were definitely an adventure.
This weekend’s travels landed Jill and I on a windy and misty mountaintop on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, along with eight other individuals.
[Important Note: Don’t always trust Trip Advisor–Hotel Villa Verde is a great place to stay, and the food is amazing!]
Upon arriving and settling in on Friday afternoon, we made our way to Don Juan’s Coffee Plantation, just down the mountain a few miles. There we had the opportunity to see the process of harvesting coffee and cocoa beans, as well as sugar cane.
An added bonus was being able to taste some of the products that our guide prepared right in front of us, including raw cocoa bits, chocolate paste, hot chocolate, white and dark chocolate bars with natural orange flavoring, raw sugar cane, sugar cane juice, and, of course, coffee.
That night after dinner, we sat around a fire pit for a while talking, laughing, and getting to know each other better.
Saturday morning came too fast and, after a 6;30am breakfast, we headed for 100% Adventura for (you guessed it) another adventure. Before this day, I had never zip lined in my life.
Cross that one off the bucket list.
After gearing up and getting the run down of semi-important things, like how to stop and where the last place to chicken out was located, they sent us zipping down a series of shorter lines.
At one point, they rappelled us all the way down a tree (which we then had to walk back up to…also, when I say “rappelled,” I mean that they hooked us to a rope, pushed us out over the edge of the platform, and dropped us. Exciting stuff).
Eventually (after hiking straight uphill forever) we reached what is known as “The Longest Zip Line in Latin America:” 1,590 meters in length (which is approximately 5216.5 feet) and 200 meters (or 656 feet) in the air. And they have you do it Superman style (belly down, arms outstretched).
It was terrifyingly incredible.
As you speed along the slick line, mist and clouds assault your face, and the adrenaline and harness cutting into your ribcage takes your breath away. Below you stretches miles and miles of cloud forest: trees and houses and hills dotted with people ziplining and riding horses below you.
The Superman style was used for one more zip across the forest, and, at the end of that one, we were faced with two options: be done for the day and walk back to the lodge, or make like Tarzan.
Now, for some reason, when I travel, danger and fears don’t really seem to count. I’m scared of heights, yet I let them strap me to a string hanging 600 feet in the air.
I’m also terrified of freefalling, yet I found myself walking out to the edge of a bridge that was 131 feet in the air, having my harness hooked to a rope, holding on for dear life, and screaming like a little girl as they pushed me off the edge.
(This little activity was breathtaking for it’s own reasons–seriously. Free falling is one of the exhilarating and horrifying experiences I’ve ever had. But it was fun once the rope tightened out!)
After all of this excitement, we were able to go on a guided tour through the cloud forest that we had just zipped over on a trail that included several suspension bridges.
Finally, this morning we went up the road to the National Park so that a few people could get in an extra hike. Having hiked almost every weekend since arriving in Costa Rica, Jill and I, along with one of the other ladies, decided to stay at the entrance to watch the the dozens of colorful hummingbirds flutter all about and to drink coffee at the cafe.
On our way home, we also stopped at the beach to dip our toes in while enjoying a dip of ice cream.
Overall, it was a memorable weekend for sure. And as we rode back down the mountains to San Jose, I couldn’t help but think of Isaiah 40:
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?
Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?
Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust…
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing…Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.”
Everyday with Him as my God is it’s own adventure.