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Archive for June, 2011

Costa Rica

Five students, two parents, and I went on a tour of the natural beauty of Costa Rica from June 17-25. It was a very active tour walking, ziplining, horseback riding, walking, swimming in the ocean and in a lake, walking, swam in hot springs, and kayaking. The walks were never long but the destinations were great.  We walked along a forest trail about 1 mile to get to a pristine beach where monkeys and raccoons stole food and backpacks.  We walked perhaps 2 miles in the Cloud Forest above 5000′ where full sunlight rarely shines.  We walked to town to eat or shop. We walked on the beach at the hotel. We walked and ran through airports. We walked down into a gorge to see a 150′ waterfall.  We walked to the rim of an active volcano and looked at the cadera steaming. And we spent a good number of hours each day on a tour bus between events.

One of the many beauties of InBio Parque

Our Tour Director, Victor Carmona

 We traveled with two other student groups, one from Nebraska and one from Lancaster, PA.  The Pennsylvania group particularly was advanced in Spanish and could communicate or translate with little trouble.

Great Egret

  One afternoon we took a boat ride on a river near its mouth at the ocean.  We went upstream and saw massive crocodiles and went downstream and saw to a mangrove forest.  During the 1 1/2 hour ride I saw 22 different species of birds.

Yellow-headed Caracara

Another day we hiked down hundreds of steps to a waterfall.  The rain threatened and sprinkled but as was the case with all but one event, it didn’t rain on us while we were outside.  The one event was the planting of trees on a preserve at a high school.  For obvious reasons I don’t have pictures of that because it rained hard.

Teacher and students of Escuela Cabella

Kayaking in sight of the Arenal Volcano

The continuously steaming caldera of Poas Volcano

There is a continuous burning place where those who reject God’s provision for sin will go, but there is also a place of paradise where His beloved, those who humbly accept His provision will be in His presence forever. Beauty and peace and joy here are only vague shadows of an eternity in the presence of God.  We were made for fellowship with Him.

600 meter zipline

Beach at Manuel Atonio National Park

The variety of what we saw and did made this a very enjoyable trip. Rather than sleep on the bus or just stare out the window, I took in the views but also journaled the events soon after they happened, some 30 pages.  Victor was constantly conveying details of a cultural or biological or physical nature about Costa Rica. It is a landscape of tremendous natural resources: water, volcanic soil, tropical climate, a stable government, and people who seem happy and productive.
“Pura vida”, as they say in Costa Rica, or literally, “pure life”. It is there way of saying peace and contentment in all of life’s joys and struggles.  May the light of God’s life be given unto you as I hope it might be for the people of Costa Rica.

La Fortuna Waterfall

Everywhere beautiful flowers, butterflies, birds, mountains, beaches

San Jose at night from a rustic resturant

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Spurred on by an intense discussion last evening I flowed over with these thoughts I hope will glorify the Gracious Sovereign of all existence.
 
You extend Your Sovereign hand
To choose those who will be Yours
Blessing and cursing each land
By where sounds salvation’s cures
 
It is You choosing troubles
Each good gift comes from above
All that You do enables
Fits your plan just like a glove
 
But how can it be this way?
Are you not both good and just?
That You would choose some to pay
While some hear Your name and trust?
 
It must be that He alone
Controls and chooses each thing
Or He is not God alone
All who choose are deciding
 
For this is a world of fear
If each one controls his fate
Each one is to god a peer
No one sufficiently great
 
Scripture reveals not this god
Created in man’s own form
To fairness we must him prod
To his weakness we can warm
 
The truth of Himself revealed
The exalted One is He
His benevolent rule sealed
His choice through grace makes us free

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