International Ministries

Christ Breaks Down The Barriers That Divide Us

September 30, 2002 Journal
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Dear friends,

What an inspiring weekend this has been!The women's group at my church, Primera Iglesia Bautista en Desamparados, organized a gathering of women from our congregation and the three missions of our church, one in a marginalized community in San José and two in impoverished northern villages, five hours by bus.It was a delightful time and reminded me of why I go to this church: the combination of carefree crazy fun and in-depth reflection is unbeatable.We did a relay race: a knee-high nylon is filled with a lemon and then tied to the back of someone's belt.She must move a newspaper ball across the floor by pushing it with the lemon.I was one of the "chosen" ones, but I had a long skirt on, so someone kindly provided a safety pin for me to tie it up like a diaper.It was astonishingly tiring and difficult, and the audience was laughing so hard that some were hoarse afterwards.Fortunately no-one took pictures.Try it sometime!

I was in charge of the program, and was very pleased with how it turned out.With this group, it needed to be something less academic and more hands-on.So I found this fabulous poem about God as a weaver, distraught at the destruction of her beautiful tapestry, but then sitting down to create something new, and inviting us to be a part of that new creation. One of the women read it while Elisel mimed it.Then we broke up into groups to talk about the ideas.Each group was given a large cloth and scraps to depict in a tapestry how they individually and as a congregation can work toward that new creation.The symbolism of how God takes the scraps and rags of our lives and turns them into a beautiful new tapestry and the idea that God invites us to participate in the weaving was very powerful. People loved it and the tapestries were excellent.

The women from up north (5 hours by bus) stayed overnight at different homes, and I had a Nicaraguan woman with me.She was delightful, with a typically tragic Nicaraguan/Salvadoran life story, told with simplicity and a deep awareness of God's care throughout.I was impressed with her common sense and wisdom, but also her joyous hope-filled spirit.Her two youngest girls are receiving scholarships from the Desamparados women to complete their high school studies.

The next morning they joined us for worship and Sunday school, where the lesson talked about how Christ breaks down the barriers that divide us.What a perfect example of that we had experienced the day before!

Thank you for your support of my ministry in Costa Rica. Please remember to give generously to the World Mission Offering, which makes possible this ministry and many others around the world.

Love in Christ,

Ruth