Suddenly we are stateside in the midst of this pandemic and these sad and uncertain times, in what seems like a long and early summertime vacation. It was a very difficult, yet necessary decision we made to catch a repatriation flight back to the states so we could work on some physical problems that began to prevent us from doing some of our ministry work. We left so quickly and with such uncertainty of how long we would be gone due to closed borders and so many unknowns, that our hearts were broken as we said goodbye to our Costa Rica friends and family. But God is so good, and through our (hopefully temporary) goodbyes to our Costa Rican friends and family, he allowed us to see some spiritual fruits of our labor there.
I’ll never forget one moment I had in our church in Florencia one Sunday night as I was feeling particularly lonely. I was attending by myself, and when it came time for peace there was no one around me to shake my hand. Sometimes a little thing like this can be the straw that breaks the camels back, and I was fighting back tears. I prayed for hope and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of blond coming toward me. As I glanced up I saw the only blond girl I ever met in Costa Rica, who was part of our ‘Clase de Ingles’ (English classes) on Fridays, run to me from across the church and not just shake my hand, but gave me a big bear hug. I had never seen her or any of those girls at church before and I was filled with so much hope and love! It felt like Jesus hugged me himself.
About a month before we left another little 12 year old girl in our class told my daughter that she wanted to be a foreign missionary when she grows up. She even went to church with us a few times. Dear family friends of ours told us since we arrived, they’ve had a deeper interest in proclaiming the gospel and serving the poor, and that they realized that the family vocation is indeed a holy calling, and also that another family member of theirs felt called to serve alongside us as missionaries to the poor.
I remember praying one time and feeling like God was pointing out to me that my ‘Clase de Ingles’ was more important than we thought it was. God was showing us that if these neighborhood kids were the only reason why we were sent to the little town of Florencia, Costa Rica, that was enough. I feel so blessed by the friendship of these neighbors of ours. We held a back-to-school party with sandwiches and ice cream and praise songs and I even had a “kid” birthday party in March before everything was shut down due to Covid-19, with prayer, songs, cake and a dance party and the whole time I’m thinking this has got to be the silliest ministry there is. But I could feel the Holy Spirit alive and filling in all the gaps of our so-called silly ministries. I realized that we were there with our ‘yes’ and we were living our lives full of as much love as we could possibly muster up, but that the only reason that any of it mattered is because the Holy Spirit was allowed to enter and flow through us.
When we went to language school last year we had only been here for about a month or so, and while we were here we prayed outside and I played guitar and we sang out praise every day. One thing I wasn’t aware of was how noise bounces off the sides of the mountain and spreads. Our friends told us that when we left for school, some neighbors were asking where the missionaries went because they didn’t hear us singing each day. We had no idea that just sitting in our yard and being faithful to our family prayer time, that was all the Holy Spirit would need to spread the love of God.
We have been struggling with not being there right now, continuing our mission in person. Thanks to financial contributions by so many of you, we were about to get to work on building a house for a single mother of six kids in need, and for trying to help another family have electricity. Everything was put on hold there until the coronavirus is no longer a threat. Although things may be put on hold for us physically right now, we know God can still work through us and our prayers despite our weaknesses and wherever we may find ourselves to be.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinth. 12:9) is a verse that has shouted very loudly in my heart throughout this calling, for we are very weak human beings, in body and spirit, and we mess up a lot, and yet our little mustard-seed-size faith was multiplied through our efforts in order to glorify a great and mighty God.
We very much desire to always be in the center of God’s will, so we will enter into a time of discernment while we are back to determine whether we will go back to Costa Rica to continue our service, or if God is calling us to serve elsewhere. Please pray for us as we discern. We are constantly praying for the health and peace of all of our family and friends wherever you are in the world. May God bless you all abundantly.