Hola a todos!
May is here already and it’s time to reflect back on April! This month has provided a lot of time to focus on God and how wonderful He is. There have been a lot of blessings along with some challenges. Please continue to pray for Jordanna, as she has still been sick for the majority of this month with mono symptoms. There have been glimpses of health on random days in the month, but she always seems to backslide. We’re praying that she returns to full health soon so that she can enjoy the last couple months with me here and be healthy for her trip back to the States. Only 2 more months left of my service here and the months are flying by! I’m excited to return home, but I also pray that I will continue the Lord’s work while I am here and not fall into a rhythm of going through the motions. April was a little less routine as far as NOW Costa Rica events, but the Lord brought new, fresh things to focus on that made this a very fulfilling month.
We started out the month with semana santa and celebrating Easter! We did so in NOW Costa Rica by holding a volleyball camp the Saturday before Palm Sunday, where the message was about the story of Palm Sunday. Following the camp, more people joined for a craft and Easter egg hunt. Cristian, the NOW CR boys’ leader, shared about the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jordanna also clarified the significance of the egg before letting the kids lose on a huge egg hunt across the field of the local community center, or salon comunal. According to the kids, the hardest one to find was one that you had to dig up because it was hidden underground! It was an amazing way to start off the month and semana santa. Although we didn’t have the co-op school that week, we still spent a lot of time at church worshipping and honoring God’s love shown through Jesus. The picture above is how they had the cross set up in their garden courtyard. It’s a beautiful picture that makes me so grateful for the amazing church I have gotten to be a part of and the gorgeous country I am living in.
Looking back, I’ve realized a huge theme that presented itself this month was intentional discipleship. Discipleship has been a huge part of the work God has had me do here, but this month has felt a lot more intentional. The groups of girls I normally work with have been growing in the number of different groups, but declining in amount of girls in each. However, this has given me the time to really speak into the girls that do show up and value our studies. One of the newer groups we have started has been the group of middle and high school girls that meet every Wednesday as part of their co-op school to study the book, “Every Young Woman’s Battle.” In NOW Costa Rica, we use this book to teach about their bodies, the true purity God has for all women and girls, and how we can maintain our purity living in this world. We started this group last month, but we have been able to deepen the meaning and connections in this group by bringing what we’ve learned to share with another group of girls in a low-income local school, Pequeños Angelitos. As a group, we have taught the girls there how to find books in the Bible, read a book called “Tu Eres Especial,” read the story of the Prodigal Son, and talked about our identities in Christ. The girls at this school really look up to the high school girls and it’s been so sweet to watch them grow into leaders and positive influences for them. In addition to this group, I have also continued to meet with the other two girls, Chanel and Emilyeda, to continue the same book study but in Spanish. I have enjoyed meeting with them every week, trying to answer their questions, and even helping them in their reading ability. I’m so excited for what God has for the future of every single one of these girls!
We ended the month with a visit from Jordanna’s mom, Carolyn (Nana), and some volleyball of course. The last time Nana visited, she brought a mission team with her. But this time she came to focus on family and trying to offer some relief to her sick daughter. However, her, Merary, and I did spend a Sunday afternoon with the girls in the NOW CR program. It was a really sweet time to gather around the table and talk about Jesus’ resurrection story from the perspective of the disciples. Sweet times like these are so important for these girls who, a lot of the time, have not heard these stories and definitely don’t know how to apply it to their own lives. After the story, Nana taught all of them how to sew a cross. It was great seeing all of those girls patiently work on their craft and just fellowship with each other. Then, the next weekend, I picked up those same girls and took them to Horizon Church for volleyball camp. We used the multiuso court there as a backup for our normal grass court. There we learned more about the basic skills of volleyball with a small group of just us girls. We read about the Prodigal Son and discussed how important it is to run back to God when we make mistakes. God is moving so much in the lives of these girls. They always bring a fresh energy and smile to my face that remind me why God put me here.
I spent the majority of my time this month at Horizon Church, getting more plugged in, and fellowshiping with people and families of the church. I have still been teaching the elementary kids of the co-op and teaching Sunday school once a month to the 9-11 year olds that attend the church. But this month I’ve gotten so much closer with the young adults in the church through getting back into playing volleyball and our Bible study. We had a bonfire on the beach Bible study this month which was such a unique time to be in nature with friends and learn from God’s Word. I have also continued to volunteer as a leader in the youth group. The population of youth in Jaco is always changing, so it’s nice to always see new and old faces showing up at youth group every week. The last youth group we had was a prayer and worship night. It has been so cool to see the transformation of the heart postures of these kids towards worship. They are so much more open and moved by it now. They are willing to get up and share verses in front of their peers and pray over each other. I’m so hopeful for the future of Jaco with all of these kids rising up as leaders and maturing as Christians. Horizon Church and NOW Costa Rica work so well together in outreach in the community and it has been amazing to experience the church’s side of it while NOW CR is slowed down because of construction. Below is a picture showing the progress of the Ailor’s house on the land. It’s amazing that just last month we were meeting there for lessons and games, and now there is half of a house built! After the house is built, the retaining wall will need to be constructed and then the mission’s house/community center can be built and used for the NOW CR programs! It’s all coming together so quickly! Even though I won’t be living here to see it all come to fruition, I know God will use it in immense ways to reach this community.
We have started more girls groups within the co-op and other schools successfully!
Horizon Church has started 2 services this month which are going very well!
My foot is healed and mostly back to normal!
Please pray for the families, women, and kids of Jaco and Herradura that NOW Costa Rica and Horizon Church are working with.
Please pray that the rest of the financial needs to build the educational center on the land are met.
Please pray for peace and healing for Jordanna.
Please pray for the future of the homeschool co-op in the church.
Please pray for all of the girls in my groups as they embark on the journey of pursuing purity in the Lord.
I only get to write and share two more newsletters after this one which is very bittersweet! Thank you so much for following along in my journey and supporting the work that I believe God has placed me here for. We know prayer is so real and so strong, so thank you for your continued prayers during the hard times and the good times. I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing all of you so soon! I pray blessings and peace over your families as you face your own challenges and enjoy the life God has given you.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one–I in them and you in me–so that they may be brough to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23