Hola a todos!
It is now July which marks the end of my year long commitment in Costa Rica. So, welcome to my last newsletter and reflection on all God has done with my time there! I just recently made my way back to the United States which has been a little bit of an adjustment. It was a bittersweet goodbye but a very sweet reunion with my friends and family here. I’m very blessed to be home with the excitement of my upcoming wedding and moving to a new state. However, because of this, there hasn’t been much time to stop and reflect about my time serving. So I’m grateful for this opportunity to share and look back on all the memories and lessons learned.
To start the update on what has happened this past month of June, the co-op finished its first semester strong! The kids had so much fun as we held a spirit week with prizes for the best dressed each day. Pictured above was our tie dye day! The kids and moms also surprised me with an ambush bridal get ready party. The kids did my makeup and nails in about 5 minutes and dressed me up in my toilet paper dress for some hilarious pictures! I’m so grateful to have been involved and loved by a community so caring and funny. In addition to all the fun that finished out the school year, there was also a lot of work to be done. I tested all the kids’ reading and math levels which will help for the next semester of the co-op. It was awesome to see how much they have improved. For our weekly devotions, we finished our study on the fruit of the Spirit which the kids really got involved in and tried their best to exhibit. I loved being able to openly teach and discuss the Bible with them. Oftentimes they provided a different perspective that it would be hard to think about as adults. I learned so much as I taught them! We also finished our language buddy program at Pequeños Angelitos. We had a couple more regular Mondays there holding English lessons and lessons about Jesus before holding a carnival themed end of year party. All the co-op kids really got into the spirit of it with painted faces and played all the organized games with Pequeños Angelitos’ kids. It was a sweet time to just love on the kids there and have some fun! It was beautiful to see the culmination of all the relationships that blossomed between the mostly English speaking kids from Horizon and the mostly Spanish speaking kids from that sweet school. They definitely had a great impact on each other that I pray will continue in the next year. Fortunately, the Horizon co-op was discussed in a business meeting at the church where members of the church voted on the future of the school. This vote resulted in favor of continuing the initiative next year! For the school year 2023-2024, the co-op will expand into a learning center and be able to reach more families in the church, as well as more Spanish speaking students. What started as an unexpected ministry opportunity is projected to turn into a full blown international school, God willing! I will be praying for the future of the school and those kids.
In addition to school, I spent a lot of time this month at the church pouring into other ministries and people. One of those ministries was the Horizon youth group. I was chosen to lead the charla, or message, one Thursday where we discussed the topic of surrender. It was a great experience for me to speak in front of a group of multicultural teenagers and share a little bit of my testimony. We ended that youth group with a time of prayer where I prayed over a girl who had recently suffered from an intense home invasion and wanted to surrender her fear to God. I have loved getting to know these kids and praying with them even though most of them aren’t in the NOW Costa Rica programs. In addition to the Horizon youth, I also connected with the Horizon young adults and fellow missionaries one last time. The Horizon young adult Bible study I had been apart of was one of the best Bible study experiences I have ever had. It was so rich with insight, worship, and Biblical knowledge. I’m blessed to have been a part of it and build relationships with my peers. The picture below shows just a few of us on one of our favorite hikes. It was so much fun and so refreshing to be active and fellowship with each other at the same time.
My last couple weeks in Costa Rica there were many goodbyes. It almost didn’t feel real that I was leaving and I felt a little desensitized to the emotions that come with saying goodbye. But I definitely started to feel like it was real that I was leaving at my last NOW CR event. We held one last big event that combined the families of the kids in the NOW CR programs with everyone who attended my volleyball clinics. We ended up with over 50 people gathered together at the outdoor recreational center at Horizon Church. We played some volleyball, ate some pizza, played other games, and finished with one last Bible study. It was amazing to see all of the girls and kids I had been trying to reach my whole year there all in one place and improving. God let me see the fruit of my service in small but important ways. These kids were more attentive to the Bible study, asking more questions, and finding Bible verses faster! They were more familiar with the topics and helping each other in love. Seeing that made it really hard to leave, but it also made my time there more than worth it. I learned a lot about missions through working with these sweet people. I learned that mission work is not about instant results most of the time and that it’s about relationship building. Those relationships can be messy because we’re all human. But if you let God be the peacemaker and Lord, then His will will be done and relationships can be redeemed. I also learned a lot about obedience and patience. When I decided to come to Costa Rica, I didn’t really know what I would be doing or what to expect. But God revealed the specifics of what He called me to when He needed me to know. All I needed to do was be obedient. This wasn’t easy and it went against my natural impatience. But God used this experience to teach me all of these things that I can apply to the rest of my life. I’m so grateful for the lessons He taught me and the people He put in my life in this past chapter. I’ll never forget the memories made and the faces of the sweet, little girls that will always have a place in my heart.
The NOW CR land is progressing quickly!
The Horizon co-op got approved to continue functioning next year.
The Ailor family and I made it safely to the United States.
Thank you, Lord, for an amazing year of missions in Costa Rica!
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 those families stay in God’s hands and continue the healthy habits they’ve built.
Please pray over the building of the Ailor’s house and the educational center.
Please pray for the 2023-2024 homeschool co-op year.
Please pray for all of the girls in my groups that they continue on the journey of pursuing purity in the Lord without me being there.
I went to Costa Rica with the intention of serving the people there and teaching them about Jesus to the best of my ability. I came back confident that I obeyed God’s will for me, but even more confident that I had learned so much more than I expected. God surrounded me with such an amazing community and used the people there to help my faith journey as much as He used me to help others’. So thank you sincerely for all of your support. God has been moving so heavily in that beautiful country and He will continue to in the years to come. But you all have been a vital part to reaching the people of Jaco and Herradura in the past year. When I struggled, I felt your prayers and encouragement. When I needed help to keep going, you all were there to back me up. I loved my community in Costa Rica, but I would have never had that experience without all of you, my community in the States. God is so good and has used all of you as well. Thank you for being obedient, encouraging, and compassionate. I appreciate all of your generosity! This marks my 12th newsletter and the last one for my time with NOW CR. So thank you also for following along with my updates and newsletters. God bless you!
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” Ecclesiastes 3:1-4