Blessings, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year friends and family,
Overall, December’s activities and ministries brought a great end to an amazing year! I’m in awe that the end of this month marks the halfway point of my time serving in Costa Rica. It has gone by fast, but slow, and has been very challenging, but also so fun and rewarding. I’ve learned so much about language, culture, people, and Jesus. God’s calling to go to Costa Rica has unfolded in many different ways that I didn’t expect, but I’m so grateful for all of you, my friends and family, that I get to share it with. As I enter my last 6 months sharing the gospel in this place, I have been reflecting on how vital you are to the Lord’s mission here. So thank you so much for your consistent support and dedication. With your help, we are creating relationships and sharing the good news that can completely transform the community of Jaco and Herradura, Costa Rica.
This month, we finished out our trial run of the NOW CR volleyball ministry. With the help of Aaron, Averie, and Josh, other dedicated missionaries and volleyball players in the area, the volleyball clinics we held took off! English and Spanish speaking kids ages 9-18 in Herradura and Jaco gathered every Saturday to learn how to better play volleyball, about Jesus, how to keep our bodies healthy, and how to be a Christian while playing sports. We had up to 31 kids in one session come out to learn about Jesus and volleyball! It was so much fun seeing these kids improve in all of those aspects and become closer to each other. We covered topics like identity in God and perseverance in our “charlas” every week. At the end of our 5 weeks, we had a beach volleyball tournament reward day. We invited the kids and their families to enjoy an afternoon at the beach where they got to showcase their skills and use the points they earned the last few weeks on fun prizes. Thanks to the donation from my former club volleyball team, Virginia Top Team, the kids were able to earn volleyball shirts and shorts, which created an incentive to improve, demonstrate good sportsmanship, and memorize Bible verses. The tournament day was a success and many kids were already asking about when the volleyball clinics will start up again! I’m looking forward to restarting it with the other coaches in the new year, developing it into a better program, and using it to recruit more at-risk youth for our Bible study programs.
The NOW CR Bible study programs have also been successful as all 3 of them celebrated Christmas and end of their studies for the year. My younger girls group finished a short study on God’s love. While we weren’t studying a whole book, this time was used to recruit new girls in Herradura for the new year. In 2023, we hope to have 10-12 girls consistently attending this Bible study group. For those already in the group that worked hard in this short study, we had a Christmas party reward where the girls and I gathered at my church to play games, eat pizza, play a white elephant game, and of course read the Christmas story out of Luke 2. In addition to the younger girls party, the older girls also held a get together where they invited a few girls that they believed would enjoy and benefit from the group in the future. It was so exciting seeing both girls’ groups grow in numbers and watching them all interact with a fresh energy. I can’t wait to see how God transforms their lives!
After a couple of busy weeks at the beginning of the month filled with teaching, meetings, and preparing for these events, I flew back to the United States for my second Visa run. Because I’m in the country as a tourist, I have to leave the country every 90 days. This 90 day mark happened to align with Christmas and New Years. So I took that opportunity to fly back to Florida where I spent Christmas with my fiance, his family, and my parents. My parents drove down to Florida to see me and spend that time with me. It was a very sweet time and the first time Cody and I have actually been with each other in person on Christmas. Then, after Christmas, Cody and I journeyed with my parents to San Antonio, Texas to watch my brother’s graduation from Space Force basic training! I'm so proud of him and all he accomplished in that time. He’s really become a much stronger leader. I’m so glad I could be there to congratulate him. Immediately after his 2 day graduation, Cody and I flew up to Ohio to visit all of his extended family for the holidays. I met a lot of different people in the span of 5 days, but had so much fun doing it. They were all very welcoming and I couldn’t have asked for a better family to marry into.
To finish out my visit home and my visa run, we road tripped back down to Florida where I packed up all of the stuff I had to take back to Costa Rica. We also went shopping for a car that I will need when I get back to the States for good in the summer of 2023. We took this time to run a lot of errands and plan a lot for the wedding as well. We secured our wedding venue, ordered invitations, and got my dress adjusted. There is so much to look forward to after my 1 year mission trip here is over and it was hard spending that much time with family and having to come back. But the trip really made me lean into God more and learn to have patience. He has already reminded me of all that I have to look forward to in Costa Rica in the meantime. As my heart hurt to leave again, I prayed for peace and patience. I appreciate all those who are joining me in this prayer. I also pray that I can switch my focus back to the mission field and truly appreciate the time I have left in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. I can’t wait to see what God has to offer the community of Herradura and Jaco in 2023. NOW CR is continuously growing and building upon the good news. Thank you for all your spiritual, emotional, and financial support to this program and to our vision of sharing God’s love through relationships in this area.
We are starting the building process on the land in 2 weeks!
I made it back to Costa Rica safely.
All 3 of the families expecting babies in our church had healthy babies this past month!
Please continue to pray for the students that attend the NOW CR groups, volleyball ministry, and mentoring groups that will restart soon.
Please pray for the new students and new program ideas that will be involved in NOW CR in this new year.
Please pray that the rest of the financial needs to build the educational center on the land are met.
Please pray for the couple of upcoming mission teams that are coming in January and February.
I pray that you all had a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for supporting me in my new year’s resolutions in ministry here. The Lord has brought you all into my life for a purpose, for His purpose, and I’m so glad to see people respond to His call. That is what I hope for the people in this country, that they will feel His love and respond to His call as well.
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalms 29:11