Hola a todas from Costa Rica,
We’re two months into 2023 and this year on mission has already been so different from what it was in 2022, but also so rewarding. This month was filled with lots of trials and challenges, but through it all, I’ve learned so much and become closer to God. He kept reminding me of what's written in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So despite a car incident (no one got hurt, thankfully), struggles planning for a mission team, and the tension that comes with working and planning things with other people, God has used everything that’s happened for His glory. It has been a joy to see how relationships have grown and God has moved in this short month.
We started the month off by kickstarting our volleyball camps again, finally! Then on the same day, we gathered on the NOW CR land to play some games, learn some English, and listen to Cristian’s testimony. This was my second time hearing his testimony, and I’ve learned that I find something new that inspires me every time. This was a great way to engage and connect with the kids in our program. It was also an amazing gateway into Cristian’s new study of the book of James in the Bible with the young boys group of NOW CR that he leads. All the kids, coming from many neighborhoods in Herradura and Jaco, are getting used to meeting on the land at 3pm most Saturdays and always ask if there is anything going on whenever we take a weekend off. It’s so exciting and completely the work of God that these kids crave the time they get to spend with us as we have fun and teach them about Jesus.
The majority of this short month was spent preparing for and serving with a mission team made up of my parents, my soon to be parents in law, and their friends, another couple from Manassas Baptist Church in Virginia. I learned a lot being the primary person planning and leading this team. But everybody on the team was so flexible with everything and loving with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better first mission team to lead. Another first that we tackled with this team was building a house for the first time as a NOW Costa Rica project. At first this was an intimidating project for Jordanna and I, as the organization is more focused on the education side of helping people and building relationships. But with the help of Pastor Daniel of Horizon Church, Esteban, one of our NOW CR cook’s husbands, and others from the church, the team was successful in building a “casita” for a sweet family in the neighborhood of Parcellas in Herradura. The family was made up of a young mom and dad with a months old baby, who had been living with the grandmother and grandfather with three other young children of their own in a house not much bigger than the one we built in the picture above. Through this time spent with them, we were able to build relationships not only with the new homeowners, but also with those who helped with the build. It was amazing to see each person on the team shine in different capacities and roles during this process. The house was built in 3 and a half days, but our prayer is that it will bless that family and create connections that will last a lifetime.
In addition to the house build, the team also split up into 2 groups of men and women and each planned an event for their respective group of NOW CR youth. The boys went on a Man Up Weekend camping trip. Thank you to Pastor Daniel again for letting us use his cabin for the event. The boys learned how to start a fire and use a tourniquet while the men took turns sharing messages about Jesus and our identity in Him. The girls, on the other hand, had a slumber party at the condo where the team was staying. The living room was transformed into a bedroom for about 10 girls. They loved swimming in the pool, creating their own bracelets, painting their nails, and watching an inspiring movie. Mindy, one of the mission team members, shared her testimony that she had thoughtfully translated into Spanish for them. Then, the next day, both groups, the boys and girls, met at the NOW CR land for my volleyball camp. It was awesome to see so many kids from so many different places, of many different ages, and from different groups come together to have fun playing a sport that I love. After the camp, the youth from the NOW CR boys and younger girls groups stayed and listened to Ben, one of the mission team members, as he taught correct technique when working out and how that connects to how we should live our lives as Christians. To close out a tiring, but rewarding 24 hours with these special kids, we had a big pizza lunch on the land and spent some time in fellowship with each other. Mission teams always bring a fresh energy to our groups and it’s so amazing to see all the kids come together to have fun and glorify the Lord in the process.
Throughout this whole month and a busy 10 days with the mission team, I have also continued to teach the third culture kids in the homeschool co-op held in our church. The kids have been so hungry to learn which has been a fun environment to be in. It has also been challenging in the best way for me to juggle teaching the 3 different grades represented in my class. God has certainly blessed me with a great environment and the best kids to learn and be flexible in my teaching. Additionally, this co-op has been an opportunity to introduce missions to the lives of these kids. Every week they have been visiting a school for mostly lower income families called Pequenos Angelitos for a Language Buddy program. We are also working on connecting the 12 families that attend the co-op to the 12 families that we currently work with in our NOW Costa Rica groups. With the 4 days a week curriculum we chose, the kids also get to experience and learn about the wonderful country they live in. Pictured below is our beach clean up day field trip where the kids were challenged to pick up as much trash as they could from the beach with the goal of finding some that could be reused for an art project. Despite the heat of the dry season, the kids had a great time! It left me very grateful that I get to facilitate experiences that help kids learn by doing.
The Horizon homeschool co-op has had a successful first 5 weeks of school!
The mission team accomplished so much for the glory of His Kingdom and made it back home to the States safely.
Please pray for the families, women, and kids of Jaco and Herradura that NOW Costa Rica, Horizon Church, and Face of Justice 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 the travel mercies of visitors and vision teams coming in March.
Please pray that the families of the co-op can make an impact in the community and come to a conclusion about what school will look like in August.
Thank you so much for all your continued support, prayers, and thoughtful messages. Those things make my times of feeling homesick a little easier. Only 4 more months to go in this beautiful country serving these families and kids from all over! Please pray that I can finish my time here strong and can continue to make an impact for Christ until the day I leave. I love and miss you all!
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18