Hola a todos!
Happy June and the beginning of summer for all of you back in the States! As I was looking back at my camera roll to choose the pictures to include in this newsletter, I realized just how much really happened in May! God blessed this month so much. He gave me so many opportunities to serve, learn, and grow in community here. Thankfully, this month was full of so many high points that I don’t even remember what the low points were. Thank you to everyone who prayed earnestly for Jordanna’s health. She has just recently started returning to normal activities with zero symptoms. Praise God! There are only a few more weeks left until both of us return to the States, but there is still so much to look forward to during the little time that I have left here. I hope you enjoy my second to last update on the work God has me doing in this beautiful country!
We spent a lot of time this month being active and enjoying the unusual prolonged dry season. I held the last two volleyball clinics this month with the youth in Herradura. These kids were troopers continually coming out to sweat and play in the hot sun of Costa Rica in May. It’s been so much fun to see all these kids grow in their volleyball skills, in their comfortability with me and each other, and in their knowledge of the Bible. It was super encouraging to see them get faster and faster at finding verses in their Bibles and offering to read them out loud. I also learned to appreciate the smaller things involved with ministry through these clinics. For example, the packed full van ride of sweaty, talkative kids after a fun volleyball session, as seen in the picture above. In addition to volleyball, Horizon Church held a one-time softball clinic for all the girls in the area. So I invited my normal volleyball and NOW CR girls and took a group of them to participate. They had so much fun learning a new sport from a representative of the Costa Rican Softball and Baseball Federation, Rachel Fitoria. They also learned more about baptism at this clinic which led some of the girls to answer that they wanted to think more about truly accepting Jesus into their hearts. Even though there were times where organizing and making these clinics happen caused me more anxiety than I knew how to deal with, the growth in these girls' hearts, minds, and physical health have been so worth the times of struggle.
Another couple of girls’ groups that have continued and succeeded this past month are the middle and high school girls group at the homeschool coop and the Spanish speaking girls group at the school, Pequenos Angelitos (PA). The middle and high school girls group finished their book study on the “Every Young Woman’s Battle” book this month. It was such an intentional time to meet with these girls weekly to discuss hard topics and hear more and more of each other's testimonies. I’m so proud of them also for allowing God to turn them into leaders for the Pequenos Angelitos group. We held lessons and games every Monday at their school. On these Monday afternoons, the elementary kids from the coop take the younger kids at PA to teach them some English, the middle and high school boys take the older boys for games and an English lesson, and my girls group takes the older girls for a lesson derived from the “Every Young Woman’s Battle” book. We did lessons on who we decide to trust, mental health, and identity. I’m so proud of one of the girls, Ana Maria, for stepping up to translate when needed. Also, I’m so grateful for and proud of the oldest of the girls, Moriah Clark, for leading a PA lesson that I couldn’t make. It amazes me how bold she’s being in stepping out in faith. It’s been a privilege to mentor these girls for even the short amount of time that I had with them. It’s clear to see the effect that these girls are having on the lives of the younger girls attending this low income school. Their faces light up every Monday at 1:30pm when we show up at their school. Their hugs and smiles show just how big of an impact God is making in their lives through this group.
Throughout my year here, one of the constant blessings has been the church family I found here at Horizon Church in Jaco. This month I really felt more surrounded and supported by them as I spent more time there and really got to know the other people who attend. I’ve really enjoyed teaching Sunday school once a month which allows me to use my Spanish and practice some bilingual teaching. A major theme this month at church and in my life lately has been the Holy Spirit, and that is what I had the privilege of teaching this month. In addition to teaching Sunday school, teaching the homeschool co-op in the church building, and attending church services, I also attended the Horizon Church Camp 2023. The camp took place at La Montana Christian Camp, the same place as the youth camp that I went to as a leader in September. This was an amazing time to connect with God in worship and other families of the church in fellowship. I was blessed with an awesome group of young adults to hang out with for the majority of camp. I also enjoyed getting to know the families of the church better and holding the sweet, little babies. It was amazing to get out of Jaco and into the mountains to be with God in an environment much quieter and cooler than Jaco. I believe God really used this time to bring families together, people towards each other, and everyone to Him.
This month was also filled with a ton of celebrating and fun traveling adventures! Because I have the best fiance, Cody planned and came to visit me for my birthday this month. I was so happy to see him, and we did so much together that his trip here flew by. We traveled to a region of the country further north called Guanacaste for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday and finally explored a little bit of the ocean off of Costa Rica. Then on the day we traveled back to Jaco, we were met by an amazing wedding shower thrown and put together by my friends and church family here. It was so sweet to have everyone I love here meet Cody and to hear all of the wise, Godly marriage advice they had for us. I'm so grateful for everyone who helped set up, cooked, and attended the party. After the weekend, Cody and I taught at the co-op together in the mornings and ventured out in the afternoons. It was fun to show him what I had been doing every day for the past few months and he loved meeting all the crazy kids I spend my days with. My elementary kids also made sure to surprise me with a birthday cake this month and a gift for teacher appreciation day. I’m going to miss them so much! God has really blessed this co-op and community. We are almost done with the co-op school year and everyone is already starting to plan what the co-op will look like in August. We even had our first school picture day this month. You can get a glimpse of all the crazy, unique personalities God brought together in the picture below.
Jordanna is healed!
My high school and middle school co-op girls group finished our book study!
We enjoyed a successful church camp!
God is moving the hearts of the girls in my groups as they are stepping up in leadership roles and considering truly living with Jesus in their hearts!
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 over the building of the Ailor’s house and the educational center.
Please pray for healing over multiple people in the church who suffered from heart complications this month.
Please pray for the homeschool co-op initiative being planned for August.
Please pray for all of the girls in my groups as they embark on the journey of pursuing purity in the Lord.
Only a couple more weeks left living in this country and I am just struck with gratitude as I think about all of your support. I could not have done this without all of your support in prayer, encouraging messages, and financial giving. I have grown and learned so much being here. I pray that God made me who He’s called me to be and that He was able to use me to bring others to Him. All glory to God! It’ll be sad to leave, but I’m also so excited for the next chapter of my life to start. So thank you for all your love in this chapter and the next! Peace be with you and your families as we come to the middle of 2023. Enjoy the first month of summer!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13