Here is an overview of my trip… I hope you enjoy! I will try to keep it short and sweet for you all! 🙂
It’s been a couple weeks now since I have returned from my first mission trip to this beautiful and eye opening country! I won’t write all the details of the trip as it would take forever for me to write and you to read! However, I do want to highlight some of the best parts of the trip and what God taught and revealed to me along the way and since I have been home!
This was a lot of firsts for me… My first mission trip, time flying, leaving the country, and on and on from there!
The week was not easy, but it was sweet! I had a few challenges to overcome. I am type 2 diabetic so I had to continue to take my medication while I was on the trip. Mixed with heat and activity that I normally do not have other things occurred with my body that hasn’t happened in a while! I was not pleased with it, but God got me through it.
There were several things that I struggled with though. First the heat… Oh my! I grew up not using air conditioning much because my dad didn’t like to turn it on in the summer, but I didn’t have a huge problem with it until the sun went down in the evenings and it was directly in my room. We did not have air conditioning at first nor did we have hot water! It was a change for me! I wasn’t enjoying myself. Second the language barrier… I couldn’t communicate with anymore that wasn’t on my team! It was so hard to enjoy conversations or life with these sweet people because we didn’t understand one another! Third my clothes sticking to my body… I wore appropriate clothing: shorts and tank tops, but they stuck to me all day! I quickly became thankful for the cold water! Fourth, the bugs… I had so many bug bites on me and bug spray wasn’t helping at all and if anything they liked the Off spray!
I just wanted to enjoy the trip and serve and be useful, but I didn’t feel useful at first! These were all thoughts within the first 24 hours after landing in Coasta Rica! How did the trip end? I didn’t foresee what God revealed to me as the week went on in the first day!
By the time we left Playa Azul, I had gotten over whatever was bothering me! I enjoyed myself and serving with the kids and enjoying the company of a couple people I found knew a little english and wanted to talk. I enjoyed getting to hear their stories and talk about God with them and how they had come to have a relationship with Christ. I saw myself in Coasta Rica long-term by the time we left this small little village!
Getting to Nosara was a riot! It was so much fun getting to just hangout together as a team. The trip itself was bumpy and that is under exaggerating the bumps we endured! The van we drove bottomed out and one of the bumps we went on sent a team member sleeping in the back of the van airborne though he had a seat belt on. We arrived safely though we didn’t have a GPS and we had to stop and ask for directions 5 times and each time was less helpful than the last!
Nosara is where I felt God really working in my heart! I got to serve the pastor and his wife in a wonderful way and I didn’t even know them well. It was definitely a God moment, because I struggle to clean my own apartment let alone get up and clean a complete stranger’s home without a second thought about it. We started out with a Bible Study the first night. The second day, we planted trees on the church property. I got burned only once though and then I tanned (which doesn’t happen). Later that night, we had a worship and prayer service at the church. This is where I started to have some issues emotionally because I was all out of wack emotionally! I wasn’t sure what was going on, but my heart was not in a serving mood and it was upset and miserable. I wanted to be there, but I just didn’t want to work with the kids that night. I work with kids daily and though I knew I needed to work with the kids on the trip, that night I just wasn’t there. At the end of the night, we were having dinner at the church and I just couldn’t eat and I was sitting alone away from others because I just knew I wasn’t going to be any good. A woman came over to talk to me and the conversation turned out really sweet and God pulled me out of the darkness I was in by getting to hear about her life and her ministries! She was such a blessing in my life! The next day, I was sick and unable to go up the mountain and to a school so I stayed back and spent time with God and in my room in air conditioning for a while. I felt better by the time the team got back, but at the same time, I wasn’t feeling better. Emotionally I was back on track, but I wasn’t feeling physically better because I was still weak and shaky. We didn’t do anything our last morning there because we were leaving and traveling all day, but I found out why I wasn’t feeling myself the past couple days. Female issues is all I will say. I am thankful for the prayers everyone sent when I posted on Facebook that I was sick! I quickly felt better enough to enjoy the last part of the trip.
Nosara, I could see myself returning to at some point and would love to return…
Traveling to Tamarindo was better than traveling to Nosara. We had the bumpy roads for a while, but then things settled and we enjoyed the drive that would take us a few hours. We made it and found our hotel. This hotel was right on the beach! It was super beautiful! We started with a community outreach thing that night and it was really cool.
We had 2 more people from SBTS join us and having Dr. Sills on the team was amazing! I enjoyed conversations with him and his knowledge and insight.
This is a city filled with partying and drugs. And surfing… but all the towns have that along the coast! It’s Coasta Rica… Pura Vida! 🙂 Then the conference started the next day. It was such a joy to get to babysit for the pastor’s kids. My heart was so full by being around babies and serving the mom’s. I enjoyed getting to know the mom’s too. I didn’t care if I got to sit in on the conference or not! I wanted to be with the babies… I felt needed and useful here!
The conference quickly came to an end and we finished the week with church service. I helped with the Sunday School class so I didn’t get to hear Dr. Sill’s preach.
My favorite part was getting to worship along side God’s children in Coasta Rica! It was beautiful! I enjoyed my team and growing along side them!
We returned home and it was sad to leave, but we had to leave! As I returned home, I finished journaling about the trip and then waited about a week as I prayed through all the emotions that I had left from the trip. I am still praying about all them, but I understand them a little now.
God revealed several things to me on this trip:
*I know that God has called me to full-time missions.
For a while I have struggled with knowing if God wanted me to go into short-term or long-term missions. I know for sure that long-term is where I am meant to be! I don’t know where or what he wants me to be doing, but I’m not leaving for the mission field at the moment so for now… I’m trusting God one day at a time to reveal is bigger plan for my life.
*I need to focus on Missions as my degree.
I went into SBTS as a MA in Biblical Counseling, but changed to an M.Div in Great Commission Studies because I didn’t want to limit myself to one thing, but now I am an MA in Missiology. I will be focusing on Missions and the degree is shorter, but still requires a lot of the same classes. I don’t want to waste my time or money on something that God doesn’t want me to do.
*I am praying God returns me to Coasta Rica, I desire to return to serve God however he would use me.
Though I desire to return and God could call me back, but for now… I know that I am at SBTS for a season and I will finish this season well and be trained and grow the way God needs me to in order for me serve him in long-term missions
*I don’t want to live a comfortable life.
God doesn’t call us to live comfortable in our homes here in the US. Even if we are called to stay here domestically, We are to reach outside of our comfort and serve God in ways that we don’t think we are capable of doing.
*I want to learn Spanish.
I don’t just want to learn for myself, but to learn so that God can use me in more ways and I can communicate with the people as He leads me into the unknown.
*I need to figure out what gifts God has blessed me with.
I have been praying about the gifts God has given me, but I’m uncertain about these gifts. I enjoy working with kids, but at the same time I just don’t know. I have applied for a couple different internships (a leadership one and a missions one). I am trusting God to show me the gifts He has blessed me with which might help me to figure out where and how I might be best in the mission field.
There is so much more that God has done in my heart because of this trip! I can’t go into every little detail that God has done, but He done a lot! There is still quite a bit that I am processing and trying to figure out. God brought 5 great Godly people into my life for this trip and then added 2 more Godly men to join us and bless our team and the people of Coasta Rica who attended the conference. God done great things and is doing great things in the Casa Vida Plantation! I am thankful for all whom I met and worked along side.
I am so thankful for all your support prayfully and financially. I hope you continue to pray for the plans God has in my life as I continue through school! There is some things I am confused about that was revealed to me as well… Pray for them to become less complicated and less confusing and not to consume my thoughts. My prayer is for God to return me to Coasta Rica in some capacity in the near future, but until then… I faithfully prayer for the people there and God’s will for my life.