Blessings Abound from Costa Rica

October 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

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I was in the great country of Costa Rica for 9 days and was missing it before we were boarding the plane to leave. We had an amazing time there. Sometimes it’s hard to find words to describe those kinds of weeks. We took 10 students who put their hearts into that week. They engaged well with each other, took great steps of faith and we initiated conversations with over 120 tico students at the University of Costa Rica. We were able to talk about Jesus with over 70 of those students. It’s always so incredible to be let into someone elses life, their faith journey, their struggles, their fears, their joys if only for sometimes a 20 minute conversation.

One of the most touching conversations I had was with a couple students talking about grace and Jesus. After I explained what grace really is, that Jesus died for us, we did nothing to earn it and can do nothing to pay him back for it. It truly is a gift and we as humans have such a hard time accepting that. When we finished talking she paused, leaned back and said, “Wow, that’s really beautiful. Really beautiful.” Her friend with her said, “That’s truly the most loving thing anyone could ever do.” I only wish that everyone saw it that way, that I saw it that way everyday. I take God’s grace and love for granted so often and after trips like this I am always reminded through a hundred little ways that “Wow, it’s really beautiful.”

One of the greatest days for me was spending time with my friend Bethany (I helped lead her to Christ as a student at OSU) who’s been serving in San Jose with her family for the past two years. We were able to get away, just the two of us, explore some of the incredible wonders and beauty that Costa Rica has and process the past year of life and ministry together. Those times are so rare, uninterrupted conversation, surrounded by astounding beauty and the space to talk about what God is doing in and through our lives, the joys and the sorrows, and what the future might hold and how to discern that. It was a true gift.

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Another great highlight was being able to catch up with three students that we met last year on our trip. We approached these three students “randomly” and God has continued to keep us connected. I love that our God orchestrates “random” meetings like that and uses it to show us more of who He is. Oscar and Fer don’t claim to be Christ followers but they are two wonderful, loving, fun people that I hope to always keep in touch with. Maricruz is a follower of Christ that we met, she began meeting with Danae (a staff woman in CR), has babysat for Bethany and is near and dear to my heart. She is beautiful, has a heart of gold and I love her dearly. On our last night together she posted this about me and I felt so humbled by it,

And then God saw that human was lonely and He decide to create the angels, they look like us, they don´t have wings, but they do have a big heart and love. And that’s how I met you being an angel … Thank ya so much! I really love ya!

It’s not everyday that you get to have connections with people like that. I’m so grateful that God put us in Maricruz’s life when He did and for all that He’s doing to make her a great woman of God.

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We’ve been home for 5 days and all of us who went to Costa Rica are longing to go back. There have been flurries of text messages between the team all week. I’m thankful for each of those students who went, who gave their fall break to do something fun, scary and so worth while. My prayer was that we would walk away more in love with God, challenged in good ways and that we would have seen Him do great things and I can confidently say all those things happened.

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Thanks to those of you who prayed or gave financially to make this trip happen. Thanks to the STINT team (Jesse, Bethany, Megan, Erin, Danae, James, & Matt) who hosted us, cared for us, took our students under your wing, for incredible conversations (especially Erin) and fun together. It was incredible!

Here’s another quote from a student who went on the trip,

We tried new foods, got caught in the rain, found a doll made out of a sock and named her Cloudia, played catchphrase, went to church, explored San Jose, visited the home of Doña Melba and fell in love with a bunch of kids, learned about sex trafficking, met students at the University of Costa Rica, learned about their lives, beliefs, and faith, watched the soccer game, shared our faith, encouraged students who follow Jesus, saw a sloth, answered and asked questions about God, prayed a lot, talked about life and hope and forgiveness and love, learned a ton, met great people, shared our stories, laughed a lot, went zip lining in the jungle, spent one last night with the stint team, spent a day on the beach, snorkeled with the fish, got thrown off a banana boat, and had a really, really hard time saying goodbye. It was a great adventure.

That pretty much sums it up. It’s amazing what a group of 13 people can fit into 9 days. We certainly serve a great God.

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Jody

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