Monday, August 31, 2009

I was a nurse in the States who came to be a teacher in the projects of Costa Rica

I miss everyone very much and have been beyond blessed to continually receive packages, letters, emails and etc! It never ceases to humble and amaze me. I grew up reading about and studying the life of missionaries and missions. I have it so easy in comparison. What trials I face are nothing and especially compared to the heartbreaking things I encounter on a daily basis.

I will do my best to describe all that I have been up to as many have been asking me on here..."What are you doing?" "How can I pray" Do you like it there?" and so on! Please keep in mind I am not taking great care in my grammar as I type this today!

I live in San Jose, as I have mentioned before and I am convinced it IS the city that never sleeps. The sun rises here usually between 5:30am-6:00 am and sets around 6pm. It took awhile to adjust to that and so sometimes at 8:30pm I would feel as if it was time to go to bed! I live in a five bedroom apartment that occasionally hosts teams from the States. However, most of the time I have the apartment to myself. The weather is overcast with occasional sunshine and we are in the rainy season right now. Even in the rainy season it is still so nice and warm. Today I sat in the court yard of the National Museum and read, it was sunny and hot the whole time!

I am learning the city and culture more and more. I have something in common with a majority of people living here that I never would have thought, they are foreigners too! If you come to Costa Rica you will encounter much of Central and South America too. I have learned customs and dishes from so many countries. God knows how much I love to travel and learn of other nations. He certainly placed me in a spot where I could live in one country and yet touch so many.

I have an amazing host family who are missionaries to Costa Rica from Guatemala. The Garcias; Manuel, Claudia, Michelle, Paul and Jonny have taken me in and made me apart of their family. They have been my Spanish teachers and the biggest blessing. I usually spend several days in a row at there house and love every moment. I think my favorite times with them are when we are sitting around the table laughing and joking! They eat every meal at the table together as a family. Claudia is an amazing cook and has taught me a lot.

We travel several times a week to a city called Cartago. For me the trip is only 30mintues but for them an hour. There in Cartago we started a program teaching Jesus, English and for the older women and mothers; how to read and write. We rent space in a church building, which has personality and will need some fixing up! However, I love the challenge. The church is not far from the Project area and the children are able and willing to walk to us there. Having this location so close allows us to have even more children the we have had preciously.

Right now, I teach English to multiple ages of children which is very challenging and entertaining. The kids have all learned my name quickly and I am hooked! I love it here. There are times I get discouraged or lonely or tired and even sometimes overwhelmed. I know that is part of it, but I am blessed that those feelings never last long. God takes such sweet care of me and I am closer to Him than I have ever been.

I am being stretched in many ways and always mainly in my weaknesses. God uses circumstances to remind me that I am not capable of things but in Him I become capable. He uses the foolish things to shame the wise and I learn that firsthand in my own life. I was walking back from a coffee shop I found and have fallen in love with and the thought came to me that God did not call me here because I am qualified.....i.e...... being fluent in Spanish, having a good sense of direction or knowing how to do exactly what I am doing at all times. No that would have made too much sense to us the common man! God doesn't makes sense though according to my thoughts, He does all things well according to His thoughts and ways. He chose me. It is not about what I can and can't do, it is about what He can do when one prays, "Here I am Lord, send me!"

That is the only qualification He was looking for from me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Costa Rica-What I have learned after one month.

A few years ago, someone I respect and admire very much sent me the following verse and definition.

“You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” Psalms 31:8
“I think God puts us in physical and spiritual spacious places. When I picture freedom I picture open spaces or spacious places. If through Jesus our heart can become a spacious place, who knows how much he will pour out on us.”

As I was walking home from the store the other day, this verse and description came to my mind again. It is a scary thing in some ways, to pack up your life as you know it, leave it behind and head off for the unknown. There is so much freedom in making that change that in can be overwhelming but it also forces me to be so dependent on God. I want to be wise with that freedom God has entrusted to me. I became aware of the fact that since being here, I have had grace to do things when the situation would normally have been uncomfortable or potentially dangerous. I have seen God's hand in all the little things in my life here that perhaps other people would not necessarily notice but I notice. In recalling all those instances after being here a month, it was then I realized, God placed my feet in a spacious place.

Everything that encompasses living in the city of San Jose stretches me. It is a challenge to live in a city that is bigger than what I am used to and wonder if I will ever get used to the sound of car alarms!! Spiritually I am pushed beyond anything I have ever experienced and I know this is just the beginning.

Webster's Dictionary defines the word home as; “one's place of residence ; a familiar or usual setting; in harmony with the surroundings; on familiar ground.”

While those are correct definitions/descriptions of the word, God defines it much sweeter to me. Being here I have come to understand this word to be defined as I worship God among other believers no matter the denomination, background, culture or language. Other times the reality and understanding of this word is brought to mind when I play or feed the children in Cartago. As I look at the faces across this nation, I see the heart of Jesus. In all of these instances, I am on familiar ground.

I remember praying on a plane last summer that God would show me His heart. I wanted more than anything else to know beyond the scope of what I had already known of His heart. I learn it every single day here in some form or fashion. The more I see and learn, the more I am so at home. It is not the country, even though they have done an amazing job of welcoming me! It is not having my things sitting around the apartment or the fact that I can purchase certain items at the store that are from the USA. Being on the path of God's will for my life and in the process touching His heart through the many faces of children brings me home. Only God could do that, only He could take a country you are not from, a language you barely know and a culture that is unfamiliar and make it somehow home. I don't think it gets more spacious than that :).

So to answer so many that have asked, no, I am not homesick. There are little things I miss and I miss my family in a big way!! I think the feeling of being homesick hits when I am not seeking the heart of God and His presence. David says in Psalms 27:4 “...this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life....” So like David, I too want the “One Thing” with all my heart and as long as I have that; God can drop me in whatever country and culture He chooses and I will be home.