Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'll Be Home for Christmas

I spent the entire day at the beach yesterday. Being in the ocean or just sitting on the shore watching the waves is one of the most comforting places for me. Whenever I look at the ocean, I am instantly in awe of God and His majesty. Just looking at Creation all around us simply shouts of God's fame and His personality. Different things in nature show so many aspects and sides to God. The ocean, I believe, is His beautiful way of reminding us that He is in control and a tangible example of how vast His love and faithfulness is for you and me. I love how there is so much of the ocean that has yet to be discovered even though men have tried. In the same way, there is still so much of knowing God for me to discover and I will never reach the end of Him.

In a few days, I will be home in Kentucky for Christmas. I am excited to be able to spend the next month and a half with my family, friends and church! After the holidays, I will spend a good portion of time raising funds for the work God has now paved a way to with the children and young girls in the Sex Trade. As I look ahead to next year, my heart beats a little faster with excitement and anticipation as to what God has in store. I am still amazed and awed by what He has done thus far. I know I have said that several times already but I can't help saying it again!

On October 2, 2009 I wrote the following journal entry:
" God, the statistics say that in San Jose alone are 3,000 (or over) little girls in the Sex Trade out at night prostituting themselves. I look out my window and ask where are you precious and possibly scared little girl? Susannah is going to team up with me and travel to Guanacaste. Lord, I pray right now you pave the way. Go before us but also go with us. Give us favor and answers."
When I wrote that, I had no idea what was going to transpire and I definitely never dreamed the progress we would make would be so fast. This entry came before we ever met one government official, community leader and child. I thought that after working and serving the community we would eventually stumble on the area of girls working. God did above and beyond all I could have imagined just like Ephesians 3:20 says. Leaving home and losing what was life to me was the best decision I ever made. For when you lose yourself you find it is only really then that you find yourself. I am grateful for the beautiful privilege of ministering to these girls here the power of what a life lived in Jesus does.

There is a comment box at the end of every entry. I would love to know who is reading and your thoughts. I would also love to know your prayer requests. I always post mine but I would like to know those requests of all who take the time to pray and read about our life here in Costa Rica. God Bless!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Making History(part two)

There is nothing like watching the slow, shy smile on a child's face begin as the tiny corners of that smile broaden from being loved on and accepted.  That to me is the best way to describe the scene this past Friday night as our team went into Zapoa, Nicaragua to pass out Christmas presents.  We had been traveling all day to get to La Cruz on Costa Rica's border.  We checked into the hotel and then quickly set out to make it across the border and into Nicaragua.  Already late, tired and sweaty we arrived to the extremely long line at immigration in Costa Rica.  My heart sank as I looked at the discouraging line and thinking about how all those children were waiting on us and now we were an hour and a half late in getting to them.  Susannah and I decided to see if our good friend, who happens to be the head of immigration for Costa Rica, was in her office.  It just so happened, that she was! (This was unusual for her to be there that late in the day).  I handed her the sugar cookies we made for her and she sweetly stamped our passports.  I watched as the line of North Americans and Europeans glared us down for being those able to bypass the line!  At once we set out quickly to cross the country line and enter Nicaragua.  We headed to the next office where our buddy, who is also head of immigration, was waiting for us to personally stamp our passports.  Once again, we bypassed the long line!  He was so excited to see us and know we were going all the way into the country past the border to have a smaller fiesta for the younger children (and it might have been because we made him cookies too!)  After he stamped us in, he ordered a patrol car to take us to the church in Zapoa from the border!  Although this was not my first time in Nicaragua, it was my first time to enter in a government vehicle with flashing lights and a siren!  We pulled up just in time to organize the gifts and pass them out to the anxiously awaiting children.  It was by far one of the best nights of my life and truly a moment I will never forget.  Pastor Rudy asked Susannah and I to sing for the church and Brian to preach.  It was awesome!

The next day (also morning of the BIG fiesta) I woke up with my head pounding and the feeling of a fever coming on.  I rolled over to see Susannah feeling about the same.  Here was one of the biggest days of our lives and we felt awful and missing home in a big way.  I called my Mom and in her sweet and encouraging way she said, "Sweetheart, get up because you have a job to do and then you get to come home!"  My mom was right and I mustered the strength to get up, get ready and face the task ahead.  We finished up the last minute errands and headed to the church to meet the youth and women who helped prepare the food.  We gathered in a giant circle, all of us sporting our fabulous T shirts, to pray one last time.  Then time to load up and head to border!  My heart did a little leap of excitement as I glanced back to see the caravan of cars, all the while marveling that this day had finally come.

Since the Costa Rican police have come to know Susannah and I, they allowed us to park at the patrol office inside the border where our cars would be safe.  Of course I took the Captain cookies too ;)!  Next stop customs check, where Susannah and I flashed our sweetest smiles, showed our badges and they waved our entire group through and did not need to check one single person.  Brian, however told them he would bring them a T shirt, which they were very excited to own.  The Kentucky gang and the Costa Rican gang joined forces to clean things up around the area the fiesta was to be held.  Soon to join in the cleaning and setting up would be the Nicaraguan gang.  While all the preparations were going down inside the border on the side of Nicaragua, Susannah and I set out to speak with immigration for Nicaragua.  The government welcomed us again with open arms and now we have become familiar faces to them!  They stationed armed guards around the entire perimeter of the fiesta and ensured the border guards let the young girls into our party.

The favor God has given us has been tremendous.  I am so in awe and humbled that He would choose me to be apart of something so amazing.  Our ministry Fuerza de Luz, is living up to it's name on the border!  I cannot wait to see all that God has in store for 2010.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Making History

My heart is so full right now that I don't even know where to start in describing the fiesta and the events that transpired. I woke up this morning reliving every single moment of last night and reeling at how this is my life now. Jesus said He came that we would know life and have it in abundance. If ever there was a time I felt in my life that I truly related to abundant life that time is now.

For months my heart was burdened for the children and youth I had yet to meet involved in the sex trade. I would dream about that moment when I would finally see them. I have never known such joy as I did in meeting the faces of young girls and guys in the sex trade and giving them food and Christmas presents. A sea of faces before me with timid, vulnerable expressions causing my heart to melt. I thought for sure they would arrive cynical or hardened but instead what greeted me were eyes that were teary and thankful.

During one part of the night, a friend of mine who had come out to help, called me over to a group of kids I had not met yet. She introduced me to them as the director of the ministry and it felt so surreal because I looked and sounded important but if they only knew just how I am another daughter of the King. One of the youth smiled shyly up at me and said, “you are my friend”.

The head of immigration for Nicaragua thanked Susannah and I over and over. He said nothing like this had ever happened inside the border and we could count on his continual help and protection. The young girls hugged us, thanked us and asked when we were coming back!

God is so awesome. There was nothing special about us except when God asked us to go, we did. He made things so easy as if it was the most normal thing for two Kentucky girls to march into government offices and say, “Hi we are interested in these kids and we would like to have a party for them!”

Often Susannah and I marvel at out easy and simple God made things for us and the supernatural favor that encompassed it all.

I could not have survived this weekend without the prayers of everyone and the awesome team of North Americans, Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans God put together.

The Costa Rican church put together a powerful drama of God's redemptive power and I saw several of the girls watching wipe tears from their eyes. How powerful and mighty God's power was displayed on December 5th, 2009 on the border. Light was brought into a dark place. I know the young girls and guys will never be the same, the government officials were struck by all they witnessed and I know I will never be the same.

I always wanted to know what it would be like to mark history and last night we did just that! My story and Susannah's story is one where we turned the pen over to God and said, “Lord, you write whatever you desire in and with our lives.” We know this is just the beginning and now the real work with all the youth and children begin.

I pray for all those reading that you will desire to be a history maker and stand up for what is right in your generation. Be a voice for those who cannot speak as Proverbs declares.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out."

Deut. 28:6

Truly, my cup runs over.  I am so blessed and if I had a thousand tongues I would shout thanksgivings at the top of my lungs to God with every one of them!!!!  Yesterday was a powerful and successful day at the border.  Susannah, Nina and I arrived safely to La Cruz with just enough time to unload our backpacks, check-in to the hotel and hit the road again to meet everyone at the church. 

A total of seventeen of us went to the border and divided into two teams.  One team would pass out invitations and talk with the girls while the other team stayed at the park in the middle to pray.  The group that was to pass out invitations was split into three groups with Susannah, Nina and I in each little team.  We started with Nicaragua's border and covered as much territory as possible.  In prayer, Susannah felt that all seventeen of us should wear white shirts to stand out and be able to find each other. 

At one point as I was walking around with my little team, I looked over my shoulder and saw such a powerful image that is still etched into my mind even now.  I saw the image of white floating around the dirt paths in the absolute dark and at such a distance it looked as if little lights were floating everywhere.  I turned around and looked out into the distance ahead of me and saw a white circle encompassing the entire outer ring of the park.  Those tiny floating lights were young women of God setting out on a journey to tell of their Redeeming God.  The white circle at the park was a beautiful circle of older women in the faith who were interceding warriors fighting for those who cannot fight.

We repeated the very same thing on the Costa Rican border and then when all was said and done; hands and hearts joined in a prayer of thanking and praising God for His might and protection.

Our return journey to San Jose was full of laughter and light heart-ed calamities as we drove the winding road down the mountain.  At one point we almost ran out of gas but even that did not stress or discourage us because we knew God was with us, instead we laughed at our foolishness!

Today, Brian and Jake arrived with the Tshirts that were designed, made and donated to our team and project the day of the fiesta.  Also with them were toys purchased for 28 Nicaraguan children whose ages range from one year to ten years old and who come from very poor or broken homes.  Some of the children (but not all) are believed to be exploited at the border but the only way to reach the littler children is to go into the community and meet them.  On Friday our team of five North American's will cross the border and pass out presents to these kids.  My heart is bursting with excitement for this moment.

I have finally finished baking all the Christmas sugar cookies for the different government officials!  There is much joy and anticipation for the weekend ahead.  We will load up all the food, candy and gifts and hit the road at 9 a.m.  Special thank yous go out to: Cornerstone Church for the children's gifts, The Monday night group for the T shirts, Rachel Profitt for finalizing the ID Badges, Drew Van Camp for his awesome design of the T shirt, Susan Trout for coordinating the T shirt order and adding special touches for the team and finally to all of you who pray!

I apologize for the lack of eloquence but it is 2am and I am tired. I promise to be better about updating this weekend!!

To read a much more entertaining version of the past few days with pictures go to