Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Taking Note

A very wise man on staff with Phil and I talked about this this morning and I put his wisdom to the test. This is what resulted.

Ronnie McGlocklin made the comment that when we take note, record, and revisit what God has done on our behalf, the ways He has provided without us knowing how he would, and when we put on paper the many details He has followed through on along the way of our just walking by faith, the amount of times He has moved might astound us. That I could have faith enough to not need to record these and revisit them to notice them is my prayer; till then I was humbled by this little exercise of my friend’s.

Since arriving in Costa Rica:

God provided a contact, a pastor in San Jose, who picked us up from the airport when we arrived and helped us by a car in the first week of us arriving. The contact was through a relationship based through FCA, Phil’s former job.

We bought a car in one week of moving to a new country.
That car still works today (6 months later on really bad roads)

We switched hotels in Alajuella the first night in town to the one we now stay at every time we go there. The owner has become a great friend and continues to bless us with information on how to handle car situations, legal situations, and other daunting tasks. He and his wife have taken great interest in Phil and I and it is a joy for us to return every time.

When we first joined the team we were ministering primarily to guys. Our prayer was how to reach the girls.
We now have 8 or more girls come every Tuesday for Girl’s Skate Night, and one girl that has been particularly on my heart has recently began coming to house church.

Since the 8th grade and after watching a film that I swear scarred me on Revelations, I have not revisited the book, even though I have felt I needed to. Shaun, a woman I do Pilates with and someone that is becoming a really cool friend has asked for me to sit with her through the book. To be with her and just be available to talk through things with her as they come up. We are going to explore it together and God has given me the confidence between 8th grade and now not to fear that.

Pilates classes (don’t laugh it is hard stuff) are continually introducing me to more and more of Shaun’s world. I have more people to pray for each time I go and would not have met them if God had not opened this door.

The skate park continues to grow. If we had more staff we would have more sessions running during the week. The Concrete Jungle opened in April and already we need more people to man it!

God directed our staff to the AWANA’s program for our Kid’s Church. It starts this Sunday and all of us are extremely excited. This is the right step for our ministry.

Ronnie and Tammy have been praying for local people to help lead Kid’s Church. Between this last December and February we now have 5 new local leaders committed to being teachers and helping run AWANA’s. We just finished our training.

Mike and Joanna a local couple who live next door to Barrett have begun leading house church on Monday night through Barrett’s discipleship. This is a key step in planting house churches and has needed to happen.

Kashara, a girl who came to the skate park every once in a while but lived in Limon, has now moved permanently to Puerto Viejo. She lives five minutes from the skate park and works across the street. I see her almost every day I am in town.

Costa Rica has been the best marriage seminar Phil and I will ever go to. God is working to create the marriage He wants us to have. I have never enjoyed talking with my husband more.

God is teaching me to cook! (in Costa Rica with funky meat of all places) =)
Anyways, Phil will agree it is a much needed intervention by God.

I am convinced there are others that I have overlooked but this was enough to make me aware that Phil and I , nor our team, have ever been alone in Costa Rica.

In Grace,

Monday, March 05, 2007

Applying Wisdom to Life

I believe wisdom is a blessing from God. I think there’s a Spiritual Gift of wisdom given to certain believers, and then there is a natural ability to gain wisdom that God has put in every person He has created. Both types of wisdom are by the grace of God

God tells us to search out wisdom in the Book of Proverbs (look at Chapters 2 and 3)

The Apostle James writes that if any of us lacks wisdom we should ask God to give it to us and he won’t hold back. (Chapter 1 verse 5)

Wisdom is something we should all look for and I think we can find it in many avenues. I have started a new blog dedicated to finding wisdom and applying it to life. I want to encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think. The blog is called Sophos which is a Greek term for wisdom. I will continue on this blog as well but The PSE will be more personal and talk more about our time in Costa Rica.

Check out the SOPHOS by clicking here and please feel free to give me some feedback

Thursday, March 01, 2007

some of my thoughts

I have been going back and forth over my thoughts about the complexity of mission in this place, short term mission, and mission in general. I feel like God has brought to mind every experience I have had thus far that has led me to this point and one in particular has given me the most comfort these last couple of weeks. Through the recounting and remembering I feel God has given me wisdom to see that mission happens because God was already at work when you got there. There are not several mission fields, Costa Rica being seperate. There are just moments to see the mission, the work in people God has done, and to find your place there.
With that, I want to share with you the remembering God has been doing with me. This was written recently about a time in Mexico with Amor Ministries; an experience I had through First Presbyterian Church in Fresno.

There are certain things that I remember most about that week.
I remember the face of the woman whose house we were building.
I remember how round it was and how it reminded me a little like the face of the snow man in that Christmas clay-mation movie.
I remember that it glowed; and not in the cheesy way that that sounds like, but in the way that made me know that she was one of those special people who have actually seen a miracle, and it had left her permanently changed.
I remember nothing else about her, not what she was wearing or even how many children she had, but I remember her face and how it looked, and on certain days like today it is all that I can see.
Her eyes were dark brown. There was nothing that made them beautiful, but I remember them as beautiful. They were intense, and they locked on in a way that let you know she was hearing every word that you were saying; despite the fact that she could not understand English, and English was all that you were speaking. It went beyond that to her. She was listening to your soul. Somehow she was understanding all that lied in between language and culture, poverty and riches. She understood everything that was happening.
I remember going back the following year and driving by the house that we had built and seeing it standing. It was probably the proudest I will ever feel in my life. I knew that it was good, that I was a part of something that was a good thing, and that people had been left living differently, better, because of me and my week last year. It hits me even now, though, that that look I remember, the one that is etched on this woman’s face and burned to become a part of me, had the expression before she had the house. It was not a look of gratitude. We had not even finished the foundation when I met her. It was a look that was not hinged on what this house could be or do for her. Her face held the look of something different than gratitude or happiness because of this possession. If we had never built that house for her, would her face have been the same? I think it would have.
So what did I give her that week? Nothing that she didn’t already have. If she really had seen a miracle it happened before I got there. It had already formed and shaped her and what I witnessed were the permanent effects of life changed. Joy created. Hope birthed. All that took place outside of the house we built. I believe that the house was testament to her life and God’s faithfulness. That the house came from days spent in humble obedience, joyful days spent in knowing that everything she needed she already had, and that He had proven faithful over and above a simple roof to cover head. She would be fine without it.
Because of that her face was weathered with a peace that only welcomed the house, knowing that this was no surprise or day of good fortune it was provision from her God that showed up all the time in very unexpected ways. To wear that kind of face takes an understanding that only God has given you.