Hola, all!! I am currently with my team in rainy and overcast Jaco, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We arrived on Monday and will be staying here, doing ministry in Jaco and area, until Sunday when we will be taking a ferry over to Cobano, Puntarenas, Costa Rica and remaining for three days. After that, our destination is unknown but that's okay as the first thing they tell you in outreach is, "Be flexible, the schedule IS going to change!" So, with the grace and help of God, I'm being as flexible as possible! I'm just thankful that it's not the flexibility required of NIKO. LOL
Since our arrival Sunday, we've been battling almost non stop rain that, apparently, has been the result of a hurricane off the coast of Mexico. I've been told that we're receiving the tail end of the hurricane's affect and should be seeing some sunny skies soon. To this day, Thursday, we still haven't had a full day of sunshine without clouds. We've had a couple sparse moments of sun but then the clouds come and, inevitably, the rain. So, you just get a good umbrella and luckily for me, a lot of quick dry clothes, and carry on in our times of ministry!
Yesterday was a day that really affected me in a deep way for we went to do river ministry where about 500 people live along a river that leads to the ocean. These people are mostly made up of Nicaraguans who had no other place to go when they came to Costa Rica, most likely illegally. So their only refuge was to live along the river. A river that, yearly, floods many times a year with a destructive force that either completely destroys the house someone lives in or just floods the home repeatedly. The owner then does the best he can do in order to keep their home clean and repaired.
Most homes are no more than a cement block as a crooked foundation and the rest of the house is made out of scraps of metal that are found in the area. Perhaps the one thing that affected me the most was seeing a beautiful little girl who could not have been more than 2 years old, with big innocent eyes, standing next to her equally beautiful mother in a tin shack along this dirty river. The little girl's name was Cris and her smile seemed to light up the city. Her hair was done in pigtails and she was dressed in a cute outfit. Her appearance wasn't at all indicative of living in destitution, yet I found myself standing right in front of her smiling at her and having her smile at me in return.
The words, "It's just not fair, Lord" kept coming to my mind while I tried to keep my eyes dry. It was while walking back to the hostel we're staying in that my eyes began to fill with tears and I started to question God again. But then I realized who I was talking to. I was talking and pleading with my God, a God who is big enough to not only see what I just saw but to redeem that situation and to fix it. My part to play in all of that was to spend time with them and be the love of Jesus in flesh to them, while giving them hope in the form of a booklet that contained the Gospel of John in Spanish.
The life of a missionary would not be much different from what I participated in yesterday with my team. The only difference is that if you are called to be a missionary and you know God is calling you to do that for the rest of your life, you will see things like that and so much worse, perhaps day after day without any reprieve in an air conditioned hostel room with a team of other people to console you or to rescue you from that heart wrenching situation. What I saw yesterday is only a mere taste of what God sees and grieves over every single day throughout this world.
No, I'm not God nor would I want to be God because I don't think my heart could take it, day after day, year after year. Seeing His children being oppressed, abused, neglected, shamed....no, I couldn't be God. I don't have the stomach for it or the heart for it. But what I do have is an image of that little girl, Cris, burned into my memory banks, standing beside her beautiful mother and living alongside a river that does not discriminate against who it rushes over and wipes away. I just have to keep focusing on God and looking to Him in trust because, one day, His son will return to redeem all of this and to take Cris and others into His arms, pull them close and whisper to them sweetly, "You are mine."