Thankful for Costa Rica

I got into the car quickly because it was pouring outside. As we drove away I looked back to see the faces of both of my kids looking out the window at me as we pulled away. Many tears were shed that night and I thought my heart would break in half as I watched those sad faces staring at me as we drove away. I thought to myself then that I was totally crazy to be leaving them and heading to Costa Rica. My feet were moving forward because I knew that God was saying go but my heart was still lagging behind.

The verse that Andy shared with our team the first day that we arrived in Costa Rica was Habakkuk 1:5,

The LORD replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.

Our prayer was that we would be able to look in awe at what God was doing and be amazed. And it’s true, if God would have told me all He would have done I wouldn’t have believed it.

13 years ago when I met Bethany (who is serving on the team there full-time) in a dorm on the Oregon State campus I wouldn’t have believed God if he would have told me I would help lead her to Christ, stay in her life, be in her wedding, and one day take a team of students from the University of Portland to help her and a team serving there in Costa Rica for a week.

Over the course of the week we saw God lead us to students to talk to who were eager to talk about spiritual things and open up and share about their lives with strangers they had just met. We were able to share with so many students about a God who loves them and wants to know them personally. I was reminded again that no matter what the culture, the country, the language, one things is true, the hearts of peopleĀ  are always the same. We all have a whole in our hearts that only God can fill. The hearts of people all long for the same things: love, joy, acceptance, the desire to experience an abundant and full life, hope in a better future, etc.

I saw God impact the team of students that we took with us from the University of Portland. Many said that they would never be the same and are hoping to go back again next year. One of the students got to lead a Costa Rican student into a relationship with God. It just doesn’t get better than that.

I can confidently say that we were able to stand back and look at God in awe and be amazed at what He did. I know that He’s continuing to work even now through things that happened last week.

As we flew away from Costa Rica I can say that I’m so thankful that I was able to go. My heart definitely caught up to my feet. I’m so thankful that God expanded my heart for yet another country and group of people in the world. I’m thankful for the group of students we took. I’m thankful for the Stint team serving there (they were a huge part of why our week was so incredible). I’m thankful for all the Tico students who talked with us and shared about their spiritual lives. The bottom line, I’m thankful. I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m pretty sure I left a piece of my heart in Costa Rica.

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