Sunshine, Jesus and Coffee
I think those few words were somewhat regularly tossed about during our trip to Costa Rica...usually during our morning devotion time which was outside in the sun. It’s hard to condense a full trip into a small report, but hopefully this can give you some idea of what it was like for us during our 10-day excursion.
We partnered with Carlos and Raisa Sanchez (and family), long time missionaries to Costa Rica. It was a privilege to join them in ministering to the local community and area churches. One of the primary requests was for us to help distribute school bags to the children. February is the beginning of their school semester, and it’s a perfect opportunity to bless the kids. In addition to simple items like pencils, erasers, rulers, scissors and such, we added treats of popcorn and cookies to each bag. Several of the churches were finishing up their day camp programs and it was a great time to hand out the bags and pray for the kids. One of the pastors literally was in tears after the children left, and she told us that they had prayed for months to find a way to start a program to reach the neighboring children, but had no resources. Then we came with such simple gift bags, and she said we were the answer to her prayers. How humbling! And on top of that, we found the added blessing that the Lord was multiplying the bags. Yes, literally. We had so many bags that we even left two full bins of them there with the missionaries!
Another great opportunity to bless people was ministering to the homeless at a local park. Our team handed out lunch bags and offered prayer. With grateful hearts, they took the sandwiches and the prayers, and several times, they asked us to go pray for their friends. We even had some come up to us and ask for prayer because they saw us praying with someone else. One man that stopped us and asked for prayer was a refugee from Nicaragua. He felt so alone and just needed to be loved. We learned he was a believer, but had not been able to work because he hadn’t received his permit yet. Just a brother in need of encouragement. Our team hugged him, blessed him, fed him, and even managed to get him to the bus stop and bought a ticket so he could connect with his friend a few miles away.
Our team also helped with the One Family at a Time program that Carlos and Raisa manage, where families receive a bag of groceries and a whole lot of love. We distributed bags to the families that came to the center, to those waiting at a park, and to several individual homes. And of course, we got to pray with all of them! Even though the needs are many, we were always met with smiles and thankfulness.
It was a blessing to share in a couple of churches and join our hearts with what God is doing in each of them. The Holy Spirit touched lives as we prayed for people and spoke His words over them. We also got to visit with Melba, a mother to many! She and her husband have taken in 130 abandoned children over the years, and have taught them how to be a family. Her stories of God’s faithfulness were not only inspiring, but captivating! And if all that wasn’t enough to fill the week, we also got to help Carlos and Raisa with a couple projects at their base: preparing a garden site, and re-painting the prayer house. These ‘work’ projects often get pushed aside because of all the other stuff that seems to be more important. So we were happy to help them in this way.
It was a blessed week, where tangible expressions of God’s love were evident. Days full of sunshine and laughter, hugs and tears, fruit and coffee, and deepening friendships. The Lord touched hearts and changed lives (including ours), and somehow He let us partner with what His kingdom is doing in Costa Rica. We simply said YES LORD, and He showed up in bigger ways than we could have imagined. But then again, that’s how good He is.
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!”