Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A New Season

As I write this tonight, I am filled with tears, but not tears of sadness but of joy. God has brought me on a journey this year....a journey to seeing Him work in me and redefining what it is to serve God and my definition of ministry. Some of you have known the transitions I have been through in the last year and the frustrations I have had seeking more ministry.....and in all my focus and wanting to do more.....God has been trying to show and change what that means.

 I may not be able to appear that I am doing alot of things here in Costa Rica, I may not be able to see the fruits in what Jesus does through me sometimes, but what God is showing me is that it only takes a moment to plant a seed sometimes and most of the time we have no idea when that is taking place.

Tonight, I read a email that put this last year into perspective for me. In my mind, I have almost felt that this last year was a waste, that I couldn't do as much as I wanted and hoped to do. I have questioned God's purpose for me in Costa Rica this year. But through these struggles, I see God refining me in the fire and showing me what He values most from me serving here in Costa Rica. What He values is that I simply reach out and simply show Christ to those He sends into my path, weather if its simply one conversation over coffee or every week for many years. God works with whatever timeline we have with each person.

My other questions that I have had this year are "Do I Shine? Do I point others to intimacy with Christ? Many times, I have felt that I haven't, but then God takes the simplest things and shows me that He chooses to shine through me in the moments I least expect. This last year, I had to kick out a girl living with me, that I poured into for almost two years......and in the end, I wasn't able to see any fruit from it. This was incredibly discouraging but in contrast, tonight I recieved an email from a young man I had only one conversation with and he wrote me to tell me that he met Christ through me and that he had been baptized.

God so does not work in the ways we think! In my concept of missions, I expect to need to plant seeds over a long period of time to see fruits but I have learned that it doesn't always work this way and I have no way of knowing what God is doing in each person's life. All I know is that nothing is in vain, and that what I see and understand is not necessarily the way it is. God's ways are above mine.

A couple weeks ago was me and Anita's last day working at the soup kitchen in Guizaros with the kids. God just started closing doors there and opening doors in other places (more news later). They had a beautiful goodbye party for us there. After 2.5 years of working with these kids, I always wondered if I planted any seeds there in all that time. At the goodbye party, I was able to see the fruits of all those Saturdays. Some kids cried, and others shared with us how we had encouraged them. It was a priceless moment. It made me want to change my mind and stay......but at the same time I just was filled with peace knowing that this chapter for me was closing and that God was opening a new chapter in my life and ministry.

Saying Goodbye at Guizaros :(
 Most of you know that we were looking for a place to rent and start a ministry there at the soup kitchen but after searching for months and months for a place to rent, we were finally told that it is nearly impossible to find rentals there. This was so frustrating but I continued praying and I prayed that God would show me if we were to wait or to explore other opportunities. I felt God's nudge to explore other areas to do discipleship.

Me with a little boy named Justin at the ministry in Heredia.
 Shortly after, God opened a door to see a ministry in Heredia, about a 30 minute drive from where I live now. Well, we visited and were just blown away by how open they are to discipleship and how they have been praying for people to come and work with the children and youth in the slum there. When I visited, I instantly felt at home.......this has never happened to me! I didn't feel shy at all and just felt such a peace. We continued to pray and felt God's confirmation to move forward. So now......we are looking for a house and will be moving on January 1st!

God is bringing us into a new year, a year to use all He has taught us this year. Now that God has shown me that its not the quantity of ministry I do but that I just simply reach for Him.....He has now chosen to fill my schedule with ministry! I hope to never forget what I have learned and that I will never think that the way God uses me, fits only into the human idea of how it should be and what it means to be a missionary. Lord, I give you my life, I give you my time, and I give you my ministry. This is all for the glory and honor of your name.

In a future blog post I will describe my ministry in more detail.....until then....please pray for a smooth move and transition into a new ministry. If you remember, please keep me and Anita in prayer this next week. Tomorrow, I will be teaching the kids the Christmas story and doing a craft. On Friday we will be leading a workshop for teen girls talking about puberty, sexuality, and self worth. We will be getting to know them and be praying with them and answering questions and explaining these things from a Biblical context. Pray that God opens doors for us to know these youth and to reach out to them.

I also just wanted to say thank you to all of you out there that have planted seeds in my life. I want to thank all of you who have supported me out here and have prayed for me. I have felt deeply encouraged by you and have felt blessed to be surrounded by amazing men and women of God. For those of you in Canada and the States, I miss you and love you and just want to wish you a wonderful Christmas. God Bless.