The first last

When we arrived in Costa Rica last August, one year seemed to be such a long time. We had images in our mind of how we would become almost natives, learning the language perfectly, and knowing every corner of this country. On the contrary, we have found that one year is only adequate to get your feet wet in the culture of a country. At no time is this more clear than when you begin to say goodbye.

This past Sunday, we said our first goodbye to our “home” church during the time that we have lived in Costa Rica. It is the place that we first learned to worship God in Spanish, and it has also been a place where we have felt God move in significant ways. This is a picture of the back wall of the church called Centro Evangelistico. The Bible verse in Spanish, although maybe a bit difficult to make out, was a confirmation of the hand of God on our lives when we arrived. It reads “Lift up your eyes and look to the fields because they are white for the harvest –John 4:35”

As we were itinerating last year, I had felt in April that God had given me this verse in order to encourage us to reach the field as soon as possible. Thankfully, many individuals and churches responded to help us reach our budget goal and leave on time. When we arrived at the church Centro Evangelistico, we received this confirmation that we were on schedule. Now as we depart, I feel that this verse is sending us out. Telling us that now is the time to put our hands to the work.

And so, as we begin to wrap up our time here, we look toward the near future which includes packing, planning, and preparing ourselves mentally and spiritually, but we also look back, remembering the hand of God upon us here and the relationships built, and how each has affected us greatly.

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  1. GuyMuse’s avatar

    I remember our time in CR back in 1987 as a very special time. CR is like a “half way house” between Stateside culture and assigned country. One gets their feet wet, learns some Spanish, appreciates the culture, and is in general a good way to start out the missionary adventure. What we found though upon arriving on the field was our unpreparedness for the spiritual warfare that rages against those who go out into those fields “ripe and ready for harvest.” They are indeed ripe, but the enemy does not give up territory easily. The enemy seems to do all in his power to discourage and distract the new missionary arriving on the field in hopes of them giving up and going home. Be ready, it will happen to you too, but He that dwells within is GREATER–PTL!

  2. Dave’s avatar

    Somber words indeed, and well said. Part of what CR has been to us has been a time of learning about ourselves. Things come out in the language learning process that don’t come out in other places. However, we are also aware that even though knowing ourselves is a great first step, without the spiritual power to reach beyond our limits: to believe God for the impossible, or even just to believe that He is able to give us the staying power when all else says “Run!”, we will be doomed on the mission field. So Kelly and I are taking time daily to prepare, and planning to continue our time together when we reach Mexico. Thanks for confirming our efforts with your advice.

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