As a mother guiding my children as missionaries, I want to help my children claim ministries of their own. We were called as a family into missions, but not every member of my family feels passionate, excited, or gifted to be in foreign missions. For example, we get a lot of knocks at our door; the extroverts excitedly answer, while the introverts are more hesitant.
These past months have not turned out as we had imagined they would. Many of our visitors were unable to come due to borders closing, mission trips were cancelled, ministries were prohibited to continue. Even so, God is at work in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Starting ministry in a new mission post takes time to build relationships, determine where the needs are, and find how our family can best serve. We were just beginning to discover some of this when the stay-at-home order hit, preventing us from meeting anyone else.
Some days I feel like I’m not doing much—I have this vision of getting up in front of the congregation, preaching the Gospel from my heart to a church full of people and playing guitar while leading beautiful hymns. Then reality hits: I don’t speak Spanish that well, and I can’t play the guitar. This missionary life has been a lesson in putting what little I have at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, even my weakness.
We were visiting the States without a home, without a vehicle, and without a lot of money. We were not sure how it was going to work out. A family of seven takes up a lot of space in a home, eats a lot of food, and requires a large vehicle.
Right away, Sister Gregoria said she wanted to introduce us to some people who needed a new roof. Their house was a dirt floor, rusty tin walls, and a Hefty-bag roof. Our hearts were moved to help Herman, Sara, and their son Gerald. They are a sweet, hard-working couple.
Many years ago, a wise friend taught me this counterintuitive lesson: When you’re thirsty, serve someone ELSE a glass of water!
After we put a big, wooden cross up outside our front door, we had a crazy forty-eight hours. We had been going slow and steady, meeting people one at a time, accompanying the missionary family already here to remote pueblos for prayer services, and brainstorming what this community could use. Moreover, we were still acclimating to the heat, caring for a newborn, and running the kids to and from school four times daily because they each have different daily schedules. Then we put the cross up…
Not long after we moved into Coopevega, I encountered the local pack of drunk men who were always wandering the streets. Daniel seemed to be the ring leader.
The answer is Jesus. Jesus knew this would happen and we trust in his providence. I won’t waste the precious time I have worrying. Instead, I choose to place all my hope on Jesus. I choose not to Google lymphoma. I choose to live for today. Who knows what tomorrow holds for anyone? But we have today. It is a present.
Driving back to Coopevega, it is still another rough hour or so of driving through a half dozen small communities and pueblas, potholes connected by winding roads, and increasingly steep and muddy grades.
We are so excited to be finally sending updates from our mission post in Costa Rica! We are still settling in here, but all is going well as we start our first full week of ministry.
It is a beautiful mystery that our Lord so sought solidarity with man that He left his heavenly realm to be a man. This time in Costa Rica and these three families have helped us begin to understand this beautiful mystery of God’s love for us, a love so great that He lived and continues to live in solidarity with man.
This past weekend, the Catholic Church celebrated World Mission Sunday. Praise God! Please join me in praying that our family’s simple and humble witness would be enough for the people we serve in rural, Central America. We have been blessed beyond measure by God and by the beautiful people of Costa Rica. Often times, our many shortcomings are on display as well and we pray that through our weaknesses we would be made strong and that we could have the grace and courage to boast in Christ and in Him alone. Below is a brief, honest, and broken reflection on the Church’s mission, the Great Commission.
A slum or a sacred place? An amazing thing occurred in my life yesterday. I decided to run to perhaps Costa Rica’s worst slum, La Carpio. I saw a group of people extremely removed from the rest of the country. After about 3/4 mile of along a worn down and poorly built asphalt road, I found La Carpio, home to…
This past fall while at Intake (our four-month missionary training), I was challenged by some friends to consider running a marathon. We found ourselves running basically every morning and our distances kept increasing. I’ve always enjoyed running but always needed a little push – even since my fourth grade PE days at Our Lady of Fatima school (shout out to fellow…
Like most men who sincerely struggle with the baggage of an addiction, Manuel has good days and bad days. Some days are filled with great sights and sounds, the warm embraces and smiles of his local coastal town. While some days are filled with nothingness…