Divine Orchestrator at Work in Costa Rica
Sacred Scripture and Church Tradition are replete with names for the Third Person of the Trinity: Holy Spirit, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, Breath of the Almighty, Holy Ghost, Spirit of Life, Comforter, Eternal Spirit. If I were given the honor of adding to this list, I would choose “Divine Orchestrator.”
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an orchestrator is “one who arranges or combines as to achieve a desired or maximum effect.” Musically speaking, an orchestrator takes a composer’s sketch and turns it into a score for an orchestra, ensemble, or choral group, assigning instruments and voices according to the composer’s intentions.
I imagine God the Father as the composer and the Divine Orchestrator, as the one charged with bringing His will to fruition through the loving submission of His faith-filled followers. When we pray the Our Father, we profess our desire for God’s will to be done, which means that we should eagerly contribute by doing whatever the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do, so that collectively, we can help build God’s glorious kingdom here on earth.
My family and I are currently serving in the northern region of Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border. We live in a town called Santa Rosa de Pocosol, which is the epicenter of our parish community. We have two full-time priests who are responsible for Santa Rosa, as well as her 47 outlying communities.
Each pueblo is in a different stage of development; some have beautifully maintained chapels that are frequently attended while others seem void of religious activity. The majority are somewhere in between.
I imagine God the Father as the composer and the Divine Orchestrator, as the one charged with bringing His will to fruition.
As FMC missionaries, we work under the authority of the local Catholic priests. As such, we often seek their guidance on how best to contribute to the efforts already underway. Last year, when FMC leadership asked us to identify some work projects or ministries that another FMC family could take on during a three- month stay in our area, we immediately consulted our priest. Unbeknownst to us, the Holy Spirit was already at work, advocating for the people of the little village of Santa Cecilia.
Three years prior, one of the lifelong Catholics in the area, who was instrumental in the original construction of their chapel, humbly conceded that neither he nor anyone else in their pueblo would ever have the funds to finish what they had started 35 years prior. Completing their place of worship was beyond their means, and he knew it, so he began begging the Holy Spirit for help. Feeling inspired, a high school teacher took pictures of the dilapidated structure and posted them in and around the main church in Santa Rosa in hopes of rallying support for the much-needed renovations.
We had seen the posted signs but never gave them a second thought. I suppose we didn’t feel a tugging at our hearts because the time had not yet come for us to be involved with this community. When we asked our parish priest what he wanted us to do with the incoming family of FMC missionaries, he immediately thought of the chapel in Santa Cecilia; however, he insisted that we all pray to make sure that this was in fact the Lord’s will.
The Waldrop family was expecting to serve in a remote community until, in prayer, they clearly heard the Lord say that they were to work somewhere “in between.” Having never stepped foot on Costa Rican soil, they weren’t sure what that meant—until, of course, we asked them to pray about the idea of helping the people of Santa Cecilia, which is right “in between” Santa Rosa and that outlying community where they thought they might live.
In preparation for the Waldrops’ arrival, Chris and I visited Santa Cecilia and immediately bonded with Tomas and his wife, Neli, who are the caretakers of the chapel and the leaders of that small Catholic community. As our friendship began to take shape we discussed possibilities and sketched ideas. Neli’s dad was the man who had started building the chapel and had been praying for divine assistance to finish it.
When the Waldrops arrived they hit the ground running. Within weeks, the corroded steel roof panels had been replaced with freshly painted new ones. The termite-eaten supports were removed and others squeezed into their places. A large front porch was erected so the folks would have a place to gather, protected from the blazing hot sun and torrential rains. Shortly thereafter, new cement was poured and the chapel was painted a beautiful shade of blue in honor of Our Blessed Mother.
The first time Father Geison celebrated Holy Mass in the renovated capilla, he congratulated everyone on a job very well done and announced that they would be able to repose Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament as soon as: (1) the chapel had secured locking doors, (2) there was a suitable tabernacle affixed to the wall, and (3) a sanctuary lamp was installed and a reliable source of power was established to ensure that the light would always remain lit. I thought that Father’s announcement would have been received with excitement, but the reality is that it would have taken the local people years to meet these requirements, and they knew it. After Fr. Geison left, we assured them of our help and asked that they pray for other people to provide the necessary funds.
Within weeks, the corroded steel roof panels had been replaced with freshly painted new ones. The termite-eaten supports were removed and others squeezed into their places.
As the author of this project, the Breath of the Almighty filled the hearts of His faith-filled followers and inspired them to donate the money needed (at exactly the right time) to pay for the six metal doors to be built and installed, as well as for the restoration of an old tabernacle that Fr. Geison just happened to find lying around. Within six weeks Jesus was being carefully placed into the beautifully hand-carved tabernacle, and the red sanctuary light was illuminated.
As I write this my eyes fill with tears all over again. Psalm 37:4 says, “find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire,” and Jesus tells us: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:7-11).
The Lord has truly blessed this community with good things: not only with a renovated chapel but with beautiful friendships that have developed between them and several of the FMC missionaries, including the Waldrop family who felt the Lord calling them to remain here in Costa Rica. Every couple of weeks we all head out to Santa Cecilia. Sometimes we attend Holy Mass which is celebrated there once a month. Other times we facilitate the Come, Lord Jesus! Bible study, lead praise and worship, or simply enjoy some good ol’ fashioned fellowship.
Each of us is invited to do his or her small part, so that collectively we’ll be able to help build God’s glorious kingdom here on earth.
When I imagine Neli’s dad kneeling down beside his bed on the dirt floor of his humble little home begging the Lord for help with their chapel, I see Jesus right there next to him with His hand on his shoulder comforting him. “This poor one cried out and the Lord heard” (Psalm 34:7). A strong wind blows through the room, and then the Spirit of Life, who has been commissioned by God the Father, heads out into the world to bring the Divine Will to fruition.
Each of us is invited to do his or her small part, so that collectively we’ll be able to help build God’s glorious kingdom here on earth. If you feel the Divine Orchestrator nudging you to do something, take heed, and know that what you’re being asked to do may very well be a small part of something much, much bigger!
This family has been with FMC since 2015 and the Waldrop family since 2020.
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