I recently had a conversation with a friend that brought to light one of the biggest dilemmas we're facing in preparation for Costa Rica: humanitarian aid vs. spiritual support
Honestly when you think about it, our ministry has got to be one of the most non-humanitarian fields to raise support:
- We're going to a second world country (not third) that is known for its beaches, tourism, and adventurous activities
-We're going to work with missionary kids. Yes, kids who's parents love the Lord, teach His Word, and are in full-time ministry.
-We're not specifically working with Costa Ricans-- though an increasing number of Costa Ricans attend the youth group because it's a great place to work on their English
-We're not going with the intention of training a Costa Rican to do the ministry-- we're working with mostly TCKs, who want someone who can relate to the cultural tension they face. (side note: we have an incredible Costa Rican adult who was part of the youth group and now does most all of the logistics for the group!)
- We're going to a "reached" country-- several missions agencies have pulled out their missionaries to go to lesser reached/unreached countries.
... So why on earth does this "ministry (if you can call it that in regards to the above statements)" necessary?
Besides the fact that we're being obedient to God's leading, this ministry is EXTREMELY NECESSARY in light of eternity. Though these students don't have material needs, they have spiritual ones. When they stand in the presence of God, the only thing that matters is Christ. Do they know Him as their Lord and Savior?
For the students in Costa Rica, the International Youth Group is a place where they come to learn about Jesus Christ, study God's Word, and learn how to make other disciples of Christ.
With this being said, it is completely God who has enabled us to have 52% of our support raised. We're blessed to have partners who see the validity of our ministry, and we know that God will continue to have others join in helping students mature in Christ.
On Labor Day weekend, Jonathan and I were finally able to celebrate our anniversaries-- yes that was supposed to be plural and with the emphasis on finally! Our first anniversary was celebrated in the hospital with a 2 day old, and our second anniversary had a dinosaur theme (Patrick's 1st B-day party)... so we finally set aside time to celebrate and do something fun together:
We took white water kayaking lessons!
It was such a blast to learn this new sport and to now be able to go out and do it ourselves. We spent one day learning how to roll (or I spent it trying to learn) and the second day we went out on the Tuckaseegee River in North Carolina. Our coach/guide, Roger Huff, did an excellent job. We learned so much and had a blast playing in the rapids. They were a fun 2 days!
Our 2 1/2 years of marriage have been the farthest thing from easy. We started our first 2 months of marriage living in Ecuador. Two months later, pregnancy hormones kicked in. Add moving 5 times, searching for jobs, and now potty training Patrick to add to the list, and you can see that happily ever after doesn't mean peace and serenity. We've clung to Him and to each other, and we can definitely say that God has been refining us and shaping us to be more like Christ. I'm so blessed to be married to a loving husband, a great Dada, and my fellow adventurer.