"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Hey family! Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Costa Rica earlier this month. To say that it was amazing would be an understatement. It was beyond amazing seeing God work! He not only moved in the hearts of those in Costa Rica, but in the hearts of the team and in my own heart. I entered the trip with chains and left the trip SO much freer. I left believing and experiencing the fact that I was fully known and fully loved by our amazing God. It was such a blessing being His hands and feet!
One of the highlights of the trip for me was definitely praying. Being a part of the prayer/evangelism team, we spent at least one or two hours in prayer together every day, which was newer to me. Oftentimes I forget how important prayer is –that without it, none of the other ministries can really happen! It was humbling but encouraging praying with my amazing team. I had to continually remind myself that it wasn’t about how good my prayer was or how eloquent the words I used were, but that it was about what GOD can do, not me. Also, at the end of a women’s event/service, there was an altar call in which women who wanted to encounter God/accept Jesus could come to the front. I went up to pray for those who were there, and as I was praying, I said, “Thank you, God, that she is free.” And it just hit me. She was free. She was free…she was FREE!! I just started bawling with her, and our tears fell onto the floor together. It was suchhh a beautiful moment! I’ll never forget that. I don’t even know if I was crying for her or for me (it also hit me that I was free) - or maybe it was for both of us!
There are many other stories that I could tell, like those of the homeless + alcoholic man, Victor, who accepted Jesus in the streets, the woman who fell away but wanted to come back to faith, the brother + sister who believed together, and the many, many young kids who stole my heart (and called me “Mamita” + “la china” – “Mommy” and “the Chinese person” in English). And I might end up sharing them later, I don't know!
But God didn't only work in the hearts of the people there - He worked in mine also. Towards the end of the trip, there was a worship + prayer night for the team. As I was waiting to be prayed over, I started praying about my insecurities and the things that I felt stuck to. Soon after I finished, someone came over to pray for me and it was as if she had been listening to my prayer! It was exactly what I had been praying and it was exactly what I needed to hear! In that moment I not only knew but believed that I was fully known + fully loved by our great God. Everyone cried that night. He showed me things I had been holding onto from the past and He gave me a new sense of freedom + joy. He showed me that when I keep my eyes on Him and my focus only on Him, everything that He wants to put in place will be done. His plan is SO much better than mine, as I learned multiple times on the trip! I don’t have to worry about what others are thinking about me – it only matters what God says. In these two weeks, many of the things that I knew were true became something that I believed and experienced to be true – not just in my head but also in my heart. After coming back home, I have felt soo much freer and so much more confident, because I know that my God sees me. I know that He walks beside me, guiding me. I know that He feels my pain. I know that my God is real and my God is soo, soo good. Even in the littlest things, He has shown Himself good and faithful and it's just so, so amazing.
One other thing that He gave me especially on this trip was His peace. It was my first time being separated from every member of my family + travelling alone (and it was out of the country!). I really missed them the first two days, until I asked my prayer team to pray for me. And woww, God answered that prayer! I was filled with so much peace about it that I could focus entirely on what was at hand, whereas before, I could barely think about my family without tears coming to my eyes. In fact, I had so much peace about it that I didn’t even want to go home! Our team bonded so well and they became like my second family. It felt like I had known them for years! But then I prayed that God would help me to be grateful for the time I had instead of wishing for more, and just like that (but of course it wasn’t a coincidence!), I missed my family again and couldn’t wait to see them. And in His perfect timing, it happened after the ministry days were over and I didn’t need to be as focused. God is so, soo good!
It was an absolute JOY and blessing to be able to serve the people of Costa Rica and ultimately to serve God and be a part of His dream there. From joyfully bawling with a woman who just accepted Jesus, chasing + carrying the kids for hours on end, embarrassing myself and falling on the floor so that the kids would laugh to sharing and listening to wisdom, praying + inviting people to church in the rain, hiding from bugs, hiking up the giantest (wrong) hill + drinking shots of hot sauce with the team, I’ll treasure every moment and praise God for everything that He did.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."