A few months ago, our Pastor announced that he was planning an invasion team to Costa Rica. I knew right away that I wanted to be part of that trip, but wasn’t sure how we would come up with the funds so soon. After talking with my hubby about it, we agreed that we would trust God to provide. Then my 13 yr old son kept hounding us about him wanting to go, too. My first thought was, “no way, we can’t afford both of us!” So my husband, with his wisdom, told Jeremiah if he raised his own money, then he can go. Again, I was like, “how in the world is this 13 yr old boy gonna raise $1,000?” Well, that 13 yr old boy DID raise his money, AND he raised more than what was needed! I was floored and convicted at the same time, for my lack of faith. (No need to worry, I’ve repented & got my heart right!)
The morning we fly out:
We had an early flight, so we had to be at the airport at 5 am. I woke up that morning super excited and nervous at the same time. I’ve never been out of the country before, so I knew this was gonna be life changing! And to be sharing this experience with my son made it all the better! As we’re all waiting to board the plane, you can just feel the excitement…it was Contagious! For most of us, this was our first time leaving the country, so you can just imagine the anticipation.
… and we’re OFF!
San Jose, Costa Rica
We collected all of our luggage and as we walked out of the airport, we were immediately greeted by Pastor Luis Hernandez and 2 men from his church. I was overjoyed! They drove us to the bus station bc we were spending most of our time in Limón. Do you know that we had to pay to use the restroom?! AND they give u toilet paper as you walk in…sooooo you better use it wisely! Lol (please don’t ask me how I know about that!)
We had to wait a little while before our bus left, so we ate our first Costa Rican dish which was white rice, red beans, meat, puree, which is mashed potatos, with agua fruta to drink… it was yummy.
The time has finally come to get on the bus and commute 3 hours to Limón! How in the world can the drive be so beautiful and scary at the same time? Okay so, there’s 2 narrow lanes going in each direction, lots of curves, and a driver who doesn’t believe in using his brakes, unless he slams on it. Yeah, it was crazy. But it was beautiful, too, because we were surrounded by so many tropical trees, plants, flowers….it was breathtaking! Later I found out that highway is called, The Highway of Death!!! I can totally see why…glad I survived it…lol
Limón, Costa Rica
The sun goes down about 6 pm over there, so when we pulled into Limón it was dark and the city was pretty much shut down. Waiting for us was, Pastor Alfonso and wife, Ruth, along with a sister from the church, Martha. They helped us with our luggage and walked us the 3 or so blocks to our hotel, we checked in and went to grab a bite to eat.
The next morning, we got up, walked to the church for prayer, about 3-4 blocks, then went outreaching. Okay so, here in the States I’m used to knocking on doors when we outreach, but not over there. Everything has bars for protection, so instead of knocking, we had to yell for them to come out! “Upe…buenas.” Upe is short for discúlpame, which means, excuse me and buenas is short for buenas dias. We spent the day outreaching and sight seeing. There were people EVERYWHERE! From sun up, 5 am, to sun down, 6 pm. You saw people walking, on bus, cars, taxis, mopeds…everywhere! At first I thought there was a festival or something going on b/c people were out selling stuff in booths or walking, there was music playing, it was crazy crowded, but that is the everyday life for the city of Limón. And once the sun went down, so do the people….everything shuts down. It’s like a ghost town. A few bars stay open. You’ll see a few beggars roaming around, but other than that, the streets are empty. And then the day repeats itself the next morning.
We had revival Friday night through Sunday night and each night God brought in more people. Every chair was full. Saturday & Sunday night we had to have service outside b/c there was no way everyone could fit in that tiny building! Praise & worship was amazing! I would just be standing there with my hands lifted to heaven and tears flowing down my cheeks bc you could just feel the presence of God like never before. These people worshiped so beautifully. They have nothing, but as long as they have Jesus their cup is overflowing!
One of the days there, we planned to go to Playa Bonita, one of the beaches. We met a family from church there and they wanted to first take us to a Lagoon that was “around the corner.” We had to walk thru a jungle…well maybe it wasn’t really a jungle, but it sure did feel and look like one! It was so beautiful! Once we got thru that, we had to walk on dead coral reef. Now THAT was hard! None of us planned to go on an adventure, so with flip flops on, walking on dead coral reef was a bit of a challenge for this city girl from America! Lol The reef wasn’t smooth. It was bumpy, pointy, and if u weren’t careful your feet could get scraped. Finally, we made it to the Lagoon… It. Was. Awesome. Most of us jumped right on in! Then we decided to climb this 10 foot ledge and jump in. I was feeling adventurous, so I went ride along with them and climbed the ledge, feeling all brave and confident….until it was my turn to jump. What the heck am I doing? There is no way I’m gonna jump in. But the only way back down is to jump. Fear gripped my heart. I felt sick to my stomach. Everyone kept cheering me on. I let a few people go ahead of me, one person got tired of waiting for me and he just dove in. And when it was my turn again, I thought to myself, “How many people out there are in the same spot I’m in? They commit to do something adventurous and once they get on the ledge, they let fear paralyze them and wanna back out. They just stay on the ledge watching everyone around them enjoying life, while others are waiting on them to jump in. I finally jumped in, screaming all the way down! It was the most amazing feeling! If you’re standing on the ledge just jump in! Whether that be jumping into ministry, giving, evangelizing, pioneering, or being a missionary…whatever it may be, please, don’t let fear hold you back.
Our last day in Limón
We spent Sunday afternoon with a single mom and her daughter from church. Yamileth and Yainibit. They took us to their house and fed us lunch. Then we went to a different beach and spent a few hours there getting to know each other a little more. By this time, my spanish was flowing! I was pretty proud of myself bc she actually understood what I was saying!
That night, there was a fellowship after church and I was talking to a sister named Mercedes. She wanted to know my testimony, so I told her…in spanish! Oh yeah! 🙂 She told me a little of hers, but she was mostly proud of herself for not drinking for the past 2 months!
Martha and Maria Louisa, 2 faithful ladies in the church, gave all of us a gift! I wasn’t expecting anything but you could totally tell by their expressions, that in their eyes ,it is better to give than to receive! I was humbled. Martha gave us each a pound of coffee and 3 hand towels that she sells to make a living. Maria Louisa gave us hand towels and a pair of chones…lol One of the towels says, happy, And that fits the people in the church perfectly….happy.
I knew that when we had to leave Limón I was gonna be sad, but I didn’t think I was gonna cry the way I did. I felt such a connection with everyone and I loved everything about the city…sickness and all. My whole time there was pure bliss.
We only had 2 days in San Jose before we left the country. Our first day, we fellowshipped with everyone from the church. They were fun, welcoming, and bombarded us with fellowship, love, and laughter! It was great! On Tuesday, we went on a tour to see a live volcano, coffee factory, and an artisan gift shop. Again, we had a day full of adventure! We shopped til we dropped, that’s for sure!
Back at home
It’s been a week since we’ve been back at home, and my mind constantly goes back to Costa Rica. I will never in my life forget what God did in my heart over there. He lit a fire in me that is unexplainable. He gave me a vision and desire for the mission field. He gave me a glimpse of how His heart breaks for His people who are in bondage. And how He rejoices when His children put their faith & trust in Him. Also, He showed me that my children are in His hands. My son absolutely LOVED it over there. He was able to see beyond his own little world. He was so comfortable there and got along great with everyone, especially the pastor’s son. We both are forever changed!
I know that everyone who went on this trip was touched. We all have our own experience to share but one thing I know that God did in each of us was we developed a deeper relationship with each other as friends. There is definitely a bond between us that I know will last a lifetime.
I know this was a long post, but thank you for letting me pour my heart out!
“Go into all the world and peach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15