International Ministries

"Echando Raíces" Putting Down Roots

March 12, 2014 Journal
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Lately my soul has been longing for spring. Today it was satisfied.  I hear tomorrow will be cold and rainy again, but today, I choose to rejoice.  On Sunday morning and Tuesday night, the faith community where we have been “echando raíces” or putting down roots here in Olympia, WA, surrounded me with prayer, sending me into my next traveling season that starts tomorrow.  Just like with spring, my soul has been longing for Latin America and by Friday afternoon, my hankering for gallo pinto and warm Costa Rican hospitality will be satisfied. I will join my sister and a group of folks from Woodbury, MN to install and dedicate a memorial playground for the families of Rincon Chiquita de la Guacima de Alajuela. It will be the culmination of a long project, lovingly undertaken by many who have invested time, money and talent so that kids can have a safe place to play and grow.  Feeling excited about this life-giving and liberating project together with the opportunity to be with good friends I’ve missed, I push back the twinges of sadness that come with having to leave loved ones and the daily routines here. Traveling for weeks at a time with only a short time in between will be my new routine for the next several months. It is a challenge to put down roots as a sojourner, but not impossible. Most things worthwhile require some sacrifices, but also bring deep joy.  It took us years to “echar raíces” in Latin America and coming back to the States felt at times like ripping parts of my heart out.  Being able to travel back to Costa Rica as well as build new relationships here in the US and all over the Iberoamerica and Caribbean region has allowed God’s people to “echar raíces” in me. Those roots deeply impact the way I see the world.  They continue to stretch, shape and transform my once wounded heart into a whole one.  My world and my heart just keep getting bigger.

 I rode my bike today for the first time in too long, moving my “stuck to the computer screen” body, so that I could breathe deeply, stretch my muscles, and enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Spring in the Northwest is my favorite time of year. I love the budding trees, the flowers blooming, and the crisp cool air: all the sights and smells of new life.  I also suffer from pollen allergies, making spring my roughest time of year.  After my ride, my eyes began to swell; itchy and feeling like my eyelids were made of sandpaper. I was miserable until I found relief in a nice shower and eye drops. I could decide to never ride again, but the benefits far outweigh the suffering. The folks in La Guacima face enormous daily challenges to offer life-giving alternatives in their community, but together with their friends from far away, they are “echando raíces” of love in the hearts of many. So glad they included me.  My heart is overflowing. Tomorrow will have more challenges, but for today I choose to rejoice.  Thanks for “putting down your roots of love” so that all hearts might grow more in love.

Rooted in Christ,