International Ministries

Costa Rican Reflections

January 12, 2015 Journal
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On my way home from Costa Rica today I reflected on the countless ways I had seen God at work throughout the week. Since there were so many, I figured it was best to list them in a way that wouldn’t take you all day to read it.  Hopefully the word images invite you to imagine what I experienced.  Thank you for making it possible through your prayerful partnership and support.

Small gestures, big impact:

An arm offered to lend support along a slippery trail

Baby smiles and giggles

Spontaneous and heartfelt hugs from kids and old friends

A gaze of recognition from the coffee vender matched by attentive and kind service

Our beloved family pet, well cared for and brought to me for a visit

An impromptu international video chat with loved ones chiming in from Oxford, England Seattle and Olympia, WA while I waited for my flight from San Jose, Costa Rica

 Una celebración de cultura, comida y comunidad:

            Hay, que rico el sabor de:

                        Un cafecito con leche y amor

Carne asada tacos y salchichón de la parrillada

Helado casado  del Mercado

Empanadas and enyuccados,

Arroz con siempre y chifrijos con chicharon

Tortillas de queso y chorreados

Queque de tres leches

Canastas de tortilla llenos de pollo en salsa  

Piña y papaya frescos del campo

Jugo de guanábana o horchata

Pan y bísquets recién hornadas de la pulpería y el horno de mi amiga

Conversación, risas, y amor compartido alrededor la mesa

            Casi no hay nada mejor que esta

 A celebration of culture, food, and community:

            Oh, how rich the taste of:

                        A strong cup of coffee and warm milk with love

            Seasoned beef tacos and sausages from the grill

                        Homemade ice cream from the Central Market

            Fried corn turnovers and meat filled yucca balls,

                        Rice with chicken and rice with beans, chicharones and fresh salsa

            Fresh corn and cheese tortillas y corn pancakes with sour cream

                        Three milks cake

            Tortilla baskets with shredded and saucy chicken

                        Pineapple and papaya fresh from the field

            Soursop juice and milky rice and peanut drink

                        Fresh baked bread and biscuits from the corner store or my friend’s oven

            Conversation, smiles and love shared around the table

                        Almost nothing better than this     

 In gratitude for generosity given and received:

Thanks for Abraham’s local phone to borrow and use

Gratitude for Tanya’s help with a rental car and sacrifice of her commission

Humbled by abundant meals provided for and by the students from Purdue

Blessed by beds offered and comfortable sleep sacrificed on my behalf

Overwhelmed by Judith’s shopping spree and suitcase to take it all home

            Grace upon grace upon grace-amazing

 Glimpses of shalom and God breaking through moments:

Presence honored in greetings and goodbyes

Mary practicing it while having attentive conversations with kids about their hopes and dreams

Playing parachute games with 50 kids who have found a safe place to belong and grow

Cory playing ukulele and singing everything in his repertoire

Reconnecting with a mentor in ministry and being one to others

Group building games and communication between students in English and Spanish

Listening to inspiring young adult professionals committed to care of the environment and the most vulnerable in their communities

Honest conversations about racism and its painful consequences

Significant story sharing of cancer diagnoses and dreams deferred, politics and peacemaking, love and loss, transitions and trainings, challenges and celebrations, gratitude and grace, and faith, friendship and family.

 Incarnational joys along the Way:

Long walks through coffee fields and adobe home neighborhoods

Hikes through bamboo forests and dusty dirt roads, navigating slippery slopes and deep drainage ditches

Strolling along pedestrian pathways in the city or fresh fruit ferias in the suburbs

            Seeing Jesus in flesh and bones, moving through the neighborhood

May the words on these pages and the meditations and memories from my heart, honor the Creator and inspire you to notice the gifts of beauty that abound whether in Costa Rica, Central America, Costa Mesa, California or wherever else on this globe you may wander.  Thank you for making the world more beautiful.

Yours along the Way,