Have you ever prayed something like, "I will do anything you ask me to do God." But have you ever really meant it? What happens when God calls you to do something hard, unexpected, or out of your comfort zone? Will you still say yes to Him when it doesn't make sense to the world or even to yourself?
The Bible says in Matthew 16:24, "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'" Jesus is after everyone's heart. He is after full submission and reliance on Him. In our comfortable American lives it is so easy to not NEED Jesus in our everyday life. We don't normally have to pray for food, water, or shelter and thus our reliance upon God is rooted in the "bigger" things in life. We pray when we are thinking about a new job, a move, or entering into a relationship. But what would it look like if we had to depend on God for everyday life? Would we have a stronger connection with Him? Or would we feel abandoned by Him having in a struggle to get through life? I would argue that our connection with Jesus would be stronger if everyday we had to come to Jesus and rely upon Him for even simple things such as our daily bread. Jesus wants us to take up our cross daily. He wants us to rely on Him and trust that He is a good father and He will provide for us. It may not always be the way we expect, but He is working on our hearts. And at times He may not answer prayers in a way we may think but He is working to bring us into full submission with Him. When we rely on God, we commune with Him and spend time with Him. That is what God wants a relationship with each and every person. He loves us more than we could ever imagine and He wants us to accept that love that He displayed by dying on the cross.
In Matthew 19:24 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Jesus wants us to follow Him with our whole heart and not seek after earthly treasures or possessions. Are you willing to give up whats most precious to you if God asked? I'm reminded of Abraham and Isaac and how He loved God so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only son out of obedience to God. I aspire to have the faith and trust in God that Abraham did; to rely on God in not only some areas of my life, but ALL areas of my life.
In this same way, God has given me a passion for children and specifically he has given me a heart for underprivileged children or those that have experienced trauma. I started working with kids at a young age. At 10 years old I started babysitting, by 12 I was teaching kids in Sunday school and then at 19 I went on my first missions trip to Myanmar. And since then, I have been to three countries on six different missions trips. Each time, God called me more out of my comfort zone and deeper with Him. While I love traveling, it is an entirely different thing to give up all that is familiar to you and fly to a different part of the world. But God burdened my heart for these children and their families in La Carpio and I gave up my life to seek after His plan.
I have now been in Costa Rica for a few days, which I have used to set up my life here by grocery shopping, figuring out transportation, and plugging into community here. Even routine tasks feel overwhelming and challenging. As with any move, the first few weeks are a blur and overwhelming as you try to get settled and unpack, but even more so when moving to a new country. I have a great support team here so far and the group of people I will be specifically working with are so sweet and considerate of me. I have been blessed by their generosity and helpfulness these first days.
Yesterday, I had the first opportunity to go into La Carpio for the High School ESL class that I will be helping Jorge teach. For those who don't know what ESL is, it is English as Second Language. I have been trained in ESL methods and instruction for the past 4 years in Texas and I am very excited to use my expertise and talents to serve this ministry and ultimately God. While waiting for the class to start, I got to talk with several of the teenagers and I was very impressed by how much English they have learned from Jorge so far. I am very excited to be able to come along side him and support the program that he has taken so much time to already lay the foundation for here.
God works through us no matter if we are in the United States or another country. Continue to serve God, and love and witness to others even in the mundane things of life. But, if God calls you to do something unexpected, or if He calls you into a different life than you expected, will you answer?
I've now been in Costa Rica for a little over a month. It is sometimes hard to believe how quickly time flies. I am in a better routine and schedule but there are definitely things I still find very challenging and exhausting. I am getting more used to public transportation to get to church and my work, which has been a blessing since it is the cheapest mode of transportation. It has been very busy trying to settle into daily life, preparing curriculum, practicing Spanish, and teaching classes, but I have been loving every minute of living here so far.
I've been supporting the ESL intensive class for High School students and 4-6th grade ESL program. I have also been helping with academic support on Thursdays and Saturdays where I am able to have smaller groups of kids and focus on helping them with their English homework and building relationships. This past week I began work with another ministry here called Puente Educativo where I am teaching a 7-8th grade ESL class! I am very excited for my 1-3rd grade ESL class to start this next week!! I have been working on creating material and curriculum for the past month and can't wait to meet the kiddos I'll be teaching and start the program. I am very excited to be able to add this program to the ministry here and further help the kiddos learn English.
I am also happy to share that I have been able to attend two churches. The Spanish church I attend meets Saturday nights and then the one I attend on Sunday is an International church. It has been a blessing getting to know two different groups of people and they all have been a great support and dear friends.
Through all the craziness it has been sometimes difficult to find rest and rejuvenation but God has been so faithful and the verse Matthew 11:28 comes to mind, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." God is our source of rest and we can cast all our cares, worries, and burdens on Him as He is faithful to pull us through.
I have been doing a study through Revelation and while i've studied the book many times, it always brings to mind the fact that sharing the Gospel and reaching people for Jesus is so necessary. For the time is coming that Jesus will return and those who have not accepted Jesus will live a life of torment and hopelessness. Now is the time to give your cares and worries to God and to share about Jesus unashamedly for we do not know the hour He will return.