One Wild Week in Costa Rica

So, I’ve had a few days to process my most recent trip to Costa Rica. I need to process it now by typing it out.  Ready for a ride? Buckle up. It will probably be long… but worth it if you need a taste of Jesus outside the Baptist box. The theme for this week’s trip, as said by the Group Leader, was “Experiencing the Presence and Power of God.” That, my friends, is what happened.

First… I just need to start with some Scripture to set the stage.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities

    and bore our diseases.”       Matthew 8:16-17

Point: Jesus healed. Jesus cast out demons with a word. Jesus came to heal.

Jesus talking: 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.    John 14:12-14

Point: Jesus says that we, those who believe in Him, will do what He does and even greater things in His name.

Example: Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.     Acts 3:6-9

Point: Through the Holy Spirit, we (like Peter and John) have the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

So, there’s that.

I KNOW God is powerful, but I often limit Him. My mind and faith were stretched to the max (in the best way) on my recent trip. My team was amazing and so unique. The ministries we were involved in were really impacting. One of those ministries was nightly revivals… or “healing crusades.” The Group Leader told me the title for these services during the planning of the trip, so my mind was already trying to figure out what these were going to look like. Honestly, I was a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect at all.  I had a lot of doubts, questions, and skepticism going into it. I kept telling the Lord, if this isn’t of you or if this is just a show… TELL ME and make it stop! I never felt anything that happened was against His character or who He was. It was uncomfortable for me at times… but it was because of my lack of faith.

One question that the Group Leader (preacher) posed that really got was this: “Why do so many people believe that God can heal us from our sins (FORGIVENESS) but struggle to believe that He can heal us from our illnesses?” 

Well… I don’t know… but that’s me! I believe God can forgive and redeem anybody from anything, but REALLY believing and praying that God can heal sickness/disease is sometimes a leap for me. I don’t know why… it’s just me. Well… it WAS me.

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I saw people healed IN JESUS’ NAME.

I saw people so overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit, some for the first time, that they could no longer stand up.

I saw legs grow to the same length… that were unbalanced before.

I saw people be saved!

I saw people freed from night terrors.

I saw people be relieved from migraine pain.

I believe people were healed of cancer… hernias… heart problems… fears… generational sins… marital problems…

I saw someone be freed from demon oppression! (Craziest thing I’ve ever experienced… so far)

I’m not kidding. It was wild. It was all Jesus – for Him, by Him, through Him.

Do you know what the most profound thing was to me? Of course… the healings were incredible and God is worthy of all praise for them. But I learned more in one week about praying than I have in my lifetime.

Prayer is a battle. 

When prayer was needed for healing or freedom, it wasn’t a short, “Dear Lord, please be with Suzie and heal her tummy. Put your loving arms around her and a hedge of protection around her family. You are the Great Physician and we trust you.”  Isn’t that what we usually resort to? Not this time. The prayer warriors entered the battle with the person with the need. The prayer had conviction… sometimes yelling… sometimes crying… sometimes getting on their knees and pleading with the Lord together. Sometimes the prayer warrior wouldn’t let go of the person and wouldn’t stop praying until they felt like the Lord had answered… had moved. They REALLY believed God was listening and was acting on their request! What is wrong with me? Why don’t I pray like I believe? Oh… how I pray He helps my unbelief. Why am I so wrapped up in my comfort and my walls that I won’t break through them to really get to the heart of God in prayer??

Why am I resistant to tell people things when I feel the Lord has laid it on my heart? I just repress it and push it away. One of the pastors we met throughout the week spoke truth over my life. He just let God speak through him and it is EXACTLY what I needed. He spoke PEACE over my whole body. He didn’t know I am pregnant… but the Lord does. He spoke Jeremiah 33:3 over me. He didn’t know the impact that verse has had on me… but the Lord does. He spoke a promise salvation over my whole family… all my people. He doesn’t know what I pray and plead for everyday… but the Lord does. He spoke a confirmation of great faith over my life. He doesn’t know what leaps we’ve made to adopt, be a part of PPM, or pursue our dreams… but the Lord does.

Where is my boldness? 

There is POWER in the name of Jesus! He is Savior of past, present, and future. He is ABLE! He is HEALER! We are called to believe that… and proclaim it.

I saw His power. I felt… tangibly… His Spirit.

There’s so much more I could say about the services and what I learned… but it will come. For now… check out what else the Lord did on the trip! It was truly an amazing week… a week that impacted the team, the staff, and the Ticos (Costa Ricans).

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This is most of the amazing staff I got to work with on the trip – Cirielle (translator and friend), Pastor Ana Belly (rockstar for Jesus), and Pastor Daniel (the pastor we partnered with in Colas de Gallo).

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This is the view heading up to Colas de Gallo where the team ministered each day. Breathtaking!!!

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This is Pastor Daniel’s church and plaza. This sweet church is filled with so much love, hope, and many dreams for what God can do.

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This is the school for the community.. and a peak at the beautiful views that set the backdrop as we worked.

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The team worked tirelessly to construct a bakery for the church. The bakery would provide another way for the church to earn an income in order to support their pastor, future ministries, and entirely change their community’s economy.

**Please note that my team was not a youth group… but a devoted group of older adults. One lady (pictured) was over 70 years old and a great grandmother! It was actually her first mission trip. She was amazing. Despite age, this is one of the kindest and most hard-working teams we’ve worked with! Amazing! I hope when I’m 76 I’ll still be going on mission trips.

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This is the before and after of the bakery!! Amazing work in just 4 days! Go Jesus go!

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God used everyone specifically on this trip… which I always love. This little boy, Christian, has many things wrong with him. He had fluid on his brain and also may have a touch of CP. One of the ladies on the team just so happened to be a Physiotherapist and was able to work with him and teach his caretakers different exercises they could do with him to increase his mobility and quality of life!! Only God!

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We also got to take part in children’s ministry which is always fun. AND we got to visit some of my favorite kiddos in all the world!! My heart was so so happy! You can read about my week with them last summer HERE if you are just really bored.

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What a wild week! I’ll never be the same. I pray my team doesn’t fit back into the mold they left but is forever marked by what God showed them in Costa Rica.

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