The North Pole to Costa Rica!

In March, I had the honor of leading a group from NORTH POLE, Alaska on a trip to Filadelfia, Costa Rica! How fun is that? They were literally from the North Pole… they said there was even a man in their town who legally changed his name to Santa Claus and ran for mayor. He lost… how sad.

Thanks FBC North Pole for being so great!

This team was awesome. Warner, one of our AMAZING staff, described them as the most loving and welcoming group. And, it’s true. With some of our teams, we have to give them time to warm up to us crazy Costa Rica staffers. Not this team. They embraced us and loved us from the first moment off the plane. They loved everyone they met with a sincere and genuine love. They had no  clue how to speak Spanish, but it didn’t matter. They loved Pastor Fidel, whom they were working with, something fierce. They honored and lifted him up from even before the trip begin and  wanted everything to point back to Jesus, Pastor Fidel, and the local church. Just like we like it!

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Here’s the awesome team in front of their church home for the week. You can imagine their bodies were in shock when they arrived. They literally experienced a 100 degree temperature change in one day… and just rolled with it… sweating.

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Here’s my awesome staff I got to serve with. They are AMAZING!! My mom was also on this trip and was a huge part of it. She had not arrived yet.

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This team did everything! They were great with children, so each day we went to the local kindergarten to teach VBS and play with the kids. The kids adored the team members and ran to hug their favorites each morning. Adorable.

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We also served in a park called Hollywood. The homes that surround this park are filled with families who have it hard. The majority of families are led by single moms or single grandmothers. Men have walked away from their position as dad and husband. The kids’ stories are similar to those portrayed in the movies – drama, abuse, drugs, violence, and everything else. That’s why they call the park Hollywood.

The team was such a light to this year. The park filled up with kids each day, truth and love was shared, and lives may have been changed forever.

The local nursing home/day care center was a huge hit! It was a blast! We were able to do crafts, paint nails, sing, share a story, sit with, and love on some old folks.  The smiles the team left on these faces were priceless!

This team did AMAZING things and allowed God to work through them in incredible ways. People were SAVED! One of the men on the team felt led to talk to a woman sitting on the sidewalk one day. He just started with small talk and led into questions about her salvation. She didn’t have a relationship with Jesus and Charles told her how that could happen. She wanted it! She prayed and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior RIGHT THERE. But, it didn’t stop there! She was SO excited about what he shared with her, that she wanted the team to come to her college English class and tell them! WOW! So, somehow we worked it out so that the team could go share the GOSPEL IN A COLLEGE CLASS!!! That blows my mind!

There was even an Eli-sized team member on this trip! How cute are they?

This will be a trip I’ll never forget. Not only because the team was from the North Pole (and that’s cool), or the awesome ministry, or the way they loved people, or that it was Eli’s first trip out of the country… but because of what happened to Eli during this week. Scared me to death.

Eli and I arrived in Costa Rica on Wednesday to get everything set up for the team to arrive Saturday. He did awesome! No problems whatsoever… not even a sneeze or a sniffle. Sunday night, after he had been asleep for a while, I woke up to the worst noise I have ever heard! My 6-month-old was gasping for air and could not breath. His poor eyes looked terrified and he couldn’t get a good breath. I freaked out, of course, and had no idea what to do to help him.

Thankfully, Jonathan (a staff that I love and trust with my baby’s life) was there. I went to get him and we left to go get some medical attention.

After several crazy hours of Eli not being able to breath well, breathing treatments, steroids, and rest… he was back to normal. We believe he had an ASTHMA ATTACK. He was officially diagnosed with mild intermittent asthma this past week. Honestly, if we would not have been in the town we were in near a good clinic, with the staff I had, and with the pastor we were serving with, it could have been bad.

During the whole process of the doctors helping my baby and figuring out the right treatment, I just kept asking God, “Why would you call me and bring me to this place with my baby and then have something happen to him?” 

I just felt like He kept responding to me with more questions, “Do you REALLY trust me? I DID call you. I AM calling you. I have you here. Do you TRUST me? Regardless of what happens, do you TRUST me? What if it ends badly, do you TRUST me?”

I do trust Him… with me and my stuff, my calling, my trips, my agenda… but MY BABY? MY KIDS? MY HUSBAND? That’s tough to let go. Although it’s just perceived, I want to be in control of my fellas. I’m not… and in those moments with Eli, I had absolutely no control over what would happen. The LORD is, does, and always will have control. He is Sovereign. I knew/know this in my head… but it’s hard for my heart to grab hold of, because I hold on so tightly to what I can see.  My fellas are not mine. They are His. He knows them and loves them more than I ever can… even though that’s hard to fathom.

I had to really dig deep… because initially when challenged with the thought of what if something happened, would I still trust and love Him… I sunk back in fear. I would be angry, hurt, guilty, terrified, and want to hide in a closet. I thought I would be resentful towards God and confused at His plan. BUT… I KNOW HIM. I KNOW His character. I KNOW He is a GOOD, GOOD Dad. I KNOW He loves me and my fellas… and our lives’ purpose is to bring people to His name. I KNOW His promises and His Word. I KNOW He is faithful. I KNOW He brings comfort. I KNOW He heals and restores. And… at the end of the day… I’m okay with it. As the song says, it really is well with my soul. I would experience all those emotions… and more… but I would want to run and cling to NOTHING else but my Jesus. And in those moments… in that gut-check… for the first time really… I gave my fellas over to my Daddy Savior. They are his. I just have the amazing opportunity to be their momma and wife, and I hope to do that well everyday.

So, Eli was fine. My heart and life is forever changed because I was faced with the hard questions about my baby. I’m thankful he is fine and he will be fine. I am SO thankful for the prayers from my team, staff, and family at home. The love shown to me from this team is another thing I’ll never forget… or take for granted.

So thankful my momma was there too! She’s the best Grann and a wonderful missionary!

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What a week!! 

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And this is me with Ciri (one of our staff) and Pastor Fidel (whom I LOVE). Last year, his brother-in-law died. I had the honor of going to his family’s home and praying with them and supporting him through that. This year, he came to the clinic to check on me and my baby and pray over us.  He calls me his amiga and always talks about how grateful he was that I was there last year. Cool how God works like that.

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