Life keeps moving…
Yet, the new normal still seems strange at times. From transportation (Charli loves it) to the food we eat… the new normal still seems unusual. But life doesn’t seem to slow down or pause.
We still have traffic jams and busyness… it just looks so much different than it did in the US.
These were two different “traffic jams” within about a week or two.
As I sit down to write this, I realize two things. First, my body is deeply tired. Second, we are blown away by the way we have been so encouraged and by the way we have been able to encourage others.
Too much time has passed since my last post to try to even summarize what’s been going on… to be completely honest, I (Adam) had a rough few months. My heart was just so incredibly heavy. I manage to be a high-functioning person (very productive) even when I’m deeply sad or discouraged. Ministry is hard, but what an honor it is to get to do it. When you love deeply, you often seem to hurt deeply. Currently, I am extremely encouraged.
My precious wife continued to encourage me. Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I was able to make a long weekend trip to the US. What a gift that was! It was a truly encouraging and brought much needed refreshment to my soul.
Maybe more than anything, I was so deeply encouraged by the time with our friends from Two Rivers Chattanooga Church.
Kelly’s brother, Chris Jessen, planted a church outside of Chattanooga a little over 2 years ago. They brought a team for the church’s first mission trip. I am in awe of their beautiful hearts.
Prior to their arrival, the Lord spoke very clearly to me that the purpose of their trip was to encourage.
We began by purchasing and packing bags of groceries to deliver in poor communities, while we also delivered the hope and love of Jesus.
The team worked together in a beautiful harmony the entire time that they were here. It was such an incredible picture of true community.
They loaded bags of groceries, but what they were really giving away were expressions of the Father’s affection.
I’m still amazed by how a simple act of kindness can soften a heart so much.
This group excelled in kindness… and laughter (even to the point of “snorting” laughter).
They even made the journey fun! Yes, we did put three adults in the front passenger seat. In Costa Rica my car is basically the equivalent to a bus.
Sometimes the journey simply to one house required an adventure through mud, creeks and jungle.
In their humility there was such desperation. We saw countless people physically healed before our eyes as we laid hands on these precious people. We shared the love of Jesus in a way that gave hope and restoration… never in a way that caused shame.
Another key part of this team’s purpose was to encourage pastors. Being a pastor in Costa Rica is extremely difficult. Paying bills feels impossible. Resources are so limited. The team brought a powerful training, loving words / prayers of encouragement and a gift. They offered each pastor a Study Bible that included wonderful commentary. As they received these Bibles, I could see in their faces that they knew that they were receiving a treasure.
There is so much power in the tongue. These precious people chose to speak life into the pastors from surrounding communities.
They were told of the Father’s love by people who were delighting in them. Simply beautiful!
While the majority of the team invested in the children, two men from the team joined me for another special mission. We went to each employee at these two schools. We offered them a Coke and chocolate. It was painful to see how suspicious they were of us when we first arrived, but the Lord used Coca-Cola and chocolate to soften hearts. The special mission was to encourage the teachers, administrators, janitors and lunch ladies. They have such important jobs, and it’s easy for them to “feel” like their jobs are not important. It’s easy to feel undervalued. Because of the harsh conditions, it’s very common for teachers to go on strike (almost every year). We reminded them of how valuable and important they are. We told them that we were proud of them, and we’re grateful for what they do. Literally, we watched the stone-cold, serious faces of some of the teachers melt into child-like faces that couldn’t contain their giggling as we spoke to them. It was like we had lifted them up on our shoulders in a victory celebration.
Hoping you feel lifted up onto the shoulders of our good, loving Daddy as you read this.
And when we fall down… or when we feel deeply discouraged, or when the radiator blows out (literally or metaphorically)… we keep moving forward. There’s always a way. There’s always a solution. Even if that means hitchhiking in the back of a stranger’s pick-up truck late at night in the rain. We continue. We press on….
But there’s something about doing it together that makes it not only bearable… but life-giving and enjoyable.
Deeply grateful and encouraged.
So much love from the Backwards Missionaries.