Before the Go

A week ago on Friday, we had our monthly staff gathering at our house in Costa Rica.  About 15 of our staff gathered to eat good food, worship, and hang out together.  Just a day before our gathering, I felt God show me that we need to spend time preparing spiritually before we embark on the biggest summer of ministry in the history of Praying Pelican Missions in Costa Rica.

FullSizeRenderI was led to Joshua 3, where the Israelites have reached the Jordan River.  Sitting in our dining room, we read Joshua 3 and pointed out what it meant to us all as we were on the banks of our Jordan River of summer trips.

Yet from reading the entire chapter, we see that the miracle may not have taken place if they didn’t do what Joshua commanded in Joshua 3:5…

“Consecrate yourselves, for the Lord will do wonders among you.”

The decisions that we make today can have huge effects on our tomorrow.  Here in Joshua, we see that Joshua did not want the Israelites to take any baggage into the Promised Land.  He wanted them to spend time consecrating themselves, purifying and preparing for what lies ahead.

We would be foolish to think that we can storm into the next 10 weeks with 24 mission trips in our own strength.  That is beyond foolish.  As a group we talked about how God was asking us to go deeper and wider in order to spread the Gospel.  Sometimes to get a different result in life we have to do something different.

I encouraged our staff to go back to that place where we first loved Jesus, or that place where we were most on-fire for the Lord.  Then I asked, how do we get back there?  What steps can we take to consecrate ourselves for the work of the Lord?  For some of us it was fasting for a week, taking time off of social media, or waking up early to spend time with Jesus.

Why do this?  For the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Denying ourselves for a week to seek the Lord can only bring about more glory to Jesus.  Seeking His face, when we have done all we can on the human side to set up amazing, life-changing mission trips with our local pastors.

I write this on the eve of standing at the bank of our Jordan River of summer mission trips.  Tomorrow it begins…10 weeks, 24 trips, 522 missionaries coming to Costa Rica.

Our prayer this summer is that Jesus is lifted higher as we humble ourselves to serve.

Nate, Age 18, Called to Missions

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I took my first solo mission trip when I was 18 years old.  I was a freshman in college and received an advertisement in the mail from Teen Mania Ministries, known for their “Acquire The Fire” youth conferences.  It was going to be a week long trip to Acapulco, Mexico over Christmas vacation.

I knew I did not have the nearly $2,000 to go, but felt in my heart that I needed to do this trip.  So, my first fundraising letters went out (never knowing that this would be how God has called us to provide for our family).

The support came in quickly, further confirming that this trip was part of God’s plan for my life.

The day after Christmas I flew to Mexico and met up with a couple hundred other youth.  The goal of the entire trip was to learn a powerful 20 minute drama to share the Gospel all over Acapulco.  Local pastors were assigned to come with each team to be able to do follow up with those who responded.

Somehow I was cast as the role of the Captain, which represented Jesus.  The picture above shows my costume, blue bandana wrapped around my neck, blue pants, and a white shirt.

That white shirt is what this story all boils down to.  The first day of ministry we did our drama in the middle of a fish market.  Now remember, I’m Captain Jesus, I get kicked around in the street and literally lay directly on the ground before I am crucified.  Needless to say, when the day was done and we had performed the drama three times, my shirt was disgusting.  I don’t even think it was white anymore.  It was covered in dirt and fish guts.

I knew that I was going to have to wash that shirt before the next morning, so I decided I would just wash it in the shower while I was showering that night.

First, let me tell you, we were sleeping at a YMCA complex.  The showers had no roof over them.  Literally, people walking on the street could look through a fence and look down on where we were showering.  That’s why we showered at night.  And of course there were no shower curtains, it was the old locker-room group showers.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Don’t picture this, but I’m showering in the dark of night (I warned you not to picture it)!  Here I am washing the fish guts off of my white shirt, scrubbing body wash all over the shirt to remove the guts and odor.  I remember looking up at the stars and I said to God:

“God, if you will let me, I will do this the rest of my life.”

The rest is history.

Many current missionaries on foreign fields got their start in missions during a short-term experience.  My joy over the last 22 months has been connecting with people who feel called to missions while on their short term trips and encouraging them to pursue that call with all that is inside of them!

These Are My (Missionary) Confessions

You would think after 15 months of living and serving in Costa Rica that we would have ti all together by now.  You would think that we have somehow “arrived” or have crossed every cultural barrier. You would think.   Allow me to share my confessions for a moment:

IMG_3364.PNG1.   The Bugs Do Not Relent.   Costa Rica has bugs, insects, creepy-crawlies or whatever you want to call them.  Yes, we have tarantulas, scorpions and other things we do not even know what to call.  But it is different when they are in your house.  The past month we have been battling these little caterpillar thingys that are everywhere.  Seriously, everywhere.  Walking barefoot is not recommended.

2.  Social Media Helps and Hurts.  We love pulling out our phones to stay caught up with all of our friends and family in the USA, but at the same time it hurts.  We long for Starbucks or to do a quick Krispy Kreme run while the sign in still “hot.”  More than that, we love seeing family photos, but know it would even be better to be in the photos themselves.

3.  Spanish is No Bueno.  15 months later and we feel like we have just landed in Costa Rica in regards to our Spanish.  When will we ever learn?  Luckily, our kids are picking it up much faster, so they are serving as our daily translators.

4.  Relationships are Lost in Translation.  My job is to build relationships with the Pastors and Churches we are serving, but it is nearly impossible due to the language barrier.  Sometimes I feel more like an Air Traffic Controller than a missionary, sending correspondence with our amazing staff to get information to the sources that need it.

5.  Guilt Over a Home Church Decision.  Though we have felt very welcomed by the local churches here, we have not been getting spiritually fed due to the language barrier (we know they are preaching good stuff).  After fighting it for over a year and wanting to “fit in” with a local Spanish-speaking church, we have committed what some may call a #missionaryfail, by going to an English speaking church.  Yet for us, it seems just right.  Worship and the Word preached to us in our native language seems like gold to us at this time in our lives. It is also important for us to put the spiritual growth of our own family before ministry.

And we have one more (missionary) confession…

6.  We Are Still Called.  Through all the thorns, setbacks, and failures, we still feel called to continue serving the Pastors and Churches in Costa Rica.  God’s perfect love  fills our every weakness, failure, and insecurity, and gives us hope for tomorrow.

Dry Stumps…Coals to Burning Fire

IMG_3059.jpgI have always been fascinated with fire.  No, I never burned down a house or anything too crazy.  Being in Costa Rica allows me to burn things, like our garbage.  We have two side yards that are not technically  ours, but periodically someone takes a machete to them and lowers the weeds and trees so that snakes don’t come sneaking in.  When this happens, we have a lot to burn.  If we don’t burn it, the logs become home for those nasty skunks that we have talked about before.

Recently we had trees get cut down in our front yard.  Our landlord wanted to sell one of the huge logs, but when it started collecting termites we were told to burn it.  I don’t own a chainsaw, so my friend Kyle and I started creatively and strategically burning the huge log from the center of our lawn.

That turned into an endeavor over the last two weeks to burn up all of the tree stumps in the front yard that were collecting weeds.  I also don’t own a weed-whacker, so those stumps collect a lot of weeds growing near them.

Yesterday I had seven stumps burning and it all started from one fire.  I would take the coals from one fire and share it to the next dry log.  Add a little bit of kindling and a fire starts.  Today I started an eighth stump on fire just by sharing a coal.

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In the midst of my pyromaniac ways, I saw God showing me what my job here in Costa Rica is.  There are dry stumps all over Costa Rica.  Dry stumps of churches, pastors, families, homes, and individuals.  Essentially their fire is out but they are giving God one more chance to reignite their lives.

We get the opportunity to help facilitate and see these dry stumps become a roaring flame as short-term missionaries bring their hot coals and sow into a community for a week.  By the end of the week, their coal has caused hot spots to burst up.  Hot spots of God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, hope, and acceptance.

That is what this summer has been all about, building a bridge between the cultures of the USA and Costa Rica in Christ’s name so that passionate fires of redemption can roar all over Costa Rica because of Jesus Christ!

Fighting Adoption

“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.   Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.  But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”  Galatians 4:7-9

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We have always known that our lives with adopted sons would not be rainbows and butterflies.  We knew that abandonment and neglect would affect their lives in different ways.  We knew that there would be hurdles in our lives, but as we are now currently in a row of hurdles, they feel more like mountains to try to jump over.

There comes a point when the answers we have given to the missing pieces of Malachi’s life just are not enough for him.  Mixed with being uprooted, thrown into a culture and language he does not understand, “failing” a grade, and much more, Malachi needs a different kind of attention and care than we were previously giving him.  His heart is hurting, and rightly so.  Yet how it comes out of his little heart looks like hate, anger, and fear.  Even to the point of him telling us he is flying back to Ethiopia alone.

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Father’s Day celebration at Dino Park

He does not understand the great sacrifice that we made to adopt him.  He does not understand the years of praying, hoping, and waiting for just a picture of him.  He cannot even begin to fathom the huge difference that his adoption has made in his current life, and in his future destiny.  He does not understand how much he is loved and accepted.  You might ask,  “what is wrong with him?”

The question really is, “what is wrong with us?”  We have been adopted by God the Father through Jesus Christ into a family we do not deserve.  We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3) yet we continually slap God in the face by our irreverence, blatant sin, fear, lack of faith, and so on…

Why do we doubt our own adoption as sons and daughters of God?  Is it because our way seems better than God ways?  Is it because we can not trust the unseen? Is it because we have not realized the hand of God in our lives that has kept away hard times in the past, and now it just seems like too much to handle?

Wherever you are in your “adoption journey” please know this:  We have a good Father that loves us unconditionally.  We have a Father that forgives every time we turn our back on Him.  We have a Father that is just waiting for us to return home just like the Prodigal Son.

You are loved.  You have been adopted.  Stop fighting your adoption and run into the loving arms of Father God through Jesus Christ.

We are all adopted, some of us just got adopted twice.

Confessions of a Missionary: I Chose Fear

Wednesdays have become sort of a date-day for Laura and I due to the fact that Isaiah attends school for a full day instead of his usual half-days.  Today was no different.  We decided we would find a new beach to visit for the morning while the kids were in school.  I googled “best beaches” and found a hidden gem called Sugar Beach.

So we set off after dropping off the kids at school.  After an hour and seven minutes drive and we would be in a tropical, semi-private beach on the Pacific Ocean.  Having never been to Sugar Beach, I put it in my phone’s GPS.  We were on our way.

I followed the GPS blindly.  Neither of us had ever been there.  With 30 minutes left until we reached our haven, we turned onto a dirt road.  This is not uncommon in Costa Rica.  Yet the dirt road kept going and going.  Not just dirt road, but now dirt mountains.  We climbed a few in our 12-passenger van like a champ.  I mean, I’m basically a pro at driving a stick-shift now.  But the mountains kept getting higher and higher.  Then a big downhill.  I had to look back as we were coasting down the mountain, knowing that we would soon have to return UP that mountain.

At this point we had to turn the air conditioning colder in the van.  We were both feeling a little anxious wondering when we would ever get to the beach.

Then it happened.  We reached the TOP of the mountain and started a quick, steep decent down.  It was here that I almost lost my breakfast.  “We have to drive up that mountain in this van.  We need four-wheel drive!”

I tried being calm.  We got to the secluded beach with amazing blues and greens in the water.  We even talked with the receptionist at a hotel and she told us the only way out was the way we came in.  Ugh.  So we make our way to the beach, lay out our sheet and start soaking up the rays.

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But I couldn’t relax.  All I was thinking about was that we had to drive up that steep mountain and our van would not make it.  Fear not only crept in, but I was submerged in fear.  Laura could see it all over me.  I could not sit still.  I could not enjoy the water.  Laura tried to talk to me and change the subject, but the fear was something that I took in and kept feeding.

I literally was thinking, “what happens when I go up the mountain in 1st gear and then I start rolling backwards?”  I had already texted Kyle saying if he didn’t hear from us then he needed to pick up the kids when school was over.  I was thinking, “well, we can just sell the van here since there is no way it is getting over that mountain!”

I prayed!  Yes, I prayed hard!  I told God that He had to provide a way out of here.  I was reciting Scripture and holding onto Biblical promises, but I was still full of fear.  I even laid down and prayed, eyes closed, and begged God to get us out of there.  I was literally feeling claustrophobic even though I was in a huge wide-open space.  Believe it or not, a little butterfly landed on my swimsuit.  It scared me because my eyes were closed and I brushed it away.  It came back over and over.  I even thought, God are you using a little butterfly to show me that you will take care of me?  Yet I still could not shake this fear.

We did not last long at the beach, needless to say.  We did walk the beach, get in the water, but it was not our normal amount of time to relax that we intended to have.

We began the drive home.  There is only one way to go!  I texted Kyle again saying that we were on our way so that he could tell if we were not making the journey home.  We drove through town and made our turn onto the dirt road.  I drove about 100 feet and Laura said, “wait, I saw a sign for Flamingo Beach back there!”  We had visited Flamingo Beach a few times, and it was really close to one of our favorite beaches called Tamarindo.  I asked, “Are you sure this is our Flamingo Beach?”  “There can’t be more than one” Laura replied.

I stop the van.  We plug it in the GPS, and we were literally 20 minutes from our favorite beach.  Needless to say, we never travel over dirt mountains to get to our favorite beach.

Are you serious?  I just ruined an entire beach trip with Laura because I allowed fear to grip my heart and mind?  Yes, I did.

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This is me at lunch in Tamarindo, after Laura prayed for our pizza including “thank you Lord for not making us relocate our family to Sugar Beach since our van would not make it back over the mountain.”  Of course she was mocking me…resulting in a mixture of laughter that turned to happy tears of relief.

Fear is a real thing, but it is not from God.  2 Timothy 1:7 says that God does not give us a spirit of fear.

So where does this spirit of fear come from?  Not God, but the enemy, the devil.  1 John 4:18 says that His perfect love can cast out all fear.

This blog is a confession.  Your missionary is not perfect.  I have issues.  I have pride.  I have insecurities.  I can lack faith.  And I’m sure they all intertwine.

The good news is that God knows all of my issues.  He knows when I lack faith.  He knows when my stupid pride stops me from serving Him with all that I have.  He also knows right where I am.  He knew I was only 20 minutes away, on a smooth paved road, from a very familiar beach.  He loves me regardless, and He loves you too!

 

 

Darrell’s Rescue…An Easter Object Lesson

Zero Cadbury Eggs (crazy…I know).  Zero Peeps.  Zero Easter Bunnies (remember our bunnies were all massacred by some mysterious animal).  No Via Dolorosa (the huge presentation that I helped put on at our church in Delaware).  As a matter of fact, Easter in Costa Rica is not a holiday like it is in the USA.  The do take the entire week before Easter off as “Samana Santa” (Holy Week).  Yet even the Sunday Morning Service is the same as the weeks before.

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We did get to color some eggs once we googled how to do it without those magical little tablets you drop in water!

In years past, Easter has become my favorite “holiday.”  But this year was different.  It wasn’t my comfortable Easter with all of the “things” that make it eastery.  The meaning behind Easter is obviously my favorite, our entire faith hangs on this one day…Jesus is alive!

This year I had to force myself to think more about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  It was not as convenient.  And an Easter sermon in Spanish…nope, didn’t get anything out of it.

Add to this that the night before Easter I got a text from Darrell saying that on Sunday at 5:00 am he had to board a bus to go to Nicaragua to get his Visa renewed (he was two days short of making it with his YWAM team without having to renew).  YWAM plans had changed, so this was not a lack of planning on Darrell’s part.

Having crossed the border with Darrell before, I knew he could do it.   BUT IT IS THE FINAL DAY OF SEMANA SANTA!  This was the final day of vacation, and hundreds (if not thousands) of people were crossing to Nicaragua while still others were crossing to Costa Rica.  Remember, Darrell would have to do both in one day, with very limited time.

My #1 fear was that Darrell would get stuck in Nicaragua and have to stay there till morning.  I could picture him laying at the border on a cardboard mat with his airport pillow around his neck.  I then saw him getting robbed, beaten, and everything else you could imagine.

I warned Darrell that this could end bad (not with as much detail as above), but I knew it had to be done, there was no other way.  I could not take his place, he had to do this.  I even asked him if he wanted me to go with him, but he said he could do it alone.

I didn’t sleep well Saturday night.  I was nervous for him.  Sunday morning during church I was texting him hoping for smooth sailing.  And it was smooth most of the time.  He made it over to Nicaragua and back in great time.  I was so relieved.  But he wasn’t out of there yet.  He still had to get on a bus and get back to San Jose.

At this point we were eating a traditional Easter meal of Papa John’s Pizza (sarcasm) when Darrell began to tell us about what he called “the great wall of China.”  The bus line was huge.  He bought his ticket but he did not know if he would ever make it before the buses stopped running.  It was the heat of the day, a heat that is oppressive, with no shade in sight.  He sat waiting, wondering, and I could tell by his texts that this wasn’t funny to him anymore.

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In my mind, I was thinking “I told you so,” but this trip had to happen and it had to happen on Easter day.  At this point he hadn’t even got close to the middle of the bus line and two hours had passed.  And he had not moved forward in a long time!

I began to think of a rescue plan.  I knew a Pastor about 15 minutes from the border, maybe he could make sure he got on the bus.  I knew that the temperature would now start to cool off, but then darkness would take over.  Would he be scared?  What about the arrests that he had just seen with a police chase and all?  This is not good.

It’s time to intervene.  “Darrell, say the word and I’ll drive to get you.  I’ll get you a bus in the morning.”  I had already changed my clothes while he was reading the text hoping I could just go and get him.

“Ok, yea, you can come and get me, I haven’t moved in a long time.”

As I drove to pick him up I was overcome with emotion.  I knew that he was going to be safe.  And I was going to get to see my son!

Then it hit me.  Jesus endured the worst punishment while the Father knew the Son had to endure.  I can’t imagine being Father God while your only Son, Jesus, was crucified, bearing the weight of the sins of the entire world.  Buried for three days…I can only imagine what God was feeling knowing that He soon would be reunited with His Son.  My hour drive was emotional, but imagine God waiting on Jesus to resurrect…the excitement, the love, the anticipation!!!

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Darrell said “I’ve never been so happy to see you” as he entered the van, and I felt the same!

Jesus is alive!  Thank you God for stripping me of my “traditions” to see in a very minuscule way the depth of your love for your Son!

 

Pelican Watching

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We live in Costa Rica, so there’s no question about it, we get to visit some very beautiful beaches.  (No, I’m not rubbing it in, it’s just a fact).

As Praying “Pelican” Missionaries, our kids are always pointing out each pelican sighting at the beach.  We even call the staff and  participants “pelicans.”

Recently at one particular beach, there was a ton of pelicans flying, diving, and sitting perched on rocks out in the ocean.  I was enamored watching them fly around and laughed as they swooped down pretty low near Laura (she hates birds).

After a few minutes I noticed a couple of things about pelicans:

Pelicans are intentional.  They are known for their fishing ability.  They don’t just dive down and “hope” they catch a fish in their mouth.  They are deliberate in searching for and catching their fish.  They soar high above the water and when the precise opportunity comes, they dive into the water.

Pelicans know where and when to fish.  Laura and I were amazed at the large amount of pelicans at one particular beach.  It wasn’t until we got close to the water that we realized why there were so many pelicans.  The ocean stunk like fish worse than we had ever smelled in Costa Rica.  And that’s why the pelicans were there.  It was prime fishing waters.

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Just last week, one of PPM’s amazing leaders, Rob, was meeting with some leaders in a country where we are now serving.  The leader shared with Rob the following words:  “I used to be a fisherman. In bad weather, when we could not see, we would look for the pelicans. They would always show us where the fish were.”

As Missionaries in Costa Rica with Praying Pelican Missions, we couldn’t be happier to be called “Pelicans.”  One of the things that drew us to PPM was how intentional they were to build relationships and make ministry happen.  I was a participant on five PPM trips before joining PPM as staff and moving to Costa Rica, and Pelicans definitely know where to fish.  Part of my job as a missionary here is to locate and build relationships with local pastors, churches and organizations that are already in the “fishing” business, making ministry opportunities easy to find for teams that come to serve.

In Matthew 4:19, it says that Jesus was calling disciples to become “fishers of men.”  We are so honored to have quality ministry partners that are expert fishers, wholeheartedly reaching out to their communities for Christ.  PrintLogoBlackTextColorLogo-01.jpg

Thank you to all of those who have been praying for and supporting us as we seek to be fishers of men in Costa Rica with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Mission Trips are a Waste!”

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.26.35 PM.pngYes, I have even heard it from churches and missionaries before.  “We could support more missionaries if we didn’t go on short-term mission trips!”   The common argument is that it is more fruitful to “just send money.”  I recently heard this again here in Costa Rica.  But that could not be farther from the truth!  If you have fallen into the same line of thinking, please read this entire blog.  Let me describe to you the trip that I recently led to Guayabal, Costa Rica.  Money could not buy what happened on this trip!Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.27.43 PM.png

The plan was to help construct two new Sunday School classrooms (the children were previously sitting out in the sun) and do a mix of ministries involving women and children.  The first day of ministry started a little slow.  The men had begun digging and the sweat was pouring off.  We were wondering if any women or children would even show up.  So what do you do?  PRAY!  We prayed and immediately women and children started filing in the church.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.28.25 PM.pngIt was so cool to see ministry begin to happen that does not happen unless you GO!  Faith Fellowship had made empty pillows that needed to be stuffed and sewn, along with a Bible Study for the ladies that went along with it.  Children were getting their faces painted, coloring, making crafts and hearing Bible stories.  Some of the team members were braiding hair and one women on the team got some scissors and started giving free hair cuts.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.29.04 PM.pngWithin 30 minutes it was clear that God was going to do amazing things in this local church through the short-term missionaries.

So here are a few testimonies…One women showed up to make a pillow.  A simple pillow.  After making her pillow and listening to the Bible Study she received prayer from some of the women.  Her eyes were filled with tears as she put her faith in Jesus in that moment!  She returned day after day, even getting her feet washed, massaged and toenails painted.  She later gave a testimony saying that she had slept so peacefully since trusting Jesus for her salvation!

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.30.46 PM.pngAnother man came when he had heard in the community that there were free hair cuts at the church. While giving the hair cut, the short-term missionary felt that she needed to have a male team member pray with the man, but all of the men were working on the construction project.  She told him to please return tomorrow to get edged up (since we did not have a razor with us).  Guess what?  He returned the next day, got his hair edged up and put his faith in Jesus Christ!  All from a hair-cut given by someone going on a mission trip.  He even returned the following day for the church service!Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.30.00 PM.png

In a matter of six days, a local church literally was buzzing with excitement.  A local church was given a boost from some people in the USA that decided that they would leave their comfort zone to go and serve.  The local church now has momentum as it enters into a new season of being a lighthouse in the community.Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 3.29.50 PM.png

It was not money that prompted a man and woman to receive Salvation.  It was not money that brightened the light of the local church.  It was ordinary people, stepping outside of their comfort zone to go, serve, and love in Jesus’ name.

Mission trips are NOT a waste! Come try out a Praying Pelican Missions partnership with a local church!

 

 

So I got a Pedicure

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Before you judge me, let me explain.  Every night in Costa Rica we go to bed with dirty feet.  You see we usually wear sandals, Chacos and Crocs (don’t judge me again).  Our floors get cleaned often, but we are not living in a land with sealed windows and plush carpet.

Trust me, it doesn’t matter if I take another shower at seven at night, because by the time I go to bed there is a level of grossness all over my feet.

So, Laura and I decided that when we got back to the USA that we would get pedicures together for Christmas.  Laura had been trying to get me to get a pedicure with her many times before, even taking pictures of big, bulky, tattooed men getting pedicures beside her.  This time it didn’t take much convincing.  I was not even sure that my feet were white anymore.

Just to clear the air, a pedicure is not all about getting your nails done.  I was impressed.  I got to sit in a massaging chair for 30 minutes, watched TV without kids wanting to change the channel, had my feet and legs massaged, and watched amazed as the lady took a cheese-grater to my heels.  It was very impressive.

I walked out of that place feeling like I had conquered the world.  My feet were clean and actually were white!  Nasty callouses were gone and I could hear the Hallelujah Chorus ringing.

Fast forward just a few days later and I’m back in Costa Rica with my feet looking like this again:

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The Hallelujah Chorus was gone and I was back to my dirty feet.

Honestly, I always thought my feet were ugly.  In the eighth grade I played the part of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit for a school play.  They glued hair all over the tops of my feet.  Unfortunately, today they would not have to do that.

In the seven months of living in Costa Rica, I have been reminded of these verses from Romans 10:14-15:

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

This passage always gives me hope.  Why?  Because feet are dirty.  Throughout life we pick up different things as we walk the path that the Lord has us on.  We walk through disappointment, failure, financial issues, rejection, loss, grief, embarrassment, struggles, family problems, etc…  And yet God still chooses to use each of us and calls us to carry the Good News of Jesus Christ everywhere that we go!

You may have a wart on your toe, a toenail that looks funky, or Hobbit hair growing on your toes, but God says if we bring His Good News, we have beautiful feet.

So regardless if your feet are covered up in shoes, tip-toeing through ocean sand, freshly pedicured, or if you have toe warmers on just trying to get through winter, know that God has called you to share the Good News right where you are!  Don’t let your insecurities keep you from doing what God has called us all to!  We have beautiful feet, so let’s share the Good News of Jesus Christ!